Discourse-based intervention for modifying supervisory communication as leverage for safety climate and performance improvement: a randomized field study

J Appl Psychol. 2014 Jan;99(1):113-24. doi: 10.1037/a0034096. Epub 2013 Aug 12.


The article presents a randomized field study designed to improve safety climate and resultant safety performance by modifying daily messages in supervisor-member communications. Supervisors in the experimental group received 2 individualized feedback sessions regarding the extent to which they integrated safety and productivity-related issues in daily verbal exchanges with their members; those in the control group received no feedback. Feedback data originated from 7-9 workers for each supervisor, reporting about received supervisory messages during the most recent verbal exchange. Questionnaire data collected 8 weeks before and after the 12-week intervention phase revealed significant changes for safety climate, safety behavior, subjective workload, teamwork, and (independently measured) safety audit scores for the experimental group. Data for the control group (except for safety behavior) remained unchanged. These results are explained by corresponding changes (or lack thereof in the control group) in perceived discourse messages during the 6-week period between the 1st and 2nd feedback sessions. Theoretical and practical implications for climate improvement and organizational discourse research are discussed.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Communication*
  • Feedback, Psychological*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Personnel Management / methods*
  • Personnel Management / standards
  • Safety*
  • Task Performance and Analysis*