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
New players, standardization and digitalization for more rail freight transport
16.07.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
A helping (Sens)Hand
11.04.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO
Cancers that display a specific combination of sugars, called T-antigen, are more likely to spread through the body and kill a patient. However, what regulates...
DESY and MPSD scientists create high-order harmonics from solids with controlled polarization states, taking advantage of both crystal symmetry and attosecond electronic dynamics. The newly demonstrated technique might find intriguing applications in petahertz electronics and for spectroscopic studies of novel quantum materials.
The nonlinear process of high-order harmonic generation (HHG) in gases is one of the cornerstones of attosecond science (an attosecond is a billionth of a...
Nano- and microtechnology are promising candidates not only for medical applications such as drug delivery but also for the creation of little robots or flexible integrated sensors. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) have created magnetic microparticles, with a newly developed method, that could pave the way for building micro-motors or guiding drugs in the human body to a target, like a tumor. The preparation of such structures as well as their remote-control can be regulated using magnetic fields and therefore can find application in an array of domains.
The magnetic properties of a material control how this material responds to the presence of a magnetic field. Iron oxide is the main component of rust but also...
Due to the special arrangement of its molecules, a new coating made of corn starch is able to repair small scratches by itself through heat: The cross-linking via ring-shaped molecules makes the material mobile, so that it compensates for the scratches and these disappear again.
Superficial micro-scratches on the car body or on other high-gloss surfaces are harmless, but annoying. Especially in the luxury segment such surfaces are...
The Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona released its first image of the surface magnetic field of another star. In a paper in the European journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, the PEPSI team presents a Zeeman- Doppler-Image of the surface of the magnetically active star II Pegasi.
A special technique allows astronomers to resolve the surfaces of faraway stars. Those are otherwise only seen as point sources, even in the largest telescopes...
11.03.2019 | Event News
01.03.2019 | Event News
28.02.2019 | Event News
26.03.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
26.03.2019 | Earth Sciences
26.03.2019 | Earth Sciences