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Maturity models and safety culture: A critical review

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journal contribution
posted on 05.03.2018, 10:51 by A.P.G. Filho, Patrick WatersonPatrick Waterson
The available evidence suggests that maturity models are a popular means of assessing safety culture in organisations. The aim of the present study was to review their conceptual underpinnings and roots, as well as provide details of how they have been used to assess safety culture (e.g., types of methods used, coverage of safety domains). A total of 41 publications were reviewed based on a set of selection criteria (e.g., studies which explicitly reported data or a case study which used a maturity model). The findings indicate steady growth in the use of maturity models to assess safety culture particularly within domains such as construction, the oil and gas industries and healthcare. We also found that most studies focus on providing a descriptive account of safety culture using maturity models and make limited attempts to assess the reliability/validity of outcomes from their use. We discuss the strengths and weaknesses of maturity models in the light of our findings, alongside identifying a number of new directions for future work of relevance to safety researchers and practitioners (e.g., the need for more detailed case studies of the use of maturity models to assess safety, as well as more attention to the underlying theory guiding use of maturity models).



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Safety Science




192 - 211


FILHO, A.P.G. and WATERSON, P., 2018. Maturity models and safety culture: A critical review. Safety Science, 105, pp. 192-211.


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AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Safety Science and the definitive published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssci.2018.02.017.

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