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An analysis of safety culture attitudes in a highly regulated environment

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Joan Harvey, Dr George Erdos, Dr Mike Cox, John Kennedy



Culture is a complex construct in organizations, consisting of attitudes, perceptions, values and beliefs, which must necessarily be set in context. Many authors imply that culture is organization-wide and common to all employees. In terms of safety culture, the organizational context may determine its salience and likelihood of affecting behaviour, especially in a highly regulated environment such as the nuclear industry. This study investigates the components of safety culture and how it varies in a highly-regulated nuclear power plant. A 60-item questionnaire measuring safety attitudes and values was administered anonymously to 1550 employees at two plants in the UK nuclear industry, with a 64.7% mean response rate. Principal components analyses revealed six factors conceptually common to shop floor and management (supervisor/manager/professional) groups for both plants, relating to: management style and communication; responsibility and commitment; risk-taking; job satisfaction; complacency; and risk awareness. A canonical discriminant analysis of the items suggested that the data could distinguish three employee groups. The implications of these findings and the proposal that there are two or more safety cultures in the organization is discussed.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Harvey J, Erdos G, Bolam H, Cox MAA, Kennedy JNP, Gregory DT

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Work and Stress

Year: 2002

Volume: 16

Issue: 1

Pages: 18-36

Print publication date: 01/03/2002

ISSN (print): 0267-8373

ISSN (electronic): 1464-5335

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/02678370110113226


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