Handbook of Research on Stress and Well-Being in the Public Sector
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Handbook of Research on Stress and Well-Being in the Public Sector

Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Silvia Pignata

This timely Handbook addresses the concepts of stress and well-being among workers in various public sector roles and occupations across the globe. Emphasizing the importance of well-being and stress prevention initiatives in ever-changing workplace environments, this Handbook highlights successful organizational initiatives and provides insight into best practice for promoting healthy employees and workplaces. Containing contributions from leading international experts in their respective fields, the contributors hope that this multi-disciplinary Handbook will help to enhance the health and well-being of public sector employees.
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Chapter 6: Managing boredom and motivation: the unusual case of stress in firefighting

Maude Villeneuve, Pierre-Sébastien Fournier and Caroline Biron


Changes in the nature and context of firefighting have had an unexpected consequence: widespread workplace boredom at fire stations. Since firefighters are called into the field less and less frequently, they are spending an increasing amount of time doing other activities at their stations. While these tasks can be important, firefighters do not choose their careers to promote fire prevention and wait for alarms to ring. They are intrinsically motivated by public service, especially by rescue efforts provided during various emergency events. The authors argue that the decreasing opportunities to satisfy firefighters’ intrinsic motivation leads to a loss of motivation at work, and an increase in workplace boredom that can result in stress, fatigue, and performance decline. Using data from a recent study in Quebec, this chapter argues that addressing motivation issues and workplace boredom could be one of the most effective ways to prevent many undesirable outcomes in firefighting.

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