Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Construction Management

First Committee Member

David Shields

Number of Pages



Since its conception, in 1986 after the Chernobyl accident, the term "safety culture" has gained major popularity throughout many systems, especially the construction industry. Although this concept has gained much popularity over the course of two decades, it remains a heavily debated topic between advocates and skeptics for various reasons. Much of the skepticism is due to the failure of proponents of the concept to clearly define and provide an understanding of those factors that comprise what "safety culture" is, and how it can be achieved. A system (particularly a construction system) that possesses a safety culture is one in which safety is the first priority of all individuals involved from top-level management to those at the operational level including, but not limited to owners, architects, engineers, general contractors, subcontractors, vendors, workers, etc. Hence, construction safety culture is a top-down approach to achieving safety within systems; System Dynamics, as defined by founder Jay Forrester, is the combination of theory, methods, and philosophy intended to analyze the behavior of systems in not only management, but also in environmental change, politics, economic behavior, medicine, engineering, and other fields. The objective of this thesis is to provide clarity to existing research and literature which defines construction safety culture, and explain how System Thinking/Dynamics is an effective tool for understanding and achieving a construction safety culture in a complex system. The program Vensim is used to construct a visual systems thinking model of causal loops that will ultimately provide a better understanding of construction safety culture. This model will illustrate the causal relationships between various safety-related variables as they pertain to the construction industry; Keywords: Construction safety culture, systems thinking, safety.


Construction; Culture; Exploratory; Safety; Study; System; Thinking

Controlled Subject

Civil engineering; Industrial engineering

File Format


File Size

1443.84 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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