Defining the Organizational Culture of the Fairborn Fire Departmen

This page may contain links to non-U.S. government websites. What this means to you »

By Robert G. Taylor

In an effort to begin a teambuilding and organizational development program, organizational culture, an important but often overlooked component of the Fairborn Fire Department, was identified for study. This research project will provide insight into the organizational culture of the Fairborn Fire Department, and provide methodology for organizational development and change. The problem that this research project will address is that attempts at organizational development and teambuilding have not been successful due to a failure to thoroughly understand the needs, beliefs, values, and perceptions of the members of the fire department. The overall purpose is to identify the organizational culture, define the strengths and weaknesses, and provide recommendations for methodology of organizational change, teambuilding, and resolution of cultural conflict. The research required the use of both historical and descriptive methodologies. The research questions were:

  1. What are the strengths and weaknesses within the Fairborn Fire Department that have the greatest impact on its present organizational culture?
  2. What are the elements of the organizational culture within the Fairborn Fire Department?
  3. How can the organizational culture be defined?

The procedures required the survey of the general population of the fire department. They were then broken down into three subpopulations, for a total of four survey groups. Along with the review of written material on the subject, survey instruments were distributed. The aggregate data were then compiled, numeric analysis performed, and further evaluation and interpretation made by Dr. Scherer and the author. The findings provided a consensus on five areas which could be classified as an organizational weakness. Several other areas were identified where a weakness occurred in three of the four population groups. An organizational culture was defined and the elements of the culture stated. The indications of the findings allowed for the recommendation of five main areas of concern for immediate action. It also established a baseline from which future measurements can be made, maintaining of strengths and improvement of teambuilding efforts.