Industrial and Organizational Psychology

The title of the paper is “the role of management and safety climate in preventing risk-taking at work. ” The authors of the paper are Steven Yule, Rhona Flin, and Andy Murdy. The former two are professors of psychology from the University of Aberdeen and the latter Westwood Business Park. Generally, the aim of the study was to determine the relationship between the overall workforce perception of safety climate and the safety outcomes. Specifically, the aim objective was to examine the role of managers and supervisors in influencing risk-taking behaviors in the workplace.
While in recent years, better and safer safety measures were installed in the workplace to ensure that the lives and skills of the workforce are left undeterred by the vagrancies of potential dangers (this reduces the overall work performance of the individual worker), yet the safety measures were strucutured based on the fundamentals of the so-called “natural sciences domain. ” Often the variables used in constructing safety measures (to increase productivity and work efficiency) are based on quantitative assessment of natural/perceived human disasters, for example, the Richter scale for determining the strength of an earthquake.
Now, in the paper of Yule et al, they generally defined safety climate as a “snapshot” of workforce perception about safety (in the workplace). However theoretical disputes among industrial psychologists arise as whether safety climate is restricted to workforce perception and the manner in which the management reconciles safety with productivity or whether the role of management is incorporated with other safety issues such as risk-perception, worker involvement in decision-making, systems of accountability, overall perception of environment and communications (vertical and horizontal).

Variables Used Although the debate is clearly a theoretical one, Yule et al (2007), recognized its fundamentality; arguing for instance that the management has a wide role in terms of safety measures. In fact, the term management commitment to safety was first coined before the term safety climate. Since the units of analysis are individuals and groups within the organization, several variables were determined from previous studies.
In their review of related literature, they explicated on the various theoretical models posited by industrial psychologists on the extent of roles the management play on influencing or structuring the so-called “safety climate. ” Another concept was also tackled by Yule et al (2007). This is the concept of “supervisor involvement in safety. ” Their review of past studies indicated that management greatly influences supervisors in terms of safety conditions.
However, workforce compliance with safety rules and regulations under those conditions is influenced by the perceived fairness of the supervisor. The last variable examined by Yule et al is the so-called “risk” factor. In previous studies, it was found out that supervisors who understood the risks their employees were exposed to usually earned high appraisals. Nonetheless, the concept of risk was considered an outcome variable that influences the overall performance of the workforce. Model Used
A model was developed based on the three variables mentioned above: management commitment to safety, supervisor commitment to safety, and risk. In the model, senior management commitement influences the safety system of the workplace and of course the traning and knowledge of its workers. The safety system and the training and knowledge based system directly influences the propensity of workers to undertake risk-taking behaviors. The supervisor commitement to safety directly influences the knowledge and training, teamwork, accountability, and responsibility of employees.
The implication of such is that: supervisor commitment to safety is directly related to the risk-taking behavior of employees, since the elements of the so-called safety climate are put in place by the supervisors. Method/s Used Safety questionnaires were administered during working hours to about 1023 workforce members from 6 UK conventional power stations. The total response rate was 87%. Workforce safety climate was collected using the HSE Climate Survey tool, which was developed by a UK regulator as a standardized tool for measuring safety climate across all UK industrial sectors.
The HSE is composed of 71 statements to which responses range from strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (5) – Likert scale. An exploratory factor analysis was used to determine the accepted factor labels for the variances noted in the study. A confirmation analysis was used to determine structural paths and predictive events. Overall Results and Theoretical Structuration The recreated model specified that knowledge of safety and health is a key channel between perceptions of senior management commitment and responsibility for safety.
Reciprocal relationship between management and supervisor was not found. Teamwork and knowledge of safety systems have a significant role in the risk-taking behavior of employees rather than the role of the senior management commitment.
Reference
Yule, Steven, et al. The role of management and safety climate in preventing risk-taking at work. Vol. 7(2). Inderscience Enterprises Ltd. , 2007. URL http://www. abdn. ac. uk/iprc/papers%20reports/The_role_of_management_and_safety_climate_in_preventing_risktaking_at_work. pdf. Retrieved Sept. 2, 2007.

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