Technical Papers
Nov 16, 2016

Role of Social Norms and Social Identifications in Safety Behavior of Construction Workers. I: Theoretical Model of Safety Behavior under Social Influence

Publication: Journal of Construction Engineering and Management
Volume 143, Issue 5

Abstract

During the last several decades, behavior-based safety (BBS) has drawn a considerable amount of attention in the construction industry. The focus of BBS is on improving construction workers’ safety behavior through feedback and increased self-awareness and motivation. Among the influencing factors of safety behavior, social norm is known to be a powerful mechanism that regulates workers’ safety behavior. However, it is unclear how social norms are developed and through which process social norms influence an individual worker’s safety behavior in construction projects. Additionally, the temporary and contract-based nature of employment in construction projects makes understanding the influence of different social norms on workers’ safety behavior in construction projects especially difficult. Given this background, this paper aims to better understand the process by which different social norms exert control over construction workers’ safety behavior. To achieve this goal, empirical data were collected from 284 workers from eight construction sites in the United States, Korea, and Saudi Arabia using surveys, and the data were analyzed. The results demonstrate that workers’ safety behavior is influenced by perceived management norm, perceived workgroup norm, and personal attitude, and perceived workgroup norm mediates the relationship between perceived management norm and safety behavior. In addition, it is shown that social identification with the project intensifies the relationship between perceived management norm and safety behavior and attenuates the relationship between perceived workgroup norm and safety behavior. These findings contribute to the body of knowledge on construction safety by providing an explicative model for how social norms influence workers’ safety behavior, and suggest that a sociopsychological approach to promote project identity and reinforce favorable social norms in construction workers can be an effective means of improving construction safety.

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank the industry partners for their help with data collection, as well as anonymous participants who participated in the surveys. The authors also wish to acknowledge financial support from the Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) Award at the University of Michigan.

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Go to Journal of Construction Engineering and Management
Journal of Construction Engineering and Management
Volume 143Issue 5May 2017

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Received: May 11, 2016
Accepted: Sep 9, 2016
Published online: Nov 16, 2016
Discussion open until: Apr 16, 2017
Published in print: May 1, 2017

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Byungjoo Choi [email protected]
Ph.D. Candidate, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Univ. of Michigan, 2350 Hayward St., G.G. Brown Bldg., Ann Arbor, MI 48109. E-mail: [email protected]
Seungjun Ahn, A.M.ASCE [email protected]
Lecturer, School of Natural and Built Environments, Univ. of South Australia, North Terrace and Frome Rd., Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia. E-mail: [email protected]
SangHyun Lee, M.ASCE [email protected]
Associate Professor, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Univ. of Michigan, 2350 Hayward St., G.G. Brown Bldg., Ann Arbor, MI 48109 (corresponding author). E-mail: [email protected]

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