Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management

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Volume 17 Issue 4 (December 2009), Pages 203-313

Safety Culture Assessment: A Mission Impossible? (pages 242-254)

How, if at all, is it possible to assess aspects of organizational culture and the way culture influences safety? This question concerns the possibility of proactive assessments: whether it is possible to ‘predict’ if an organization is prone to having major accidents on the basis of safety culture assessments. The article presents an empirical analysis of this question by comparing the results of a quantitative safety culture assessment on the Norwegian oil and gas platform Snorre Alpha, with the results of a qualitative investigation after a major incident on the platform. The two descriptions of the same culture are dramatically different. The lack of concurrence between the two descriptions suggests that safety culture surveys may have little predictive value.

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