Edited by Ronald J. Burke and Silvia Pignata
Chapter 6: Managing boredom and motivation: the unusual case of stress in firefighting
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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