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Forms of prevention culture in German companies

(in German)

Besides top management internal OSH experts as well as occupational physicians and representatives of works councils shape the corporate thinking about how to cope with hazardous situations and what kind of hazards are really appreciable. In developing these and other collectively valid orientations within an organization, action guiding tacit knowledge, cultural values, norms and basic assumptions of the professional and managerial staff are playing the key role. In other words, it is prevention culture and its most important framers that are essential for these orientations.

Fifty qualitative (group)-interviews with internal responsible (owner, manager) and competent OSH personnel (OSH specialists, occupational physicians and employee representatives) were conducted within BAuA research project “Enablers and barriers of implementing OSH measures in companies of different sector and size (No. F 2342). By interpretation of the material, five typical orientation patterns in OSH were reconstructed. These results of the qualitative research part constituted the basis for generating standardized items of a telephone survey among company representatives. The survey was used for quantitative validation of the prevention culture types by factor analysis. Furthermore, it was possible to estimate the distribution of the types within the universe of all German companies by statistics. As a result 30 % of the sample could be assigned to the type "Fault avoiders" (Humans are central) followed by approximately 21 % belonging to the "Do-it-yourself proponents" (Selfreference) type. The three more types "Technicians" (Technology first), "Systematicians" (Key figures) and "Standard Seters" (Own culture) amount each to 16 to 17 % of the sample.

The interconnection of qualitative and quantitative analyses proves the project to be an explorative mixed methods one. The combination of methods was used to examine the area of validity of its qualitative results as well as to develop a standardized quick check of prevention culture.

The qualitative results constituted the basis therefor. They were generated, using a theoretical multi-level approach of prevention culture. Against this background, text interpretation by a combination of sociology of knowledge driven documentary method and grounded theory methodology (GTM) has helped to reconstruct five forms of actual prevention culture in German companies. The main objective of this interpretation work was to shed light on impeding and enabling factors within prevention culture that have to be considered, if internal implementation and implementation quality of (mandatory) OSH measures in companies are to be improved.

Please download the complete report "Forms of prevention culture in German companies" (in German only).

Bibliographic information

B. Schmitt-Howe, A. Hammer:
Formen von Präventionskultur in deutschen Betrieben. 
1. edition. Dortmund: Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin 2019. pages 301, Project number: F 2342, paper, PDF file, DOI: 10.21934/baua:bericht20180703

Research Project

Project numberF 2342 StatusCompleted Project Forms of prevention culture in German companies

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