Frames of Thefts at Work – Security Culture and the Organisation of Responsibility in Transport Networks
Journal article, 2010
In this paper we investigate how security cultures guide the way in which employees who work within global and constantly changing transport networks understand daily risks of thefts at work. Based on qualitative interviews with terminal workers at three Swedish freight terminals and on Mary Douglas's Grid/Group model, we elaborate theoretically on how their frames of security can be understood as dependent on the organizational context. We found that the terminal workers used a so-called industrial frame of security that promotes hierarchic organizations of security. However, a conventional industrial frame, expressed by confident workers who believed that thefts should be handled by managers who followed established routines, can be distinguished from an industrial frame expressed by discouraged workers who described unpredictable external conditions that demanded their individual responsibility. A conclusion drawn is that the differences between these industrial frames indicate that our understanding of security cultures, that is, the framing of individual responsibility and inclination to act against perpetrators, has to be based on an analysis of both the organization of work and a wider organizational context.