Divergent effects of transformational and passive leadership on employee safety

Department of Management, Saint Mary's University, Halifax, NS, Canada.
Journal of Occupational Health Psychology (Impact Factor: 2.07). 02/2006; 11(1):76-86. DOI: 10.1037/1076-8998.11.1.76
Source: PubMed


The authors concurrently examined the impact of safety-specific transformational leadership and safety-specific passive leadership on safety outcomes. First, the authors demonstrated via confirmatory factor analysis that safety-specific transformational leadership and safety-specific passive leadership are empirically distinct constructs. Second, using hierarchical regression, the authors illustrated, contrary to a stated corollary of transformational leadership theory (B. M. Bass, 1997), that passive leadership contributes incrementally to the prediction of organizationally relevant outcomes, in this case safety-related variables, beyond transformational leadership alone. Third, further analyses via structural equation modeling showed that both transformational and passive leadership have opposite effects on safety climate and safety consciousness, and these variables, in turn, predict safety events and injuries. Implications for research and application are discussed.

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    • "Hence, it is critical that researchers simultaneously consider the nature of different leadership styles and their relative impact on safety-related outcomes (Kelloway et al., 2006; Mullen, Kelloway, & Teed, 2011). However, with the exception of some cross-sectional studies which have found a negative relationship between laissez-faire leadership and safety indicators (e.g., Kelloway et al., 2006; Mullen et al., 2011; Zohar, 2002), the available empirical evidence on the association between leadership and safety is solely based on constructive forms of leadership (see Hofmann & Morgeson, 2004). Consequently, there is a clear shortage of research on the impact of destructive leadership behaviors on workplace safety. "
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    ABSTRACT: Current knowledge about relationships between leadership and workplace safety is based mainly on cross-sectional studies focusing on constructive forms of leadership. We suggest that this one-sided attention to constructive leadership and the lack of temporal research designs have restrained our understanding of: 1) the impact of both constructive and destructive forms of leadership on safety, 2) whether and how leadership is related to safety over time, and 3) potential bidirectional associations between leadership and safety. To substantiate these claims empirically, time-lagged relationships between constructive-, laissez-faire-, and tyrannical leadership and psychological safety climate were examined among 683 employees from the offshore petroleum industry. We found that associations with psychological safety climate were dependent upon the types of leadership examined. A bidirectional relationship was established between leadership and psychological safety climate. The findings support the importance of a multidimensional approach and a temporal design in research on leadership and safety.
    The Leadership Quarterly 09/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.leaqua.2015.08.003 · 2.70 Impact Factor
    • "between the dimensions (Barling et al., 2002; Kelloway et al., 2006). The participants rated how often they engaged in each behavior on a 5-point scale with ''never'' (1) to ''frequently, if not always'' (5) as end-points. "
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    ABSTRACT: 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.
    • "Managerial demonstrations of safety commitment are a central aspect of safety culture and climate (Beus et al. 2010; Christian et al. 2009; Flin et al. 2000; Guldenmund 2000). Similarly, leadership behaviours associated with a transactional as well as transformational style have been established as predictors of safety outcomes, such as injury rates, safety climate, safety events and safety consciousness in employees at the supervisory level (Barling, Loughlin, and Kelloway 2002; Clarke 2013; Flin and Yule 2004; Kelloway, Mullen, and Francis 2006; Zohar 2002). While not yet investigated at the senior managerial level in relation to safety, transformational leadership has been found to positively contribute to senior managers' influence on their organisations' performance (Waldman et al. 2001). "
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    ABSTRACT: The high reliability literature describes a sense of chronic unease as supporting managers’ ability to deal with (safety) risks. This concept has been proposed to contain five components, namely the traits of propensity to worry, pessimism, and the cognitive abilities of requisite imagination, flexible thinking and vigilance. We study their applicability to senior managers’ experience of chronic unease and explore related behaviours and consequences. Semi-structured interviews (n = 27) were conducted with senior managers from the energy sector. Content analysis identified flexible thinking most frequently, followed by pessimism, propensity to worry, vigilance and requisite imagination. Experience additionally emerged as a theme. Sections that had been coded as flexible thinking were frequently also coded as a behaviour, suggesting it to be a partially observable response to chronic unease. Other behaviours that emerged as related to chronic unease were demonstrating safety commitment, transformational and transactional leadership styles, and seeking information. Chronic unease was described as having positive effects on safety, positive and negative effects on team interaction and negative effects on business and the managers’ personal outcomes. The findings indicate that the five components provide a basis for the measurement of chronic unease and suggest central behaviours and responses that should be considered in its future investigation.
    Journal of Risk Research 02/2015; DOI:10.1080/13669877.2014.1003322 · 1.27 Impact Factor
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