The impact of organizational culture on the mental well-being of public safety communications officials

Leduc, Nadine (2022) The impact of organizational culture on the mental well-being of public safety communications officials. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Public safety communicators (e.g., 911, police, fire, and ambulance call-takers), like many other public safety personnel (e.g., police, fire) suffer operational stress injuries (OSIs) that are too often hidden, and at a prevalence higher than the general population. Unfortunately, there are very little data for OSI prevalence among Canadian public safety communicators, and no known pan-Canadian studies focusing on organizational culture and its potential influence on OSIs, within the communicator context. In the current qualitative study, I focus on participant responses (n=329) to open ended items included in a larger national online survey that revealed communicator OSIs are impacted by organizational and operational factors (work environment; e.g., feeling undervalued by one’s organization, exposure to potentially traumatic psychological events, insufficient mental health supports), and interactions with others (inter-personal work relationships; e.g., management, colleagues, the community). A semi-grounded thematic approach was used to analyze what communicators reported when asked in an online survey to describe the organizational culture in their communications centre. Six dominant themes emerged; organizational affect (positive or negative characteristics), management and supervision, morale and staffing, division and exclusion, colleagues, and gender. The findings suggest that, while organizational culture is a key factor in employee well-being; it varies considerably across agencies, impacting treatment-seeking behaviours related to potential OSIs. Our new understandings of organizational culture’s role in OSIs may help reduce the frequency and severity of communicator OSIs, helping ensure that emergency services are delivered to Canadians.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 15520
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 63-71).
Keywords: operational stress injuries, organizational culture, public safety communicators, well-being
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Sociology
Date: February 2022
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Organizational behavior--Canada; Mental health--Canada; Human services--Canada; Public safety--Employees--Health and hygiene.

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