Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Qualitative phenomenological study of leadership perspectives in commercial airlines
by Senko, Katherine A., Ed.D., University of Phoenix, 2010, 228; 3425619
Abstract (Summary)

The lack of identified leadership skills in the airline industry does not allow for proper training or accurate measurement of the leadership ability of the airline captain. The purpose of the qualitative phenomenological study was to identify perceptions of leadership skills considered necessary for the role of an airline captain in North America. The study attempts to clarify the nature of airline captain leadership behaviors in order to inform the development of captain upgrade training by answering the research questions: (a) What leadership skills are necessary for becoming a captain of the airplane? and (b) How do North American airlines train leadership skills before upgrading to the captain’s position? A qualitative phenomenological design was used to gather experiences from captains from five North American passenger airlines through telephone interviews. Structured protocols were followed and captains’ responses were analyzed in order to develop themes capturing the leadership role on the flight deck from the perspective of the captain. Five emergent leadership themes were: (a) communication, (b) teamwork, (c) knowledge, (d) self-awareness, and (e) leader as mentor. Responses to the second research question suggested leadership training is lacking in depth and should be scenario-based, focused on actual situations, integrate leadership in all aspects and at times involve all flight crewmembers. Recommendations to the airlines include better structuring of leadership objectives with emphasis on depth of topic and relevance to actual job roles, integrating leadership training into all aspects of aircraft training especially during scenario-based training sessions, and including more training in overall organization and commercial issues for the aircraft captains.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Gould, David
School: University of Phoenix
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-A 71/11, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Social psychology, Management
Keywords: Airline captains, Airline training, Airlines, Aviation leadership, Captains, Crew resource management, Human factors, Leadership
Publication Number: 3425619
ISBN: 978-1-124-26652-7
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