Readiness to Change: Perceptions of Safety Culture up and down the Supply Chain

  • Shelley StilesEmail author
  • Brendan Ryan
  • David Golightly
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 819)


Safety culture research tends to treat organisations as a single body, with less focus on understanding how perceptions vary in a multi stakeholder environment. One such example of a multi-stakeholder environment is a construction project. The success of safety interventions must be sensitive to the interfaces and relationships, and different perceptions, between Principal Contractors and their Supply Chain, particularly for Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that may have fundamentally different safety management systems and culture. This paper explores whether there is a difference in perception between project members. It tests whether perceptions are driven by a perceived hierarchy of greater maturity for Principal Contractors or whether different organisational layers of the project rate themselves highly in comparison to others, as a form of self enhancement. 17 workshops were undertaken across four different Principal Contractors, and their respective Supply Chains, comprising a total of 367 participants (Principal contractor n = 114; supply chain n = 253). Participants were asked to rate the safety culture maturity of their organisation and the safety culture maturity of the other group using Hudson’s safety culture maturity model. The results identified a significant difference in the perceived safety culture maturity of the Principal Contractor and Supply Chain, with Principal Contractors perceived by all parties as more mature than the supply chain. This suggests that the power structure across a project has more of an effect on perceptions than self-enhancement by any organizational type. The divergent power relationship between Principal Contractor and their Supply Chain may influence the reported levels of safety culture maturity for the project as a whole, and has a bearing on how safety culture interventions should be delivered to effect change.


Safety Culture Supply chain Construction 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shelley Stiles
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Brendan Ryan
    • 1
  • David Golightly
    • 1
  1. 1.Human Factors Research GroupUniversity of NottinghamNottinghamEngland
  2. 2.2020 SHE Solutions Ltd.Burton on TrentEngland

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