Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Norms and organisational culture important for safer aviation

21.12.2011
Sometimes pilots violate established procedures and rules. This may lead to an increased risk of accidents.

One effective way for airline companies to reduce violations is to focus more on norms, safety culture and risk awareness within the organisation rather than on individual employees’ attitudes towards rules and procedures. This is the main conclusion of a new doctoral thesis in psychology from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Safe and effective aviation is dependent on the pilots’ ability to make appropriate decisions. Even though pilots are well trained and there are rules, models and standardised operating procedures that are intended to aid the decision-making process, there are still accidents. One reason accidents occur is that individuals sometimes decide to violate standard operating procedures and rules.

‘Violation of procedures is not uncommon among pilots, and there may be many reasons for this,’ says Johan Lindvall, psychology researcher at the University of Gothenburg with a background as a commercial airline pilot.

The pilot is a member of a crew – a group that in turn is influenced by factors such as professional social norms and a certain corporate culture. Yet the pilot is also an independent individual. Risk assessments, social skills and ability to make decisions are some of the individual characteristics that affect how people relate to standard operating procedures.

In order to explore how these factors affect pilots’ readiness to violate procedures, Johan Lindvall studied pilots in a flight simulator and used scenario-based questionnaires. All participants in his study have worked as commercial airline pilots.

Lindvall found that those who violated the procedures tended to underestimate the risks and be overconfident about their own abilities. They felt more pressured to violate the procedures and felt less supported by colleagues when making their decision. They were also not as good as their procedure-complying counterparts at involving colleagues in the decision-making process. However, he did not find any link between the pilots’ attitudes to the importance of the procedures and their actual behaviour – a result that can be explained by the general observation that the connection between attitudes and actual behaviour is typically quite weak.

‘Another result is that although pilots are trained to make analytical, systematic and normatively correct decisions, most of them rely on their experience when the situation calls for it. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but shows that decision-making strategies are dynamic and situation dependent,’ says Lindvall.

Lindvall tried to find out both why an individual acts in a certain way in a given situation and how individuals affect and are affected by the system they are in.

‘One conclusion is that holistic and individual factors jointly affect the behaviour of pilots. The ability to understand how the different parts and the whole interact in a system may be a key factor in the creation of a safe system,’ says Lindvall.

The thesis was successfully defended on December 16.


For more information, please contact: Johan Lindvall
Telephone: +46 (0)733 26 73 43
E-mail: johan.lindvall@psy.gu.se

Helena Aaberg | idw
Further information:
http://gupea.ub.gu.se/handle/2077/27956
http://www.gu.se

More articles from Transportation and Logistics:

nachricht New players, standardization and digitalization for more rail freight transport
16.07.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht A helping (Sens)Hand
11.04.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

All articles from Transportation and Logistics >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>