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Is Climate Change Really Such a Bad Thing?

icon Blog on Department Management/ Organization/Surveys, Reducing Security Risk – Information, Physical, Workplace  •  posted 04/29/14
One question at the heart of an organization's protection mission is this: What gives workers the sense that safety and security are important corporate values?
This is an important question to consider because when workers feel safety and security are shared values, they work more safely and exhibit positive security behaviors more often.
According to researchers at University of Georgia’s College of Public Health, they work a lot more safely. Their new study, one of the first to examine the relationship between an organization's safety climate and injury outcomes in a diverse sample of occupations and worker groups, found that "for each incremental increase in safety climate, there was a 32 percent decrease in injury.” (Occupational Injury in America: An analysis of risk factors using data from the General Social Survey, DeJoy, Smith; Journal of Safety Research, February 2012.)
So good climates are critical, but what exactly goes into making safety and security climates?
Many factors go into the feeling that workers have about safety’s role in an organization, but three factors account for more than half of an organization’s safety climate, according to University of Georgia researchers. After controlling for demographic variables, three factors accounted for 55 percent of the variance in perceived safety climate: environmental conditions, safety-related policies and programs, and general organizational climate.
While there is extensive research on how an organization’s safety climate affects employees’ safety behavior, there is not nearly the same amount in the area of security. This is despite the fact that security climate—employees’ shared perceptions of what the organization is like in terms of security (its practices, rewards, norms, etc.)—is likely the most important factor shaping security behaviors. 
While scientific answers may be scarce, security executives should ask some basic questions—as a precursor to encouraging positive security behaviors—for insight into their organization’s security climate. Examine security climate questions regarding:
  • Management and supervisor support. For example: 1) Do supervisors model appropriate security behaviors? 2) Do workers feel they’re given the necessary resources (time, instruction, etc.) to follow security rules? 3) Do pressures to cut security corners exist? 
  • Coworker support. For exmaple: 1) What are the group norms? 2) Where (and who) do they come from? 3) Can they be positively influenced? How?
  • Security policies and procedures. For example: Are they necessary? Do they actually improve security? Are they understandable and not overly cumbersome to implement? How can employee commitment to policies be enhanced? 

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