Loughborough University
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Changes in work conditions, work-related wellbeing and operational effectiveness: alternative crewing in one UK Fire and Rescue Service

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posted on 2023-10-25, 08:29 authored by Karen Maher

Funding restrictions for the UK Fire and Rescue Service has prompted the exploration of cost effective service delivery, including alternative methods of crewing. This research uses a three-phase mixed-methods approach to investigate the change in work conditions associated with the adoption of an alternative crewing system, Day Crewing Plus (DCP). Specifically, the aim of the thesis is to explore the impact of the change on employees’ work-related wellbeing and operational effectiveness at the individual and station (organisational) level. The first phase involves a quantitative assessment of changes in work conditions on the work-related wellbeing of the employees involved. Using a group level analysis of established wellbeing measures, findings suggest, on average, there has been little impact on work-related wellbeing; however, the spread and variability of the data indicate a range of experiences not captured by the nomothetic methods. The second phase of research involves an exploration of operational effectiveness of the stations chosen to adopt the new shift system. Existing Key Performance Indicators were scrutinised within a new framework developed with inspiration from operations management literature. Analysis revealed little impact of DCP on station performance, albeit with caveats. The third phase investigates how the alternative crewing system is perceived by employees working on the new system to highlight the processes involved following the intervention’s introduction. The role of attributions in employee perceptions of demands and resources at work is used to help explain the variation in experience of the changes, along with providing annotation to the quantitative studies. The thesis provides a basis for future comparative analyses across settings which seek to link changes in work conditions, context and process to variations in work-related wellbeing and operational effectiveness.



  • Loughborough Business School


Loughborough University

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© Karen Maher

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.


  • en


Raymond Randall ; Cheryl Travers

Qualification name

  • PhD

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

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