Assessment of safety culture is done predominantly by questionnaire-based studies, which tend to reveal attitudes on immaterial characteristics (values, beliefs, norms). There is a need for a better understanding of the implications of the material aspects of an organization (structures, processes, etc.) for safety culture and their interactions with the immaterial characteristics. This paper presents a new agent-based organizational modelling approach for integrated and systematic evaluation of material and immaterial characteristics of socio-technical organizations in safety culture analysis. It uniquely considers both the formal organization and the value- and belief-driven behaviour of individuals in the organization. Results are presented of a model for safety occurrence reporting at an air navigation service provider. Model predictions consistent with questionnaire-based results are achieved. A sensitivity analysis provides insight in organizational factors that strongly influence safety culture indicators. The modelling approach can be used in combination with attitude-focused safety culture research, towards an integrated evaluation of material and immaterial characteristics of socio-technical organizations. By using this approach an organization is able to gain a deeper understanding of causes of diverse problems and inefficiencies both in the formal organization and in the behaviour of organizational agents, and to systematically identify and evaluate improvement options. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Stroeve, S., Sharpanskykh, O., & Kirwan, B. (2011). Agent-based organizational modelling for analysis of safety culture at an air navigation service provider. Reliability Engineering and System Safety, 96, 515-533. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ress.2010.12.017