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Choi, B and Lee, S (2017) Role of Social Norms and Social Identifications in Safety Behavior of Construction Workers. II: Group Analyses for the Effects of Cultural Backgrounds and Organizational Structures on Social Influence Process. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 143(05).
- Type: Journal Article
- Keywords: Safety management; Safety behavior; Social influence; Cultural difference; Organizational structure; Labor and personnel issues;
- ISBN/ISSN: 0733-9364
- URL: https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)CO.1943-7862.0001254
The roles of perceived management norm, perceived workgroup norm, and project identity in construction workers’ safety behavior were described in the companion paper. That paper found that workers who strongly identify with their project demonstrate a stronger association between strict perceived management norms and safety behavior and a diminished association between lenient perceived workgroup norms and safety behavior. However, it is still unclear whether the findings are stable across different cultural backgrounds and organizational structures. To address this issue, this study aims to compare the roles of perceived management norm, perceived workgroup norm, and project identity in workers’ safety behavior in different cultural backgrounds and organizational structures. The surveys were conducted in the United States, Korea, and Saudi Arabia for the group analyses because the three countries are both different from and similar to each other in terms of cultural backgrounds and organizational structure. The result demonstrated a significant relationship between social norms (e.g., perceived management norms and perceived workgroup norms) and safety behavior, but cultural and organizational contexts can make a difference in the social influence processes. It was found that workers’ social identification with their projects functions as an important mechanism that moderates the relationship between social norms and safety behavior in the United States and Korea. Just as the individualistic culture in the United States leads to significant direct effects of attitudes on safety behavior, the collectivistic culture in Korea brings about the significant effects of the perceived management norm and perceived workgroup norm on safety behavior. On the other hand, in Saudi Arabia, although workers already have a salient project identity due to its system of direct hiring, interactions between project identity and social norms do not have significant associations with safety behavior because perceived management norms may not be strict enough to elicit behavioral changes in improving safety behavior. The findings from this study lay a theoretical foundation for a new approach to safety management in international construction projects. Beyond the sociopsychological aspect of safety behavior, considerations of cultural and organization context would be essential to strengthen positive social influence on workers’ safety behavior in international construction projects.