Site managers and safety leadership in the offshore oil and gas industry
Leadership is thought to be an important determinant of organisational culture and a key motivational influence affecting individual workers' behaviour. Until recently, very few studies have looked at safety as a criterion for measuring leadership effectiveness. This thesis examines the impact of managerial leadership at the site manager level, on the safety behaviours of employees. The focus is the UK offshore oil and gas industry, where the remote location of the worksite, and the close working and living conditions of managers and employees means that the impact of the site managers (Offshore Installation Managers), is likely to be strong. However it is contended that the findings also apply to other high reliability organisations such nuclear power generation, conventional power generation, and the maritime industry, who also have to contend with issues such as remote location, long working hours and extended periods away from home. And, similar to the offshore industry, the site manager is ultimately responsible for the health, safety and wellbeing of all those at the worksite. The aim of this thesis is to develop a unified theoretical and empirical model of the factors at site management level that predict employee safety behaviour. Three empirical studies are presented in which the attitudes of site managers, supervisors and employees from a single offshore operating company are explored. The first is a foundation study in which Offshore Installation Managers' (OIMs') attitudes to, and experience of, safety leadership in the offshore industry are examined, using a questionnaire survey. In the second study the attitudes of OIMs, supervisors and employees from six offshore installation are gathered, using questionnaire surveys. Mirrored scales are used to investigate (i) the degree of concurrence between the attitudes of the three levels (ii) the level which has the most impact on employees' behaviours, and (iii) the extent to which the factors are capable of predicting employees' safety behaviour. In the third study, a model of safety leadership is developed from the findings of the previous two studies.