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By Kevin Cuneo Fire & Rescue Service of Western Australia PERTH WA

An Applied Research Project Submitted to the National Fire Academy As part of the Executive Fire Officer Program September 1998

2 ABSTRACT The research dealt with the interaction between employees and management and the relationship it had on trust between people within a diverse culture. The problem the Fire & Rescue Service of Western Australia (FRS) faced was an apparent lack of confidence and trust in management by employees which had the potential to curtail the organisation’s strategic efforts. The purpose of the project was to identify a number of strategies the Fire Service could employ to bring people closer together and ultimately build trusting relationships. The research employed both the historical and action research methods during the project to identify: 1. 2. What is the relationship between the terms management and leadership? What is the current perspective of the workforce towards management and the service in general and what strategies do they suggest to improve relationships? 3. What is the contemporary view of ways to build trust and overcome barriers between groups? 4. Which of the attributes should the Fire Service employ to bridge the gap and build upon the work previously undertaken?

The procedure involved reviewing previous material gathered on the climate of the organisation before a survey was carried out to determine current perceptions. The survey sought people’s views of what strategies to employ to bring about change and understanding. The research revealed that there were a number of strategies which could be utilised. The most significant was to maintain the participative and collaborative approach to management, continue espousing the worth of values and to develop better communication


3 and interaction strategies. Further, by rotating people through different...