10/02/2003

Cultural Influences on Health and Safety in Small Businesses

The main cultural influence on health and safety attitudes and behaviour in
small businesses is organisational culture according to a new study
commissioned by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The new research sought to identify the role of cultural influences on health
and safety attitudes and behaviour in small and micro-enterprises and related
issues concerning channels of communication and the role of the HSE. It found
that the organisational culture that typifies many small businesses reflected
less formal approaches to management, the preference of owner/managers for
autonomy and the closeness of employer/employee relations in small businesses.

The report identified that a less formal approach to management, preferences of
owners or managers for autonomy and the closeness of employee relations in
small businesses were important factors. In some ethnic minority businesses,
ethnic background can be an important second order influence.

Other influences can be previous management experience, educational or skills
level, and gender. This cultural influence, however, needs to be understood in
the context of other characteristics, notably the resource constraints faced by
small enterprises.

Further information


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