An Assessment of the Cockpit Resource Management Concept: A Research Proposal

An Assessment of the Cockpit Resource Management Concept: A Research Proposal


Several years ago, major airlines implemented official cockpit resource management (CRM) programs. The implementation of these programs was motivated by desires to improve the safety of in-flight operations. Eventually, program objectives were expanded to include the efficient use of resources available to in-flight crews. The proposed study will examine the acceptance of CRM programs by airline in-flight crew personnel.

The CRM concept is an outcome of the work of a group of human factors practitioners in the United States in the analysis of, and response to, “crew-caused” air transport crashes and other incidents. These practitioners observed that, while contemporary passenger aircraft have become increasingly reliable technologically, failures in teamwork├╣communication, coordination, and decision-making├╣as opposed to technological malfunctions or poorly qualified flight were, more often than not, the primary causal factors in airliner crashes and other major safety-related incidents.

While the human factors theorists and researchers increasingly were able to persuade airline managements of the value of the CRM concept, both the human factors practitioners and airline managements failed to appreciate the animosity of in-flight personnel to any safety-related initiative that began with an assumption of fault on the part of in-flight personnel for airline crashes and other significant safety-related incidents. Further, the approach of the human factors practitioners to the delivery of CRM training left much to be desired. Thus, airline managements were required to recognize that serious errors had been made in implementing the CRM concept and that revisions in CRM programs were required if safety and other objectives of the programs were to be met.

Wiley observed that, “Given this emphasis on ‘pop psychology’ and ‘touchy feely’ exerci…

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