Passive avoidant leadership and safety non-compliance: A 30 days diary study among naval cadets

Olav Kjellevold Olsen, Jørn Hetland, Stig Berge Matthiesen, Øystein Løvik Hoprekstad, Roar Espevik, Arnold B. Bakker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The leadership literature suggests that passive leadership undermines employee safety performance; because passive leadership behavior signals that the leader is not committed to organizational safety goals. We tested this hypothesis and investigated the role of two possible moderators, moral disengagement and intolerance of uncertainty. Participants were 78 naval cadets who responded to daily surveys during a 30 days voyage on board of a sailing ship (N occasions is 2166 for H1 and 1910 for H2– H4). The results of multilevel analyses showed as expected that a substantial portion (49%) of the daily safety non-compliance was caused by variation within each crewmember from day to day, and that an increase in daily passive avoidant leadership was related to increased daily safety non-compliance. More unexpectedly, those crewmembers high (and not low) on moral disengagement and intolerance of uncertainty were less influenced by passive avoidant leadership in terms of daily safety violations. Several explanations for the results are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105100
JournalSafety Science
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Diary study
  • Intolerance of uncertainty
  • Moral disengagement
  • Passive avoidant leadership
  • Safety compliance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Safety Research
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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