Relational approach in managing construction project safety: A social capital perspective

Tas Yong Koh*, Steve Rowlinson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Existing initiatives in the management of construction project safety are largely based on normative compliance and error prevention, a risk management approach. Although advantageous, these approaches are not wholly successful in further lowering accident rates. A major limitation lies with the approaches' lack of emphasis on the social and team processes inherent in construction project settings. We advance the enquiry by invoking the concept of social capital and project organisational processes, and their impacts on project safety performance. Because social capital is a primordial concept and affects project participants' interactions, its impact on project safety performance is hypothesised to be indirect, i.e. the impact of social capital on safety performance is mediated by organisational processes in adaptation and cooperation. A questionnaire survey was conducted within Hong Kong construction industry to test the hypotheses. 376 usable responses were received and used for analyses. The results reveal that, while the structural dimension is not significant, the mediational thesis is generally supported with the cognitive and relational dimensions affecting project participants' adaptation and cooperation, and the latter two processes affect safety performance. However, the cognitive dimension also directly affects safety performance. The implications of these results for project safety management are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-144
Number of pages11
JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2012
Externally publishedYes


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