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Durham University

Research & business

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Publication details

Zhu, A., von Zedtwitz, M., Assimakopoulos, D. & Fernandes, K. (2016). The impact of organizational culture on Concurrent Engineering, Design-for-Safety, and product safety performance. International Journal of Production Economics 176: 69-81.

Author(s) from Durham


This paper empirically extends the research on the relationships between organizational culture, new product development (NPD) practices, and product safety performance (PSP). Using Schein's conceptualization of culture (i.e., underlying assumptions, espoused values, and artifacts), we build and test a model among five variables: top management commitment to safety (MCS), group level product safety culture (PSC) at NPD, Concurrent Engineering (CE), Design-for-Safety (DFS), and product safety performance. We propose that the underlying assumption of safety first affects the espoused values (group level product safety culture at NPD) and artifacts of organizational culture (Concurrent Engineering and Design-for-Safety); espoused value influences artifacts; and artifacts impact product safety performance. These hypotheses are tested by structural analyses of 255 survey responses collected from 126 firms in the juvenile product sector. While management commitment to safety, product safety culture, and Design-for-Safety are significant product safety predictors, as expected, Concurrent Engineering has no significant direct effect on product safety. We discuss the implications of these findings for the field of product safety.