Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Elizabeth Goryunova PhD

Keywords

emotional intelligence, fire service, leadership, fire service leadership, firefighter, Leadership and Organizational Studies

Abstract

Emotional intelligence is a critical attribute of successful leaders. Kastros (2014) and Hustoles (2017) present an argument that there is a lack of leadership within the modern Fire Service. Research to date has demonstrated a direct link between emotional intelligence and successful leadership. This principle applies to hierarchical organizations at large. The present study was designed as a qualitative evaluation of the extent to which emotional intelligence is found within the leadership of the United States Fire Service. The instrument used to conduct this research was a set of questions that were asked during personal interviews. On average, each interview lasted 50 minutes. The population sample was ten career firefighters from ten different career departments. The primary finding revealed a paucity of emotional intelligence within the leadership of the firehouses sampled. In addition, participants preferred authoritarian leadership in emergency operations, but a democratic style in the firehouse. Each participant expressed the desire to work for a leader who clearly practices emotional intelligence. This was true in the context of emergencies and routine work within the firehouse. In conclusion, the present work further characterizes the problem within Fire Service leadership that can be changed for the greater good.

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