REX (Return of Experience) - Myth or Reality: The Bradley Curve

A short summary of the Bradley curve, it has been developed in 1994 by Mr. Vernon Bradley working for Dupont. This visual representation explains the different stages of cultures and the implementation in organizations.

The notions of model are omnipresent in our companies, in all sectors and in particular where there is a mass production of knowledge associated with expertise. For safety, there is no exception for this practice and, of course, like all models of simplification and visual representation, it involves biases and lack of clarity.

About the Bradley curve, we can cite some of them:

The first bias is that the Bradley curve is based on individual behavior and with four categories: reactive, dependent, independent and interdependent. We all know BBS (Behavior Based Safety) focused on behavior and the Bradley curve is used to describe these four categories. However, an organization is made up of individuals with diverse cultures, values ​​and behaviors. It is too simplest to resume your occupational health and safety system only on one phase of the Bradley curve. I've seen so many trainings, seminars or presentations, with participants trying after long (and of course fruitless) discussion to define the organization on one step of the Bradley Curve.

And so what?

Do you think that your organization can be summarized to four categories and all your employees are in the same category?

The second bias is the responsibility. I’m talking about responsibility in general, not just civil and criminal responsibility of the manager and the company, but also moral and ethical responsibility. In Bradley’s model, the ultimate step is interdependence, but the responsibility of the company must be always present, and we must never transfer responsibility to the employee. 

The third bias is what I call the “focus” syndrome because after the long discussion to define the company culture on the Bradley curve, it become obvious that the organization must progress only on one of the four categories. However, occupational health and safety is more global and systemic.

To summarize, like all models of simplification and visual representation, I recommend using it wisely and knowing the biases.

Looking forward to more detailed discussions