Date of Conferral

2017

Degree

Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)

School

Business Administration

Advisor

Teresa Jepma

Abstract

Inadequate leadership is the reason workplace accidents in the mining industry remain high, making the industry one of the most hazardous operational activities in the world. Unsafe leadership practices may result in death or injury to workers. A group of 30 mining company leaders from 3 gold mines in Zimbabwe revealed an exception to these hazardous practices, however, notable through their outstanding safety improvement records. To better understand what these practitioners were doing, this multicase study research design explored their strategies to improve the workplace safety environment in the mines. Data were collected using audio-recorded semistructured interviews and document analyses. Shewhart's plan-do-check-act conceptual framework anchored the study. Data analysis followed the thematic data analytic approach involving classification, coding, and interpretation to identify common themes. The following themes emerged: planning and organizing, leading, and risk management. The findings indicate that the business leaders created a safe work environment by planning the work to be performed; how the task would be executed; and when, where, and who performed the task. The results of study also indicate that leaders designed the work environment, trained, empowered, and equipped employees with the relevant skills, and provided appropriate technology and personal protective equipment to improve workplace safety. Finally, the research findings indicate that leaders embedded risk management principles and practices in every process or activity, and continuously learned from each event to create a safe work environment. The findings promote social change by encouraging safe behavior and risk-based thinking and practices in the workforce and the community.