Management’s ‘genuine benevolence’ and worker commitment to health and safety – a qualitative study

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The engagement or disengagement of workers within their workplace involves the workers using different degrees of their physical, cognitive, and emotional selves during the performance of their roles. Previous research has consistently identified the significance of developing a highly engaged workforce and the construction industry seeks to enhance levels of engagement to influence greater worker commitment to Occupational Safety and Health (OSH). The significance of worker commitment lies in the perception of predicting positive performance and improvement of OSH at work. This phenomenological study reviewed extant literature by adopting an acceptable commitment theory; used focus group meetings and Delphi technique to agree on the proposed set of theoretical themes. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with workers to establish and validate the commitment themes. Three levels of worker commitment (conditional, compliance and citizenship) were operationalized to evaluate if workers truly perceive that their organization or management genuinely inspires them to work safely to achieve compliance or citizenship commitments. The findings identified no element of conditional commitment amongst the workers probably because it was challenging getting access to disengaged workers to speak to. It also revealed that some operatives perceive that their organization predominantly persuade them to commit to OSH to avoid fines and claims rather than being genuinely benevolent for the wellbeing of the workforce. Furthermore, the findings indicated a split in the number of workers performing OSH roles to attain compliance commitment (legislation driven) and citizenship commitment (going above-and-beyond compliance).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Joint CIB W099 and TG59 Conference
Subtitle of host publicationCoping with the Complexity of Safety, Health, and Wellbeing in Construction
Publication statusPublished - 3 Aug 2018


  • genuine benevolence, commitment, conditional, compliance, citizenship


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