Understanding the Structure, Antecedents and Cross-Level Effects of Safety Climate: Investigations Using Qualitative, Individual-level and Group-Level Analyses

Sarah Colley (2010). Understanding the Structure, Antecedents and Cross-Level Effects of Safety Climate: Investigations Using Qualitative, Individual-level and Group-Level Analyses PhD Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Sarah Colley
Thesis Title Understanding the Structure, Antecedents and Cross-Level Effects of Safety Climate: Investigations Using Qualitative, Individual-level and Group-Level Analyses
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2010-03
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Dr. Andrew Neal
Dr. Nerina Jimmieson
Total pages 194
Total colour pages 4
Total black and white pages 190
Subjects 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
Abstract/Summary Workplace incidents result in significant human and financial costs. Despite these costs, it is estimated that less than 1% of organisational research focuses on issues concerning occupational health and safety (Barling & Zacharatos, 2000; Reason, 1990). Safety research has begun however to focus increasing attention on understanding the role that the wider organisational context, and in particular the role that safety climate, plays in influencing safety (Barling, Kelloway, & Iverson, 2003; Clarke, 2006a; Cox & Cheyne, 2000; Parker, Axtell, & Turner, 2001; Zohar, 2000). Safety climate refers to safety related policies, procedures and practices that signal the concern for safety (Griffin & Neal, 2000). The aim of the current program of research was to further understanding of the structure, antecedents and cross-level effects of safety climate. Specifically, this research aimed to better understand how organisational factors, and more specifically culture, influence safety climate and safety incidents. This knowledge is important as it assists organisations to purposively engineer stronger climates for safety and in doing so assists them to reduce the number of workplace incidents and accidents. The current program of research consists of three field-based studies. An overview of each study is provided below: Overview Study 1 Study 1 aimed to identify the safety climate schema for a sample of individuals working within the rail industry and explore whether safety climate schemas differ across individuals with and without leadership responsibilities. A proportional number of upper managers (n = 6), supervisors (n = 7) and workers (n = 12) were purposively sampled and interviewed. Interview data was analysed using Leximancer – an advanced computer assisted data mining tool. Results identified 10 emergent themes underlying a safety climate schema – many of these themes aligned closely with common safety climate factors in the academic literature. Results also showed differences between the safety factors that were dominant in the safety climate schemas of upper managers, supervisors and workers: upper managers were more closely associated with themes relating to ‘culture,’ and ‘people’; supervisors were more closely associated with themes relating to ‘corporate values,’ ‘management practices,’ and ‘safety communication’; whereas workers were more closely associated with themes relating to ‘procedures,’ and ‘safety training’. Results are discussed in relation to safety climate theory and in relation to how managers can use this knowledge to better communicate to the specific safety needs of different sub-groups. Overview Study 2 Study 2 aimed to better understand how perceived cultural profiles are related to safety. The Competing Values Framework adopted in this study proposes that four cultural types exist in unison in any organisation. Depending on the demands that are placed on the organisation, each type will be more or less dominant and each organisation will have a specific ‘cultural profile’ reflecting the strengths of each type. A cross-section of individuals (N = 368) working in high risk industries were sampled to identify the relationship between perceived cultural profiles and (1) psychological safety climate and (2) individual safety incidents. Modal Profile Analysis (MPA) identified four commonly perceived cultural profiles across the sample. A one-way MANOVA indicated that individuals who perceived their organisation had a strong human relations profile, or a dual focused human relations-rational goal profile, reported higher safety climate perceptions and fewer safety incidents. Comparably, individuals who perceived their organisation had a strong internal process profile, or a dual focused internal process-rational goal profile, reported lower safety climate perceptions and more safety incidents. These findings are discussed in terms of their theoretical contribution to the safety climate literature, and in relation to the practical importance that culture plays in influencing safety. Overview Study 3 Study 3 aimed to better understand how the culture of an organisation influences safety, and to explore the levels of analysis that are involved in this relationship. Specifically, this study examined the role that an internal process culture played in influencing safety climate; and in turn the mediating role that two sources of safety climate – business-unit safety climate and perceived supervisory safety climate – played in explaining the relationship between culture and individual-level outcomes (incidents, satisfaction and turnover intentions). Results showed that business-unit culture was related to business-unit safety climate; and that business-unit safety climate and perceived supervisory safety climate mediated the relationship between business-unit culture and incidents, satisfaction and turnover intentions. This research adds to the safety climate literature by providing evidence for the multi-level nature of the relationship between culture, safety climate and outcomes.
Keyword Safety Climate, Organisational Culture, Competing Values Framework, Qualitative Analysis, Leximancer, Modal Profile Analysis, Meso-mediation
Additional Notes Individual color: 27; 42; 44; 46 Individual landscape:46;49-51;77;140-189;

 
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Created: Thu, 19 Aug 2010, 13:19:09 EST by Miss Sarah Colley on behalf of Library - Information Access Service