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PredictingPropensitytoActivelyCareforOccupationalSafety -...

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Predicting Propensity to Actively Care for Occupational Safety 1. E. Scott Geller, D. Steve Roberts, and Mike Gilmore Abstract A 154-item safety culture survey (SCS) was administered to the employees of two industrial plants to test a model designed to predict individuals' willingness to "actively care" (AC) for the safety of coworkers. A total of 530 surveys were completed at a mean return rate of 89%. The regression analysis at each site (R 2 = .267 and .466) showed the same four subscales on the SCS (i.e., measures of personal control, group cohesion, extroversion, and reactance) to predict independent variance in employees' reported willingness to AC. Furthermore, a higher percentage of scales hypothesized to predict AC were significantly correlated with AC (i.e., 90 percent) than the scales hypothesized not to predict AC (i.e., 50 percent). Therefore, the results were largely consistent with theory (i.e., our AC model), except for the prominent impact of reactance on AC propensity. Thus, the results showed convergent and divergent validity of the AC model, while also suggesting specific theory refinements. Introduction Numerous researchers have reported significant improvement in individual and group work performance following a behavior-based feedback process (e.g., Geller, Eason, Phillips, & Pierson, 1980; Komaki, Heinzmann, & Lawson, 1980; Sulzer-Azaroff & de Santa Maria, 1980). This approach to organizational behavior management, whereby workers receive specific feedback from systematic observation and recording of designated target behaviors, has been applied frequently and successfully to reduce work injuries (e.g., Krause, Hidley, & Hodson, 1989; Sulzer-Azaroff, 1982, 1987). However, the research demonstrating the beneficial impact of behavioral observation and feedback on occupational safety has usually been short-term and small-scale, requiring outside agents (or consultants) to help implement the process. Large-scale and long-term application of behavior-change techniques requires the employees themselves to apply the interventions (e.g., systematic behavioral observation and feedback) throughout the workplace. Geller (1991) addressed the need to get employees actively involved in implementing behavior-change processes with the introduction of an “actively caring" model. In the context of occupational safety, actively caring (AC) was operationally defined as employees acting to benefit the safety of other employees (e.g., observing and recording the safe and unsafe behaviors of coworkers, and then giving them constructive behavioral feedback). From a review of the social/personality literature, Geller (1991) proposed that three personality states or expectancies, modified by work-place situations and interactions, influence employees’ propensity to AC for another person’s health or safety.
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