Cross-Cultural Cockpit Automation CRM Crew Resource Management Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

aviation is automation. Automation has been a part of aviation far longer than it has been a part of any other industry or cause, and aviation has been multi-cultural since the first flight across the Atlantic. In light of the recent global changes in aviation, after recent terrorist acts, there is a much greater international need for a culture of safety that alleviates the rational fears of the public. Challenges of international collaboration are now more important than ever. The challenges of automation and especially the cross-cultural issues of it are the ways in which pilots and mangers view automation and how they use it. The challenges to the aviation industry are trendsetting in the field of human and computer interaction, almost before the complex ideas of technological advance and its time and energy saving effects were devised.

In aviation technology was used from the early beginning to automate flight subtasks (e.g. Sperry-autopilot) and provide a better picture of the aircraft's attitude (e.g. artificial horizon). In today's commercial or military aircraft, complex flight management systems can perform nearly every subtask in flight automatically..." (Ziegler & International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, 1999 Munich, Germany, 1999, p. 1271)

Yet within this system are inherent drawbacks and dangers. "...despite of technological advances and undoubted benefits, the relative safety level (hull losses per million departures) in commercial aviation remained at a constant level for the last twenty years." (Ziegler & International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, 1999 Munich, Germany, 1999, p. 1271)

The marked flat rate of major incidents over the last twenty years brings to mind that though aviation may be much safer than in the past relative expansion has caused the numbers to remain the same. "As the aviation system is still expanding (an estimated doubling of departures every twenty years), absolute accident rates will also increase. An accident rate of, one major crash per week" seems not far away." (Ziegler & International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, 1999 Munich, Germany, 1999, p. 1271)

70% of all flight accidents are at least partially caused by pilots. A more closer look shows that it is not the pilot's fault, but that inappropriate design of automation exceeded his cognitive limitations, that resulting deficits e.g. In situation awareness inevitably led to this fatal outcome.

(Ziegler & International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, 1999 Munich, Germany, 1999, p. 1271)

The historical and current developments of Crew Resource Management, in inception for more than 20 years, and otherwise known as CRM is the most promising tool afforded the industry to help with the transition into highly successful automation and human collaboration.

Without the most current focus of CRM, with its cultural perspectives the transition to successful reliance on automation would seem impossible. (Helmreich, Wilhelm, Klinect, Merrit, 2001, p. 1)

The cultural perspective of CRM have largely developed as conflicts and concerns have arisen over the implementation of CRM and its teachings internationally. Within the literature there is an indication that professional culture plays a similar role in both of the other cultural dynamics, as pilots tend to have similar professional cultures across organizational and national culture. Yet, the challenge then become organizational and national culture both of which can vary a great deal in different cultures and can have an abundant impact upon acceptance and use of automation. (Helmreich, Wilhelm, Klinect, Merrit, 2001, p. 9)

It is within this international scope, of attempted implementation and within the recognition of professional, commercial and national culture as driving factors behind human functioning in a highly stressed environment that CRM has begun to recognize and develop ways in which to help combat error in aviation, internationally, developing a scope of a culture of safety. (Helmreich, Wilhelm, Klinect, Merrit, 1999, p. 1-2) it has been shown that national culture plays a powerful role in determining the effectiveness of CRM training programs (Maurino, 1994; Merritt & Helmreich, 1995b). Specifically, attitudes that define the core concepts of CRM differ dramatically across national borders (e.g., individualism/collectivism, power distance, uncertainty avoidance, and division of roles between sexes; see Hofstede, 1988). As such, initial attempts to apply CRM globally were often unsuccessful because of a failure to recognize the power of national culture (Helmreich, Wilhelm, Klinect, & Merritt, 2001). (Salas, Burke, Bowers & Wilson, 2001)

Recognizing through careful and professional industry research the particular characteristics and possible errors given the cultural issues in any given dynamic is crucial to the successful use of automation in the aviation industry and CRM human resource management is the tool by which solutions will be reached.

Definition of Terms

CRM) Crew Resource Management- The aviation human resource management tool that has developed globally to assist the aviation industry in reducing error and incidents through logical and collaborative solutions both preemptively and as mistakes and errors occur. "Optimizing not only the person-machine interface and the acquisition of timely, appropriate information, but also interpersonal activities including leadership, effective team formation and maintenance, problem-solving, decision making, and maintaining situation awareness."(Helmreich & Foushee, 1993, p. 3)

Cockpit automation- The international implementation of automated systems in aviation that assist pilots in the performance of their duties.

Professional Culture- The cultural trappings associated with one's profession. In this case the profession of pilots, mangers and other crewmembers in the airline industry.

Organizational Culture- The cultural trappings of the organization a professional is employed by such as an airline or national aviation association.

National Culture- The cultural trappings associated with the country of origin, of the individual.

External Threats- Threats to safety that are associated with external risks, such as weather and equipment failure. Often threats such as these can be managed for through preemptive planning on the part of the crew.

Internal Threats- Threats to safety that are associated with operational error. Internal threats must be managed as they occur through leadership and teamwork, often associated with CRM reactions.

Power Distance- "Is defined as the degree to which members of a culture accept and expect inequality between superiors and subordinates." (Sherman & Helmreich, 1999, p. 1)

CMAQ- Cockpit Management Attitudes Questionnaire (). "The CMAQ was developed to asses pilots' attitudes regarding interpersonal components of job performance and link these attitudes to behavior..."

FMAQ- Flight Management Attitudes Questionnaire

FMC- flight management computer

Review of Literature dynamic facet of automation implementation comes in the aspect of international development of automation tools as reliable and error free as implemented in a cross-cultural context. It has been noted by industry researchers that the design specialists in the aviation automation industry hold a great responsibility in the development of system specific protocols that ensure the greatest functionality for users. (Scerbo, 1999, p. 240) The designers of such technology must anticipate and account for protocol, or error reduction intervention in multiple cultural settings. Language aside the programs must be able to anticipate at best and adapt at least to any possible crew reaction based on culture, experience, fatigue or any number of other factors to maintain the aircraft's safe flight.

When flight crews follow procedures that correspond to the specific system malfunction alert provided by an alerting system (e.g., Boeing EICAS), they are very likely to do the right thing. The number of accidents averted due to this improved rule-based response has not been documented, but the decrease in the accident rate after implementation of improved alerts and their associated procedures is not likely to be coincidental. Thus, airframe and avionics manufacturers have gone to great lengths to account for possible failure modes and to develop corresponding checklists (i.e., procedures).

(Scerbo, 1999, p. 240)

Automation implemented with systems specific protocols, historically, has been much less likely to fail due to human error or incorrect human interaction with automation technology. It goes without saying that the producer of such equipment holds an important role in direct error avoidance. These design-based protocols are imperative the proper intervention cycles in incident occurrence, involving automation, yet CRM is also crucial to the development of a cross cultural standard for action of the crew and management.

CRM itself has become both a highly regarded tool of the system and a tool which demands a high level of convincing to implement. Upon the assumption that the tool is designed to avoid inevitable human mistakes, there has been a major point of contention for pilots and their managers.

Crew Resource Management (CRM) is now mandated training in most parts of the world, yet many pilots and managers resist its introduction, What is needed is universal justification for training and operational practices that cannot be denigrated or dismissed. We propose a model based on organizational recognition of the inevitability of error. (Merrit & Helmreich, 1996, p.1)

Two of the most notable experts in the field open one of a collection of very enlightening articles on the subject with the most fundamental of all obstacles for CRM, "If one can accept that human performance has limitations, and that errors are inevitable, then one can be logically persuaded that Crew Resource Management is a necessary and successful strategy for managing error." (Merrit…

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