Safety in the Face of Urgency: An Ethnographic Investigation of the UPS System

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Conference Track

Supply Chain Management/ International Marketing/ Business to Business Marketing

Publication Date



As research on workplace safety increases, there is a specific need to understand how safety systems impact organizational employees’ specific behaviors. To date, there is little research in this area from the operations management and supply chain management perspectives. This is especially true when considering the impact of working in highly dynamic, complex, and stressful environments. The goal of this study is to provide an initial investigation into how employees can work safely under the guise of a formalized safety system. To accomplish this goal, we employed an ethnographic investigation at United Parcel Service (UPS) in order to gain insights along this line. The results indicate that a rigorously developed and formally implemented safety system that is strictly followed by employees results in a significant decrease in the likelihood of incidents.

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Digital Commons@Georgia Southern License

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