Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Faculty of Regional and Professional Studies


School of Business (RPS)/Centre for Innovative Practice




This article was originally published as: Bahn, S. T. (2013). Risk blindness among temporary migrant workers in Australia. In 27th Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management Conference 2013 : managing on the edge, 4-6 December 2013, Hobart, Tasmania (pp. 1-17). Hobart, Australia: ANZAM. Original article available here


Workers can suffer from risk blindness in that they fail to recognise workplace hazards or their severity, thereby jeopardising their health and safety and their organisation’s performance. This problem is exacerbated in organisations who employ temporary migrant workers because not only do ‘home country’ cultural factors influence the way they understand and see risks; more critically the temporary nature of their work contract can reduce their commitment, and perceived responsibility, to acknowledge risk. The result of which could expose temporary migrant and domestic workers to increased incidents of work-related injury, disease and fatalities. This paper presents this problem through the lens of institutional theory to explain uneven power differentials between temporary migrant workers and managers that lead to risk blindness.