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Leading for safety: A question of leadership focus
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4820-8914
Karolinska institutet, Sweden.
Karolinska institutet, Sweden.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
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(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

There is considerable evidence that leadership influence workplace safety, but less is known about the relative importance of different leadership styles. The present study investigated the relative roles of transformational, transactional (MBEA), and safety-specific leadership styles for different safety outcomes. Data was collected through a survey responded by 269 employees at a process industry. The results showed that a safety-specific leadership style contributed the most to enhanced safety. Transformational leadership was not found to contribute to any safety outcome over and above that of a safety-specific leadership, while a monitoring and correcting transactional leadership style was associated with an increased number of injuries. Results also indicated that a separation of injuries into different degrees of severity may be beneficial for the detection of significant relationships between organizational factors and injury outcomes.

Keyword [en]
Workplace safety, transformational, transactional, safety-specific leadership, compliance, safety initiative, injuries
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-116685OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-116685DiVA: diva2:807268
Funder
Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, SSM2010-4464
Available from: 2015-04-23 Created: 2015-04-23 Last updated: 2015-04-30
In thesis
1. Promoting safety in organizations: The role of leadership and managerial practices
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Promoting safety in organizations: The role of leadership and managerial practices
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Workplace accidents and injuries are a growing problem for organizations in Sweden as well as in many other countries. As a consequence, improving workplace safety has become an area of increasing concern for employers and politicians as well as researchers. The aim of this thesis was to contribute to an increased understanding of how leadership and management practices can influence safety in organizations. In Study I, three leadership styles were investigated to determine their relative importance for different safety outcomes. A leadership style specifically emphasizing safety was found to contribute the most to employee safety behaviors; transformational leadership was found to be positive for safety behaviors only when it also involved a safety focus; and a transactional leadership style (management-by-exception active) was shown to be slightly negatively related to workplace safety. Study II examined the role of leader communication approaches for patient safety and the mechanisms involved in this relationship. Support was found for a model showing that one-way communication of safety values and leader feedback communication were both related to increased patient safety through the mediation of different employee safety behaviors (safety compliance and organizational citizen behaviors). Study III explored whether and in what ways the use of staff bonus systems may compromise safety in high-risk organizations. The three investigated systems were all found to provide limited incentives for any behavioral change. However, the results indicate that design characteristics such as clearly defined and communicated bonus goals, which are perceived as closely linked to performance and which aim at improved safety, are imperative for the influence that bonus programs have on safety. Group-directed goals also appeared to be more advantageous than corporate- or individual-level goals. The thesis highlights the importance of actively emphasizing and communicating safety-related issues, both through leadership and in managerial practices, for the achievement of enhanced workplace safety.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, 2015. 97 p.
Keyword
Transformational leadership, transactional leadership, safety-specific leadership, workplace safety, injuries, accidents, safety compliance, safety initiative, organizational citizenship behavior, communication, incident reporting, patient safety, incentive program
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-116691 (URN)978-91-7649-170-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-06-05, David Magnussonsalen (U31), Frescati Hagväg 8, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Swedish Radiation Safety Authority, SSM2010-4464
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following paper was unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 1: Manuscript.

Available from: 2015-05-14 Created: 2015-04-23 Last updated: 2015-06-24Bibliographically approved

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