Academics are not the experts, managers are the experts - what fitting-in can do is to help managers to use their expertise.


Sarah's PhD is not currrently available online - The abstract appears below and it is possible to make arrangements to talk about Sarah's work. Email

Telephone 07525653401






This research focuses on the career and work identity of watch managers in the Fire and Rescue Service (FRS). Their role is to manage firefighters who are infamously known in political circles to possess grass root cultures that remain resistant to forms of change and modernisation. Watch managers are not only tasked with leading emergency teams at incidents but they are also at the receiving end of a relentless stream of political pressure to achieve change. This research draws on qualitative data collected within two fire services consisting of thirty-nine face-to-face interviews, four focus groups and field observations, which in combination highlight various ways the watch manager becomes an important construct in relation to the momentum of organisational change.

Previous FRS research has explored the creation and enactment of masculinities in the watch and ‘how’ and ‘why’ the watch sustains highly masculinised images (Salaman 1986, Baigent 2001, Ward and Winstanley 2006). Despite Woodfield (2016) and Perrott’s (2016) recent contributions focusing on women inhabiting FRS managerial and leadership roles, there has been limited emphasis in broader FRS research on how managerial work identities develop against watch cultures resistant to change, or in relation to male dominated ‘informal’ hierarchies in the watch. In order to manage their team successfully, watch managers show themselves to possess differing forms of managerial masculinities, and in so doing, draw on various combinations of charismatic, traditional and rational-legal authority. These phenomena highlight new understandings of the invisible and hidden processes by which watch managers attend to power tensions between them, the watch, and senior management. My findings suggest these power dynamics impact on the shaping of the watch manager’s own sense of work identity and in reverse, the ways these tensions are handled also influence the way they are socially constructed as managers by firefighters and senior managers. Particularly revealing are the ways transformations of work identity develop as watch managers move from new to time-served firefighter, then upward to the watch manager role, and how differing identity-enabling resources are drawn from to manage and keep an equilibrium between firefighters and the watch they manage.






Home -- 'A fire station for all' and other Swedish Work
Recent index of contributions on fire service matter -- Older index of contributions
Workshops on fire service culture and equality -- Educational Workshops -- Consultancy
Elite briefing/workshops --- Academic Reference Point -- Are you big enough to stand a snapshot cultural audit from fitting-in -- Cultural Audits ---- Audit Commission Report   'Rising to the Challenge' -- Snapshot Audits -- Research -- Problem solving by  fitting-in -- Support for degrees and masters qualifications -- Work completed over the years -- Impact AssessmentsEquality Action Plan
Labour Government's Equality and Diversity Strategy
One Decade On - Survey on women firefighters
C&LG firefighters survey 08
Draft papers for reading
Main Index
Contact us
Some things from Australia on equality
Melbourne DiversityConference
CV & References
Have you seen Ethos?
Audit Commission on equality
How do I send my writing to fitting-in for publication
What does fitting-in publish
How do I do research - some basic tips
Writing a bibliography
Reports from Government
Diversity Strategy
Contact us
Synopsis of papers on Open Government

References: See what The Swedish Fire Service, South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, Merseyside Fire and Rescue, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Fire Services, Swedish MSB and Tom Carroll (Past president of CFOA ) and others have said.

Fitting-in can provide a cultural audit that not only feeds back on attitudes in your service it also provides an outside view on how your organisation is thinking at all levels that is supported by recommendations for focussing change.This is what Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service had to say about the Ethos research, communications and training project:

"The Service are delighted with the research and reports produced by "Fitting-in. We believe that your original hypothesis and work undertaken in Merseyside has resulted in a ground breaking piece of work that can only serve to inform the wider fire and rescue communities." 

For further information or just to talk about what fitting-in can provide ring Dr Dave Baigent (FIFireE) 07802 495 329 or email

Academic theory without practice is a waste - practice without theory may just be dumb

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