Date of Award

Summer 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Director

Konstantin P. Cigularov

Committee Member

Debra A. Major

Committee Member

M. Lance Frazier


Research on occupational safety has been on the rise in recent years, owing to the high rates of deaths and disabilities that occur in the workplace. Findings suggest that unsafe behaviors and work-related accidents and injuries can be reduced through increasing employee safety motivation. Additional research has recognized leadership as a source of employee safety motivation. However, most studies have empirically assessed safety motivation and its antecedents using a cross-sectional design. Therefore, the aims of the current study were to examine effects of various safety-specific leader behaviors, following the full-range leadership model, on safety motivation using a time-lagged study design. Next, using theory of planned behavior as a theoretical framework, the present study examined the role of three mediating mechanisms, namely, attitudes, norms, and control toward safety behaviors, in the relationship between safety-specific leader behaviors and safety motivation. It was hypothesized that safety-specific transformational, contingent reward, and management-by-exception active leadership would be positively related to safety motivation, whereas management-by-exception passive and laissez-faire leadership would be negatively related to safety motivation. In addition, it was proposed that the five leadership dimensions would exhibit an indirect relationship with employee safety motivation through their influence on attitudes, norms, and control toward safety behaviors.

The sample for this study consisted of 168 members from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk who were employed in high-risk industries and occupations. Participants completed the survey at two points in time, separated by three months. Results indicated that while transformational, contingent reward, and management-by-exception active leadership were positively related to safety motivation, management-by-exception passive and laissez-faire leadership did not exhibit any relationship with safety motivation. Furthermore, safety attitudes mediated the relationship between leader behaviors and safety motivation for transformational and management-by-exception active leadership. Safety norms were found to mediate the relationship between all leadership dimensions and safety motivation. Safety control did not mediate the leadership – safety motivation relationship for any of the five leadership dimensions. The findings of this study bolster support for importance of active leader behaviors in impacting employee safety motivation, as well as highlight the need for leadership development for enhancing employee safety performance.


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