Evaluating the horizontal alignment of safety management activities through cross-reference of data from safety audits, meetings and investigations

Nektarios Karanikas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
92 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Vertical and horizontal alignment within organizations are seen as prerequisites for meeting strategic objectives and indications of effective management. In the area of safety management, the concept of vertical alignment has been followed through the introduction of hierarchical structures and bidirectional communication, but horizontal alignment has been given little attention. The principal goal of this study was the assessment of horizontal alignment within an aviation organization with the use of data from safety investigations, audits and meetings in order to explore the extent to which (1) causal factors recorded in safety investigation reports comprised topics discussed by safety committees and focus areas of internal safety auditors, and (2) the agendas of safety committees include weak points revealed during safety audits. The study employed qualitative and quantitative analysis of data collected over a 6 years’ period at three organizational levels. The results suggested a low horizontal alignment across the three pairs of the corresponding safety management activities within each organizational level. The findings were attributed to the inadequacy of procedures and lack of a safety information database for consistently sharing safety information, cultural factors and lack of planning for the coordination of safety management activities. The current research comprises a contribution to the literature and practice and introduces a technique to assess the intra-alignment of safety management initiatives within various organizational levels. Future research is needed in order to investigate the association between horizontal alignment of safety management practices and safety performance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-49
JournalSafety Science
Volume98
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017

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