A Qualitative Study of the Motivations and Affiliation Dynamics Involved with a Firefighting Career

Michael W. Firmin, Kristin DeWitt, Heidi M. Elllis, Lauren A. Smith, Nicole Tiffan


We explored the experiences of full-time firefighters in the present phenomenological qualitative study, having conducted semi-structured interviews with 26 male full-time firefighters. Their personal constructs of motivation and affiliation were explored and, within the constructs of motivation, three themes emerged. First, firefighters were motivated by a love of the excitement firefighting provides. Second, firefighters reported that the work schedule, which allows them more time at home, was a motivation. Third (and most emphasized by the firefighters) was an altruistic motivation to help others. Under the construct of affiliation, the firefighters reported a strong sense of brotherhood with their shift-partners, and they extended this brotherhood to all firefighters and even other emergency workers. We relate these findings to the existing body of research regarding the relationship between motivation, affiliation and satisfaction of firefighters.

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