A Multilevel Examination of Occupational Safety: Regulatory Focus as an Explanatory Link Between Climate, Conscientiousness, and Performance
Wallace, Julian Craig
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Occupational safety has once again become an inviting area of research and application for organizational researchers. Researchers have abandoned the search for the accident-prone employee and begun to identify the underlying symptoms that might lead to unsafe behaviors and accidents. The current research built upon theory and recent findings by integrating regulatory focus theory into an interactional model of occupational safety and productivity in an attempt to explain and predict safety performance and speed performance. Using a sample of facility workers (i.e., building and landscape development and maintenance, n = 251) a cross-level model of relationships was investigated that links facets of conscientiousness (dependability and achievement) and climate (safety and productivity) to facets of performance (safety and speed) via regulatory focus (prevention and promotion). Results indicated that both climates and personality facets were important predictors of prevention while achievement and production climate predicted promotion. In turn prevention positively predicted safety and negatively predicted speed while promotion positively predicted speed and negatively predicted safety. Most interesting were the findings that prevention carried the effects of both climates and conscientiousness facets to safety and speed performance and promotion carried the effects of production and achievement to speed and safety performance. Results failed to support any cross-level interactions between climate and personality in predicting regulatory focus. It appears that regulatory focus is indeed an important construct in occupational safety and that both individual and contextual characteristics uniquely play an important role in predicting ones regulatory focus.