The purpose of this thesis was to determine the key components of effective leadership alignment within the safety culture change process at the National Cooperative Refinery Association in McPherson, Kansas. The implementation efforts provided data regarding leaders' actions, employee perceptions, and leadership alignment interventions. Research data gathered through 129 paper surveys and 25 group interviews were analyzed to identify relationships between work-related demographic indicators and workplace attitudes. The final analysis revealed a statistically significant relationship between the "alignment" composite and salaried employees, meaning salaried employees were more likely to answer positively than hourly employees. Secondly, the findings showed a strong association of "role of teams" where employees on grassroots safety culture teams and the guidance team were more positive than non-team members. The key components of leadership alignment were found to be leaders' actions, grassroots and guidance team structure, and leadership alignment dialogues. When leaders followed safety policies and procedures, were visible to employees, responded to safety concerns in a timely manner, and provided detailed safety information, alignment was created. The leadership alignment dialogues created alignment when leaders took the time to listen first to concerns and not just react, engaged in honest and candid dialogue, and apologized for making mistakes. The planned guidance and grassroots team structures and projects were recognized by employees as maintaining the National Cooperative Refinery Association's safety culture change efforts. In conclusion, the safety culture change process was successful, reducing the National Cooperative Refinery Association's incident and injury rates from 2008 to 2009. To continue to improve safety performance, it is recommended the association continue the team structure, complete leadership alignment dialogues with all supervisors, and target specific units for safety improvement.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Research projects (MSOD); Organizational behavior; Industrial safety

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graziadio Business School



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Lacey, Miriam