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Leadership training as an occupational health intervention: improved safety and sustained productivity
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology. Medical Management Centre, Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
2016 (English)In: Safety Science, ISSN 0925-7535, E-ISSN 1879-1042, Vol. 81, 35-45 p.Article in journal (Refereed) PublishedText
Abstract [en]

The safety climate in an organization is determined by how managers balance the relative importance of safety and productivity. This gives leaders a central role in safety in an organization, and from this follows that leadership training may improve safety. Transformational leadership may be one important component but may need to be combined with positive control leadership behaviors. Leadership training that combines transformational leadership and applied behavior analysis may be a way to achieve this. Purpose: The study evaluates changes in safety climate and productivity among employees whose leaders (n = 76) took part in a leadership training program combining transformational leadership and applied behavior analysis. Changes in managers' ratings of transformational leadership, contingent rewards, Management-by-Exceptions Active (MBEA) and safety self-efficacy were evaluated. Moreover, we compare whether the training has differentiated effects on safety depending on managers' specific focus on improvements in: (1) safety, (2) productivity or (3) general leadership. Result: Safety climate improved over time, while self-rated productivity remained unchanged. As hypothesized, transformational leadership, contingent rewards and safety self-efficacy as proxies for positive control behaviors increased while MBEA, a negative control behavior, decreased. Managers focusing on general leadership skills showed greater improvement in safety climate expectations. Conclusions: Training leaders in both transformational leadership and applied behavior analysis is related to improvements in leadership and safety. There is no added benefit of focusing specifically on safety or productivity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 81, 35-45 p.
Keyword [en]
Applied behavior analysis, Safety climate, Safety self-efficacy, Transformational leadership, Transactional leadership
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Environmental Health and Occupational Health Psychology
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-113837DOI: 10.1016/j.ssci.2015.07.020ISI: 000366341500005OAI: diva2:913735
Available from: 2016-03-22 Created: 2016-01-04 Last updated: 2016-03-22Bibliographically approved

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Tafvelin, Susanne
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