Social identity in the construction industry: implications for safety perception and behaviour

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The construction industry has one of the highest frequency levels and rates of work-related injuries, yet the evidence for successful attempts to reduce injuries is generally lacking. The motivational and (safety) behavioural implications of social identification and social categorization among construction labourer work crews were investigated to ascertain how their interactions are affected by the social structure and organization of work. Semi-structured group interviews and mini interviews during work were carried out with 13 concrete work crews (totalling 53 persons) at five large construction sites. The organization of work fosters social identification within a crew, resulting in distancing from and social categorization of site management. Social identification influences safety behaviour in the crews, where worksite safety rules may meet resistance. Future safety initiatives at large construction sites should take into account the dynamics of social identification and categorization in the implementation of safety measures, e.g. by creating an alternative organization of work, thus making it easier for a work crew to identify themselves with the site management. Site/crew managers should consider how safety can become a salient and valued group norm by altering the social structure at the sites and/or fostering dual social identity.
TidsskriftConstruction Management and Economics
Sider (fra-til)640-652
Antal sider13
StatusUdgivet - 3 aug. 2015


  • Group dynamics, interviews, safety management, work-related injuries

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