The role of national culture in determining safety performance: challenges for the global oil and gas industry

Kathryn Mearns, Steven Yule

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

114 Citations (Scopus)


This paper addresses the issue of occupational safety and how the process of globalisation can potentially influence the attitudes, beliefs and behaviour of disparate ‘national’ workforces working across the globe for the same multi-national company. The paper reviews published literature on cross-cultural differences in attitudes, perceptions and beliefs regarding safety and presents details of a study examining the relationship between Hofstede’s [Hofstede, G., 1984. Culture’s Consequences; International Differences in Work-Related Values, Abridged edition. Sage Publications, London, Hofstede, G., 1991. Culture and Organisations; Software of the Mind. McGraw Hill, Maidenhead] cultural values dimensions (i.e., Power Distance, Individualism/Collectivism, Masculinity/Femininity); safety climate (perceived management commitment to safety) and risk-taking behaviour in workforce members of a multi-national engineering organisation operating in six countries. The results suggest that more proximal influences such as perceived management commitment to safety and the efficacy of safety measures exert more impact on workforce behaviour and subsequent accident rates than fundamental national values.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)777-785
Number of pages9
JournalSafety Science
Issue number6
Early online date10 Mar 2008
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009



  • cultural values
  • safety climate
  • risk-taking behaviour
  • multi-national organisations

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