From the surface to the underlying meaning

analysis of senior managers' safety culture perceptions

L. S. Fruhen, K. J. Mearns, R. Flin, B. Kirwan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Senior managers can influence safety culture and it is therefore important to understand how they think about this aspect of their organisation. Examining senior managers’ interpretations of safety culture (via content and artefacts like language), is one way to address this issue. Safety culture descriptions obtained through interviews with senior managers (N = 8) from two air traffic management organisations in Europe were subjected to content analysis based on Reason’s (1997) safety culture model and linguistic analysis (using Leximancer). The content analysis indicated ‘just culture’ as a dominant theme in senior managers’ thinking about safety culture. Close links between the linguistic themes ‘people’ and ‘safety’ were found in both organisations. Senior managers from Organisation 1 viewed ‘management’ as crucial for safety culture and the linguistic analysis suggested flatter hierarchies and communication might facilitate their approach. Organisation 2 was characterised by a focus on ‘reporting culture’, ‘performance’, ‘data’ and ‘accountability’. The findings of the two complementary methods of analysis illustrated how the conscious, as well as the subconscious, levels of understanding safety culture might be related. Organisations may benefit from an investigation of their leaders’ safety culture views through linguistic analysis, in addition to questionnaires and other measures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)326-334
Number of pages9
JournalSafety Science
Volume57
Early online date18 Apr 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013

Fingerprint

Safety Management
Managers
manager
Organizations
Linguistics
linguistics
content analysis
Social Responsibility
Artifacts
Language
management
air traffic
Communication
Air
Interviews
artifact
Safety
leader

Keywords

  • safety culture
  • senior managers
  • content
  • artefacts
  • Leximancer

Cite this

From the surface to the underlying meaning : analysis of senior managers' safety culture perceptions. / Fruhen, L. S.; Mearns, K. J.; Flin, R.; Kirwan, B.

In: Safety Science, Vol. 57, 08.2013, p. 326-334.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{d7ef3283f382490ca0b02c2eefc779a8,
title = "From the surface to the underlying meaning: analysis of senior managers' safety culture perceptions",
abstract = "Senior managers can influence safety culture and it is therefore important to understand how they think about this aspect of their organisation. Examining senior managers’ interpretations of safety culture (via content and artefacts like language), is one way to address this issue. Safety culture descriptions obtained through interviews with senior managers (N = 8) from two air traffic management organisations in Europe were subjected to content analysis based on Reason’s (1997) safety culture model and linguistic analysis (using Leximancer). The content analysis indicated ‘just culture’ as a dominant theme in senior managers’ thinking about safety culture. Close links between the linguistic themes ‘people’ and ‘safety’ were found in both organisations. Senior managers from Organisation 1 viewed ‘management’ as crucial for safety culture and the linguistic analysis suggested flatter hierarchies and communication might facilitate their approach. Organisation 2 was characterised by a focus on ‘reporting culture’, ‘performance’, ‘data’ and ‘accountability’. The findings of the two complementary methods of analysis illustrated how the conscious, as well as the subconscious, levels of understanding safety culture might be related. Organisations may benefit from an investigation of their leaders’ safety culture views through linguistic analysis, in addition to questionnaires and other measures.",
keywords = "safety culture, senior managers, content, artefacts, Leximancer",
author = "Fruhen, {L. S.} and Mearns, {K. J.} and R. Flin and B. Kirwan",
year = "2013",
month = "8",
doi = "10.1016/j.ssci.2013.03.006",
language = "English",
volume = "57",
pages = "326--334",
journal = "Safety Science",
issn = "0925-7535",
publisher = "Elsevier",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - From the surface to the underlying meaning

T2 - analysis of senior managers' safety culture perceptions

AU - Fruhen, L. S.

AU - Mearns, K. J.

AU - Flin, R.

AU - Kirwan, B.

PY - 2013/8

Y1 - 2013/8

N2 - Senior managers can influence safety culture and it is therefore important to understand how they think about this aspect of their organisation. Examining senior managers’ interpretations of safety culture (via content and artefacts like language), is one way to address this issue. Safety culture descriptions obtained through interviews with senior managers (N = 8) from two air traffic management organisations in Europe were subjected to content analysis based on Reason’s (1997) safety culture model and linguistic analysis (using Leximancer). The content analysis indicated ‘just culture’ as a dominant theme in senior managers’ thinking about safety culture. Close links between the linguistic themes ‘people’ and ‘safety’ were found in both organisations. Senior managers from Organisation 1 viewed ‘management’ as crucial for safety culture and the linguistic analysis suggested flatter hierarchies and communication might facilitate their approach. Organisation 2 was characterised by a focus on ‘reporting culture’, ‘performance’, ‘data’ and ‘accountability’. The findings of the two complementary methods of analysis illustrated how the conscious, as well as the subconscious, levels of understanding safety culture might be related. Organisations may benefit from an investigation of their leaders’ safety culture views through linguistic analysis, in addition to questionnaires and other measures.

AB - Senior managers can influence safety culture and it is therefore important to understand how they think about this aspect of their organisation. Examining senior managers’ interpretations of safety culture (via content and artefacts like language), is one way to address this issue. Safety culture descriptions obtained through interviews with senior managers (N = 8) from two air traffic management organisations in Europe were subjected to content analysis based on Reason’s (1997) safety culture model and linguistic analysis (using Leximancer). The content analysis indicated ‘just culture’ as a dominant theme in senior managers’ thinking about safety culture. Close links between the linguistic themes ‘people’ and ‘safety’ were found in both organisations. Senior managers from Organisation 1 viewed ‘management’ as crucial for safety culture and the linguistic analysis suggested flatter hierarchies and communication might facilitate their approach. Organisation 2 was characterised by a focus on ‘reporting culture’, ‘performance’, ‘data’ and ‘accountability’. The findings of the two complementary methods of analysis illustrated how the conscious, as well as the subconscious, levels of understanding safety culture might be related. Organisations may benefit from an investigation of their leaders’ safety culture views through linguistic analysis, in addition to questionnaires and other measures.

KW - safety culture

KW - senior managers

KW - content

KW - artefacts

KW - Leximancer

U2 - 10.1016/j.ssci.2013.03.006

DO - 10.1016/j.ssci.2013.03.006

M3 - Article

VL - 57

SP - 326

EP - 334

JO - Safety Science

JF - Safety Science

SN - 0925-7535

ER -