Preventing Accidents and Building a Culture of Safety: Insights from a Simulation Model

36 Pages Posted: 27 Aug 2008

See all articles by John Lyneis

John Lyneis

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Stuart Madnick

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Date Written: February 25, 2008

Abstract

Research has approached the topic of safety in organizations from a number of different perspectives. On the one hand, psychological research on safety climate gives evidence for a range of organizational factors that predict safety across organizations. On the other hand, organizational learning theorists view safety as a dynamic problem in which organizations must learn from mistakes. Here, we synthesize these two streams of research by incorporating key organizational factors from the safety climate literature into a dynamic simulation model that also includes the possibility for learning. Analysis of simulation results sheds insight into the nature of reliability and confirms the dangers of over-reliance on 'single loop learning' as a mechanism for controlling safety behaviors. Special emphasis is placed on strategies that managers might use to encourage learning and prevent erosion in safety behaviors over time.

Keywords: safety, simulations, models

Suggested Citation

Lyneis, John and Madnick, Stuart E., Preventing Accidents and Building a Culture of Safety: Insights from a Simulation Model (February 25, 2008). MIT Sloan Research Paper No. 4710-08. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1256143 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1256143

John Lyneis (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

100 Main Street
E62-416
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

Stuart E. Madnick

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

E53-321
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-6671 (Phone)
617-253-3321 (Fax)

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