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Operational Psychology Research Group

Optimal Management of Petroleum Resources (PETROMAKS)

Developing and sustaining a safety culture in the Norwegian petroleum industry: The Role of Leadership, “Psychological Capital”, and Situational Awareness.

This project will contribute to Norwegian society by optimizing HSE objectives in the recovery of petroleum resources. Following new research in organizational psychology, certain forms of leadership and worker characteristics have been linked to a sustained positive HSE culture (i.e. no harm to people, plant or the environment). This could be of vital importance to the petroleum industry when operating in demanding and environmentally sensitive areas such as the Barents Sea. The proposed R&D project will be carried out by researchers from the Operational Psychology Research Group, University of Bergen, in partnership with the Industrial Psychology Research Centre (IPRC) at the University of Aberdeen, the Global Leadership Institute (GLI) at the University of Nebraska Lincoln, USA, Swedish National Defense College (SNDC), and partnering institutions from the petroleum industry.

Previous research from the IPRC on the petroleum industry on the UK Continental Shelf has indicated that health, safety climate, and HSE outcomes are substantially influenced by perceptions of the priorities of local production management and employee attitudes to health and safety. These findings constitute the point of departure for this project aimed at R&D challenges related to safety outcomes in the petroleum industry. The current research proposal is inspired by recent developments in positive organizational psychology and aims to gain a better understanding of how leadership behavior, employee characteristics and safety perceptions could influence safety climate and favorable safety outcomes. Thus, the overall goal of the proposed project is to gain a fuller understanding of how Psychological Capital and Situational Awareness (SA) mediates between Authentic Leadership (AL) and safety climate (SC) resulting in improved Safety outcomes in the Norwegian petroleum industry.