Out of sight and out of mind? A literature review of occupational safety and health leadership and management of distributed workers

Rachel Nayani, Karina Nielsen, Kevin Daniels, Emma Donaldson-Feilder, Rachel Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)


Distributed workers - those who work autonomously and remotely from their organization’s main locations for at least some of their work-time, are an important and growing proportion of the workforce that share common characteristics of temporal and spatial distance. Yet many leadership styles and management practices assume face-to-face interaction, potentially rendering them less helpful in trying to ensure good occupational safety and health (OSH) outcomes for distributed workers. We conducted a systematic literature review to examine the leadership and management of OSH for distributed workers. Twenty-three papers were identified. Eleven papers identified established leadership styles, including leader-member exchange, (safety-specific) transformational and considerate leadership. Twenty papers examined management. Findings from these 20 papers were interpreted as representing resources, deployed through management and utilized by managers to ensure OSH for distributed workers, including communication technologies, social support, and a good safety climate. Despite limited research in this area, findings indicate the importance of both leadership and management in ensuring OSH for distributed workers. Findings suggest a fertile area for future enquiry.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-146
Number of pages23
JournalWork & Stress
Issue number2
Early online date6 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • distributed workers
  • leadership
  • management
  • resources
  • health
  • safety
  • wellbeing

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