Using System Archetypes to identify safety behaviours within the Malaysian construction industry

Luke Farrand, Neil James Carhart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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The construction industry, particularly in Asia, experiences disproportionately high numbers of occupational injuries and fatalities. Malaysian construction fatality rates are more than double those in developed nations. Systems thinking has previously been used to identify ‘archetypal’ casual structures underpinning safety-related construction behaviours via a Grounded Theory analysis of interview data from construction safety professionals in New Zealand (Guo et al. 2015). This paper partially replicates the method of this prior work within a different cultural context in order to further validate the method and evaluate the extent to which the previously identified structures are indeed archetypal. Seven interviews were conducted with Malaysian construction industry professionals. Three potential archetypal structures were identified concerning: (1) effects of a migrant workforce, (2) corporate accountability and profit driven business culture, and (3) issues in the regulatory system. The structure of behavioural systems in Malaysian construction is depicted providing a view into the failings of construction safety management systems and the interventions to address them. Contractors’ drive for profit was determined as a primary contributing factor in most causal relationships identified. The method is shown to be useful and evidence produced to suggest at least one of the previously proposed causal structures is archetypal.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages30
JournalSafety and Reliability
Early online date20 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


  • Construction Safety
  • Systems Thinking
  • Archetypes
  • System Dynamics
  • Malaysian Construction


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