Exploring the relationship between leadership style and safety climate in a large scale Danish cross-sectional study

Tidsskriftartikel - 2011

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[Open access] Recent studies provide evidence that high quality management is a determinant for a positive safety climate, but the majority of these studies are predominantly based on small samples from individual industries. The purpose of this paper is to scrutinize the association between transactional and transformational leadership and safety climate, and to explore how safety climate is affected by a number of socio-demographic factors and within different industries and company sizes. The analyses are based on data from a recent Danish work environment cross-sectional study including 3681 employees from a wide range of industries and who report that safety climate is relevant for their job. We use two safety climate items, (one regarding management safety empowerment; one regarding co-workers' safety priority), one question about transactional leadership and two scales concerning transformational leadership. In addition, we consider the impact of age, gender, education, job type and seniority as well as company size and industrial sector on the rating of safety climate. Predictors of safety climate ratings are analysed by use of multiple regression analysis. Our results show that the leadership style measured by items related to transactional and transformational leadership have a significant positive association with management safety empowerment, whereas workers' safety priority is only significantly associated with transformational leadership. Younger workers have significantly lower safety climate ratings, and low co-worker safety priority is associated with job type, education and in companies with less than ten employees. These results have important theoretical and practical implications for safety climate interventions and for planning and implementing management strategies that better support employees' engagement in proactive work environment behaviours.

Reference

Sønderstrup-Andersen HHK, Carlsen K, Kines PA, Bjørner JB, Roepstorff C. Exploring the relationship between leadership style and safety climate in a large scale Danish cross-sectional study. Safety Science Monitor 2011;15(1):Article 8-.

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