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Organizations in the chemical process industry invest considerable amounts of time and resources managing change and implementing best practices to maintain safe operations and achieve operational objectives. Consequently, most executives and senior managers responsible for performance rely on formal organizational structure to achieve these objectives. However, front line employees responsible for ensuring safe operation of hazardous chemical processes are often influenced more by the informal than the formal organization in their daily activities. The dynamics of informal networks among workers are critical determinants of strong operational discipline (OD), process safety culture, and business performance. Yet, organizational social networks are often overlooked or not well understood by management. We discuss how organizational network analysis (ONA) may improve our understanding of process safety culture. We also share results from our exploratory study that used a novel survey instrument to measure OD at the individual level in conjunction with a social network survey indicating interaction for the exchange of job task performance and process safety advice, respectively.


The final version of this article resulting from peer review at the journal "Process Safety Progress" may not be posted here due to publisher requirements. The fully refereed, accepted version of this article is currently available for "Early View" on the journal web site.