An Evaluation of Behaviours and Practices of Construction SME Leaders in Relation to Positive Health and Safety Performance

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)


The construction industry is complex, dynamic and viewed as a high-hazard industry. Within the supply chain, Small and Medium- Sized Enterprises (SMEs) are vital to the development and sustainability of the construction industry. However, construction SMEs are also a significant cause of accidents and incidents. Due to the influence, the leader exerts on health and safety performance, this research adds to the understanding and knowledge of positive leadership behaviour for construction SME health and safety performance.

This research aims to evaluate the behaviours and practices of construction SME leaders, in relation to positive health and safety performance.

A qualitative research method was applied to a construction health and safety expert group (6), followed by 32 SME leader interviews. Data were managed within data analysis software utilising a 4P analysis structure of Partnership, Process, Performance and Pressures.

The SME interviewee’s vision aims to develop their unique leadership style to build a team, and prevent accidents. Their positive practices consider supporting and developing the employee through communication, motivation, innovation and creativity to improve health and safety performance.

The interviewees continually reflected on their health and safety practices aligning the operational risk and the organisation’s commercial requirements. The reflection process allowed adjustments to be made to the health and safety practices. Therefore, the construction SME interviewees’ behaviour followed an informal health and safety performance improvement characterising the PDCA process, within a Vision, Practices, Reflect and Refining structure (VPRR).

The research develops the understanding of the SME leader’s behaviour for health and safety performance through the VPRR model. The VPRR behaviours model allows other SME construction leaders to replicate positive behaviours for health and safety performance.
Date of Award2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Glasgow Caledonian University
SupervisorKenneth Lawani (Supervisor) & Billy Hare (Supervisor)

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