Disaster management and the critical thinking skills of local emergency managers: correlations with age, gender, education, and years in occupation


Stacy Peerbolte, PhD, 6411 Wheeler Drive, King George, VA 22485, United States. Telephone: 540-760-1625; e-mail: peerboltes@faculty.uiu.edu


Emergency managers must be able to think critically in order to identify and anticipate situations, solve problems, make judgements and decisions effectively and efficiently, and assume and manage risk. Heretofore, a critical thinking skills assessment of local emergency managers had yet to be conducted that tested for correlations among age, gender, education, and years in occupation. An exploratory descriptive research design, using the Watson–Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal-Short Form (WGCTA-S), was employed to determine the extent to which a sample of 54 local emergency managers demonstrated the critical thinking skills associated with the ability to assume and manage risk as compared to the critical thinking scores of a group of 4,790 peer-level managers drawn from an archival WGCTA-S database. This exploratory design suggests that the local emergency managers, surveyed in this study, had lower WGCTA-S critical thinking scores than their equivalents in the archival database with the exception of those in the high education and high experience group.