Do cultural dimensions predict prevalence of fatal work injuries in Europe?

Work injuries are a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Yet, countries differ dramatically on the prevalence of fatal work injuries (FWIs). Are these differences only a function of national economies and infrastructure or also related to entrenched cultural differences? This study tested whether the cultural dimensions of Hofstede, assessed in the 1970s, predict recent FWI in 22 European countries. We hypothesized that Power-Distance Index (PDI) and Masculinity would be positively correlated with FWI, while Individualism and Uncertainty Avoidance (UA) would be inversely correlated with FWI. We obtained the Hofstede cultural dimensions from Hofstede’s online data, and obtained data on prevalence of FWI as well as national income and alcohol consumption. Results revealed that PDI was indeed positively and significantly correlated with FWI (r = 0.611, p < .05) while Individualism was inversely significantly related to FWI (r = −0.604, p < .05), independent of national income and alcohol consumption. Uncertainty Avoidance and Masculinity turned out not to be significantly correlated with FWI. These results show that cultural differences between countries can independently predict future risk of FWI on an international scale. The results also have implications towards organizational management and prevention management concerning FWI. Our study indicates that self-leadership can be a powerful approach to improve occupational safety.

Source:  Genserik Reniers, Yori Gidron, Safety Science, vol. 58, 2013, p. 76-80.

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