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Organizational Safety Climate and Supervisory Layoff Decisions: Preferences Versus Predictions


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Tahira M. Probst, 14204 NE Salmon Creek Avenue, Vancouver, WA 98686. E-mail:


The current research investigated the extent to which supervisors take safety vs. productivity into account when making layoff recommendations under conditions of differing organizational emphasis on safety vs. production. A laboratory experiment with 57 participants acting as supervisors manipulated the organizational climate to emphasize safety vs. production and the safety performance and productivity of 4 subordinates. Results indicate that layoff recommendations were influenced by the stated organizational climate. However, regardless of the stated organizational priorities, participants predicted that upper management's final layoff decisions would result in safe workers being laid off to a greater extent than productive workers. Implications of these results are discussed in light of organizational efforts to improve their safety climate and employee safety performance.

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