Organizational citizenship behaviours in high risk industries: an investigation into effects on occupational safety
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
This study examined the relationship between helping (organizational citizenship behaviours) and workplace safety. It is the second study in a sequence, building on an initial study by Burt and Williams (2012). The aims of the current study are three-fold. Firstly, further evidence was sought to support the argument put forth by Burt and Williams (2012) suggesting that there are situations in which helping behaviours can lead to an increase in safety risk. Additionally, based on findings from Burt and Williams (2012), the following two situations were investigated: I) why do helpers often not tell the target of help that help has been given; and, II) in the instance where help inadvertently leads to a safety risk increase for the target, why does the target fail to communicate this risk increase back to the helper. The personality traits of humility and agreeableness were hypothesised to positively relate to the first and second situations, respectively. The sample consisted of 79 participants across a variety of high risk occupations. Participants completed an anonymous questionnaire, containing measures of job risk, negative outcomes of helping behaviours, humility, agreeableness, single item measures to assess situation I and II, and subsequent measures to further investigate these two situations. The results showed clear evidence that helping can be associated with safety risks. Both of the personality-based hypotheses failed to reach significance. However, the results suggest that helpers often fail to tell the target of help that help has been given, through a lack of understanding regarding the importance of communicating one’s helping behaviours, and a lack of time or opportunity. Additionally, results suggest that the instance where help inadvertently leads to an increased safety risk for the target (but the target fails to inform the helper of this risk increase), occurs through the target wanting to protect the helper’s confidence, and not wishing to be seen as ungrateful. The results provide valuable information to significantly add to the limited literature regarding helping behaviours and occupational safety. The findings from this study potentially allow organizations to decrease the negative safety outcomes of such behaviours. Limitations and suggestions for future research are discussed.