Research in Engineering and Aviation

Safety Culture: Testing the Safety Culture Pyramid with Structural Equation Modeling


Author(s):  Kelly, T., Meyer, R., & Patankar, M.´╗┐


´╗┐Organizations, especially those in high-consequence industries, are spending time and money trying to develop a safety culture. Using Patankar, Brown, Sabin, and Bigda-Peyton’s (2012) safety culture pyramid as theoretical guidance, the current study investigates the influence of safety values, strategies, climate, and performance on safety culture. Data was collected from a major U.S. aviation organization and tested with structural equation modeling. A confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was conducted first to determine whether a one-factor or four-factor model explained the data best. Additionally, data from three separate groups of management personnel were isolated and tested for model fit.

CFA results demonstrated that a four-factor model was better than a one-factor model, thus supporting the safety culture pyramid’s four distinct levels. In addition, results indicated that the model fit managers and production supervisors’ data well, but not the data of management engineers. Limitations of the study and implications of the findings are discussed.

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