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The natural selection of organizational and safety culture within a small to medium sized enterprise (SME)

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 02:33 authored by Benjamin BrooksBenjamin Brooks
Introduction: Small to Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) form the majority of Australian businesses. Method: This study uses ethnographic research methods to describe the organizational culture of a small furniture-manufacturing business in southern Australia. Results: Results show a range of cultural assumptions variously 'embedded' within the enterprise. In line with memetics - Richard Dawkin's cultural application of Charles Darwin's theory of Evolution by Natural Selection, the author suggests that these assumptions compete to be replicated and retained within the organization. The author suggests that dominant assumptions are naturally selected, and that the selection can be better understood by considering the cultural assumptions in reference to Darwin's original principles and Frederik Barth's anthropological framework of knowledge. The results are discussed with reference to safety systems, negative cultural elements called Cultural Safety Viruses, and how our understanding of this particular organizational culture might be used to build resistance to these viruses. © 2007 National Safety Council and Elsevier Ltd.


Publication title

Journal of Safety Research








Australian Maritime College


Pergamon-Elsevier Science Ltd

Place of publication

The Boulevard, Langford Lane, Kidlington, Oxford, England, Ox5 1Gb

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