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Title: Investigating the relationship between LMX, safety climate and the components of safety performance in a high accident environment
Author: Birkbeck, David
ISNI:       0000 0004 2690 6855
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis presents two distinct, but linked, studies. Study 1 contrasted interactive [group] brainstorming against its nominal [individual] counterpart. Previous research has pointed to the productivity advantages of nominal brainstorming in terms of idea production rate [ideation], leading theorists to predict 'the end of interactive brainstorming'. Yet interactive brainstorming has remained the most popular means of ideation within organizations. Central to this research is the thesis that previous studies (a) failed to follow the instructions of the concept originator, Osborn (1953) and (b) used samples and conditions that were not representative of the organizations using brainstorming. Using a total of 10 groups sourced from a UK construction company, participants were asked to brainstorm ideas to improve organizational safety performance. Data produced indicated an equal average number of ideas generated, 30 for interactive, 30.2 for nominal, and an equal number of themes generated, 6.6 for interactive, 6.6 for nominal. Along with ideas and themes, post session group cohesion and process satisfaction levels were measured. Results indicated significantly higher levels of cohesion (t (73.75)=2.35, P<.05) and satisfaction (t (71.07)=4.74, P<.001) for the interactive condition over its nominal counterpart. Implications for research in this area are discussed.Study 2 consisted of two strands of research. The utility of interactive brainstorming, demonstrated in Study 1, highlighted its potential as a means of improving participation in safety. This formed the first area of research. The second area of research concerned the design and analysis of a working model in which Leader Member Exchange (LMX) and safety climate were identified as antecedents, compliance and participation as components and self report near miss/accident involvement as outcomes of safety performance. This model, and the potential utility of brainstorming as a means of improving participation, was tested using a longitudinal methodology. Study participants, sourced from the Refuse Collections division of a UK Local Authority, were asked to complete a questionnaire. LMX was measured using Graen and Uhl-Bien's (1995) LMX-7 scale, safety climate using Glendon and Litherland's (2001) questionnaire whilst measures of compliance and participant were sourced from Neal and Griffin (2006). This produced 101 respondents. Following this, brainstorming sessions were conducted with employees to produce safety improvement ideas. Questionnaires were redistributed seven months later and produced 104 respondents. Results indicated no improvement in participation over the period allocated, however, the measures of antecedents, components and outcomes of safety performance produced a number of significant findings. LMX was found to exhibit a direct relationship with accident involvement, however, analysis revealed the fluctuating mediating roles of compliance and participation in this relationship. Safety climate was found to moderate the relationship between LMX, compliance and participation. Although high levels of safety climate corresponded to higher levels of compliance and participation, LMX was seen to improve compliance and participation only in low climate environments, with this relationship reverse in positive safety climates. This finding is contrary to similar research in this area and the implications for future theory are discussed.
Supervisor: Clarke, Sharon ; O'Connor, Elinor Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: safety climate ; LMX ; participation ; brainstorming ; safety culture ; performance