Research Paper: Strategic Analysis -- Fire

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[. . .] Funding sources. The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergence Response Grants (SAFER) was created to provide funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations in order to help them increase the number of trained, "front line" firefighters available in their communities. The goal of SAFER is to enhance the local fire departments' abilities to comply with staffing, response and operational standards established by the NFPA and OSHA (NFPA 1710 and/or NFPA 1720 and OSHA 1910.134).

Strategy Development

The recommendations emerging from the study are as follows:

1. Build a new fire and emergency services substation on the donated parcel.

2. Apply for grant funding to fill the staffing gap until alternate funding is obtained.

3. Establish a program of total quality improvement in the operations of the fire and emergency services departments.

Plans to build the new substation on the donated parcel are ready to go forward. An ad hoc committee will utilize the strategic analysis as a foundation for implementation. Pursuit of funding will be directed by the fire chief and a subcommittee of the capital expenditures and construction committee. In this way, the primary stakeholders may work in concert to accomplish the mayor's and the city council's goals for fire and emergency services in the county.

Test of the Environment -- Strategy Linkage

The purposes of this step in the analysis is to test how well the proposal anticipates the challenges and the opportunities of the change model, and to identify the impact of the strategic proposal on supply, demand, competition, and government.

The change management model provides several strategies for moving people toward change, including: "(1) Education and communication; (2) Participation; (3) Facilitation and support; (4) Negotiation; (5) Manipulation; and (6) Cooptation and coercion" (Robbins et al. 2004). Once the decision to implement a proposal has been made, the initiative moves to building commitment and developing the required capabilities.

Stakeholder Input

The fire chief is willing to expand the department, but he argues that funds are needed to expand the fire department. A parcel of land in the development has been donated for construction of a station. The next step is to identify funding sources and write applications for grants. The fire chief responded to the Mayor's questions about staffing, equipment, training needs, sources of revenue, and the like. However, the fire chief's responses were cursory and indicated that he did not take the proposal to build a new fire station seriously. His response could fairly be categorized as gatekeeping, a strategy that maintains his status as the person who is in charge of fire and emergency services in Collinsville township and surrounds.

Change management strategy. The role of the fire chief is pivotal to the success of the project to establish a new substation in the development located in the remote part of the county. The change management strategy proposed to smooth his feelings of displacement and to break down his resistance to the necessary changes is cooptation. Cooptation is a medley of manipulation and participation. Through the efforts of cooptation, resistance can essentially be bought off by promoting a resistant leader as a key member of the change decision and actions. The fire chief will be led to believe that his advice and experience are being tapped in order to make better decisions about the change proposals, but in effect, it is the endorsement of the fire chief that is being sought.

Action: The fire chief will be put in charge of researching and applying for the SAFER grant for additional staffing. This strategy aligns with the fire chief's perceptions of an ill-staffed and understaffed fire department. Minimally, the application to SAFER will request one additional full-time fire fighter / Emergency Medical Technician and funds to help recruit more candidates for a voluntary force of fire fighters and Emergency Medical Technicians.

Action: The fire chief will also be asked to lead a team of people who will complete the AFG grant with the goal of obtaining personal protective equipment (PPEs), equipment, and training for both old and new staff members.

Total Quality Improvement Plan

As is sometimes the case, when one path is pursued, another is revealed. During the course of conducting an assessment of the operational efficiency of the fire department, the need for a quality improvement program that would encompass recruitment, training, and operations emerged. As a result of this work, a third strategic goal was added to the strategy analysis. That third goal is to establish a program of total quality improvement in the operations of the fire and emergency services departments.

Change management strategy. Although the fire chief has been in his position for about two years, he claims not to have much knowledge about a number of specific and relevant aspects of his position responsibilities. The change management strategy that will be used in the endeavor to implement the third recommendation is education and communication. The informed opinion is that the fire chief will embrace the opportunity to develop a quality improvement system for the fire and emergency services department as a rare opportunity to showcase the capabilities of his staff and of the team.

Action: The fire chief will be given a membership in the American Society for Quality (ASQ) as an incentive to learn more about quality programs. The expectation of the committee is that the fire chief will delegate his fire code inspector to implement the quality improvement program since the fire code inspector is cognizant of complex standards, the importance of compliance, and strategies to bring about necessary positive change.

Forecast Performance

The purposes of this step in the analysis are to determine if the proposal will meet its goals, and to enable scenario planning to explore whether implementation of the proposal will lead to the desired results. Using the response time data and the call logs, response time reduction strategies and coverage plans can be applied to scenarios that detail the new configuration for fire and emergency services in Collinsville and the surrounding regions. The committee is currently working on this data and will forward an addendum to the city council and the mayor's office upon completion.

Rank Against Other Proposals

The purpose of this step in the analysis is to consider the proposal in light of alternative proposals. This step of the strategic proposal comes into play only if the original plan is not acceptable to the city council and the mayor. At such time, should the action be warranted, the committee will revisit the recommendations and proposed project plans, offering the opportunity for a follow-up bidders' competition.

References

American Quality Society (2012). Retrieved http://asq.org/index.aspx

Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG). (2012)..FEMA. Retrieved http://www.fema.gov/firegrants/afggrants/FAQs2011.shtm#topic1

Cossan, M.M. And Bapuji, H.B. (2010). Examining the link between knowledge management, organizational learning, and performance. [Paper presented at the Organizational Learning and Knowledge 5th International Conference, May 30 -- June 2, 2003]. Retrieved http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/wbs/conf/olkc/archive/olk5/papers / paper10.pdf

Crossan, M.M., Fry, Joseph N., and Killing, J.P. (2004). Strategic Analysis and Action (6th ed.) New York, NY: Prentice Hall

Crossan, M.M., Lane, H.W., and White, R.E. (1999). An organizational learning framework: From intuition to institution. Academy of Management Review 24 (3), 522-537.

Diamond E & Strategy-Enviro Analysis. [lecture notes, Business Administration 4810]. Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada: British Columbia Institute of Technology Retrieved http://faculty.bcitbusiness.ca/kevinw/4800/documents/mylec-1-Diamond-E-Strategy-Enviro-09-handouts.pdf

Overcoming resistance to change. (2011). Exploring HR Management. [In Sobbins, S. Organizational Behavior, (12th ed.). New York, NY: Prentice Hall., Retrieved http://www.explorehr.org/articles/Organization_Analysis/Overcoming_Resistance_to_Change.html

Robbins, S.B., Lauver, K., Le, H., David, D., Langley, R., & Carlstrom, A. (2004). Do psychosocial and study skill factors predict college outcomes? A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 130, 261-288. Retrieved

Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants… [END OF PREVIEW]

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