The 'climates' of the logging industry : effects on safety, commitment, turnover, and accidents : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts (Soc. Sci.) in Psychology at Massey University
New Zealand's logging industry is one of the country's largest exporting industries. With increased global competition and demands, work environments like the logging industry are finding that problems such as accidents and turnover rates are intensifying. Much research has been completed on accident and turnover rates, yet no decrease is apparent. New approaches in identifying reasons for such problems are therefore necessary. Gaining knowledge of the rationale for high turnover and accident rates (adverse activities) within the logging industry included investigating the general PC, group and organisational climate, safety climate, organisational commitment and intentions to quit (job behaviours/perceptions)of logging industry members. Field and Abelson's (1982) model asserts that PC can affect job behaviours/perceptions and adverse activities. Their 'new evolution' model of climate also argues that aggregation of psychological climate (PC) perceptions to gain evidence of group and organisational climate is possible if there is consensus in PC perceptions within groups and across organisations. Respondents were a heterogeneous group of contractors (n=6) and crew members (n=67) drawn from a list of Corporate and Woodlot crews provided by Carter Holt Harvey Limited and Fletcher Challenge Limited. The relationships between demographic variables and PC were examined using analysis of variance (ANOVA). ANOVA's and Pearson r's correlations were also performed to analyse potential relationships between all the variables to determine effects on the adverse activities of the logging industry. The psychological climate, safety climate, organisational commitment, and intentions to turnover variables were found to be rather negative in direction. Aggregation of PC to group level climate proved unfruitful because of the lack of consensus within crews. However, organisational climate was evident across the logging industry. Some PC variables were found to be significantly related to safety climate variables, organisational commitment variables, and intention to quit variables. The contractors perceptions of the PC variables role ambiguity and workgroup friendliness and warmth were significantly related to crewmember turnover rates. Moreover, the contractors perceptions of the safety climate variable fatalism were significantly related to crewmember accident rates. The research limitations and implications were discussed along with recommendations for future research.