Leading with style: a literature review of the influence of safety leadership on performance and outcomes

Sarah Louise Donovan, Paul M. Salmon, Michael G. Lenné

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOtherpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Leadership is increasingly being recognised as a key factor in supporting performance across a range of domains. Over the past two decades, a body of research has emerged with a focus on examining different safety leadership styles, with general support established for a positive influence on a range of performance and outcome variables. Despite this, findings to date can be considered limited, with the concepts and methodologies applied limiting advancement in understanding. This article aims to review the literature targeting the influence of safety leadership on performance and outcomes in high-risk industries to determine the extent to which systems-thinking is evident. The review identifies a number of limitations relating to current methodological and conceptual approaches used, highlighting considerable gaps in understanding within the current knowledge base. In conclusion, the application of systems-thinking is proposed to support both methodological and conceptual advancement of the study of safety leadership in high-risk industries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-442
Number of pages20
JournalTheoretical Issues in Ergonomics Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2016


  • outcomes
  • performance
  • safety
  • Safety leadership
  • systems-thinking

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