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Leading for safety: A question of leadership focus
Stockholm University, Sweden.
Mälardalen University, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare, Health and Welfare.
Stockholm University, Sweden.
Stockholm County Council, Sweden.
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(English)In: Safety and Health at Work, ISSN 2093-7911Article in journal (Refereed) In press
Abstract [en]

Background

There is considerable evidence that leadership influences workplace safety, but less is known about the relative importance of different leadership styles for safety. In addition, a leadership style characterized by an emphasis and a focus on promoting safety has rarely been investigated alongside other more general leadership styles.

Methods

Data was collected through a survey to which 269 employees in a paper mill company responded. A regression analysis was conducted to examine the relative roles of transformational, transactional (management-by-exception active; MBEA), and safety-specific leadership for different safety behavioral outcomes (compliance behavior and safety initiative behaviors) and for minor and major injuries.

Results

A safety-specific leadership contributed the most to the enhanced safety of the three different kinds of leadership. Transformational leadership did not contribute to any safety outcome over and above that of a safety-specific leadership, while a transactional leadership (MBEA) was associated with negative safety outcomes (fewer safety initiatives and increased minor injuries).

Conclusion

The most important thing for leaders aiming at improving workplace safety is to continuously emphasize safety, both in their communication and by acting as role models. This highlights the importance for leadership training programs aiming to improve safety to actually focus on safety promoting communication and behaviors rather than general leadership. Furthermore, an overly monitoring and controlling leadership style can be detrimental to attempts at achieving improved workplace safety.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier.
National Category
Social Sciences Other Social Sciences
Research subject
Working Life Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-41571DOI: 10.1016/j.shaw.2018.12.001ISI: 000471959400007OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-41571DiVA, id: diva2:1270792
Available from: 2018-12-14 Created: 2018-12-14 Last updated: 2019-07-11Bibliographically approved

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von Thiele Schwarz, Ulrica

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf