Eng Cn Translate this page:
Please select your language to translate the article

You can just close the window to don't translate
Your profile

Back to contents

Police activity

Empathy as a professional pedagogical quality of a leader in the internal affairs bodies

Gordeeva Ekaterina Nikolaevna

ORCID: 0000-0003-4442-1459

PhD in Pedagogy

Lecturer of the Department of Criminal Law and Criminology of the Moscow Regional Branch of the Moscow University of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia named after V.Ya. Kikot

170005, Russia, g. Tver', ul. Karpinskogo, 5/34, kv. 15

Other publications by this author










Abstract: The aim of the study is to determine the level of empathy among the heads of internal affairs bodies (police) at various levels. The object of the study is the personal characteristics of the heads of internal affairs at various levels. The subject is the level of empathy of employees who fill senior positions in the internal affairs bodies. The history of the definition of empathy, various approaches to the phenomenon of the studied property are considered. Empathy is considered as an important element in the professional activity of employees of internal affairs bodies, characterizing their communicative abilities, emotional intelligence, which has a positive effect on the success of the performance of pedagogical functions by managers. From a scientific point of view, it reveals how the empathic abilities of the head of various departments of the internal affairs bodies as a pedagogical subject affect his relationships with subordinates and professional activities. The results of the study of the level of empathy among senior employees of the internal affairs bodies are presented. As empirical research methods, psychodiagnostic techniques were used the test "Diagnosis of the level of empathic abilities" by V. V. Boyko, the Questionnaire of Emotional Empathy (EETS) by A. Mehrabian and M. Epstein, the methodology "Value orientations of personality" by M. Rokich. The main conclusions of the study are the statements that the level of empathy among the heads of the Department of Internal Affairs is at an insufficient level, which reduces the effectiveness of their teaching activities. The author considers it promising to continue further theoretical research and practical methods of developing empathic abilities of managers in the Department of Internal Affairs.


empathy, empathic abilities, empathy level, managers, staff, internal affairs bodies, communication, professional activity, pedagogical activity, methods of empathy research

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.

In modern Russian society, high demands are placed on the professional and personal qualities of employees of internal affairs bodies (hereinafter referred to as ATS). However, despite the fact that VTSIOM public opinion polls over the past few years show a growing level of trust in the police, more than a third of citizens still do not trust the police, noting the ill-mannered, rude and aggressive employees.

It is not enough for a modern manager to have a large amount of competencies and work experience. The emphasis is shifting from narrowly professional qualities to personal and professional characteristics: the ability to understand people, the ability to convince and inspire subordinates to effectively solve operational and service tasks. The ability to build productive communication with citizens, colleagues, subordinates is becoming one of the important qualities of a senior law enforcement officer in a rapidly changing reality.

An important indicator of the formation of professional communication skills in a person is the level of empathic ability, which plays a key role in emotional and social interactions and is necessary for healthy coexistence between people, their mutual understanding and cooperation.

Empathy is an important concept in modern psychology and pedagogy, and numerous authors devote themselves to the study of this phenomenon. Most of them agree on the importance of empathy and its positive impact on interpersonal relationships.

For the first time, the term Einf?hlung (feeling), preceding the appearance of the definition of empathy, was proposed in 1873 by R. Fischer [1]. By this term he meant the spontaneous projection of the subject of real feelings for people. Further in 1903, the German philosopher T. Lipps developed the theory of Einf?hlung from a psychological point of view. The term empathy itself was introduced by E. B. Titchener [2] as a translation of Einf?hlung, which the scientist defined as "the process of humanizing objects, reading or feeling oneself in them." To date, the definition of empathy has many definitions, the author of the most recognized is D. G. Mead, according to whom empathy is the ability and willingness of a subject to understand the situation of another, assuming this role, and changing his behavior under the influence of empathy [3]. Over the past hundred years, a sufficient number of studies of empathy have been conducted in the field of psychology, neurobiology, psychiatry, almost fifty definitions have been formulated, various functional models of empathy have been modeled [4], the main criteria have been identified on the basis of which it has become possible to streamline the definitions of empathy, allowing classifying some as a process, others as causes of empathy, and others determining the mechanism the origin and consequences of empathy [5]. Researchers distinguish three main phenomena of empathy: affective phenomenon (affective empathy) [6, 7, 8], relating to the direct experience of emotions of another person, mainly a cognitive phenomenon (cognitive empathy) [9], relating to the intellectual understanding of the experience of others, as well as a combination of affective and cognitive components.

In Russian psychology, interpersonal perception, interaction and mutual understanding are inextricably linked with the phenomenon of personal empathy. Thus, A. A. Bodalev emphasizes the priority role of empathy in the process of interpersonal communication. The scientist, taking the point of view of the combination of affective and cognitive components in empathy, represents this property of personality in the unity of the processes of cognition by one person by another, interpersonal information exchange and the formation and development of interpersonal relationships, the establishment of trusting relationships between people [10, p. 89]. According to V. Y. Puzyrevsky, a researcher in the field of educational methodology, empathy is a property of a person to perceive not only the emotional state, but also the personal meanings of another communicant [11].

Domestic and foreign researchers in the field of psychology and pedagogy (T. P. Gavrilova, L. M. Mitina, F. Allport, V. V. Serikov, Yu. V. Suturina, K. Rogers, D. A. Houston, M. Sheler, I. M. Yusupov) define empathy as a necessary condition for productive interaction in the pedagogical process.

Empathy in some scientific studies is considered as a professionally significant quality in various types of professional activity psychologists (M. V. Sizikova, O.I. Tsvetkova, A. B. Kosareva), pedagogical subjects (T. V. Akhryamkina, S. B. Borisenko, E. A. Ichalovskaya), representatives of various medical specializations (O. Yu.Bogacheva, N. V. Kozina, Yu. A. Kukhtenko), military personnel (I. V. Dementiev), i.e. professions belonging to the sphere of direct interaction "man man". It is no less important in the professional activities of police officers. The ability to empathy, readiness for productive communication with the manifestation of empathy, the ability of a person to perceive the emotional state of another person and his personal meanings is considered as an element of the practical and emotional-perceptual components of the aesthetic culture of police officers [12]. Scientists in the field of legal psychology have proved the existence of a relationship between empathy and tolerance [13]. The leadership of the Ministry of Internal Affairs noted that empathic abilities among police officers, and especially among managers, are a professionally important quality. Being an important element of the professional activity of ATS employees, empathy has a positive impact on the success of the performance of labor functions by employees [14, 15]. The education of a valuable professional attitude among the employees of the Department of Internal Affairs on empathy in communication [16] is defined as one of the important pedagogical tasks in departmental pedagogy.

The study of psychological and pedagogical competencies of police officers shows that there is currently a shift in priorities in personal and professional qualities necessary for a modern leader. Therefore, in the modern conditions of the Department of Internal Affairs, for legal pedagogy and management psychology, it is of particular interest to study the empathic abilities of heads of departments at various levels as an integral part of his pedagogical activity and professionalism in general, since the head, carrying out pedagogical activities, showing empathy towards an employee, is able to assess his condition, show empathy and, having assessed the existing pedagogical the situation, by providing pedagogical support, to make the pedagogical process more effective. After all, as V. V. Boyko rightly believes, empathy is "the most valuable tool of cognition of human individuality for the purposes of education and training" [17, p.79].

In order to study the personal characteristics of managers of various levels on the emotional perception of other subjects, their ability to effective, hermeneutical communication, the ability to create an atmosphere of trust and mutual understanding, we used the technique of V.V. Boyko "Diagnostics of the level of empathy" [18, p.164].

Diagnostics of the level of empathy was carried out in December 2020 among students in the 2nd year of the Faculty of training students of the Master's degree of the Academy of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia in the specialty 38.04.04 State and municipal Administration. The study involved 43 managers of various levels with experience in the internal affairs bodies from 7 to 15 years, 11 of them women and 32 men.

Statistical data processing showed that 23.3% (10 managers) demonstrated a very low level of empathy, 58.1% (25 people) have an understated level, 18.6% (8 respondents) correspond to the average level of empathy development. A very high level of empathy among the respondents was not revealed. The test results are shown in Figure 1.

Diagnostics using six different channels: rational, emotional, intuitive, according to attitudes that promote (hinder) empathy, according to penetrating ability and identification in empathy, each of the components was assessed on a scale of up to 0 to 6 points, its significance value was taken into account as an auxiliary function when interpreting the overall level of empathy. The results of empathy diagnostics through separate channels are shown in Figure 2.

Figure 1. Diagnostics of the level of empathy of the heads of the Department of Internal Affairs of various levels (according to the methodology of V. V. Boyko "The level of empathy")

Figure 2. Distribution of the average score across channels in accordance with V. V. Boyko's "Empathy level" methodology

The emotional channel of empathy reflects the ability of a person to empathize with another person, is associated with understanding the other on the basis of previously experienced emotions, the ability to experience which is reduced, possibly due to the emotional burnout of police officers [19]. As can be seen in Figure 2, the emotional channel of empathy (average score of 1.7) among the respondents is developed at the lowest level.

Also, low scores (average 2.1) are marked by an intuitive channel, while it is worth noting that this parameter allows an employee, based on the experience available in the subconscious, to understand the subjectivity of another person and, having predicted her behavior, to anticipate the behavior of a partner, to act decisively in the condition of insufficient information about another person. A low estimate of this parameter indicates an insufficient ability to act in conditions of information scarcity, relying on subconscious experience.

The rational parameter of empathy indicates the focus of attention, perception and thinking of the subject on awareness of the essence of another person, understanding his emotional state, problems and behavior. This criterion manifests itself in attention to the other, in observation of him, in the subtlety of perception of reactions, states and properties of the other. Thus, the rational moment in empathy is an intensive analysis of information about another person coming through different sensory channels at the same time. The average score of the rational empathy channel among the respondents was 2.7, which also indicates its insufficiently developed level.

An important condition for successful empathy is identification, or the ability to understand another person based on empathy, the ability to feel oneself in those circumstances and situations experienced by others. The basis of identification in empathy is the flexibility of emotions, their mobility and the ability of a person to imitate. The average score of the respondents was 3.1, which indicates the average level of development of this criterion of empathy.

The channel of attitudes that promote or hinder empathy reflects a person's avoidance of communication, manifestations of inattention to other individuals, a personal conviction to react unemotionally to the experiences and problematic situations experienced by another person. The average score for this criterion was 3.4, which is the average level of development of the studied quality.

The parameter penetrating ability in empathy is considered as an important communicative property of a person, creating an atmosphere of trust and openness. The attitude of trust promotes empathy and, as a result, effective inter-partner interaction. The average score among the respondents was 4.1.

Thus, the analysis of empathic abilities by individual parameters demonstrated the highest development of penetrating ability in empathy and the least developed emotional channel.

Based on the above results of the study of the level of empathy according to the methodology of V. V. Boyko, it can be concluded that more than three quarters of the surveyed managers (81.4%) have a very low (23.3%) and understated (58.1%) level of empathy. These respondents have a low level of emotional and intuitive empathy channel, indicating an unwillingness to imagine themselves in the place of a communication partner and understanding his feelings, unwillingness or unwillingness to create an atmosphere of openness and trust. Managers with an average level of empathy (18.6%) are characterized by an average level of development of a rational and intuitive channel of empathy and a good penetrating ability in empathy and identification. The insufficient level of development of empathic abilities among the heads of the Department of Internal Affairs of various levels as pedagogical subjects indicates that this quality needs to be developed for the implementation of an effective pedagogical function.

In order to clarify the data obtained, managers were asked to be tested using the Emotional Empathy Questionnaire (EETS) developed by A. Mehrabian and M. Epstein [20]. The study involved 43 managers who took part in the survey according to the methodology of V. V. Boyko. The survey results are shown in Figure 3.

The results of testing using the EETS method confirm the results of testing using the V.V. Boyko method: 23.8% of respondents (9 people) showed a very low level of empathic abilities, 54.7% of respondents (24 people) are at a low level, 19% (9 respondents) correspond to the average level, 1 (2.4%) the head has a high level of development empathy.

Figure 3. Diagnostics of the level of empathy of the heads of the Department of Internal Affairs at various levels (according to the EETS methodology)

The survey of these managers conducted according to the method of M. Rokich "Value orientations of personality" also indirectly confirms the results of the above-described studies. As an instrumental value, empathy was assigned by respondents to the category of absolutely insignificant values for them (with a mathematical expectation of 14.3), the respondents assigned empathy rank 17 among the possible 18 values [12].

Thus, our research allows us to conclude that managers in the Department of Internal Affairs do not have a sufficiently high level of empathy, and therefore do not use personal empathic abilities in communicating with subordinates, probably guided in most pedagogical situations by the principles of subordination, despite the fact that complicity, empathy, emotional adjustment play a role. the crucial role of establishing a communication channel between subjects. This leads to the conclusion that the overwhelming majority of managers do not fully perceive the integrity of subordinates, do not seek to understand their personality, express their subjective position, often do not show empathy and do not enter into the context of their personality, relying mainly in their professional activities in relation to subordinates on the principles of traditional pedagogy. Assessing the pedagogical qualities of managers from the point of view of the development of their empathy, we have to state that most of the interviewed managers are insufficiently prepared for the application of the principles of personality-developing education, in which developed empathy is one of the most important factors in understanding a partner-communicant, the ability to feel his emotional state, the ability to imagine himself in the place of another in the most difficult situations, on the on the basis of which it is possible to build effective relationships in the continuous educational process [21, 22].

In connection with the above, it seems promising to continue further theoretical studies of the reasons for the insufficient level of empathic abilities as a professional pedagogical quality among managers in the Department of Internal Affairs, as well as practical methods of its development.

1. Duan, C., Hill, C. (1996). The Current State of Empathy Research. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 43, 261 274. doi:10.1037/0022-0167.43.3.261.
2. Titchener, E. (1924). A textbook of psychology. New York: Macmillan.
3. Mead, Gh. (1934). Mind, self, and society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
4. Singer, T., Lamm, C. (2009). The Social Neuroscience of Empathy. The Year in Cognitive Neuroscience, 1156 (1), 81 96. doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.04418.x.
5. Bovina, I.B. (2020). Empathy: Critical Analysis and New Research Perspectives. Cultural-Historical Psychology, 16 (1), 88 95. doi: https://doi.org/10.17759/chp. 2020160109.
6. Decety, J., Lamm, C. (2006). Human empathy through the lens of social neuroscience. The Scientific World Journal, 6, 1146 1163. doi:10.1100/tsw.2006.221.
7. Hein, G., Singer, T. (2008). I feel how you feel but not always: The empathic brain and its modulation. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 18 (2), 153 158. doi:10.1016/j.conb.2008.07.012 .
8. Baron-Cohen, S., Wheelwright, S. (2004). The empathy quotient: an investigation of adults with Asperger syndrome or high functioning autism, and normal sex differences. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 34 (2), 163 175. doi:10.1023/B:JADD.0000022607.19833.00 .
9. Bošnjaković, J., Radionov T. (2018). Empathy: Concepts, Theories and Neuroscientific Basis. Alcoholism and psychiatry research : Journal on psychiatric research and addictions, 54, 123 150. doi: 10.20471/DEC.2018.54.02.
10. Bodalev, A. A. (1995). Personality and communication. Moscow: International Pedagogical Academy.
11. Puzyrevskiy, V. Yu. (2002). The phenomenon of empathy in the context of Modern Western philosophy. Siberia. Philosophy. Education, 6. 103.
12. Gordeeva, E. N. (2021). Situational and environmental approach to designing the development of aesthetic culture of employees of internal affairs bodies. Applied Psychology and Pedagogy, 6 (2). 51 69.
13. Semenova, Yu. V. (2009). Individual psychological characteristics of law enforcement officers. Bulletin of the Buryat State University, 5. 175 181.
14. Garanina, A.V., Polyakov, A. S. (2017). The role of psychological protection in low empathy among police officers. Psychology and Psychotechnics, 2. 88 95. DOI: 10.7256/2454-0722.2017.2.23659 URL: https://nbpublish.com/library_read_article.php?id=23659 .
15. Borisova, D. P., Dvoryanchikov, N. V. (2015). Empathic abilities of PES employees research opportunities and prospects. Psychology and Law, 5 (1). 58-69. Retrieved from https://psyjournals.ru/psyandlaw/2015/n1/76152.shtml.
16. Sklyarenko, I. S. (2012). Empathy in communication as a professional value setting of an employee of internal affairs bodies. Science and school, 2. 152 155.
17. Boyko, V. V. (1996). Energy of emotions: a look at yourself and others. Moscow: Filin.
18. Ilyin, E. P. (2013). Psychology of communication and interpersonal relations. St. Petersburg: Piter.
19. Guryeva, M. V. (2011). Professional burnout of police officers. Bulletin of the St. Petersburg University of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia, 3 (51). 175 180.
20. Mehrabian, A. (1997). Relations among personality scales of aggression, violence, and empathy: validational evidence bearing on the risk of eruptive violence scale. Aggressive Behavior, 23, 433 445.
21. Serikov, V. V. (2012). Personal development in the educational process. Moscow: Logos.
22. Khodyakova, N.V. (Ed.). (2021). Pedagogical approaches to the development of the personality of an employee of the internal affairs bodies. Moscow: Prospect.

Peer Review

Peer reviewers' evaluations remain confidential and are not disclosed to the public. Only external reviews, authorized for publication by the article's author(s), are made public. Typically, these final reviews are conducted after the manuscript's revision. Adhering to our double-blind review policy, the reviewer's identity is kept confidential.
The list of publisher reviewers can be found here.

The object of the presented research is the empathy of the heads of the Department of Internal Affairs as a professional and pedagogical quality. The subject of the study is the diagnosis of the current level of empathy development in this category of managers. The problem raised by the author is undoubtedly relevant, since the empathy of the head is one of the main conditions for favorable social relations in a professional team. The work was carried out using the classical methodology, which implies a transition from the theoretical and conceptual part to practical issues. In general, the study is more practical in nature. The study has a relative scientific novelty, the elements of which consist in a fairly detailed analysis of the content of empathy of ATS managers at the level of channels and parameters. It should also be noted that there is a concise and very comprehensive review of empathy research in psychological and pedagogical science. The bibliography of the work generally meets the requirements. All sources fully reflect the stated issues, however, the expediency of including in the list of books almost 100 years old (!) is debatable, given that the study is not of a historical nature. The advantages of this work include the following. 1) High relevance of the research. 2) Scientific and at the same time easy for the reader to understand the style of presentation of the material. The absence of an abundance of common phrases, copied low-content pieces. 3) An excursion into the study of the concept is sufficiently detailed for the format of the article. 4) A description of the ascertaining experiment in accordance with the general canons. There are, however, some disadvantages. So the study would benefit if the theoretical and conceptual part revealed the relationship of various channels and parameters of empathy. The article would have been more meaningful if the theoretical part had revealed the specifics of the empathy of the heads of the Department of Internal Affairs in comparison with the similar quality of the heads of other spheres, taking into account the specifics of specific official activities. These comments are of a recommendatory nature and do not negate the generally acceptable quality of the work. The study is staged in nature. The problem of empathy is analyzed only at the diagnostic level, but no specific pedagogical ways to improve and develop it as a professional quality of Department of Internal Affairs managers are proposed (at least in a generalized form). From the point of view of the format of the journal article, a detailed description of the ascertaining experiment seems sufficient, but in this case the article should be called "Diagnosis of empathy of ATS managers" or "Features/specifics of diagnosis of empathy of ATS managers". In general, we note that the current name is formulated excessively generically and does not contain any problems. The article may be of interest to the audience primarily as a meaningful basis for practical research, including qualification (for example, bachelor's thesis, master's thesis, etc.). The submitted manuscript generally meets the requirements for works of this kind, and can be recommended for publication in a peer-reviewed publication, taking into account the correction of the title.