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J Occup Health Psychol. 2014 Oct;19(4):437-52. doi: 10.1037/a0037110. Epub 2014 Jun 16.

Civility norms, safety climate, and safety outcomes: a preliminary investigation.

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Department of Psychology, Wayne State University.
Department of Management, University of Illinois at Springfield.
Department of Psychology, San Diego State University.
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.


Working environments that are both civil and safe are good for business and employee well-being. Civility has been empirically linked to such important outcomes as organizational performance and individuals' positive work-related attitudes, yet research relating civility to safety is lacking. In this study, we link perceptions of civility norms to perceptions of safety climate and safety outcomes. Drawing on social exchange theory, we proposed and tested a model in 2 samples wherein civility norms indirectly relate to safety outcomes through associations with various safety climate facets. Our results supported direct relationships between civility and management safety climate and coworker safety climate. Additionally, indirect effects of civility norms on unsafe behaviors and injuries were observed. Indirect effects of civility norms on unsafe behaviors were observed through coworker safety climate and work-safety tension. Indirect effects of civility norms on injuries were observed through management safety climate and work-safety tension for full-time employees, although these effects did not hold for part-time employees. This study provides initial evidence that researchers and practitioners may want to look beyond safety climate to civility norms to more comprehensively understand the origins of unsafe behaviors and injuries and to develop appropriate preventive interventions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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