Integrating a Top-Down and a Bottom-Up Approach: Formal and Informal Risk-Handling Strategies in a Utility Company
Risk Analysis , Volume 32 - Issue 9 p. 1547- 1560
In this study, we bring together a top-down and a bottom-up approach of risk handling. We do so by conceptualizing and qualitatively and quantitatively measuring formal and informal risk-handling strategies in a Dutch utility company. We conceive of formal risk handling as regulating, training, and educating safety and enforcing rule compliance, while we distinguish three different informal risk-handling strategies: discretionary specialization, tacit knowledge, and taking personal responsibility. We show that the formal risk-handling strategy and the three informal risk-handling strategies can be measured separately. Hence, we have validated the measurement of all four strategies derived from two different risk-handling approaches. Moreover, we have demonstrated that the perceived use of the four strategies has different effects on unsafe behavior: formal risk handling and tacit knowledge decrease it, discretion increases it, and taking personal responsibility has no effect on unsafe behavior.