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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    • "At the individual level of analysis, multiple studies have reported positive relationships between individuals' perceptions of safety leadership and both individual safety knowledge (e.g.,Barling, Loughlin, & Kelloway, 2002;Kelloway, Mullen, & Francis, 2006) and safety motivation (e.g.,Conchie, 2013;Kath, Magley, & Marmet, 2010;Newman et al., 2008;Westaby & Lowe, 2005). Perceived coworker safety norms have likewise been positively linked with safety motivation (Rickett, Orbell, & Sheeran, 2006). "
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    ABSTRACT: Unsafe work environments have clear consequences for both individuals and organizations. As such, an ever-expanding research base is providing a greater understanding of the factors that affect workplace safety across organizational levels. However, despite scientific advances, the workplace safety literature suffers from a lack of theoretical and empirical integration that makes it difficult for organizational scientists to gain a comprehensive sense of (1) what we currently know about workplace safety and (2) what we have yet to learn. This review addresses these shortcomings. First, the authors provide a formal definition of workplace safety and then create an integrated safety model (ISM) based on existing theory to summarize current theoretical expectations with regard to workplace safety. Second, the authors conduct a targeted review of the safety literature and compare extant empirical findings with the ISM. Finally, the authors use the results of this review to articulate gaps between theory and research and then make recommendations for both theoretical and empirical improvements to guide and integrate future workplace safety research.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · Organizational Psychology Review
    • "However, transformational leadership differs from SSTL, and the research on SSTL has so far emphasized the outcomes of this leadership style more than its antecedents. By empirically demonstrating that a prevention focus relates to a safety-specific transformational leadership style, this study helps to address this issue Similar to previous research (Barling et al., 2002;De Koster et al., 2011;Kelloway et al., 2006), this study also found a strong relationship between SSTL and safety. However, even though this strong relationship has been confirmed, we acknowledge there is a limit to the difference that behavioral aspects can make in an operational environment. "
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    ABSTRACT: On a daily basis thousands of employees suffer from severe occupational accidents worldwide. These accidents not only lead to negative consequences for the physical and mental health of employees, but also to high costs for companies and the society as a whole. A large share of these accidents take place in warehouses. Prior research has demonstrated the critical role of leadership, and especially safety-specific transformational leadership (SSTL), in reducing warehouse accidents. Yet several important questions concerning SSTL remain: What effects does SSTL have on outcomes other than safety, and what determines whether leaders display SSTL behaviors? To answer these questions, this research studies the relationship between SSTL of warehouse managers and not only occupational accidents, but also quality and productivity. Moreover, it investigates which managers are most likely to display SSTL. Data from 87 warehouse managers and 1,233 employees were used to test the conceptual model. The results suggest that the dispositional prevention focus of the manager (one of two possible motivational strategies that people deploy) positively relates to SSTL, and that SSTL negatively relates to occupational accidents. Furthermore, SSTL and its identified negative relationship with occupational accidents does not appear to have detrimental impact on productivity or quality. These results extend existing models of SSTL and safety, and can help companies to reduce the number of accidents and the associated costs by selecting and developing safety-specific transformational leaders. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Production and Operations Management
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · The Leadership Quarterly
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