Dissertation: The Emergency Medical System Services: A Praxis Exploration of Leadership in Prehospital Care Environments

Injury is one of the primary causes of death and morbidity throughout the world (WHO, 2005). There are approximately 5 million deaths each year due to injury and also millions of people who are temporarily or permanently disabled worldwide (WHO, 2005). Compounding this is the unfortunate fact that “most of the world’s population does not have access to prehospital trauma care” (WHO, 2005, p. 8). The Emergency Medical System (EMS) has placed great importance, within their future vision, on the analysis and examination of “Leadership Support” and “Personnel Development” to ensure leadership capacity through their existing EMS leaders. Consequently, how do the corporate concepts of leadership transfer and apply to EMS critical care situations and their designated leaders? Research of this particular focus does not appear to have been completed within Emergency Medical Systems. As a result, the important question that requires research is how do the various corporate theories apply directly to the leadership role assumed by various EMS personnel? The antecedents, precursors and possible explanations of this questions are critically examined within the research. The scope of the research provides an opportunity to contribute to a broader perspective of knowledge in the fields of general and corporate leadership. The research integrates the historical work of great thinkers and other significant influences alongside the relevant literature on leadership/management theories to fill and bridge the gaps between theory and praxis. Furthermore, with a review of the historical to modern day elements of leadership theories and practices the research sets out to develop an understanding of EMS upper level management leadership beliefs, typologies and influences on the leader-follower relationships within prehospital care environments.