Analysis of safety leadership using a science mapping approach

Jing Tao, Fuqiang Yang*, Dongyang Qiu, Genserik Reniers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


It has been increasingly recognized that safety leadership can effectively contribute to organizational safety, so a lot of attention is paid to safety leadership studies in recent years. In order to understand the current status and development trends of research in safety leadership field around the world, a science mapping analysis of scientific publications on safety leadership was conducted via the Web of Science Core Collection database. Overall, a total of 238 documents on safety leadership were collected, involving 622 authors, 140 journals, 40 countries, and 388 institutes between 1999 and 2018. The studies associated with safety leadership have been growing from 3 in 1999 to 126 in 2018. The USA, UK, and Canada play important roles in safety leadership research, while further international cooperation should be strengthened in the future. Kelloway, Conchie, and Flin are the most active researchers in this field. With respect to the main sources of safety leadership publications, the Safety Science journal ranks first with 23 articles, followed by the International Journal of Psychology, and the Journal of Nursing Management. In addition, the University of Aberdeen (UK) is the most productive research institute with respect to safety leadership research. In terms of the frequency of keywords, safety performance, transformational leadership, member exchange, transactional leadership, and safety climate are the hottest topics in safety leadership research. The primary themes in safety leadership research concentrate on empiric supports of leadership on safety performance, various leadership styles applied in safety, specific applications of safety leadership in health care, and the correlation between safety leadership and safety climate. Additionally, there are new research topics appearing in recent three years, associated with psychological safety, authentic leadership, ethical leadership, charismatic leadership, empowering leadership.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)244-257
Number of pages14
JournalProcess Safety and Environmental Protection
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Bibliometric mapping
  • Safety leadership
  • Safety performance
  • Scientific knowledge


Dive into the research topics of 'Analysis of safety leadership using a science mapping approach'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this