Project: Successfully Sustaining a Safety Culture through Acquisitions and Mergers

Peer reviewed and published

This project was submitted on 29/07/2015, published on 29/07/2015

The researcher explores the theory behind culture, safety culture measurement and how a safety culture transitions from an acquiring company to the acquired company.

The author’s interest arose from the author’s experiences within industry. This has involved a company that had been recently acquired by another. The author has experienced first-hand the effect that the transition has had on the safety management systems and safety culture. In the spirit of continual improvement, development and learning, the author investigates the transition of safety culture from one company to another.

The research project used an extended literature review in order to achieve this aim using a qualitative inductive methodology. A case study of a recently acquired company where the challenge of transferring a whole safety management system was used to investigate the theories raised in the literature review. Focus groups were used to gather data from the workforce within the company and data compared against a framework. Critical analysis was then undertaken into the challenges faced during the acquisition and how lessons can be learned from this so that the company can continue to improve its processes in future.

The results of the focus groups showed a significant disconnect between the managements viewpoint on safety culture and the employees viewpoint. This lead to communication failures being highlighted as a key issue.
The corporate culture analysis also highlighted the significant differences between the management and employees perception of the culture. The managements view mirrored the expectations from the acquiring company but this is not what was observed when interviewing employees.
A contrast of pre and post acquisition was also determined to attempt to analyse how the culture had changed throughout the acquisition, however it is accepted that there may be bias within these results to to the reflective nature of the questions.

Priest Poster.pdf
Working Conditions

Organisation: University of South Wales

Safety, Health and Environmental Management
Safety, Health and Environmental Management
University of South Wales Treforest,
CF37 1DL,
United Kingdom
03455 76 01 01

Principal Investigator: Jonathan Priest

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Institution of Occupational Safety and Health
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