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Title Differences In Worker And Manager Perceptions Of Workplace Safety Authors Greg Prussia Karen A Brown Geoff Willis Affiliations Seattle University University of Washington, Bothell University of Central Oklahoma E-mail [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] Mailing address 900 Broadway Seattle, WA 98122 18115 Campus Way NE Bothell, WA 100 N. University Dr Edmond, OK 73034 Phone 206-296-2514 425-352-3258 405-974-5345 Track P/OM - Manufacturing Corresponding author Geoff Willis Presenter Geoff Willis
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DIFFERENCES IN WORKER AND MANAGER PERCEPTIONS OF WORKPLACE SAFETY 2
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DIFFERENCES IN WORKER AND MANAGER PERCEPTIONS OF WORKPLACE SAFETY ABSTRACT Industrial safety is an important issue for all members of the management team in an organization. Operations managers bear the most responsibility to ensure safe working conditions due to their effect on productivity, quality, morale, and ability to meet deadlines. The purpose of this research is 1) to determine if a proposed sociotechnical model of safe work behaviors that was previously tested on employees yields similar results when tested on managers, and 2) to examine differences between employees and managers regarding perceptions of important safety outcomes. Results of the research demonstrate that the majority of the modeled relationships hold for both employees and managers. However, managers and employees differ significantly on the extent to which they believe safe behaviors are pursued and the degree to which employees are responsible for safe behavior. 3
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DIFFERENCES IN WORKER AND MANAGER PERCEPTIONS OF WORKPLACE SAFETY Workplace safety has evolved from an ancillary issue to an operating priority with significant implications for operations managers (Brown, 1996). This increased emphasis has led to a broad-based discussion of the causes of workplace accidents (e.g., Brown, 1996; Brown, Willis, and Prussia, 2000; DeJoy, 1996; Thompson, Hilton and Witt, 1998). A review of the literature reveals a wide range of hypotheses about accident causes. One school of thought suggests that nearly every accident may be traced to an employee’s unsafe act, while a contrasting view (e.g., Deming, 1986) asserts that the system is responsible for accidents. A midway point has been espoused by some authors (e.g. Brown et al., 2000; Perrow 1984; DeJoy 1986; 1994) who feel that employees work within a framework of both technical and social constructs that influence the likelihood of accidents. Previous research has examined safety largely from the employees’ experience (e.g. Mottel, Long, and Morrison, 1995) or perspective (e.g. Brown et al., 2000). A more complete understanding of workplace safety may be gained by comparing managers’ and workers’ perceptions regarding workplace safety, organizational safety climate, and the impact climate has on worker attitudes and safety. The common saying, "The only minor surgery is when it's someone else getting cut," points out the propensity to externalize safety concerns. If workers and managers hold different perceptions as to the frequency
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  • Spring '10
  • SMITH
  • Occupational safety and health, safety climate, Karen A Brown

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