Title: Leadership in safety-oriented organisations: an empirical study

Authors: Daniele Binci; Francesco Scafarto

Addresses: Department of Management and Law, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Via Columbia, 2, 00133 Rome, Italy ' Department of Management and Law, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Via Columbia, 2, 00133 Rome, Italy

Abstract: This article explores the relationship between leadership and safety culture within a high-reliability organisation (HRO). By drawing from a sample of 68 managers from a large safety-oriented company, we aim to analyse the contribution of vertical versus shared decision-making styles related to safety culture. Results suggest that both styles can influence a safety culture, even if differently. Regarding a safety prevention situation, a vertical leadership approach is found to be more impactful than a shared one on preoccupation with failure, sensitivity to operations and reluctance to simplify. For the safety containment, our evidence reveals that both approaches are required for resilience and deference to expertise. The different influences of decision-making processes on safety culture make clear the need for leaders to pay attention to vertical and shared leadership styles and behaviours. Our research makes a useful contribution into the leadership/safety culture relationship by providing an original perspective about what leadership and behaviours could better predict the dimensions of a safety culture within HROs.

Keywords: vertical leadership; shared leadership; safety-oriented culture; empowerment; directive leader; transformational leader; transactional leader.

DOI: 10.1504/IJDSRM.2019.106913

International Journal of Decision Sciences, Risk and Management, 2019 Vol.8 No.4, pp.268 - 291

Received: 22 Aug 2018
Accepted: 04 Jul 2019

Published online: 22 Apr 2020 *

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