Fire Service Culture. An interactive workshop aimed at improving understanding Local Government Annual Conference Manchester March 2010
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One fire service – two cultures?
More often get listed under a single title – Fire Service Culture
It may be a mistake to see just one culture – could there be two?
The rules set out by Chief Officers (formal or organisational culture)
The way things are done around here (firefighters’ informal or occupational culture)
Most people are aware that you have to be cautious when you join a new group
How would you act?
We construct our actions based on our previous experience
And what we see in the group we are trying to join
Ian: Just keep your head down and keep your gob shut for a little while and see what happens
Christian: Well it’s the tradition. They need to be able to fit- in ..without being lairy and start telling you .. how to do it.
Practicing culture is exactly that:
Firefighters are particularly good at ensuring that everyone on their watch practice in the same way
By practising the practice the watch get:
The informal culture represents the shared experience of how firefighters get their job done:
A series of answers to problems and ways of understanding the work that is handed down from generation to generation
These shared assumptions are the social glue that holds a watch together:
And most importantly about:
Key stake holders – with potentially some competing interests
Dr. Dave Baigent GradIFire E. FHEA. BA Hons. PhD. Mobile 07802 495 329 We are just completing a cultural audit on the retained service – would a cultural audit help in your future planning?The Swedish Fire Service have commented"Fitting-in with their unique insight into real world fire service culture and a firm theoretical base in academia provided the MSB (The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency) with invaluable expert advice and assistance in developing a national action plan targeted at increasing equality and diversity in the Swedish fire service." Theory without practice is a waste - Practice without theory is just dumbHow can fitting-in help? Try a visit to http://www.fitting-in.comDave also wrote and is a principal lecturer on the UK’s first Public Service Degree www.anglia.ac.uk/publicserviceDave's thesis on Fire Service Culture/s By being reactive to fire, firefighters create their public profile. Firefighters are seen to be doing their job and to be heroes. Firefighters’ public status, then in turn, supports one of the ways firefighters reflexively view themselves as objects in the eyes of the ‘others’. The civilians that say “I couldn’t do your job” (a view of themselves that Chapter 3 suggests firefighters might actually provide for public consumption in the first place).To read more go to www.fitting-in.com/baigent.pdf