This passage is a brief over view of the concept of how poor leadership contribute to accidents. In recent years of airlines boost, several fatal accidents have brought an important attention on the role that leaders and operators play when it comes to safety issues with in the aviation culture. The main objective of this article is to elucidate the sorts of major managerial factors that contribute accidents in aviation culture. Most often, when an accident or incident happens, usually the crew bear the burden of the blame; yet not enough research has been done regarding the direct contribution of the leadership/managerial organisational factors play in accidents. Erebus DC-10, flight 901 crash, is a good example of a fatal accident caused to due to poor managerial communication. Two decades ago, flight 901 from Auckland /New Zealand International Airport heading to Antarctica crashed in Mt. Erebus; no survivor was seen among 253 persons on board. There error was due to un-notified shifting of the destination (flight path) of 27 miles change [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=my0FkYwOV0g&feature=related]

(Video embedded from You Tube on 27 September 2012)



Leadership may be easily recognised but sometimes hard to get its definition. (Maxwell, 1999)defined leadership as the capacity and will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which inspire confidence (Maxwell, 1999).Leadership can involve influencing people by providing purpose, directions and motivation while operating to accomplish the mission and improve the organisation (brary, 2010)


However, we may ask the question of who a leader is and what makes people want to follow a good leader? Why do people reluctantly comply with one leader while passionately following another to the ends of the earth(Maxwell, 1999)?
(Robson, 2008) A good leader will be:
• Positive and cheerful;
• Supportive of the company and its policies;
• Self-confident - but only with justification
• Firm, fair, reliable, dependable and there – if needed;
• approachable;
• As loyal to the crew as to the company;
• And so on.
(Maxwell, 1999), called a good leader as someone who is more concerned about making others feel good about themselves than making them feel good about him/herself (Maxwell, 1999)
In order to achieve good leadership, all the pilots must understand both the characteristics of effective leadership and the consequences of a poor leadership (brary, 2010).
Several major accidents have happened in the 20th century, factors due to the safety culture failure of leadership and managerial in the organisational level. One of the accidents illustrating this fact was the crash of DC. 10 KZ-NZP. Flight 901 28 November 1979, in Mount Erebus, Antarctica from Auckland Airport New Zealand killing all 237 passengers and 20 crew on board. The cause was that they had changed the flight path of aircraft 45 kilometres to the East early in the morning but the management did not inform the about the change. Many similar instances have happed in aviation accident records; however, the focus on organisational factors in aviation and other aerospace accidents should continue to grow, in analysing the failures within the leadership/managerial organisation to prevent more accidents in the future.

Most affected areas

The most common areas in leadership that can strengthen or abolish any organisation are; organisation, planning, decision making and communication. Therefore, when it is about aviation culture, safety becomes the priority.


Each aviation community has a mission that they may all translate as mission success. Because the aim is to accomplish the mission, the organisation sets a management by choosing leaders and managers who will do their best to help accomplish the mission. But, for aviators safety is the priority because you have to protect the property, lives, and weigh the benefits. Organisation that approach safety as a top priority build in adaptability and coping mechanisms in the face of adversity (Perrow,1986; Weick, 1987; Reason, 1997; Eiff, 1999; Weigmann, et. Al., 2004) said in (Thaden & Wiegmann, 2004). Safety helps ameliorate financial loss due to accident and incidents. The question now goes to; who are the right leaders to face that challenge and are expected to achieve both mission success and that safety? The fact is that many small airlines think first on profit rather than safety. The problem with these airlines is that, do they have right aviation experts to operate the management? There have been many investigated accidents and the most causes are in the poor training of stuffs.


Always when an accident or incident happens, usually the operators/crew bears the burden of the blame; they forget the inclusion of management and leadership. In commercial aviation, many organisational factors lead to accidents because of poor flight planning. If an aviation organisation has a mixed management styles for example, planning or preparedness of operations may not be accurately safe. For example, planning for a flight the following may be considered:
• Crew, Ensure adequate crew training
• scheduling staff
• Captain, Plan a route of flight with a captain who has a previous experience of the same route. Don’t hire captains with low flight hours
• Make sure the flight is appropriately a proved to operate
• And so on.


In aircraft operations, communication is vital; communication, or often breakdown in communication, is often refer to as a contributor to aviation incidents and accidents (http://www.crewresourcemanagement.net/7/43.html). The two main problems in communication are either lack of communication or poor communication. A leader must be able to share knowledge and ideas to transmit a sense of urgency and enthusiasm to others (Maxwell, 1999). The main problems more often leading to poor communication between leaders and workers in aviation are seniority complex and authority power. This problem always happen in cockpits between the crew [captain and the pilot], which in return result to disasters.

Decision making

Management decision making is the most powerful position in any organisation, as the process and applications of good decisions benefit both the organisation and the performers. For aviation industry, it needs empowered leaders whom through the chain of command and decisions can empower others to accomplish the mission. For good leaders, the participation of employees during a decision making process matters to them. There are risk decisions in aviation culture, but they need to be understood by everyone involved. The risk management must make it as a part of the aviation community. Each aviation community has performance requirements for minimum proficiency; but, at what point, or threshold, do they raise the safety flag and stop operations ("Mission First, Risk Management Always, Safety Results," Mar/Apr2011)?

Commitment (rational and emotional)

Rational commitment is the factual, intellectual reasoning that leads employees to remain in an organisation or particular job (e.g., salary, health benefits, work hours, vacation/sick leave, parking, and more facilities).On the other hand,
emotional commitment reflects the feelings that employees have about their jobs, such as whether the work performed is of value to the organisation, or the type of interaction with the supervisor, etc. (Sampson Jr., Jun2012). An exemplary leadership in aviation industry history is the Southwest Airline; its leaders take in account employees as the first company assets. When employees are not motived, the performance expectation is usually poor and unsafe. Further, people don’t follow uncommitted leaders. Commitment can be displayed in a full range of matters to include the work hours you choose to maintain, how you work to improve your abilities, or what you do for your fellow workers at personal sacrifice (Maxwell, 1999), that is the quality of a good leader.
In this topic I just talked briefly about the organisational factors contributing to the on-going incidents and accidents in aviation. It briefly, defined and explained the characteristics of a good leadership and a leader people would want to fallow. In order to prevent future accidents, as far as safety is concerned, the aviation safety board should understand and intervene on how traditions and systems of organisational management and leadership work in every aviation community.


brary, U. S. (2010). Leadership (OGHFABN). [Crew Actions and Behaviours]. Human Factors.

http://www.crewresourcemanagement.net/7/43.html. Communication & Management. Crew Resource Management | Aviation Safety.

Maxwell, J. C. (1999). The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader. Nashvill, Tennessee, America: Thoms Nelson Publishers.

Mission First, Risk Management Always, Safety Results. (Mar/Apr2011). Approach: The Naval Safety Center's Aviation Magazine, , 56(Issue 2, ), p2-2,.

Robson, D. (2008). Human being pilot : human factors for aviation professionals / David Robson (1st ed ed.): Cheltenham, Vic. : Aviation Theory Centre.

Sampson Jr., E. J. I., Warren D. St. . (Jun2012). MENTORSHIP INTERACTIONS IN THE AVIATION OR AEROSPACE INDUSTRIES. [Academic Journal]. Academy of Strategic Management Journal, 11, Number 2, 2012(2), p35-49, 15p. 34 Charts.


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