WP 44 - Studying organisational cultures and their effects on safety

Author/s (editor/s):

Hopkins, Andrew

Publication year:


Publication type:

Working paper

Peer Reviewed Publication: Hopkins, Andrew. (2006). “Studying Organisational Cultures and their Effects on Safety”, 44 Safety Science, 875-899. 

How do organisational cultures influence safety? To answer this question requires a strategy for investigating organisational culture. There are various research strategies available. By far the most widely used is the perception survey. An alternative is for researchers is to immerse themselves in one or more organisations, making detailed observations about activities and drawing inferences about the nature of the organisation’s culture (the ethnographic method). A third technique makes use of the wealth of material that is assembled by inquiries into major accidents. This paper describes how this material can be used to provide insights into organisational cultures. It draws on specific examples from the author’s own work as well as the cultural analysis carried out by the Columbia Accident Investigation Board. It concludes with some additional suggestions for carrying out research on safety-relevant aspects of organisational culture.

Cite the publication as

Hopkins, Andrew, 2006, WP 44 - Studying organisational cultures and their effects on safety, National Research Centre for OHS Regulation , Canberra

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