Decision-making and Identity
This chapter demonstrates how the overall attitude of operational managers to safety and production issues is impacted by their view of themselves and their peers as both organizational members and as professionals. Neither identity is universally good or bad for safety decision-making. Uniquely, the professional identity of the operational managers is therefore focused on public service. Operational managers can sometimes put themselves under pressure as a result of the way they see their primary professional task – producing electricity, making plastic or moving aircraft. This unacknowledged source of pressure to produce, related to professional identity, has clear safety implications. The key issue for safety performance is the reliance unwittingly placed by organizations on professional qualities of their operational managers such as experience, technical knowledge and a concern for public trust. The existence of a conflict between professionalism and managerialism has a long history in academic publications on the theory of work.