The Significance of Fire Service Culture as an Impediment to Effective Leadership in the Homeland Security Environment
Cox, Alan Thomas
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The tragic loss of 343 firefighters on 9/11 monumentally illustrates that firefighters now stand on the front line in the war against terror. The ramifications of 9/11 forced fire service leaders to incorporate newly recognized strategies of terrorism management and mitigation into traditional firefighting roles. Blue-collared manual laborers are no longer the archetype of modern firefighters. Instead, firefighters now command with expanded leadership roles within society and the desire to achieve increased levels of local, regional and national preparedness. This thesis explores the various aspects of fire service culture that negatively impacts organizational leadership, cultural transformation and the fire services current mission within the homeland security domain. This thesis starts by providing a detailed description of the elements epitomized by fire service culture. It then examines how both internal and external sociological factors contribute to the perpetuation of fire service culture. Finally, this thesis provides an implementation strategy leaders might utilized when attempting to administer organizational change processes. This author concludes that while leaders might provide a guiding organizational vision, they are but one factor influencing organizational culture. Changes occur when both formal and informal leaders agree upon reasonable organizational goals and orchestrate small cultural shifts when attempting to achieve those goals.
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