The contribution of leadership behaviour in creating a safety conscious organisational culture : a case study of Anglo American mining operations

McLeod, Ashley (2008-12)

Thesis (MBA (Business Management))--Stellenbosch University, 2008.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In the 20th century, many employees in the South African mining industry were involved in occupational accidents which either resulted in personal injury or had fatal consequences. Despite the introduction of numerous industrial safety programmes to prevent fatal incidents and minor injuries, the South African mining industry death toll remains consistently high, at approximately 200 employees per annum. The trend of employee injury and death continues unabated into the new millennium. This safety performance has been met with growing dissatisfaction in the ranks of government, worker unions, employees and business stakeholders. This dissatisfaction is directed at chief executives who are being blamed for the occupational accidents on their mines. There is now growing focus on the leadership of mining companies and how it contributes to shaping an organisational culture for improved safety performance. The researcher examines whether leadership is a key component in creating a safety conscious organisational culture, and uses literature studies and the Anglo American mining company as a practical case study to support the investigation. Anglo American, listed on the Johannesburg and London stock exchanges is the largest mining company in South Africa and also one in which many fatal injuries have occurred; providing an abundance of safety information. The researcher reviews previous literature studies and explains the journey Anglo American undertook to improve its safety performance since listing on the London Stock Exchange in 1999. The concepts of organisational culture, safety culture, leadership and organisational performance, are discussed from a theoretical and practical perspective using literature studies. These are then examined with the ultimate view of understanding their practical impact on organisational safety as espoused in the literature. The literature provides a broad framework on which to assess Anglo American's safety journey from 1999 to the end of 2007. This journey details the safety programmes and efforts employed by Anglo American to eliminate fatalities and injuries and also highlights the impact of the organisation's leadership on the safety performance of the company. It is concluded that the contribution of leadership is pivotal to establishing a safety-conscious organisational culture and that specific behaviours from executives, senior managers, middle managers, supervisors and workers are needed to develop an organisations safety culture for improved safety performance.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Gedurende die 20ste eeu was baie werkers in die Suid-Afrikaanse mynbedryf betrokke in beroepsverwante ongelukke wat tot persoonlike beserings of lewensverlies gelei het. Ten spyte van die instelling van veelvuldige beroeps-veiligheidsprogramme om noodlottige insidente en ander minder ernstige beserings te voorkom, bly die dodetal in die Suid-Afrikaanse mynbedryf konstant hoog, teen ongeveer 200 werkers per jaar. Hierdie tendens van dood en beserings onder werkers gaan ongetem voort tot in die nuwe millennium. Hierdie veiligheidsrekord word met toenemende ontevredenheid deur die regering, werkers-vakbonde, werkers en bedryfsinsethouers beskou. Hierdie ontevredenheid word gemik op uitvoerende bestuur, wie blameer word vir beroepsverwante ongelukke in hul myne. Daar word dus toenemend gefokus op die leierskap van mynmaatskappye en hoe dit bydra tot die skepping van 'n organisasiekultuur van verbeterde veiligheidsuitslae. Die navorser ondersoek die vraag of leierskap 'n kern komponent is in die daarstelling van 'n veiligheids-bewuste organisasiekultuur, en maak gebruik van literatuurstudies sowel as Anglo American mynmaatskappy as 'n praktiese gevallestudie om sy ondersoek te ondersteun. Anglo American is die grootste mynmaatskappy in Suid-Afrika en ook die een waar baie noodlottige ongelukke voorgekom het, en dus 'n groot bron van veiligheidsinligting kan voorsien. Die navorser hersien teoretiese literatuurstudies en verduidelik dan die optrede van Anglo American om sy veiligheidsrekords te verbeter sedert sy noteering op die Londonse Effektebeurs in 1999. Die konsep van organisasiekultuur, veiligheidskultuur, leierskap en organisasieprestasie, word bespreek vanuit 'n teoretiese en praktiese perspektief met behulp van literatuurstudies en hierdie word bestudeer met die uiteindelike doel om die praktiese impak daarvan in industrie te verstaan soos uiteengesit in die literatuur. Die literatuur voorsien 'n breë raamwerk waarteen Anglo American se veiligheidstog gemeet kan word vanaf 1999 tot einde 2007. Hierdie tog verskaf detail van hoe Anglo American veiligheidsprogramme gebruik het om noodlottigge ongelukke en beserings uit te skakel en beklemtoon ook die impak van die organisasie se leierskap op die veiligheidsrekord van die maatskappy. Die gevolgtrekking word gemaak dat die bydrae van leierskap kern is tot die daarstelling van 'n veiligheidsbewuste kultuur en dat spesifieke optredes van hoofbestuurders, seniorbestuurders, middelvlakbestuurders, opsieners en werkers nodig is om 'n veiligheidskultuur te bewerkstellig om veiligheid in maatskappye te verbeter.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/973
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