Aviation Industry: The Potential Effects of Multi-National Cultured Cockpit

The potential effects of multi-national cultured cockpit

Some scholars have argued that different national cultures are affecting the safety in the aviation industry; this is because the different cultures dictate how flight crew explores solutions in case a difficult situation emanates. The project to be undertaken will explore the effects that the different cultures have on the aviation industry especially on the decisions made by the flight crew in the cockpit. This will be analyzed with use of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions. The Hofsted’s cultural dimension is the most utilized framework especially in categorizing national cultures. The project will mainly explore information from secondary sources. In addition, survey data collection will be carried out in which data will be collected from commercial pilots and the data collected will be compared with the stipulations of Hofstede’s indexes. The result from the analysis will then be used to establish the validity of the hypothesis of the paper. The project objectiveis to establish the effect that different cultures have on the cockpit and how it affects pilots on making decisions especially when faced with very difficult situations. The research design to be used will be both exploratory and review. In data collection, both quantitative and qualitative analysis will be used. The data collected will then be presented using different data presentation methods including graphs for easy analysis.
The aviation industry is one of the safest industries as safety is a priority in the sector and every one working in the industry; engineers, technicians, pilots and flight attendants are all are trained with safety as the basis of their career. This is because in case of an accident, the results are disastrous. It has been argued that national culture has a great of influence especially in the cockpit as it affects the professional culture that is depicted by the pilots. Hofstede a social psychologist and a scholar in management developed a framework that is used in categorizing the cultures of different nations. Power distance is one of the dimensions that was developed by this scholar and which can be attributed to aviation. In this, Hofstede wanted brought the various ways through which power is distributed in a society. He specifically explored unevenly power distribution. According to Hofstede, there are two power distances depicted by different countries. High power distance requires that superiors should be shown respect while lower power applies less the differences in superiority a fact that results to high participation. The research to be performed will be to identify the effect of power distance as depicted by different national cultures especially in communication between a senior pilot and junior pilot in the cockpit especially in times of crisis where tough decisions need to be made.
Key concepts
1. Cultured cockpit

2. Power distance

3. Multi-national culture

Literature review

The potential effect of multi-national cultured cockpit has been a subject of interest for a numbers of scholars and researchers. The discussion on this topic is always prompted by airplanes crashes that in most cases can be attributed miscommunication between flight crews. In 1997 for example, it has been argued that the Korean air flight, the 801 crushed because the pilot never considered the junior officer’s suggestions. Some other instances of flight crash have been reported all of which have been attributed to the power distance between senior officer who is the pilot and the junior officer, the co-pilot. The question of power distance in aviation especially as caused by the differences in national culture has been a topic of contest for a long period now with some arguing that national cultures has a great influence on the cockpit culture. The project to be undertaken is to establish whether national culture has influence on the cockpit especially the power difference.

Strother et al, (2012) explored the issue of cultural differences, the researcher argued that even though cultural differences are hard to observe and even measure, they are very important and if not appreciated, they can lead to an alienation and even strain relationships. Strother et al, (2012) defines culture as values, beliefs and even assumptions that are adopted by a group and that directs the behaviors and even attitudes of the group members. The authors argues that, cultural differences are known to be stable and that the cultural differences have been known to affect operations of large multinational companies as these companies are always open to multiple national cultures. This generally brings out difficult in management across these cultures. This is especially so in the aviation industry where employees are drawn from different backgrounds and nations that observes a numbers of values. In North Korea for example, it is argued that a number of flight crashes that was registered in 1970 to 2000 can be greatly attributed to differences in cultures. This is especially because of the high power distance that the country operates in in which junior members are not supposed to contradict with senior members according to Hofstede index. Strother et al, (2012) argues that such cultural differences have real had an effect on the aviation industry and a solution need to be explored.

International Conference on Engineering Psychology and Cognitive Ergonomics et al, (2013) explored the topic of multi-national cultural differences by applying Hofstede’sindex and how such differences are affecting the aviation industry especially the culture in the cockpit. In this presentation, participants utilized the power distance cultural power dimension and the unevenly distribution of power in the society and the effect that this have on the flight crew. For example, Malaysia is known to accept the status differences and it is a common phenomenal for junior members to respect senior members. On low power countries like Denmark, the difference in status is not generally accepted and junior officers can give their views to senior members. It becomes afflicting if tow people from these countries are made to work together. These multi-national cultural differences are known to affect the cockpit culture. For example, if a pilot has instilled culture of higher power distance, it will be hard to communicate with juniors including the co-pilot, the engineers and even air traffic controllers who are junior members, such scenarios will result to a disaster.

Pickel, (2006) on the problem of orders argues that the differences in cultures have great impact on the working of an organization. Using Hofstede’s index, the author argues that the differences in culture affects decision making especially in situations of uncertainty avoidance. This can be greatly attributed to the cockpit culture. It should be realized that pilots in most instances are faced with a number risky situations that needs particular bold decisions to be made. In this, there are two cultures according to Hofstede, the first is the culture of predictability and structure in which members are expected to follow strict rules and regulations and in cultures that applies low uncertainty avoidance, there is less use of unstructured situations.
Salasn&Maurino, (2010) explores the human factor in the aviation industry. The author especially concentrates on the differences in national culture and how this affects the aviation industry. Salasn&Maurino, (2010) recognizes the need for high safety in the aviation industry especially because of the effect that a crash can result to. In using Hofstede’s dimension especially that of femininity in which masculine cultures that associates success and achievements to male sex makes it hard for females to thrive in organization. Feminine culture on the other hand concentrates on values such as equality and personal relationship. If this cultures influence the cockpit culture, it will be hard for a male pilot to take advice from a female junior officer a fact that will affect communication in the cockpit. Just like Maurino, (2010),Salvendy, (2012) explored the human factor and the influences of different cultures in management. The author recognized the effect national culture and the influence it has on the cockpit culture. In essence, the differences in multi-national culture always directs people’s operations and way of conduct at places of work as most of the decisions made by employees is greatly influenced by their believes and values and therefore national culture has a great influence on the cockpit culture. In addition, Letsky, (2008) explores the topic of differences in culture and the effect that national culture has on the performance of an employee. The author either recognizes the importance of safety on the aviation industry or need for people involved in management to recognize the need to manage across culture. Moreover, the author recognizes that national culture has a great influence on the cockpit culture as it directs the way flight crew relates to each other and also in making of critical decisions.
The project to be designed will greatly contribute to the current literature on the topic explored. The information and the conclusions from the available resources will be compared with survey that will be performed on commercial airline. All these will be analyzed by using Hofstede dimension and a clear conclusion made regarding the hypothesis of the research.


The main objective of the project to be designed is to explore the possible effects of multinational cultural differences and the effect that it has on shaping the culture of the cockpit. Most of the information to be utilized in the project will be obtained from the secondary sources and both inclusive and exclusive criterion will be utilized in selecting the resources to be used. In addition, survey will be performed on commercial airlines in which pilots and employs in the aviation industry will be interviewed to give their views on the effect of different cultures and how they are affected in their operations. The research design to be utilized will be both reviews and exploratory. In reviews, the information will be gathered from secondary sources including books and articles. In exploratory, survey and interviews will be performed on commercial airline. The interview to be performed will involve a visit to one of the commercial airline to collect data that will be used in conclusion drawing.

Data collection

Data collection will depend on the research design. In review design, the data to be collected will be mainly from secondary sources especially from the books of aviation, aviation journals and articles and various reports involving flight crashes. In primary sources, information will be collected mainly through interview and also use of survey. Qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection will be utilized.

Data representation

The data collected will be represented in form of tables, charts and graphs for easy analysis

The report will first start by exploring the research problem and then coming up with the research hypothesis. The hypothesis will then be gauged from the information to be collected from both primary and secondary sources. Conclusion will then be made based on the analysis and recommendations given.

Differences in multi-national cultures have been cited as the main reason why most multinational get hard to effectively manage its employs. This topic has also been argued to be of great concern in the aviation industry and some of the flight crashes registered have been linked to cockpit culture. In addition, researchers argue that national culture has greatly influence on the culture that is set in work place. Aviation sector just like any other industry suffers from the influences of national cultures in that most of the decisions and performances on employees are influenced by the values instilled in them. Although research has been performed on the influenced and possible effects that differences cultures have on the cockpit cultures, there is still a gap in this topic as scholars and researcher have not effectively explored this topic to the point of conclusion. The project to be designed seeks to explore this topic in depth in an attempt to fill the gaps and come up with conclusive results on this topic.


Letsky, M. P. (2008). Macrocognition in teams: Theories and methodologies. Aldershot, Hants, England: Ashgate.

Strother, J. B., Ulijn, J. M., &Fazal, Z. (2012).Information overload: An international challenge for professional engineers and technical communicators. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Salvendy, G. (2012). Handbook of human factors and ergonomics. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.

Salas, E., &Maurino, D. E. (2010).Human factors in aviation. Amsterdam: Academic Press/Elsevier.

International Conference on Engineering Psychology and Cognitive Ergonomics, Harris, D., & International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction. (2013). Engineering psychology and cognitive ergonomics: Applications and services ; 10th International Conference, EPCE 2013, held as part of HCI International 2013, Las Vegas, NV, USA, July 21-26, 2013, Proceedings. Berlin: Springer.

Pickel, A. (2006). The problem of order in the global age: Systems and mechanisms. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

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Aviation Industry: The Potential Effects of Multi-National Cultured Cockpit. (2022, Feb 01). Retrieved from https://essaylab.com/essays/aviation-industry-the-potential-effects-of-multi-national-cultured-cockpit

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