2019 CSCE Annual Conference - Laval (Greater Montreal)

2019 CSCE Annual Conference - Laval (Greater Montreal) Conference

Global Differences in Risk Tolerance Levels Among Construction Workers

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Dr. Siddharth Bhandari, Western Michigan University (Presenter)
Dr. Matthew Hallowell, University of Colorado
Mr. Wael Alruqi, University of Colorado at Boulder
Mr. Rico Salas, University of Colorado Boulder

A critical component of maintaining safety is to ensure that workers feel uncomfortable partaking in risky behavior. An individual’s willingness to engage in unsafe behavior is measured as risk tolerance. Given its subjective nature, risk tolerance is challenging to manage. However, understanding and influencing risk tolerance is essential to promoting safe behavior and increasing adherence to policies and procedures. This paper empirically examines the differences in risk tolerance levels among construction workers with data from a survey administered with 12,323 workers from 19 countries. One-way ANOVA shows that workers from countries examined in the survey registered statistically significant differences in personal and work-related risk tolerance levels. Furthermore, there seems to be positive association between personal and work-related risk tolerance. These findings suggest that an individual’s personal risk tolerance may have a strong bearing on their willingness to engage with risk at work and personal and work-related risk tolerance levels may be very different across geography and culture. If an organization seeks to align or manage risk tolerance to an acceptable level, it should endeavor to understand personal and cultural factors that influence risk-taking behavior. Future research should investigate whether specific personality characteristics, social interactions, and organizational safety practices influence risk tolerance and shape workplace behavior.