Graduation Year

2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Adult, Career and Higher Education

Major Professor

Waynne B. James

Keywords

Executive Fire Officers, Learning Style, MBTI, Myers-Briggs Typology Indicator, SDLRS, Self-Directed Learning

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the self-directed learning readiness in executive fire officers in relation to the independent variables of personality type, educational attainment, and professional designation. This research utilized a quantitative design.

This study utilized the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Self-Directed Learning Readiness Scale (SDLRS) with a sample of 250 professional firefighters. The total sample was divided equally between executive-level fire officers and firefighters at 125 each from professional departments in the Southeastern United States. Results were that the mean SDLRS score for the executive-level fire officers was 233.7 and significantly higher than the means of both the firefighters (221.6) and the adult population norm (214). Overall, results also found that the frequency of representation across the eight dominant functions of the MBTI were significantly different between the executive fire officer group and both the firefighter and the MBTI male norm group. However, only extroverted-sensors had a significant difference between the executive fire officers and the firefighters and only extroverted-thinkers had significant difference between executive fire officers and the reported male norm, respectively. Similarly, the executive fire officer sample was compared to a sample of top public managers and found that there were no differences in the representativeness of the two samples. Overall, there were no substantive differences in representativeness of dominant functions between groups.

Results indicated significant relationships between education, personality type, and the dependent variable SDLRS scores. The model that was developed explained 15.4% of the variability in SDLRS scores with significant positive correlations for two categories of educational attainment (undergraduate, graduate) and four categories of dominant functions of personality type (ES, EN, ET, and IN). When examining the same model exclusively for executive fire officers, the model explained 9.5% of the variability in SDLRS scores utilizing significant positive correlations for personality type for three categories of dominant function; IN, EN, and ET, respectively. Overall, the results of this study supported the theoretical construct that a high degree of self-directedness in learning was present at the executive fire officer level.