Firefighting

MANAGING DIVERSITY

Issue 3 and Volume 155.

CHIEF OFFICERS WHO SPENT THEIR EARLY CAREERS IN A CULTURE THAT DID NOT VALUE DIVERSITY WILL FIND IT ESPECIALLY DIFFICULT TO CHANGE A SIMILAR CULTURE. JOHN LEE COOK JR. Firefighters will reflect the attitudes of their company officers. If the company officers do not accept people who are different from them, we cannot reasonably expect that the firefighters under their command will be any different. Company officers are the custodians of a fire department’s organizational culture; the chief and the chief’s staff cannot easily change a culture that was shaped and formed over many years by people who were intolerant of others because of race, gender, or age. Chief officers who spent their early careers in a culture that did not value diversity will find it especially difficult to change a similar culture. First, the chief officer may not personally understand or believe in the value of a diverse membership.…

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