ambulance services, communication, human resource management, manager-employee interaction



  1. Nordby, Halvor DPhil


Managers of ambulance stations face many communicative challenges in their interaction with employees working in prehospital first-line services. The article presents an exploratory study of how paramedics experience these challenges in communication with station leaders. On the basis of a dialogue perspective in qualitative method, 24 paramedics were interviewed in one-to-one and focus group settings. Naturalistic and phenomenological approaches were used to analyze the interviews. All the paramedics said that they wished to be more involved in decision processes and that station managers should provide better explanations of information "from above." The paramedics understood that it was difficult for the managers to find time for extensive dialogue, but many thought that the managers should give more priority to communication. The paramedics' views correspond to theoretical assumptions in human resource management. According to this model, employees should be involved in decision processes on management levels, as long as it is realistically possible to do so. Furthermore, expressing emotional support and positive attitudes does not take much time, and the study suggests that many ambulance managers should focus more on interpersonal relations to employees. It has been extensively documented that management communication affects organizational performance. The study indicates that managers of ambulance stations should be more aware of how their leadership style affects professional commitment and motivation in the first-line services.