Bringing symmetry between and within safety and security cultures in highrisk organizations

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Institutes & Expert groups

  • ULG - Université de Liège
  • University of Cambridge

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Based on a review of scholarly, regulatory and policy literatures, this article illustrates how ‘safety culture’ and ‘security culture’ are conventionally understood within the context of high-risk organizations. It identifies two important recurring gaps in the literature: (1) the subordination of the analysis of security culture to safety culture concepts, and (2) the anthropocentricity inscribed in both notions, which sideline the dynamic interplay between social and technical elements in the constitution of ‘culture’. To address these gaps, the article introduces concepts and heuristics from Science and Technology Studies, specifically co-production and Actor-Network Theory. Using the concrete examples of the labelling of hazardous materials and the “four eyes” principle, it highlights how these heuristics may open onto a more symmetrical analysis of safety and security cultures in high-risk contexts. It thereby seeks to make visible the mutual shaping of safety and security cultures and attend to the roles of non-human actors as active participants in such processes.


Original languageEnglish
Article number104950
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalSafety Science
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


  • Safety culture, Security culture, Co-production, Actor-Network Theory, High-risk organizations

ID: 6978653