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Better safe than sorry: the role of anticipated regret and organizational ethical climate in predicting workplace safety behavior

Hsien-Chun Chen (Department of Business Administration, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Pingtung, Taiwan)
Szu-Yin Lin (Department of Business Administration, National Kaohsiung University of Science and Technology, Kaohsiung, Taiwan)
I-Heng Chen (Institute of Human Resource Management, National Sun Yat-sen University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan and Research Center for Creativity and Innovation, National Sun Yat-sen University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan)

Chinese Management Studies

ISSN: 1750-614X

Article publication date: 12 December 2022

47

Abstract

Purpose

Based on the theory of reasoned action, this study aims to illustrate how employees’ safety behavior can be enhanced in the workplace by specifically examining how anticipated regret leads to workplace safety behavior and the contextual factor of organizational ethical climate.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors adopted a quantitative approach and designed their survey from validated scales in prior studies. Data were obtained from two different sources, including 149 employees and 31 immediate supervisors. Hierarchical linear modeling techniques were applied to test the hypotheses.

Findings

The results showed that anticipated regret was significantly related to safety compliance and safety participation; egoistic ethical climate was negatively correlated with safety compliance and safety participation, while benevolent ethical climate was only positively correlated with safety participation. For cross-level moderating effects, both benevolent and principle ethical climate moderate the relationship between anticipated regret and safety participation, whereas all three ethical climates did not moderate the relationship between anticipated regret and safety compliance.

Research limitations/implications

It contributes to current literature by identifying critical determinants of employees’ safety behavior, which would enable practitioners to manage safety in the workplace and foster a safe working environment. Specifically, fostering benevolent ethical climate can better promote employees’ perceptions of the importance of discretionary safety behavior.

Originality/value

This study suggests that organizational practitioners could use the salience of anticipated regret to promote the safety behavioral intentions of employees in the workplace. Further, the authors examined a multilevel framework, which elaborates individual- and organizational-level antecedents of employee safety behavior as well as the impact of cross-level interactions on employee safety behavior.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Jo-chiao Hsu for her assistance in data collection. The authors would also like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on the different versions of this manuscript.

Citation

Chen, H.-C., Lin, S.-Y. and Chen, I.-H. (2022), "Better safe than sorry: the role of anticipated regret and organizational ethical climate in predicting workplace safety behavior", Chinese Management Studies, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/CMS-10-2021-0446

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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