copy the linklink copied!Foreword

For over a decade, policy makers around the world have used behavioural insights (BI) to understand how human behaviour influences policy outcomes. The majority of these applications have been concerned with improving policy implementation and changing individual behaviour; however, many policy areas are also affected by the behaviour of organisations. Can policy makers use BI to change the behaviour of organisations to improve the outcomes of policies and regulations, and promote good governance overall?

This report brings together work on applying BI to foster a “safety culture” in regulators and regulated entities in the energy sector and is intended to serve as a reference for future safety culture research, a field in which BI has been underutilised. The data presented in this report is grounded in an Industrial-Organisational Psychology model that suggests organisations can be influenced through the individuals within them.

The report assembles several pieces of evidence on safety culture conducted since 2017 and led by the OECD Network of Economic Regulators (NER), including experiments with regulators from Canada, Ireland, Mexico and Oman. The conclusions of that work – including the initial comparative results of the safety culture experiments – were presented in the 2019 OECD publication Delivering Better Policies Through Behavioural Insights: New Approaches. This report expands upon those results by presenting more detailed country-level data.

While there is no concise internationally agreed upon definition of safety culture, at its core, it is about the organisation’s values, beliefs, norms, practices, competencies and behaviours related to safety. Regulators have found clear evidence that many high-profile incidents have occurred – at least in part – due to poor organisational behaviour, including poor safety culture. Regulators have a role to play in advancing safety culture both in their own organisation and in the regulated entities they oversee. This includes understanding organisational behaviour and safety culture, as well as the behavioural barriers and opportunities for changing elements of safety culture.

The research and frontier experiments underlying the report demonstrate the value of regulators exploring new, behaviourally informed strategies to address safety culture. The variation in responses within and among countries highlights the importance of using tailored applications of BI concepts and methodology. The guidance chapter that begins this report highlights lessons learned using each of the behavioural insights tested in the context of safety culture to support policy makers in tailoring their approaches in the future.

This report is part of the OECD work programme on embedding behavioural insights into regulatory frameworks and their delivery, led by the NER and the OECD Regulatory Policy Committee (RPC), with the support of the Regulatory Policy Division of the OECD Directorate of Public Governance. The Directorate’s mission is to help government at all levels design and implement strategic, evidence-based and innovative policies that support sustainable economic and social development.

copy the linklink copied!Acknowledgements

The overall report was prepared by James Drummond and Anna Pietikainen, under the direction and support of Marcos Bonturi, Director, and Nick Malyshev, Head of the Regulatory Policy Division, Public Governance Directorate. The work underlying the report was originally begun by Filippo Cavassini and Faisal Naru, with contributions from Shelly Hsieh. Jennifer Stein edited and prepared the report for publication, and editorial support was provided by Andrea Uhrhammer.

The Secretariat worked with a team of behavioural scientists who designed the experiments and drafted various chapters and sections (see below). An academic panel of Dr. John Beshears, Harvard University, Dr. Tom Reader, London School of Economics, and Dr. Severine Trouassaert. London School of Economics and Oxford University also provided support and feedback throughout the project.

The Secretariat is grateful for comments provided by a number of colleagues from participating countries and would like to acknowledge their contributions. Thanks are extended to Claudine Bradley, Melissa Mathieson, and Natasha Scott, Canada Energy Regulator (CER), and Christine Siminowski, Natural Resources Canada, Canada; Ann McGarry and Ashleigh Shaheen, Commission for the Regulation of Utilities (CRU), Ireland; Adriana López Alba Gómez and Daniel Ernesto Benet Sanchez, Agency for Safety, Energy and Environment (Agencia de Seguridad, Energía y Ambiente, ASEA), Mexico; and Ibrahim Al Harti and Qais Al Zakwani, Authority for Electricity Regulation (AER), Oman.

The report was peer-reviewed internally at the Public Governance Directorate by Janos Bertok, Acting Director, and Jack Radisch, Senior Policy Analyst, Risk Management, Governance Reviews and Partnerships Division. Thanks are also extended to Filippo Cavassini and Francesca Papa, Economics Directorate, and Faisal Naru and Jun Nakagawa, Executive Directorate, for their comments on the final draft of the report.

The Secretariat would like to acknowledge the contributors to each chapter of this report:

  • Overall experimental design was created and implemented by Mary MacLennan, behavioural science consultant and former member of the Impact and Innovation Unit, Canada, supported by Dr Morgan Tear, Research Fellow, London School of Economics and BehaviourWorks Australia at Monash University and Dr Tom Reader, London School of Economics, with input and support from Faisal Naru and Filippo Cavassini. Phase 2 experimental design was created and implemented by Daniel Shephard, PhD Candidate, Colombia University and former member of the Social and Behavioural Sciences Team, United States, building on the initial experimental design and in co-ordination with Mary MacLennan, with inputs and support from Faisal Naru and Filippo Cavassini.

  • Chapter 1 (overview) was written by James Drummond and Daniel Shephard, with inputs from Anna Pietikainen, Mary MacLennan and Morgan Tear. A preliminary version was shared with project partners in November 2019, and with NER delegates in February 2020.

  • Chapter 2 (theoretical background) was written by Lori Foster, Professor of Psychology, North Carolina State University, Head of Behavioural Science, Pymetrics, and former member of the White House Social and Behavioural Team, in support of the EC-OECD Seminar Series on Designing Better Economic Development Policies for Regions and Cities, Seminar on Behavioural Insights and Organisational Behaviour (10 May 2017), and funded by the European Commission Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy (DG REGIO). An abridged version of this chapter was included in the 2018 OECD publication Rethinking Regional Development Policy-making.

  • Chapter 3 (applying BI to safety culture) was written by Mary MacLennan, with inputs from Faisal Naru, Filippo Cavassini, Shelly Hsieh, Anna Pietikainen and Morgan Tear. A preliminary version was discussed with the NER delegates in Paris on 6 November 2017.

  • Chapter 4 (results) was written by Daniel Shephard and Morgan Tear, with inputs by James Drummond and Mary MacLennan. Draft of the results and background work were discussed with NER delegates, including 26 November 2018 (Phase 1 comparative results and Phase 2 scoping and design) and 16 April 2019 (Phase 1 lessons learned and Phase 2 results).

  • Chapter 5 (case studies) was prepared by Filippo Cavassini, Shelly Hsieh and Anna Pietikainen based on inputs from ASEA, CRU and AER. A preliminary version was discussed with the NER delegates in Paris on 9 April 2018.

Finally, the work would not have been possible without the support of the Canadian Energy Regulator (CER), Canada, the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities (CRU), Ireland, the Agency for Safety, Energy and Environment (ASEA), Mexico, and the Authority for Electricity Regulation (AER), Oman.

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