Centre of Applied Research Technology

Safety Culture Development: the Gap Between Industry Guidelines and Literature, and the Differences


Reason’s typology of safety culture (i.e. Just, Informative, Learning, Flexible and Reporting cultures) is widely used in the industry and academia. Through literature review we developed a framework including 36 markers that reflect the operationalization of Reason’s sub-cultures and general organizational prerequisites. We used the framework to assess to what extent safety culture development guidelines of seven industry sectors (i.e. aviation, railway, oil & gas, nuclear, healthcare, defense and maritime) incorporate academic references, and are similar to each other. Gap analysis and statistics showed that the guidelines include 53% to 69% of the safety culture markers, with significant differences across subcultures and industry sectors. The results suggested that there is a gap between the industry guidelines and literature, as well as variant approaches to safety culture across the industry. The framework suggested in the study might be used as reference for completing existing safety culture development plans and constructing safety culture assessment instruments.

Published by  Faculty of Technology 8 September 2016

Publication date

Sep 2016


Nektarios Karanikas
Robert J. de Boer
Alfred L.C. Roelen