Individual employee’s perceptions of “Group-level Safety Climate”(supervisor referenced) versus “ Organization-level Safety Climate” (top management referenced): Associations with safety outcomes for lone workers
Research has shown that safety climate is among the strongest predictors of safety behavior and safety outcomes in a variety of settings. Previous studies have established that safety climate is a multi-faceted construct referencing multiple levels of management within a company, most generally: the organization level (employee perceptions of top management’s commitment to and prioritization of safety) and group level (employee perceptions of direct supervisor’s commitment to and prioritization of safety). Yet, no research to date has examined the potential interaction between employees’ organization-level safety climate (OSC) and group-level safety climate (GSC) perceptions. Furthermore, prior research has mainly focused on traditional work environments in which supervisors and workers interact in the same location throughout the day. Little research has been done to examine safety climate with regard to lone workers. The present study aims to address these gaps by examining the relationships between truck drivers’ (as an example of lone workers) perceptions of OSC and GSC, both potential linear and non-linear relation-ships, and how these predict important safety outcomes. Participants were 8095 truck drivers from eight trucking companies in the United States with an average response rate of 44.8%. Results showed that employees’ OSC and GSC perceptions are highly correlated (r = 0.78), but notable gaps between the two were observed for some truck drivers. Uniquely, both OSC and GSC scores were found to have curvilinear relationships with safe driving behavior, and both scores were equally predictive of safe driving behavior. Results also showed the two levels of climate significantly interacted with one another to predict safety behavior such that if either the OSC or GSC scores were low, the other’s contribution to safety behavior became stronger. These findings suggest that OSC and GSC may function in a compensatory manner and promote safe driving behavior even when either OSC or GSC scores are low. The results of this study provide critical insight into the supplementary interaction between perceptions of OSC and GSC. Recommendations for future research, as well as practical recommendations for organizational intervention, are discussed.