Robert Foster

Date of Award

January 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Daniel K. Adjekum


A concurrent-embedded mixed method was used to evaluate observed outcomes of safety culture among multiple collegiate aviation programs in the U.S. A hypothesized model that measures the relationships between scales of safety management systems (SMS), safety motivation (mediator), and safety behaviors (safety compliance, safety reporting, and safety participation) was assessed using structural equation modeling/path analysis (SEM/PA). Demographic differences in safety culture were also evaluated. Semi-structured interviews were used further to understand the impacts of SMS on safety culture. Findings suggest significant predictive relationships between SMS and observed safety culture outcomes. There was also a significant mediation role of safety motivation between SMS and some observed safety culture outcomes. An emergent theme from the interviews suggests that flight instructors play a crucial formative role in sustaining a positive safety culture in collegiate aviation programs. Implications for policy and practices in collegiate aviation safety culture and recommendations for future research are highlighted.