Pilot Management: Cross-cultural differences in airline operation

C. W. Chu, Y. L. Hsu, Y. T. Kuan, N. Chu, H. Wen and Y. L. Hsiang

Graduate School of Air Transportation, Kainan University


The influence of culture that of national heritage, organizational membership, and professional allegiances, is apparent in airline operation.  This cross-cultural study documents the cross-cultural differences among U.S. and Taiwanese captains from their respective flag airlines.  Methodologies involved utilization of open-ended questions in individual interviews, thematic analysis, and narrative analysis.  The results showed that even a specialized group with common, strong professional allegiance such as commercial pilots exhibit the influences of culture and therefore behave differently.  Professional allegiance produced parity only in matters related to pilot traits which is consistent with the results of standardized CRM training.  Instead, national heritage was the key influential cultural force, trickling its effects down to organizational membership, and produced cross-cultural differences in matters related to hiring consideration, cultural sensitivity, and pilot protocol.  The results may have applied value for airline operation composed of multi-cultural work force competing in international arena.

Keywords: Airline operation; Cross-cultural differences; Pilot management; Pilot trait and protocol; Cultural sensitivity