Research into safety cultures: HSRW professor’s results generate worldwide interest

The focus of Marquardt's research is on people, because it is human beings, from aviation to the chemical industry and more, who ultimately ensure safety. But it is each person’s largely subconscious basic assumptions that ultimately influence their thinking and actions. As a professor of cognitive, industrial and organisational psychology, Dr Nicki Marquardt, in his most recent research, examined the extent to which these basic assumptions can be changed by classic training measures.

Using reaction time measurement, i.e. querying associations in the millisecond range, he discovered that these basic assumptions cannot be influenced by traditional means. These results quickly caught the attention of science and industry: in late October 2021, the cognitive psychologist presented his research on the transformation of safety culture to the Safety Journal Club, which includes the elite universities Stanford, Berkeley and Yale. The Federation of German Employers is also quite interested in the studies of the professor from Kamp-Lintfort: in October 2021 Marquardt also presented his research to leading representatives of major German companies. The chemical industry in particular was interested in how his research might pertain to its own operational safety culture.

But experts from science and industry were also keenly interested in the research method, not just the results. Research into the basic assumptions of people – the building blocks of an organisation’s safety culture – is a novel approach within the field of organisational and cognitive psychology.

Prof Dr Nicki Marquardt
Professor of cognitive, industrial and organisational psychology
Phone: +49 (0) 2842 90825-231
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