Anti-Learning Behavior Toward Safety Risk: The Roles of Internal Context and Social Contagion

Xun Tong, Kevin Linderman, Chris K.Y. Lo, Kee hung Lai, T. C.E. Cheng

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Managing safety has become increasingly important in global operations. Surprisingly, the literature provides limited clues on what influences future accident hazards after the happening of a recent minor operational incident (MOI) in an organization. We examine the impacts of internal context (direct MOI experience) and external context (indirect MOI experience) on a focal organization's future serious accident hazard. Using an archival incident dataset from the liner shipping industry and drawing upon normalized deviation and social contagion theory, we find that after a recent MOI in a focal organization, the direct (internal context) and indirect (contagion source) MOI experience “increase” the likelihood of accident hazard. Furthermore, within the indirect MOI experience, there is “no” differential impact between related (same type and same region) and unrelated experience, whereas within related experience, spatial (region) and social (type) proximity do not differ in influencing the chance of future serious accident hazard happening. Our findings provide important implications for theory, practice, and policy-making in safety management.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDecision Sciences
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020


  • Accident
  • Direct and Indirect Experience
  • Hazard Model
  • Liner Shipping
  • Minor Operational Incident
  • Normalized Deviation
  • Social Contagion Theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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