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Organizational Parameters that Impact on OHS Professional Practice

There are two fundamental conceptual organizational parameters stated in the Chapter “Foundation Science” (Pryor and Capra, 2012): organizational evolution and maturity in OHS and an organization’s strategy. These two parameters are intertwined in an organization and involve primary OHS professional’s focus. The organizational maturity refers to the level of trust and the level of information, i.e. OHS awareness.

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Hudson (2001) (cited in Pryor and Capra, 2012) mapped the model of organizational evolution from the lowest level of compliance with OHS, namely “pathological” level, to the highest trust and awareness of OHS, the “generative” level. Organizational strategy as an OHS parameter refers to evaluating an organization’s mission, values, and strategy in terms of their correspondence to OHS standards. More precise organizational parameters relevant to OHS assessment are ‘drivers’ of the business.

Identification of such drivers helps achieve and improve both strategic and OHS goals. The major drivers can be divided into three groups: legal drivers (organization’s legal liability, government regulation), social drivers (reputational risks, community and political pressures), and economic drivers (supply chain pressure, commercial differentiator).

In my opinion, there can be additional organizational parameter, which would be able to grasp another potential gap between an organization’s conduct and OHS standards. This parameter would refer to the worker’s awareness of OHS. It would resemble Hudson’s model but follow a bottom-up approach (Widok and Wohlgemuth, 2015). It is important to include such assessment since fundamental changes cannot happen in an environment that is not ready for changes.

Leadership and Cultural Issues that Impact an Organization

Three major studies have influenced the research of links between the leadership and cultural issues in an organization. First, Schein’s findings (2010) (cited in Pryor and Capra, 2012, p. 10) show that leaders’ influence on an organization’s culture is crucial since it is the leaders who chose what practices to encourage and dismiss. The essential role of attention to practices rather than values was emphasized by Hofstede (Pryor and Capra, 2012).

Basing his study on the previous two, Reason (1998) (cited in Pryor and Capra, 2012, p. 11) suggested four types of organizational cultures that could be socially engineered. The main question of the developing stream of research is whether “culture is something an organization is (how workers and managers value safety) or has (practices and policies designed to enhance safety)” (Pryor and Capra, 2012, p. 11).

Professor Andrew Hopkins defines culture as “the way we do things around here; the way we make decisions around here” (Pryor and Capra, 2012, p. 13). He also acknowledges the distinction between culture as a mindset and culture as a set of practices. Hopkins supports Hofstede’s claim and argues that changes in culture should consist of changes in organizational practices.

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With the change in practices, people will change their beliefs by adjusting them to their practices to avoid cognitive dissonance. What is crucial in understanding the relationship between leadership and culture is that they are co-dependent: “Leaders actually generate culture, but culture also throws up particular types of leaders” (Pryor and Capra, 2012, p. 21).

In my opinion, one could also add a broader concept of context into consideration. Wider social, political, and economic contexts play a direct role in shaping people’s beliefs that eventually guide their practices and, most importantly, views on the leadership (Gao, 2017). This parameter, however, would be of theoretical nature and could be used for developing applied models.

Management Theories within Organizations

The STS Company: organizational environment theory. Evident in the sentence: “The success of this policy is not solely a management priority but a priority of every employee of the Company” (Health, Safety and Environment, 2020, para.9). Decentralized responsibility but centralized monitoring of objectives and targets achievement.

The Galfar Company: Administrative management theory. Evident in the sentence: “Empower line management to fully implement this HSE Policy and hold all employees accountable for compliance with HSE regulations and standards” (HSE Policy Statement, 2020, para. 5). Management principles involve a strict division of labour, a centralized line of authority, and unity of direction and discipline.

The PDO Company: Management science theory. Evident in the sentence: “Implement and maintain a formal rule based HSE management system clearly defining all prerequisites, competencies, ownership and enabling workforce participation” (Health, Safety and Environmental (HSE) Policy, 2020, para. 4). The focus is on increasing workforce efficiency and maximisation of efficient resources deployment.

Reference List

Gao, Y. (2017) ‘Business leaders’ personal values, organizational culture and market orientation’, Journal of Strategic Marketing, 25(1), pp. 49-64.

Health, Safety and Environment (2020). Web.

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Health, Safety and Environmental (HSE) Policy (2020). Web.

HSE Policy Statement (2020). Web.

Pryor, P. and Capra, M. (2012) ‘Foundation Science’, in HaSPA (Health and Safety Professionals Alliance) (eds.), The core body of knowledge for generalist OHS professionals. Tullamarine: Safety Institute of Australia, pp. 1-28.

Widok, A. H. and Wohlgemuth, V. (2015) ‘Definition of social sustainability criteria for the simulation of OHS in manufacturing entities‘, Third International Conference on Information and Communication Technology for Sustainability (ICT4S) Conference/ Twenty Nineth International Conference on Informatics for Environmental Protection (EnviroInfo) proceedings. Copenhagen, pp. 7-14. Web.

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