1. #1

    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default FD mergers and the cultural differences

    The department that hired me recently merged with a nieghboring department in the Denver Metro area. My department was the smaller one with six stations, but enjoyed a reputation that was second to none. The culture promoted team work and we all took pride in making sure that everyone in the organization preformed to thier best every day. We were financially sound and enjoyed fantastic benefits. The larger department we merged with had none of this. It's culture had been driven into the ground through poor leadership over many years. The merge was one that did what it was supposed to due, be of benefit to the citizens we serve. On the other hand the satisfaction and pride is now gone. The larger departments culture seems to have taken over, if only due to the large numbers and senior members that refuse to take advantage of this opportunity and make a place for everyone. Management seems to have completely ignored these differences and has become nothing more than a machine that lacks the ability to serve the members that serve the public.
    I am looking to send a well written letter that gets the attention of those who can make a difference. I would like to know if anyone has had similar experiance in thier organization and can share any thought or lessons.

  2. #2
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Feb 2005


    Cultural differences during mergers is one of the most difficult things to get over. Doesn't matter what type of organization is merging, fire department, corporation, marriages with step-kids, doesn't matter.

    Reality is that cultural inertia usually means the bigger partner in the merger will win the cultural battle. They will set policy and they will determine procedures. They might even call it "democracy", but you will be out voted.

    A carefully worded letter will do little but get you labeled as a potential troublemaker.

    A better strategy is to try and develop a "station culture" among the six stations of your original organization that makes them stand out as exceptional in the new department. IF you are able to maintain this elite culture, over time, the best firefighters in the new department will try to be stationed there, other stations may try to emulate you. Eventually, some of the things you are doing right will become common practice in your new department.

    Good luck, doesn't sound like a lot of fun

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