Drawing on the findings of a three-year ethnographic study of three UK fire and rescue services, this paper examines how large scale organisational changes resulted in a disconnect in ideologies. The changes, prompted by the UK government’s public sector reform agenda, have led to a change of priorities and focus for fire and rescue services. This resulted in changes to job roles, performance measures and targets, and stakeholder responsibilities and relationships. Both the process of change and its outcomes became key stressors for those working in the sector, leading to cynicism and resistance towards change initiatives. The changes have caused a clash of ideologies between those responsible for implementing the modernisation agenda and those rooted in the traditional values and views of the sector. As a result, gaps have emerged between the values and expectations of managers, firefighters, support staff, and the general public. The data suggests that a lack of contextual awareness led to flaws in the design and implementation of the various change initiatives. The paper highlights the paradoxes which emerge when initiatives conflict with the deeply embedded assumptions and values of constituent occupational subgroups, and provides insights into how contextualised change initiatives can improve the successful implementation of change and reduce the stress impact for those involved.
|Publication status||Published - 2013|
|Event||European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management 8th Colloquium on Organizational Change and Development - Ghent, Belgium|
Duration: 12 Sep 2013 → 13 Sep 2013
Conference number: 8
|Other||European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management 8th Colloquium on Organizational Change and Development|
|Period||12/09/13 → 13/09/13|