The best of both worlds, to what extent frontline leadership can contribute to balancing safety and efficiency priorities in the healthcare manufacturing industry

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A pressure culture to achieve efficiency related performance outcomes results in employees making decisions on sacrificing fundamental priorities, such as their own safety. Frontline leaders (FLLs) are responsible for steering these employees and fit a transformational leadership style: embodying a clear vision, sharing a set of norms and values, enabling achievement of performance goals and by mutual trust. The paper adds to the scarcity of qualitative research on the role of frontline leaders and prior research on safety and efficiency trade-offs which has been limited to other industries. The research is conducted via a single case study and is of qualitative nature. Perceptions by management, employees, and frontline leaders on frontline leadership are analysed and compared with constructs from the transformational leadership style. Primary data is retrieved by semi-structured interviews and secondary data is retrieved by organisational documents and data. Findings of the research presented that the presence of mutual trust and sharing the same norms and values between FLLs and the employees positively enables a balance between safety and efficiency priorities. The presence and awareness of FLLs embodying the safety-first vision does not change the pressure culture employees experience on efficiency related measures to be favoured over safety.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen