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Pushing the Elephant up the stairs The role of psychology in occupational safety Henry Chamberlain Henry is an internationally experienced Industrial & Organisational Psychologist with more than 15 years experience in the field of assessment, talent management and organisation development. He is the President of the Hong Kong Psychological Society and the Chair Elect of the Division of I/O Psychology (DIOP). Additionally he serves as a member of the Departmental Advisory Committee of the Department of Managing and Marketing of the Poly University of Hong Kong. His career included roles as combat officer, Head of Organisation Development for the South African Army and Consulting Director for SHL Greater China.

把大象推到梯子上 心理学在职业安全中的角色

Copyright © Sino Associates & Henry Chamberlain 2012-2022. All Rights Reserved.


Hong Kong ’s construction industry is experiencing a boom phase. Wherever you look there are new buildings going up, new roads being built and new tunnels being constructed. Local and overseas construction companies are all vying for a piece of the construction pie and with more projects there are more workers… and more accidents.

香港的建筑行业正处于繁荣阶 段。无论你望向哪里,总是能看到正 在施工中的新建筑、新道路或新隧道。 本地的和海外的建筑公司都在争相抢 占这块“蛋糕”,越来越多的项目, 带来越来越多工人……同时还带来越 来越多的意外事故。

The Hong Kong Government has raised safety standards significantly and over the past 20 years the accident frequency rate has dropped from a whopping 302 per 1000 workers in 1992 to 49.7 in 2011. Over the same period the average number of fatalities has dropped from an average of around 58 per year to an average of around 18 per year (HK Housing Authority, 2012). Despite these remarkable improvements, safety standards in HK are still regarded by many as lagging behind the United States, Europe and the United Kingdom.

率 已 显 著 下 降, 在 1992 年,1000 名工人中有高达 302 名会涉及意外 事故,而到 2011 年,这个数字下降 至 49.7 名。同一时期内,平均遇险 死亡人数从平均每年大约 58 名下降 到平均每年大约 18 名(HK Housing Authority, 2012)。尽管已经有了这 些明显的改善,香港的安全标准仍然 被很多人认为落后于美国、欧洲和英 国。

The good news is that many construction co m p a n i e s a re ta k i n g s afet y m o re seriously and a good number of them have implemented occupational safety campaigns to drive safety awareness and lower the number of serious incidents, accidents and fatalities. This is evidenced

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香港政府已经大幅地提高了安 全标准,在过去 20 年来,事故发生

好消息是许多建筑公司对安全越 来越重视,并且很多公司已经开展职 业安全活动来提高员工安全意识和减 少严重事件、意外和死亡的发生次 数。这些都可以从建筑工地里的标 语和横幅中略见一斑,比如像 Laing O’Rourke 的“零意外”、Kier 的“请 绕道”、Gammon 的“零伤害”, 还有 Leightons 的“为生而奋斗”。 此时你可能觉得以上的数据让人


by slogans and banners like “Mission Zero 印象深刻,但职业安全和工业与组织 (Laing O’Rourke)”, “Don’t walk by (Kier)”, 心理学究竟有什么关系?还有这个故 “Zero Harm (Gammon)” and “Strive for 事里的大象和梯子究竟在哪里呢? L-I-F-E” (Leightons) that are visible at 在过去十年里,为了提高安全, construction sites across Hong Kong. 香港在开展培训活动、监测过程和政 At this point you may think that the 策制定上做了很多功夫,但这些还不 statistics above are impressive, but what 足以把意外事故的发生率降低到大多 does occupational safety have to do 数西方国家的水平。很多措施是不能 with I/O Psychology? And where is the 长期适用的,它们就像是在推一只不 elephant and the staircase in this story?

情愿的大象去爬梯子。这需要大量的 付出和资源,然而一旦停止了这些努 力,大象立刻就会从梯子上滑落下来。 这也许是因为大多数的安全项目都是 通过矫正行为来达到员工对安全规则 的服从,而不是让员工自身对安全做 出承诺(Mullen & Kelloway, 2009)。

While the implementation of training programmes, monitoring processes and policies have done a lot over the past decades to improve safety, it was not enough to drive down accidents and incidents to the levels seen in many western countries. These practices don’t “In order to finally seem to be sustainable and they end up drive out accidents, being like pushing an unwilling elephant we need to go beyond up a flight of stairs. It requires massive compliance effort and resources and the moment the 为了从根本上杜绝意外的 pressure is released, the elephant will slip 发生,仅仅服从规则是不 back down the stairs. This may be because 够的” the most common safety programmes 所谓的基于行为的安全方法,也 are based on behaviour modification that 被称为 ABC 方法(事前预计,行为, aims to create safety compliance rather 结果),根据数据显示,这种方法可 than commitment from the work force 有效降低意外发生率(Mullen et al, (Mullen & Kelloway, 2009). 2009),但为了从根本上杜绝意外的 The so-called behaviour based safety 发生,仅仅服从规则是不够的。我们

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a p p ro a c h , a l s o k n o w n a s t h e A B C a p p ro a c h ( A nte c e d e nt , B e h av i o u r, Consequence), has been instrumental in driving accident statistics down (Mullen et al, 2009), but in order to finally drive out accidents, we need to go beyond compliance. What is required i s a n a p p ro a c h w h e re p e o p l e w i l l voluntarily engage in and support safe

要求的是一种能够让人们自愿采 取并支持安全工作措施,让组织内每 一个人不需要总是靠制度、外部奖赏 或惩罚就能自觉承担安全责任的方 法。换句话说,要在行为习惯上有非 常大的变化。所以提高安全就是改变 行为习惯,而工业与组织心理学在帮 助组织理解和改变人类行为习惯上有 着重要的作用。

work practices, where everybody in the organisation will accept responsibility for safety and not require constant policing, external rewards or punishment. In other words, a radical change in behaviour is required. So, improving safety is all about changing behaviour and I/O psychologists have a significant role to play in helping organisations understand and change human behaviour.

“Improving safety is all about changing behaviour and I/O psychologists have a significant role to play in helping organisations understand and change human behaviour 提高安全就是改变行为习 惯,而工业与组织心理学 在帮助组织理解和改变人 类行为习惯上有着重要的 作用”

Systems theory teaches us that people are not mechanistic, rational beings. In fact, they can be quite unpredictable and irrational at the best of times. Systems theory further dictates that nothing operates in isolation; all things are interconnected. Thirdly it urges us to look beyond the presenting symptoms in order to identify and address the root causes of problems. (Senge, 1993)

系统理论告诉我们,人类不是机 械般、理性的存在。事实上,人类的 行为往往是难以预计和不理性的。系 统理论更进一步指出没有东西可以独 立运行;所有事物都是互相关联的。 另外它呼吁我们要跳出表面现象从而 识别和找出问题的根本原因。(Senge,

In practice this means that we have to 1993)

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recognise that changing human behaviour is a complex undertaking and that true change cannot be achieved through simplistic, mechanistic “carrot and stick” approaches. The whole system needs to be aligned to support safety and we cannot expect people to work safely if the organisation’s strategy, leadership style, culture, processes and systems are not

在实践中,这意味着我们必须认 同改变人类行为是一个复杂的过程, 真正的改变是没办法通过简单的、机 械的“胡萝卜加大棒”的方法而达到 的。整个系统需要保持均衡一致来支 持安全的目标。假如组织的战略、领 导风格、文化、程序和系统不能与这 个目标保持一致,那我们不可能期望 组织里每一个员工都能安全地工作。

all aligned to support this goal. We also have to look at the dynamics of human behaviour and the factors that enable or obstruct people’s commitment to safety.

所以与常见的观点相反,提高安全的 方法并不是制定更多的安全规则、委 任更多的安全官员或是有效监管员工 对规则的服从。 最终的解决方法是创造一种安全 文化使员工们自愿地培养安全的行为 习惯,因为他们明白并相信它的重要 性,而且整个组织系统也能支持他们 这么去做。 这一切由一个充满说服力的愿景 和一个清晰的安全战略开始。这个愿 景和战略必须转化为与各层级相联的 具体行为。所有层级的领导都应该 支持相关的战略和成为行为的模范, 方针与程序(如奖励)与所期望的行 为会得到奖励应保持一致。最后,工 人们需要参与并投入到执行的过程当 中。如果人们体验到参与是有意义 的,并且他们感觉被授予对自身直接 利益相关的决策的权力,他们会更可 能投入到组织的愿景、战略和价值观 (Viljoen, 2008)。

So contrary to common belief the way to improve safety is not to make more safety rules, appoint more safety officers and to police compliance more effectively. The ultimate solution is to create a culture of safety where workers voluntarily participate in safe behaviours because they know and believe in its value and where the whole organisational system supports them in doing this. It all starts with a compelling vision and a clear strategy on safety. This vision and strategy has to be translated into specific behaviours that have to be cascaded to all levels. Leaders at all levels should support the strategy and model behaviours,

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policies and processes (like reward) should be aligned to reward the desired behaviours and last, but not the least, workers need to be engaged and involved in the implementation process. If people experience meaningful involvement and they feel empowered to make decisions about things that affect them directly, they are more likely to be engaged with

为了创造员工对安全的参与和承 诺,我们要求领导层对于员工的安全 做出承诺,确保让各级领导参与进来 并给他们授权,同时保证提供清晰 惯常且持续的有关安全愿景和价值观 的沟通。如果这些要素不能到位,它 则变成一个不可持续的、基于服从的 方法,变得像是在用更多的萝卜、更 多的棍棒、更多的监管和更多的努力

the vision, strategy and values (Viljoen, 去推大象和防止大象从梯子上滑落下 来。 2008). In order to create engagement and commitment around safety, we require a strong leadership commitment to worker safety, engaging and empowering leaders at all levels, and clear, frequent and consistent communication of the safety vision and values. If these elements are not in place, safety becomes a nonsustainable, compliance-based approach; more carrot, more stick, more policing and more effort to push the elephant up the stairs en keep it from sliding back. Some observers may have doubts about the above, correctly thinking that most of the concepts described above are “western ideas” that may not work in an Asian environment. So, let me share a few recent experiences in HK. Over the past year I’ve been involved in a number

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“In order to create engagement and commitment around safety, we require a strong leadership commitment to worker safety 为了创造员工对安全的 参与和承诺,我们要求领 导层对于员工的安全做 出承诺” 一些观察者可能会怀疑以上描述 的大多数的概念只是“西方理念”, 并不适用于亚洲的环境。所以,让我 来分享一些最近在香港发生的经历。 过去几年我一直在参与几个在香港的 建筑安全计划,支持并提供关于提高 项目安全的管理建议。在这些项目里, 所有项目主管都像在努力地“把大象


of construction safety projects in HK, supporting and advising management on actions to improve safety on their projects. In all of these projects managers seemed to struggle to “push the elephant up the stairs”. They perceived the problem to be with workers who did not seem to value safety, appeared lazy and obstructive and contractors who are not used to working to modern safety standards. However the results of an in-depth diagnosis told a different story. Data from three different projects indicated that workers were in fact safety conscious, that they actually wanted to work safely and that they wanted to contribute more and exert extra effort at work. However, they found it hard to do “the right thing” and were cautious to take initiative because of a blaming and punitive culture. The key blockages were not at the worker level, but in the leadership domain. These included a lack of alignment of the leadership team on the safety strategy and the priority of safety, inconsistent leadership practices promoting safety one day and production the next, insufficient and inconsistent messages on safety and compliance based “carrot and stick” approaches. Is it any wonder that workers

推上梯子上”。他们认为问题是出自 于那些不重视安全、表现懒惰的工人 和那些不习惯于在现代安全标准下工 作的承包商。 然而深度诊断的结果讲的却是另 一个故事。来自三个不同项目的数据 显示,事实上工人们是有安全意识的, 他们是想安全地工作的,他们想运 用额外的努力来为工作作出更多的贡 献。然而,他们发现很难去做“正确 的事情”,而且责备和惩罚的文化让 他们对主动做事保持谨慎的态度。关 键的阻碍并不在于工人层级,而在于 领导层。这包括领导团队关于安全战 略和安全优先级的理解不一致,不统 一的指挥导致一时提倡安全,一时提 倡成果,不充分和不一致的安全信息, 还有基于服从的“胡萝卜加大棒”方 法。难怪工人们会对管理层的意向产 生疑惑,以为管理层只关心工作产量。 所以,管理层自称安全是他们的 首要考虑的同时,他们的行动却与之 矛盾。他们未能创造一个关于改变现 状的清晰计划,系统和战略并不一致, 最重要的是,员工并没有获得授权和 参与到安全愿景和战略的实施当中。 这并不新鲜,事实上,这听起来跟大 概 20 年前由科特提出的 8 个改革失 败的原因(Kotter, 1995)并没有什么 差别。

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were confused about management ’s intentions and that they concluded that management only really cared about production? So, while management professed that safety was their main priority, their actions contradicted this. They failed to create a clear case for change, systems and strategies were not aligned and most of all, people were not empowered and engaged in the implementation of the safety vision and strategy. This is nothing new, in fact, it sounds very much like the eight reasons why change fail, described by change guru, Kotter, almost 20 years ago (Kotter, 1995). There is, of course, no doubt that workers are not blameless. The average worker in HK is much older than in the rest of the world and they are often reluctant to change their ways. A high power distance culture (Hofstede, 1984) means that the hierarchy is respected and that workers are less likely to voice safety ideas and concerns. Furthermore a culture of taking shortcuts when no one is looking is deeply entrenched and wide-spread in the local construction industry. However, these were not the causes of the problem, they were at best, contributing factors.

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“Is it any wonder that workers were confused about management’s intentions and that they concluded that management only really cared about production? 难怪工人们会对管理层的意 向产生疑惑,以为管理层只 关心工作产量” 当然,工人们也并非完全没有责 任。香港工人与其他地方的工人相比, 年纪要更大,他们往往不愿意改变他 们以往的工作方式。一个高的权力距 离文化(Hofstede, 1984)意味着阶级 是受到尊敬的,工人们不太可能反映 他们对安全的想法和担忧。而且一个 当无人监管时就走捷径的文化已经广 泛地深深植入当地的建筑行业。但是, 这些并不是问题的本质,它们最多只 是促进因素而已。 以上描述的结果与我同事在全球 范围研究的结果相似,它证明了“软 的东西实际上是最硬(困难)的东西” 这个想法——无论在哪都一样。它特 别强调了组织的领导力、系统思考的 方法和理解人类行为对于创造可持续 改变和成果的重要性。变革管理和人 类动态变化将会在未来几年变得越来


These results described above are 越重要,而且工业与组织心理学一定 similar to results found by my colleagues 将会为促进香港和亚洲地区可持续改 around the world and it supports the 革做出重要的贡献。 notion that “the soft stuff actually is “It specifically emphasises the hard stuff” – wherever you are. It the importance of specifically emphasises the importance organisational leadership, a of organisational leadership, a systems systems thinking approach thinking approach and the importance and the importance of of understanding of human behaviour in creating sustainable change and results. Change management and the human dynamics of change will become more and more important in the coming years and industrial/organisational psychologists must be ready to make a more significant contribution in enabling sustainable change in HK and Asia.

understanding of human behaviour in creating sustainable change and results 它特别强调了组织的领导力、 系统思考的方法和理解人类 行为对于创造可持续改变和 成果的重要性”

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Henry Chamberlain - Pushing the Elephant up the Stairs