Safety Culture Assessment: A Mission Impossible?

13 Pages Posted: 24 Nov 2009

See all articles by Stian Antonsen

Stian Antonsen

affiliation not provided to SSRN


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.

Suggested Citation

Antonsen, Stian, Safety Culture Assessment: A Mission Impossible?. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, Vol. 17, Issue 4, pp. 242-254, December 2009, Available at SSRN: or

Stian Antonsen (Contact Author)

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