Feeling the Burn: A Discursive Analysis of Organizational Burnout in Seasonal Wildland Firefighters
Year of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Department or School/College
Department of Communication Studies
Joel Iverson, Ron Wakimoto
"can-do" attitude, bureacracy, discourse, organizational burnout, seasonal/temporary employees, teamwork, wildland firefighter
University of Montana
This qualitative study of seasonal wildland firefighters examined stress and burnout in firefighters, the discourse that helps to systematically form firefighters’ conceptualizations of burnout, and what factors enable firefighters to manage or mitigate burnout. Traditionally, burnout is studied in long-term, year-round positions, and this study took a unique angle in considering a temporary/seasonal workforce. A discursive lens was used to investigate the enduring systems of meanings that firefighters draw upon in their everyday talk to more comprehensively understand burnout. Three main Discursive resources emerged from the data: teamwork, a "can-do" attitude, and bureaucracy. Teamwork and a can-do attitude serve as double-edged swords in firefighters’ experience of burnout, both enabling and constraining the firefighter experience, while bureaucracy emerged as a hindering force in firefighters’ conceptions of burnout. This paper will discuss the causes of burnout, as well as the ways firefighters manage burnout.
Maphis, Whitney Eleanor Marie, "Feeling the Burn: A Discursive Analysis of Organizational Burnout in Seasonal Wildland Firefighters" (2011). Graduate Student Theses, Dissertations, & Professional Papers. 435.
© Copyright 2011 Whitney Eleanor Marie Maphis