Date of Award

Fall 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Director

Konstantin P. Cigularov

Committee Member

James M. Henson

Committee Member

Xiaoxiao Hu


Research indicates that leadership is a potent antecedent of safety performance and outcomes. Specifically, quality of leadership has been identified as a critical target for occupational safety research. The current studies focused on employee perceptions of leader justice, operationalized in general (Study 1) and safety-specific contexts (Study 2), and leader support for safety, and investigated their interactions in predicting safety performance. Only one published study has explored the direct impact of leader justice on safety and no previous research has contextualized leader justice in safety-specific terms. It was postulated that general and safety-specific leader justices and support for safety would exhibit positive main effects on workers' safety performance. Empirical works have also demonstrated that facet-free and facet-specific leadership variables may interact in predicting employee safety outcomes. Following this line of work, leader support for safety was expected to interact with general leader justice such that general leader justice would have its strongest relationship with safety performance when leader support for safety was high. Conversely, no interaction was expected between safety-specific leader justice and leader support for safety when predicting safety performance. The above hypotheses were examined using data from two independent samples across two studies. Data were derived from a larger project entitled, "Enhancing Safety through Leadership" and were collected via in-person and mailed surveys from unionized journeymen and apprentices in the pipefitting and plumbing trades from three regions of the United States. Surveys were completed by 249 participants for Study 1 and 257 participants for Study 2.

Confirmatory factor analyses supported the dimensionality of leader justice as well as safety performance. Correlations and hierarchical linear multiple regressions were conducted to analyze the proposed direct and interactive effects. Results generally supported hypotheses and indicated that general leader justice, safety-specific leader justice, and leader support for safety were significantly and positively related to safety performance. As predicted, leader support for safety was found to moderate the effect of general leader justice on safety performance. Unexpectedly, leader support for safety also moderated the effect of safety-specific leader justice on safety participation. These results indicated that the effect of leader fair treatment on employee safety was contingent on the extent to which employees perceived their leader to support safety. The findings emphasize the importance of employee perceptions of leader fair treatment and leader support for safety as key predictors of employee safety behaviors. Theoretical and practical implications of the findings are discussed.


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