The ISHN Blog


There is just one organizational culture

The question is, where does safety fit in?

August 22, 2012
I don’t have much to say about changes in the Penn State culture other than this:skyscrapers-blue-422.jpg

It is my position that there is no such thing as a “safety culture.” There is an organizational culture and the key is just where does safety fit in.

It is the same with universities. What has happened today is the “football or sports culture” has become bigger than the organizational culture, so the organization tries to fit into the sports culture i.e. the situation at Penn State.

The paradigm shift must be that the organizational culture needs to be the overarching culture i.e. academics, research etc. and sports merely needs to fit into the over-arching organizational culture. Fat chance at such schools as LSU, Alabama, W. Virginia, Ohio State, etc.

You may recall when the U. of Cincinnati got a new president and she fired Bob Huggins, a highly regarded basketball coach, because she did not see his culture (recruiting thugs and tolerating dysfunctional behavior) as fitting in with the university’s overarching culture.

It was a gutty move on her part. Besides, I never liked Huggins anyway.

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President, Erickson Associates

Judith Erickson
September 7, 2012
Richard, you are exactly right. There is no "safety culture" but there is one overriding organizational culture and it affects all organizational functions, including safety. This is the message I've been conveying since 1994. The evidence is there. Safety exists in a context and that context is the organization. The time to stop treating safety in isolation is long overdue.

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