Conceptualizing the Contextual Dynamics of Safety Climate and Safety Culture Research: A Comparative Scientometric Analysis

Jie Li, Floris Goerlandt, K.L.L. van Nunen, Koen Ponnet, G.L.L.M.E. Reniers

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


Safety climate and safety culture are important research domains in risk and safety science, and various industry and service sectors show significant interest in, and commitment to, applying its concepts, theories, and methods to enhance organizational safety performance. Despite the large body of literature on these topics, there are disagreements about the scope and focus of these concepts, and there is a lack of systematic understanding of their development patterns and the knowledge domains on which these are built. This article presents a comparative analysis of the literature focusing on safety climate and safety culture, using various scientometric analysis approaches and tools. General development patterns are identified, including the publication trends, in terms of temporal and geographical activity, the science domains in which safety culture and safety climate research occurs, and the scientific domains and articles that have primarily influenced their respective development. It is found that the safety culture and safety climate domains show strong similarities, e.g., in dominant application domains and frequently occurring terms. However, safety culture research attracts comparatively more attention from other scientific domains, and the research domains rely on partially different knowledge bases. In particular, while measurement plays a role in both domains, the results suggest that safety climate research focuses comparatively more on the development and validation of questionnaires and surveys in particular organizational contexts, whereas safety culture research appears to relate these measurements to wider organizational features and management mechanisms. Finally, various directions for future research are identified based on the obtained results
Original languageEnglish
Article number813
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Bibliometrics
  • CiteSpace
  • Safety climate
  • Safety culture
  • Scientometrics
  • VOSviewer


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