Impact of Human Behaviours on Quality and Health & Safety

The Impact of Human Behaviours on Quality and Health & Safety at Work

It’s commonplace to deal with behaviours in the workplace and their impact on organisational culture. Yet it’s difficult to explain why behaviours affect the organisational culture and indeed vice versa.

This is especially so when there is little consensus on what ‘organisational culture’ really is (according to such sources as the Harvard Business Review). Here we’re going to concentrate on the effects of human behaviours on two specific areas that concern any organisation

  • Quality
  • Health and Safety at work

Quality and Health and Safety culture

Both quality and health and safety may significantly shape the culture of an organisation and its reputation.

How an organisation deals with quality of products, services and operations and/or with health and safety of employees in the workplace, shapes the culture of the organisation in terms of quality and/or health and safety respectively.


Assuming that an organisation has set extremely high quality standards and that it constantly expects all people involved (such as managers, employees, suppliers, customers) to comply with those standards, this organisation is likely to have a so called ‘quality culture’.

Similarly, if an organisation imposes strict measures regarding health and safety related issues in the workplace, the organisation is likely to have a so called ‘health and safety culture’.

The following questions are given as food for thought:

  • How is the quality or health and safety culture likely to affect behaviours in the workplace?
  • How might behaviours of individuals affect the quality and/or health and safety culture?

The impact of human behaviours

We human beings are complex. Daily behaviours are triggered by several factors:

  • our needs
  • our preferences
  • difficulties when executing our tasks
  • our innate temperament
  • our attitudes/beliefs
  • other character traits (such as self motivation, stability and persistence and emotional maturity)

Consequently, the above are often expressed as behaviours which may, under circumstances, have a detrimental effect on quality and/or on health and safety issues in the workplace.

Temperament and character

Temperament consists of particular traits a person is born with and which are said to be developed by the age of eighteen.

Those traits do not change over the whole life of the person, i.e. the basic temperament of a person does not change permanently. If certain traits change then this normally happens under certain conditions and those changes are temporary.

Temperament determines how a person is likely to perform at work.

  • Is the person a strong independent personality, which does not like to be told how to do things at work?
  • Is the person rather conscientious, a good team member who does not feel uncomfortable in following rules, directions and procedures?
  • Does the person perform better in routine tasks?
  • Does the person prefer a changing environment in which they can multi-task and perform better within timelines?
  • How much pressure can the person cope with?

These are only a few of the examples which we see every day in the workplace. Behaviours which arise from the innate temperament are natural behaviours. In contrast, behaviours which arise from character are learned behaviours.

Widely known character traits are attitudes/beliefs, self motivation, stability/persistence, emotional maturity.

And now?

Now it may be about time to start describing the behavioural requirements of a quality related job role and/or of a health and safety related job role in your organization. We suggest that you use the McQuaig Job Analysis™ and the McQuaig Job Survey® for this purpose.

After you feel content with the description, ask your employees or job candidates to have their personality profile determined with the McQuaig Word Survey®.

We’re confident, from experience, that you’ll be surprised how the McQuaig Psychometric System helps you to understand and explain behaviours which you might have observed in any of the job roles under consideration.

More than that, you’ll understand how to make appropriate adjustments in the job requirements and/or help your employees cope more effectively with the demands of the job roles.

The fact is that innate temperament does not change. What does change are human behaviours. We may adjust all our behaviours for some of the time or only some of our behaviours  all of the time.

Some more food for thought:

Which behaviours are critical for success in a quality or health and safety job position in your organisation?

Would you like to determine critical behaviours for any job role in your organisation?

Read more about Behaviour-based safety here.

Ioannis GousgounisAbout the author: Ioannis Gousgounis is the owner and founder of SUCCESSKeysGR. Ioannis is an Accredited McQuaig Interpreter, a Certified McQuaig Psychometric System Trainer and a Consulting Partner to Holst (European Distributor of the McQuaig Psychometric System) covering Greece and Cyprus.

Email Ioannis at (attn: IG) or call on +30 6944141114

To find out more about the McQuaig Psychometric System in the UK visit  or call 0203 111 9292.

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