Date of Award

Spring 2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Science (DSc) in Emergency Management

Department

Emergency Management

Committee Chair

Jane Kushma, Professor of Emergency Management

Abstract

Emergency management as a concept has been evolving since the early 19th century, but the occupation of emergency management, and discourse concerning professional status has primarily occurred within the last 30 years. This dissertation is an exploratory analysis of the current status of the profession of United States emergency management based on perceptions of leaders from state level emergency management organizations and state level emergency management professional organizations. A mixed methods approach (survey instrument, open-source data collection, semi-structured interviews) was utilized to explore the perceptions of emergency management leaders on two key attributes of occupational closure: control of entry into the field and exclusive claim to jurisdiction. In addition, this study proposed an ideal type for individuals entering and progressing through the career field as well as an ideal type for the profession of emergency management as a whole. These ideal types are based on an extensive literature review of the sociological study of professions. This study found that there has not been significant progress in achieving occupational closure and furthering the status of the profession of emergency management since previous research conducted in 2000 and 2007. The current perceptions of those emergency management leaders participating in this study indicate emergency management is ill-defined with respect to exclusive claim to jurisdiction and fractured in its views on requirements for occupational control such as requirement of a university credential for entry into the profession.

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