Hrm in Aviation

Topics: Airline, Human resource management, Management Pages: 33 (10626 words) Published: August 28, 2013
International Applied Business Research Conference

Acapulco, Mexico 2003

Human Resource Management In The Global Civil Aviation Industry: A Survey And Analysis Of Recruitment And Selection, Organization Development, And Education, Training And Development Practices Dr. Steven H. Appelbaum, Concordia University, Canada Brenda M. Fewster, Concordia University, Canada

Abstract The civil aviation is an extremely competitive, safety-sensitive, high technology service industry. People, employees and customers, not products and machines per se, must be the arena of an organization’s core competence. The implications are vast and pervasive affecting no less than the organization’s structure, strategy, culture, and numerous operational activities. Human resource management (HRM), the management of people within the internal environment of organizations, comprises the activities, policies, and practices involved in planning, obtaining, developing, utilizing, evaluating, maintaining, and retaining the appropriate numbers and skill mix of employees to achieve the organization’s objectives. (Appelbaum, 2001). While an extensive review of literature on HRM in the aviation industry revealed a substantial amount of material on aviation psychology and human factors research, empirical research on HRM practices in the global civil aviation industry appears to be virtually non-existent. In a pioneering human resource management audit conducted in 2001-2, 13 respondents from nine countries—executives from their respective airline companies—participated in a lengthy audit of their organizations’ HRM practices. The extensive body of data collected from this audit was then compared and contrasted with a review of the literature on all 16 HRM categories covered in the audit. In the article below, the results of three of the audit categories are presented. The three audit categories, recruitment and selection, education, training and development, and organization development were selected as they constitute a particularly coherent cluster of HRM critical success factors. The conclusion drawn from the review of the literature and the audit data is that, with the exception of a handful of high performing airlines, the civil aviation industry as a whole continues to function as per a traditional, top-down, highly divisionalised, industrial model of operations and governance. This model is manifestly inappropriate in such a highly knowledge-based service market as the airline industry. Numerous studies now show that, in knowledge-based service industries, a high correlation exists between customer satisfaction and satisfied employees. Furthermore, a high correlation exists between satisfied employees and world class human resource practices as depicted in this article.


International Applied Business Research Conference

Acapulco, Mexico 2003

These key HRM activities are required now, more than ever, to spearhead the strategic development of a customer-centric, learning-oriented workforce that is capable of adapting quickly to the strategic goals and change imperatives facing the airline industry.

Introduction Strategy in the civil aviation industry is premised upon two fundamental drivers that have been evolving since deregulation of the US airline industry in 1978: one, a growing global concern for safety; and two, everincreasing consumer expectations of broad service choice and service excellence. It is now well-documented that accidents and poor service quality are primarily rooted in socio-technical human factors, not technology per se. Sub-optimization, or poor quality in regards to management, decision-making, teamwork, employee motivation, or communication can translate into loss of customers, loss of market share, loss of organization assets, and above all, loss of life. In such a safety-sensitive, customer service-centric environment, the traditional product-centered industrial model of corporate structures and...
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