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This is a study to critically explain how Korean street-level fire service officials make sense of problematic working situations in which they find themselves. The study wanted to three interrelated questions. First, how do Korean street-level fire service officials, through the process of conscious meaning construction, enact their problematic situations and adjust their meanings to the enacted situations? Second, how do the officials consciously draw upon existing institutional practices in the constructions of meaning and develop these institutional practices through such meaning constructions? Third, how do they, through social interactions with others, accomplish the meanings of problematic situations? My answers to these questions were drawn from a grounded analysis of forty five sensemaking episodes that I collected from individual interviews. To clarify the ways in which my research participants had handled their unstructured working situations, the analysis included a multi stage iterative process. First, I examined their personal stories of the situations. Second, I developed codes inductively from their stories. Third, I generated theoretical assertions of the process in which they had constructed particular meanings of the problematic situations before them. As patterns and anomalies emerged, I used data to validate them in an iterative way, going back and forth between theory and data. Finally, the analysis concluded with a grounded model of the meaning construction (sensemaking) process. On the basis of such a data analysis, the study shows Korean street-level fire service officials' sensemaking process as one in which they consciously update the initial working relationship that they have to the physical things in their world of work, or actively construct a new dimensional working relationship with the physical things in-relation-to the social encounterers in the field of their work.
A Dissertation submitted to the Reubin O’D. Askew School of Public Administration and Policy in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Ralph S. Brower, Professor Directing Dissertation; Susan C. Losh, Outside Committee Member; Mary E. Guy, Committee Member; Samuel M. McCreary, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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