Modeling safety culture as a socially emergent phenomenon: a case study in aircraft maintenance

D.F. Passenier, C. Mols, J. Bím, A. Sharpanskykh

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Safety culture is often understood as encompassing organizational members’ shared attitudes, beliefs, perceptions and values associated with safety. Safety culture theory development is fraught with inconsistencies and superficiality of measurement methods, because the dynamic and political nature of culture is often ignored. Traditionally, safety culture is analyzed by survey-based approaches. In this paper we propose a novel, systemic, interdisciplinary approach for investigating safety culture that combines multi-agent system modeling with organizational ethnography. By using this approach, mechanisms of emergence of safety culture from daily practices, operations and interactions of organizational actors can be modeled and analyzed. The approach is illustrated by a case study from the aircraft maintenance domain, based on existing ethnographic data. Using the proposed approach we were able to reproduce and explain emergent characteristic patterns of commitment to safety in the maintenance organization from this study. The model can be used for theory development and as a management tool to evaluate non-linear impacts of organizational arrangements on workers’ commitment to safety.
LanguageEnglish
Pages487-520
JournalComputational and Mathematical Organization Theory
Volume22
Issue number4
Early online date28 Jan 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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Aircraft
Maintenance
Safety
Modeling
Ethnography
Culture
Safety culture
Multi agent systems
System Modeling
Inconsistency
Multi-agent Systems
Arrangement
Evaluate
Interaction
Theory development

Cite this

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Modeling safety culture as a socially emergent phenomenon: a case study in aircraft maintenance. / Passenier, D.F.; Mols, C.; Bím, J.; Sharpanskykh, A.

In: Computational and Mathematical Organization Theory, Vol. 22, No. 4, 2016, p. 487-520.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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