Role of Psychological Contract to Influence Safety Behaviour at Construction Sites

  • Mohammad Tanvi NewazEmail author
  • Peter Davis
  • Marcus Jefferies
  • Manikam Pillay
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 791)


Viewing safety through the lens of the ‘Psychological Contract’ and considering the influence of supervisor on construction site, this research proposes a ‘Psychological Contract of Safety’ (PCS) which is based on the mutual obligations to safety between supervisor and workers, predicts safety behaviour at a construction site. In order to test this hypothesis, data were collected from a mega-construction project in Sydney, Australia. The empirical data indicates that there is a strong influence of the PCS on the safety behaviour of individual workers. Using Structural Equation Modelling this research tested a survey instrument that can be used in other construction settings to examine the strength of the mutual relationship between supervisors and workers and its influence on safety behaviour.


Construction safety management Psychological contract Safety behaviour Workers perception 


  1. 1.
    Sunindijo, R.Y., Zou, P.X.: Political skill for developing construction safety climate. J. Constr. Eng. Manag. 138, 605–612 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Lingard, H.: Occupational health and safety in the construction industry. Constr. Manag. Econ. 31, 505–514 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Lingard, H., Cooke, T., Blismas, N.: Safety climate in conditions of construction subcontracting: a multi-level analysis. Constr. Manag. Econ. 28, 813–825 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Lingard, H., Cooke, T., Blismas, N.: Do perceptions of supervisors’ safety responses mediate the relationship between perceptions of the organizational safety climate and incident rates in the construction supply chain? J. Constr. Eng. Manag. 138, 234–241 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Hofmann, D.A., Morgeson, F.P.: Safety-related behavior as a social exchange: the role of perceived organizational support and leader–member exchange. J. Appl. Psychol. 84, 286–296 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Blau, P.M.: Exchange and Power in Social Life. Wiley, New York (1964)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Walker, A., Hutton, D.M.: The application of the psychological contract to workplace safety. J. Saf. Res. 37, 433–441 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Newaz, M.T., Jefferies, M., Davis, P., Pillay, M.: Using the psychological contract to measure safety outcomes on construction sites. In: Chan, P.W., Neilson, C.J. (eds.) Proceedings of the 32nd Annual ARCOM Conference. Association of Researchers in Construction Management, Manchester (2016)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Newaz, M.T., Davis, P., Jefferies, M., Pillay, M.: The psychological contract of safety: the missing link between safety climate and safety behaviour in construction sites. In: Advances in Safety Management and Human Factors, pp. 199–210. Springer, Cham (2016)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Heinrich, H.W., Granniss, E.: Industrial accident prevention (1959)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Salminen, S., Tallberg, T.: Human errors in fatal and serious occupational accidents in Finland. Ergonomics 39, 980–988 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Fleming, M., Lardner, R.: Strategies to Promote Safe Behaviour as Part of a Health and Safety Management System. HSE Books, Sudbury (2002)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Cooper, M.D.: Towards a model of safety culture. Saf. Sci. 36, 111–136 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Zohar, D.: Modifying supervisory practices to improve subunit safety: a leadership-based intervention model. J. Appl. Psychol. 87, 156–163 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Herrnstein, R.J., Loewenstein, G.F., Prelec, D., Vaughan, W.: Utility maximization and melioration: internalities in individual choice. J. Behav. Decis. Mak. 6, 149–185 (1993)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Griffin, M.A., Andrew, N.: Perceptions of safety at work: a framework for linking safety climate to safety performance, knowledge, and motivation. J. Occup. Health Psychol. 5, 347 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Choudhry, R.M., Fang, D.: Why operatives engage in unsafe work behavior: investigating factors on construction sites. Saf. Sci. 46, 566–584 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Langford, D., Rowlinson, S., Sawacha, E.: Safety behaviour and safety management: its influence on the attitudes of workers in the UK construction industry. Eng. Constr. Archit. Manag. 7, 133–140 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Lee, C., Liu, J., Rousseau, D.M., Hui, C., Chen, Z.X.: Inducements, contributions, and fulfillment in new employee psychological contracts. Hum. Resour. Manag. 50, 201–226 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Conway, N., Briner, R.B.: Full-time versus part-time employees: understanding the links between work status, the psychological contract, and attitudes. J. Vocat. Behav. 61, 279–301 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Robinson, S.L., Morrison, E.W.: The development of psychological contract breach and violation: a longitudinal study. J. organ. Behav. 21, 525–546 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Sully, M.: When rules are not enough: safety regulation and safety culture in the commercial driving context. In: Insurance Commission of Western Australia Conference on Road Safety, Perth, Western Australia (2001)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Freese, C., Schalk, R., Croon, M.: The impact of organizational changes on psychological contracts: a longitudinal study. Pers. Rev. 40, 404–422 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Walker, A.: Outcomes associated with breach and fulfillment of the psychological contract of safety. J. Saf. Res. 47, 31–37 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Walker, A.: The development and validation of a psychological contract of safety scale. J. Saf. Res. 41, 315–321 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Fang, D., Wu, C., Wu, H.: Impact of the supervisor on worker safety behavior in construction projects. J. Manag. Eng. 31(6), 04015001 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Zhang, R.P., Lingard, H., Nevin, S.: Development and validation of a multilevel safety climate measurement tool in the construction industry. Constr. Manag. Econ. 33(10), 818–839 (2015)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Neal, A., Griffin, M.A.: A study of the lagged relationships among safety climate, safety motivation, safety behavior, and accidents at the individual and group levels. J. Appl. Psychol. 91, 946–953 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Seo, D.-C.: An explicative model of unsafe work behavior. Saf. Sci. 43, 187–211 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Hoyle, R.H.: Structural Equation Modeling: Concepts, Issues, and Applications. Sage, Thousand Oaks (1995)Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Hair, J.F., Gabriel, M., Patel, V.: AMOS covariance-based structural equation modeling (CB-SEM): guidelines on its application as a marketing research tool. Braz. J. Market. 13, 12 (2014)Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Awang, Z.: A Handbook on SEM. Structural Equation Modeling (2012)Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Holmes-Smith, P., Coote, L., Cunningham, E.: Structural Equation Modeling: From the Fundamentals to Advanced Topics. SREAMS, Melbourne (2006)Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Hu, L.t., Bentler, P.M.: Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Struct. Equ. Model. Multidiscip. J. 6, 1–55 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Tabachnick, B.G., Fidell, L.S.: Using Multivariate Statistics. Allyn & Bacon/Pearson Education, Boston (2007)Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Guadagnoli, E., Velicer, W.F.: Relation to sample size to the stability of component patterns. Psychol. Bull. 103, 265 (1988)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    MacCallum, R.C., Widaman, K.F., Preacher, K.J., Hong, S.: Sample size in factor analysis: the role of model error. Multivar. Behav. Res. 36, 611–637 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Fornell, C., Larcker, D.F.: Structural equation models with unobservable variables and measurement error: algebra and statistics. J. Market. Res. 18(3), 382–388 (1981)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Mohamed, S.: Safety climate in construction site environments. J. Constr. Eng. Manag. 128, 375–384 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohammad Tanvi Newaz
    • 1
    Email author
  • Peter Davis
    • 1
  • Marcus Jefferies
    • 1
  • Manikam Pillay
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Architecture and Built EnvironmentThe University of NewcastleNewcastleAustralia
  2. 2.School of Health SciencesThe University of NewcastleNewcastleAustralia

Personalised recommendations