Safety Stressors: Deviant Reactions to Work-Safety Tension

Abstract

Workplace safety is an important concern for employers. Research shows that work-safety tension relates directly and indirectly to accidents and injuries. However, the degree to which work-safety tension is associated with behavioral outcomes beyond the safety domain has received less attention. To address this gap, we draw on conservation of resources theory to examine work-safety tension as an indirect predictor of deviant behavior towards others (i.e., instigated incivility) and the organization (i.e., production deviance). Job stress was studied as a mechanism by which work-safety tension may indirectly and positively relate to both forms of deviance. Results show that work-safety tension is indirectly associated with greater instigated incivility, but not with production deviance. Study implications, limitations, and directions for future research on the interface between workplace safety and workplace deviance are discussed.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    We compared the sex distribution, organization tenure, and number of hours worked between the n = 798 respondents retained for analysis and those respondents who were removed yet had data available for the comparison. There was a difference in the sex distribution (χ2 [1] = 4.23, p = .040), as the retained sample had more female respondents (59.0% versus 52.4%). There was also a difference in organization tenure (F [1, 983] = 5.68, p = .017), such that the retained sample had longer tenure (M = 8.66, SD = 8.93) than the removed sample (M = 7.01, SD = 7.60). There was not a statistically significant difference for hours worked each week (F [1, 974] = 3.10, p = .079).

  2. 2.

    These data were also used in Sample 2 in Walsh et al. (2018). However, none of the variables overlap across the two studies.

  3. 3.

    Three supervisors provided responses for more than one employee. Specifically, one supervisor responded for five employees, and the two remaining supervisors responded for two employees each. We addressed this potential non-independence in model testing.

  4. 4.

    See the Mplus website at http://www.statmodel.com/chidiff.shtml for more information.

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Walsh, B.M., McGonagle, A.K., Bauerle, T. et al. Safety Stressors: Deviant Reactions to Work-Safety Tension. Occup Health Sci 4, 63–81 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41542-020-00055-4

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Keywords

  • Job stress
  • Conservation of resources theory
  • Work-safety tension
  • Workplace incivility
  • Workplace deviance