Safety culture across cultures

Patrick L. Yorio*, J. Edwards, Dick Hoeneveld

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


National culture colors nearly every aspect of human behavior (Javidan et al., 2006). Despite this truism, the concept has yet to be integrated into organizational safety culture theory. The purpose of this article is to bring awareness as to how national culture can influence organizational safety culture. We do so by theorizing that the shared organizational beliefs, assumptions, and values related to safety (i.e., the anthropologic component of safety culture) are a reflection of the national culture in which the organization's workers are embedded. These organizational values, beliefs, and assumptions directly influence worker perceptions of organizational life and their behavioral choices. Given this prospectively strong direct influence on organizational behavior, we reason that the effectiveness of different organizational structure designs, safety management practices, and leadership characteristics (i.e., safety culture's normative component) can depend on characteristics of the national culture within which the organization resides. We conclude by providing a few key practical suggestions and directions for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)402-410
Number of pages9
JournalSafety Science
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • National culture
  • Organizational safety culture
  • Societal culture


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