Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


The present research investigated the effects of training, goal setting, and knowledge of results (KR) of safe behavior in a field setting. As a result, it addressed both a theoretical issue and a practical problem. Of theoretical importance is ascertaining the effects of KR when combined with goal setting. Of practical significance is assessing the utility of a behavioral approach to occupational safety. Eleven departments (n = 105 employees) of a farm machinery manufacturing plant were divided into three groups. A multiple-baseline, across-groups design was utilized for the four phases: (a) baseline, (b) Training Only, (c) Goal Setting and Training, and (d) Feedback (KR), Goal Setting, and Training. The primary dependent variable was the percentage of employees observed to be working in complete accordance with the behavioral safety rules. An ARIMA analysis suggested that a white noise model best described the time series data. A repeated measures ANOVA revealed that, as hypothesized, behavioral safety performance was significantly better than baseline (X(' )=(' )62.20%) after the employees were trained via explanation and visual presentation of the safety rules (X(' )=(' )70.85%). The ANOVA also indicated that, as predicted, assigning a specific, difficult but acceptable departmental goal further significantly enhanced performance (X(' )=(' )77.54%). When KR was provided in relation to the goal, performance again significantly increased (X(' )=(' )95.39%). In addition, the overall and lost-time injury rates for the plant decreased considerably. It was concluded that feedback (KR) was a beneficial condition for the effects of goal setting to be maximally realized. Of practical significance is the finding that non-monetary incentives could be used to increase the frequency of safe behaviors. Future research was recommended to assess the function of KR in relation to goals and to determine the generalizability of these results to types of organizations and behaviors.