The Shifting Strategy Paradigm In Companies Commerce Essay

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Occupational injuries due to at-risk work behavior remain a major problem. On a daily basis, an estimated 11 workers are killed and 9,000 are injured during 2009 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2010). Management in different organizations may believe that safety of the people who work for them is truly the top priority, yet making that a reality is more difficult than it seems. Because most organizations exist to make money, the focus easily shifts to those things that create revenue. When no one is getting hurt, it is easy to ignore safety and focus on productivity, quality and customer service, and so on. Thus, many companies find themselves managing safety in a largely reactive way (Agnew & Snyder 2008).

To fight effectively the persistent threat of employee injury and associated losses; many organizations are implementing what is referred to as behavior-based safety (BBS). BBS is a management practice that focuses on behavior to bring about change across the organization, and most specifically a change that helps managing the workplace safety.

Behavior-based safety starts by defining one or more critical behaviors to target. Then these behaviors are observed and recorded in particular work settings. When a relatively stable baseline measure of the frequency, duration, or rate of behavior is obtained, an intervention is implemented to change the behavior in beneficial directions. This intervention might involve removing environmental barriers, modifying a workstation, or adding antecedents or consequences to the situation to alter response probability. The frequency, duration, or rate of the target behavior is recorded during and after the intervention and compared to baseline measures of behavior to determine intervention impact (DePasquale & Geller 1999).

The Oil and Gas Industry is one of the major industries that are largely affected by the risks of occupational injuries. Abu Dhabi Gas Liquefaction Company Ltd (ADGAS) is one of the key Oil and Gas companies in the region.

Risky environments like Das Island introduce many safety challenges that need to be addressed. However, ADGAS has recorded a remarkable Safety Record thru last 10 years. ADGAS has achieved five consecutive years with no single incident or Lost Time Injury (LTI) which is an outstanding safety record in history of oil and gas industry. Therefore, we have decided to choose "Safety Paradigm in ADGAS" as a subject for our case study.


Company History

Abu Dhabi Gas Liquefaction Company Ltd. (ADGAS) was established in 1973 on Das Island (in Arabian Gulf;180 Miles away from Abu Dhabi) to turn gas, extracted from Abu Dhabi's offshore field's crude oil, into a new source of marketable energy. ADGAS Plant is the first of its kind in the Middle East, was built with an annual designed production capacity of 2.5 million tons of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), in addition to 800,000 tons of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). An agreement was signed with the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) that allows the Japanese firm to import the plant's production for 20 years (ADGAS Portal 2010).

In March 1977, ADGAS was re-incorporated as a national entity in Abu Dhabi. The first shipment of LNG left Das Island that same year. Due to the plant's success in satisfying customer requirements, another agreement was signed with TEPCO in 1990 allowing ADGAS to double its production in 1994 and the Japanese Company to import its production for another 25 years (ADGAS Portal 2010).

As a result, the 3rd LNG Train, the largest of its kind in the world at the time was built adding another 2.5 million tons annually to the plant's production and doubling its capacity. The train, which was completed in 1994, incorporates the latest technologies, making it one of the most advanced in the world at that time. It's compliance with safety standers has enhanced the company's international reputation. (ADGAS Portal 2010).

Facilities and Production

ADGAS has facilities consist of three LNG and LPG Plants, sulfur plant, and seven huge storage tanks, two construction jetties and utilities.

The Plant's average annual production is eight million tons of liquefied natural gas (LNG), liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), pentane and liquid sulfur.

Company Structure

ADGAS is managed by CEO who is reported to by four Vice Presidents as follows:

Vice President (Plant) who is in charge for Operations and Maintenance.

Senior Vice President (Technical) who is in charge of projects, engineering and plant reliability and integrity including Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE) Division.

Senior Vice President (Commercial) who is in charge for marketing and procurement.

Senior Vice President (Administration) who is charge for administration related such as HR, IT and finance.


Safety Culture Maturity

We studied the maturity of ADGAS safety culture based on the framework formulated by Parker, Lawrie, and Hudson (2006) and targeting organizations in the oil industry to self-assess their current level of safety culture advancement. The framework was designed to reflect the multidimensional, dynamic nature of safety culture by providing descriptions of an organization with respect to a range of key aspects of safety culture, at each of five levels of safety culture advancement developed from Westrum's initial ideas (1993, cited in Parker, Lawrie, and Hudson 2006).

(Turnbeaugh 2010, p43, fig.1)

The framework consists of a set of short descriptions of each of a number of aspects of organizational safety at each of five levels of safety culture advancement. The aspects covered are mainly the tangible concrete (i.e. the management systems in place) and intangible abstract (i.e. attitudes and behaviors) organizational aspects respectively. An organization has only achieved a "true" safety culture when it has attained the generative level of culture. The framework model is Assessment Criteria detailed in Appendix 1 of this document.

Parker, Lawrie, and Hudson (2006) included the following five levels of safety culture:

Pathological; who cares about safety as long as we are not caught?

Reactive; safety is important: we do a lot every time we have an accident.

Calculative; we have systems in place to manage all hazards.

Proactive; we try to anticipate safety problems before they arise.

Generative; Health and safety is how we do business round here.

Literature Search

A literature search located more than 10 professional and academic behavioral safety articles. These were examined and included in this review only if they 1) focused on occupational safety; 2) covered discussions relevant to our selected organizational variables.

Company Material

ADGAS uses many creative tools and practices to make safety consciousness a part of its employees' behavior and promote a positive safety culture across the organization. These tools and practices were compared against the theories in the behavioral and cultural safety literature under study. These tools include Advanced Safety Audits, Near Miss Reports, Safety Spotlight, Safety flashes, Safety News Settler, Safety Awards, Management Safety Tours, Safety Meetings, etc.

Staff Interviews

Interviews were carried out with representative of different levels of organization including team leader, senior engineer and engineer. The aim was to interview employees who have different levels of experience and from different perspectives. Interviewees were asked to describe how ADGAS functions in terms of each of the aspects covered at each of the five levels of safety culture, from pathological through to generative. The final output is detailed in the Analysis section of this report which contain the descriptions of each level of safety culture for the concrete (i.e. the management systems in place) and abstract (i.e. attitudes and behaviors) organizational aspects respectively.


Deejoy (2005) emphasized that behavior change and culture change are intervention strategies intended to improve safety performance. As shown in Fig. 1, exposures, in the form of unsafe conditions and/or unsafe behaviors, represent the immediate causes of most workplace injuries and other safety-related outcomes. Working backward in this sequence, the management system of the organization has substantial influence over and responsibility for the exposures that occur at the shop floor level. It is further assumed that management actions and the development and implementation of specific safety policies and programs are heavily influenced by the culture of the organization. efforts to establish the basic or root causes for safety problems often lead back to management ''errors'', or other system failures, which are often thought to occur as a function of the basic cultural values of the organization concerning such things as the importance of safety viz-a-viz other organizational goals.

(DeJoy 2005, p111, fig.1)

The Three Variables

Leading organizations towards a high performing safety culture is challenged by the necessity of effective communications, leadership trust to get the buy-in into the importance of safety and the effectiveness of preventive procedures and actions from different levels of the organization.

Therefore, the project team examined the following variables:

Motivation as an Independent Variable on Individual Level

Communication as an Independent Variable on Group Level

Organization Culture as an Independent Variable on Organizational Level

Safety as a Dependent Variable


Motivation was selected to be the variable on personal level which will be discussed in this case study. Motivation is the fuel which feeds people desire to act toward a goal or target. Understanding how ADGAS motivates it people was mandatory in this case study to understand ADGAS remarkable safety achievement.

Intrinsic and Extrinsic motivation

According to Self-Determination Theory, SDT (Deci & Ryan, 1985, 2002), individuals' actions arise from a continuum of motivations, ranging from inherent enjoyment of these activities (intrinsic motivation) to influences external to the individual, such as rewards or expectations set by others (extrinsic motivation).

ADGAS focus on both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation of its employees as well as contractor toward safety based behavior. ADGAS strategy is to market safety awareness among its employees and contractors in order to strengthen intrinsic motivation toward safety based behavior. When employees have enough awareness of different risks involved at work environment, they are intrinsically motivated to avoid any potential incidence.

ADGAS delivers awareness of safety behavior among its employees and contractors thru different methods and approaches. One of them is face to face approaches such as "Advanced Safety Audits", training courses, "Toolbox Talk" and weekly meetings. Another approach is distributing emails within the organization to improve safety awareness or analyze a safety case. "Safety Flash" is used by ADGAS to promote for a safety aspect or advice and "Safety Spotlight" is used to analyze recent major accidents which occur around the world and develop the lessons learned.

On the other hand, ADGAS uses many tools to maintain a high extrinsic motivation within the organization.

ADGAS HSE Advisor was interviewed and asked about what tools ADGAS does use to maintain extrinsic motivation, he replied:

"Here the major tool is the safety incentive scheme, which cuts across all employees within ADGAS organization and the criteria is the best near miss reporting of the month. In this respect employees who report near misses, unsafe acts and unsafe conditions are adequately rewarded on a month to month basis via the HSE committee which is chaired by the Company Corporate HSE manager and candidates are given a token in addition to their monthly remuneration. The idea is also taken across/onboard with the Contractors who ADGAS owes a duty of care since they work within the Company work location and environment which is within their sphere of operations".

ADGAS could successfully promote for internalization of extrinsic motivation by urging employee to regulate their safety behavior with their core values and interests. Gange and Deci (2005) states that other types of extrinsic motivation result when a behavioral regulation and the value associated with it have been internalized. Internalization is defined as people taking in values, attitudes, or regulatory structures, such that the external regulation of a behavior is transformed into an internal regulation and thus no longer requires the presence of an external contingency (thus, I work even when the boss is not watching). Accordingly, ADGAS defines "Safety Culture as how the organization behaves when no one is watching".

The fullest type of internalization, which allows extrinsic motivation to be truly autonomous or volitional, involves the integration of identification with other aspects of oneself-that is, with other identifications, interests, and values. With integrated regulation, people have a full sense that the behavior is an integral part of who they are, that it emanates from their sense of self and is thus self-determined (Gange & Deci 2005). Therefore ADGAS Safety Practice Standards in derived from human core values which is protecting of human life, facilities and surrounding environment.

Dimension of Motivation

As per Ryan and Deci (2000), motivation concerns energy, direction and persistence. ADGAS HSE Division considers all of these dimensions (energy, direction and persistence) when handling motivation of its people or considering a safety target.

Energy (Intensity)

ADGAS sets a minimum required numbers of Advanced Safety Audi t (ASA) and Near Miss Reports (NM) quarterly each employee and Management Safety Tour Report (MST) for each manager. All of the mentioned reports are a part of KPI measures for employees yearly assessment..

ADGAS contractors are requested to have a Safety Tool Box on a daily bases with a target number of ASA and NM reports per week for each project they work on. The same is recorded in "Project Weekly Safety Report" and reviewed on a weekly base during Weekly Progress Meeting.


ADGAS HSE Department identifies the direction of safety approaches which its employees should adapt. These vary from preventive actions to responsive ones.

An example of preventive action is reporting of a near miss. When any of its an employee see a near missed incident which could cause a damage to a facility or harm to personnel, he or she should raise a Near Miss Report informing the company about this incident in order to prevent similar potential incident to became a real incident in the future.

An example of responsive action is firefighting. ADGAS provides all of its employees firefighting courses so that they can distinguish between different types of fire and how to response.

ADGAS philosophy is that Safe working environment is responsibility of everyone in organization .Therefore employees are encouraged to look after safety of each other. For example, Work Permit should be presented at any active site whether in industrial or non-industrial area. It should be signed by job performer (contractor) and approved by job officer (ADGAS concerned department) and ADGAS HSE Department. As soon as any one (even if not involved in the work) notices any unsafe practice in the site, he is permitted to stop the job immediately; simply by removing the Work Permit from the site.


One of ADGAS ways to keeping the persistency of motivation with the organization is using long term safety target such as 1 or 10 million working man-hours with LTI (Lost Time Injury) as a target for projects, divisions and company. This keeps involved personnel look at a safety as a long journey not just a destination. Of course recognitions and award is granted after such mile stone.

The previous mentioned safety reports and tours are requested from employees and management over specific period (i.e. week, month, quarter). Therefore, all employees are alerted to such practice continuously.


Based on the Basic Organization Behavior model set out by Robbins S. & Judge T. (Robbins & Judge, 2010) the research team focused on the role of communication in theoretical perspective and adapted the Basic Model to the following representation of the role of communication in Organizational behavior:

Communication aimed to Inform

Communication aimed at Creating a Sense of Community

Reduction in Uncertainty in Job Security

Readiness for Change

Effective Change (towards safety)

(Elving 2005, p111, fig.1)

Figure: Communication Role in Orginizations

In case of ADGAS, the research team investigated effect of communication on both creating a safety aware community was utilized and communicating information to encourage Behavior Based Safety.

This was based on the theory that communication is utilized to both Inform the community "Communicatio" and create a community spirit "Communicare", introduced by France (1983) and enhanced by De Ridder (2003).

And as per the conceptual module by Elving(2005) that assumes that Both Communication to inform and Communication to create a community awareness increase the readiness for change and reduce the uncertainty in Job security resulting in readiness for change, and in our case the change was shifting the Organization Behavior towards Safety.

In the case of ADGAS, the use of different communication channels to convey the Safety behavior message on both sender and receiver through multiple tools that included newsletters, e-mail communication, reporting, meetings, this was aimed at reducing the noise in the message communicated and assuring the consistency of high Safety performance.

Organization Culture

Occupational Safety is significantly important in the high risk industries like the Oil and Gas sector, because safety is directly related to the organization's bottom line. Small intentional or unintentional mistakes could mean a catastrophic human loss, business collapse, and/or possibly an uncontrolled environmental disaster. Safety should be a strong subculture that differentiates how the organization operates; Safety should be company's business-as-usual. Reason (2000) argues that if an organization is convinced that it has achieved a safe culture, it almost certainly has not. He states that safety culture, like a state of grace, is a product of continual striving. There are no final victories in the struggle for safety.

Safety culture is used here to describe a sub-culture of the overall organization's culture and how this subculture influences worker behaviors, and the occurrence or absence of accidents and injuries within the organization.

Common Components of Positive Safety Culture

Mathis (2009) summarized the main components of a Safety Culture as follows:

Common Practice - "The way we do things around here".

ADGAS doesn't deal with safety issues in a reactive way. Rather, Safety is the job of everybody at anytime. ADGAS employees are motivated to focus on Safety for every aspect of their job.

Unsupervised Actions - "What your people do when you are not looking".

The ADGAS employees have the self-monitoring behavior and take responsibilities for each other's safety regardless of management supervision.

Interpersonal Contact - "How willing and able workers are to approach each other to discuss safety issues".

At ADGAS, information that affects safety flows between peers and amongst levels within the organization without the risk of blaming and finger pointing.

Perceived Value or Priority of Safety - "When safety butts heads with other priorities, which one wins?"

When the stakes are high, safety never gets compromised for the sake of other business outcomes.


The success of any Management system along with its associated policies and procedures depend greatly upon the actions (Behavior and attitude) of individuals and groups. A simple example of a procedure developed which may properly reflect the desired intent with adequate detailed instructions but its successful implementation required the actions of properly trained employees who effectively understand the intent of the procedure, accept the responsibility of the task and most importantly appreciate the fact that taking an obviously simplifying but potentially unsafe shortcut would be quite simply wrong and dangerous.

Within the industry, a general definition of safety culture has been identified as "Safety Culture is how the organization behaves when no one is watching".

In ADGAS and over the past several years, many actions were taken to promote safety culture not only among the ADGAS employees but also cover the contractors. These actions and activities are summarized as follows:

Managers of all levels conduct regular safety tours (MST) within all ADGAS areas to determine the level of safety within the specific area both on the conditions of equipments and the Practices of personnel while conducting their tasks. During the tour they are requested to open a two way communication with the employees, check their understanding of the task they are performing and what relevant procedures covers that specific task.

All ADGAS personnel and its contractors, from supervisor upwards, must conduct Advanced Safety Audits (ASA). These Audits allow the line manager to observe the action of the employees, promote the safety awareness among all employees, encourage employees to take immediate corrective actions and this subsequently removes the communication barrier between Management and Employees.

Safety Training is considered a Key element in the success of ADGAS HSE Management System. Different trainings are provided to all ADGAS employees at all levels with the necessary competency test for each HSE training. Most of the HSE training is provided in-house apart from a few specialized HSE training topics where an external consultant is used.

HSE Committees at all levels of ADGAS Management are in place to promote the Safety culture and share the HSE information with all workforce, these committees are used as a basis for reviewing HSE performance and establishing a good and sound platform for communication on HSE issues with all concerned parties.

ADGAS has also identified the language as one of the major barrier to proper and effective communication and in order to remove the barrier, all Safety information and instructions are translated into 5 languages. This covers the delivery of HSE induction, all the general HSE rules and regulations, important and critical HSE flashes and Spotlights.

A robust and effective system is in place to encourage Personnel to report near-misses as well as safety suggestions. These, when reported, are immediately reviewed and if urgent action is required it is taken immediately and the person reporting it is also informed. A committee is in place to review all the reported Near-miss & Safety suggestions at least twice a month and a detailed report is issued with an action plan.

Improving ADGAS Safety Culture depends greatly on the improvement of HSE performance which in turn defends on all the above mentioned points, in addition to the necessity to ensure corrective actions are taken timely and effectively, for this all action plans derived from Audits, Inspections, Accidents, Surveys etc are closely monitored by a nominated focal person who updates each action periodically (at least monthly).

Encouraging personnel to report HSE issues or safety observations or better, unsafe practices cannot be effectively achieved without the introduction of incentives. ADGAS has introduced several HSE incentive schemes to promote HSE awareness among all employees which has led to achieving extra ordinary HSE targets. These are HSE incentive schemes for individuals (Near-miss, spot awards, safety Man of the Month etc.) and for groups (Dept HSE performance, Housekeeping Surveys, Personnel Protective Equipment (PPE) surveys etc.).

ADGAS also promote Safety Culture among Contractors which can be summarized as follows:

Development of HSE Passport

HSE Training package

Contractor Competency Assessment

Early mobilization of Contractor Personnel

Improvement of Personnel Protective Equipment (PPE)

Regular meeting with Contractor Senior Management


Levels of safety culture for concrete organizational aspects




Benchmarking Trends and Statistics

ADGAS Benchmarks itself against organizations outside the industry, using both 'hard' and 'hard' measures. Involve all levels of the organization in identifying action for improvement. For example in" Task Risk Assessment", the comparison of risk is against risk occurrence with others outside the industry.


Audits and Reviews

Full audit system running smoothly with good follow up. Continuous informal search for non-obvious problems with outside help when needed. There are fewer audits of hardware and system and more at the level of behaviors.


Incident/accident reporting, investigation and analysis

Investigation and analysis driven by a deep understanding of how accidents happen. This is clear at ADGAS approach for incident/accident reporting. A rout-cause analysis is looked at in deep understand by specialist in the concerned field and share with others to find the link between causes and outcomes. Real issues identified by aggregating information from a wide range of incidents. Follow up is systematic, to check that change occurs and is maintained.


Hazard and Unsafe Act Reports

All levels actively access and use the information generated by reports in their daily work. Personnel from different department are requested to raise "Near Miss Report" even if not related to their own department. List of unsafe observations is distributed to all ADGAS department by ADGAS HSE Department which hold meeting to follow up


Work Planning Including PTW, Journey Management

ADGAS has a very sophisticated and polished Permit To Work(PTW ) includes a clear plan of the work and attached with "Task Risk Assessment" indicating anticipated potential problems/risks and action to reduced them.


Contractor Management

ADGAS doesn't compromise on work quality or safety. However, ADGAS try to find solution with contractors to achieve expectations even if this means postponing the job unit the requirements are met within. That why some times Projects get delay.


Competency /training - are workers interested?

Attitude in ADGAS is highly appreciated as much as knowledge and skills. Employees are encouraged to address needed training which is granted.


Work-site job safety techniques

ADGAS implements an advanced "Waste Management System" to ensure a fee of hazard working environment. In addition, building a costly facilities and sulfur plant to prevent releasing toxic gas and other polluters to the air. This is for sake of protecting people and human.

All ADGAS people including management, supervisors and works discuss openly with each other about hazards or risks involved at work.


Who checks safety on a day-to-day basis?

ADGAS employees are caution to safe work environment. It is clearly notable that ADGAS employees have self-monitoring behavior. Moreover they are self-motivated toward peers monitoring. In addition to that supervisors, job officers and ADGAS Safety officers monitor work activities or a regular basis.


What is the size/status of the HSE department?

HSE seen as an important job. HSE professionals are recruited directly and advisors are appreciated by the line mangers. All ADGAS senior people have a solid HSE knowledge. HSE Manager reports to Quality and Integrity Manager who report to directly to top management.


What are the rewards of good safety performance?

ADGAS still consider rewards and incentive even though recognition itself seen as high value. Good performance is considered in promotion reviews. However evaluation is process based rather than outcomes.


Levels of safety culture for abstract organizational aspects




Who cause accidents in the eye of management?

ADGAS courage its employee to have a free of blame working environment. Therefore most of the time blame is not an issue. However, management accepts it could be responsible when assessing what they personally could have done to remove root causes. They take a broad view looking at the interaction of systems and people.


What happens after an accident? Is feedback loop being closed

Top management is seen amongst the people involved directly after an accident. They show personal interest in individuals and the investigation process.


How do safety meeting feel?

Meeting can be called by any employee, taking place in a relaxed atmosphere, and may be run by employees with managers attending by invitation. Toolbox meetings are short and focused on ensuring everyone is aware of what problems might arise.


Balance Between HSE and profitability

HSE and profitability are in good balance. ADGAS consider safe work environment worth the cost which create it. On the other hand, ADGAS management recognizes impact of poor HSE on production and company. The company accepts delays to get contractors up to standard in terms of safety.


Is management interested in communicating HSE issues with the workforce?

There is a definite two-way process in which management gets more information back than they provide. In management monthly and quarter meeting, ADGAS managements give there observation of safety, however, they expect feedback from their subordinates.

The process is transparent. It's seen as a family tragedy if someone gets hurt.


Commitment level of workforce and level of care for colleagues

Level of commitment and care are very high and are driven by employees who show passion about living up to their aspirations. Standards are defined by the workforce.


What is the purpose of procedure?

There is trust in employees that they can recognize situations where compliance should be challenged. Non-compliance to HSE procedure goes through recognized channel. Procedures are defined for efficiency.



This paper aimed at studying how ADGAS the Emirati Oil and Gas Company managed to excel in safety by utilizing organizational behavior science and literature. The organization's safety performance was assessed using a model derived from the scholarly research and prepared specifically for the petrochemical industry. The assessment was done through a set of one-on-one interviews with employees from different rankings of the organization. As well, the team analyzed different organizational behavior theories covering the individual, group and organizational levels. The key findings of the case study are:

ADGAS safety achievement was through adapting a "Generative Safety Culture" which we found it a very interesting study for organizational behavior on different levels (individual, team and organization culture).

Extrinsic motivation not necessarily has a bad impact on intrinsically motivated people. By Internalization of extrinsic motivation a strong bond is created between behavior, interests and values of people.

Communication to create a sense of community spirit can address many great change drivers such as self monitoring and teamwork.

Positive or negative safety culture starts effectively from the top. Employees watch their management reactions to all safety related events and behave accordingly. Leadership commitment to safety is the key success factor for any culture based Safety initiative.

Safe working environment improves people productivity and company wealth

After this interesting applied study, the team came out with the following recommendations:

It is recommended ADGAS to minimize its HSE Division and investing in it people who proved their competency to build a healthy organization culture.

It is recommended for HSE Manager to report directly to the CEO so that noise is minimized and concerns addressed in timely manner.

We recommend to share ADGAS HSE Division with other companies working on Das Island promote the Generative Safety Culture across operating companies on the island.

We recommend a follow up study to generate a simplified model to promote positive behaviors that generates favorable business outcomes beyond the safety.

We recommend Third Party consultation in order to enlighten areas which are considered low potential risk that could turn to a "Black Swan".


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