Characterising influences on safety culture in military aviation: a methodologically grounded approach

Anthea Bennett, Elizabeth Hellier, Andrew Weyman

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Abstract

Historically, much effort has been expended in safety culture / climate research toward identifying a generic core set of components, predominately using the self-administered questionnaire approach. However, no stable unified model has emerged, and much of this research has taken a methodologically top-down approach to depicting organisational safety culture. In light of this, the benefits of qualitative exploration as a precursor to and foundation for the development of quantitative climate measures are increasingly recognised. When grounded in the viewpoint of employees, qualitative data driven techniques can provide an insight into how those within an organisation make sense of their work environment and how this impacts their understanding of safety. The current research aimed to address issues of ecological validity by using a qualitative approach to exploring and characterising military aviation employee perspectives on safety culture and risk taking prior to development of a quantitative measurement tool. A thematic analysis of twelve focus groups (N=89),conducted with military employees in a semi-structured manner, was undertaken. This insight into how these personnel interpret their working world was characterised by six nameable constructs: 1. Policy and procedures, 2. Pressure, 3. Management ownership of safety, 4. Individual responsibility and risk perception, 5. Communication and 6. Organisational commitment. Interpretation of these constructs and implications for the future development of a quantitative measurment tool are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Human Factor and Ergonomics Society (Europe, 2016)
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2015

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Bennett, A., Hellier, E., & Weyman, A. (Accepted/In press). Characterising influences on safety culture in military aviation: a methodologically grounded approach. In Proceedings of the Human Factor and Ergonomics Society (Europe, 2016)