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What is Crew Resource Management?


Team functioning has been of keen interest in the aviation industry for a number of years, with the general terminology for it being “crew resource management” (CRM). A number of process plants are justifiably interested in how to improve team performance. One of the leaders in the field recently laid out some of the key skills and program development requirements (Salas, E., Wilson, K. Burke, C., Wightman, D., & Howse, W., “A Checklist for Crew Resource Management”, Ergonomics in Design, Human Factors & Ergonomics Society, Santa Monica, CA, Vol 14, No 2, 2006, p8.)

The key skills include:

  • Communication: Send/Receive information between two team members
  • Planning: Organize resources and tasks to ensure integration and timely completion
  • Backup: Ability to anticipate actions and needs of other team members and assist where needed
  • Team Awareness: Assess overall team functioning and provide feedback/ adjustments as needed
  • Leadership: Assignment, coordination, assessment, and encouragement of tasks to be performed
  • Decision Making: Determine problem and appropriate solutions
  • Assertiveness: Ideas, opinions, observations are willingly put forward in timely and constructive manner
  • Adaptability: Ability to adjust course and strategies based upon new information
  • Shared Situational Awareness: Common understanding of tasks and script

Despite the intuitive appeal for training on these skills, a review of results by the same authors (“Does Crew Resource Management Training Work? An Update, and Extension, and Some Critical Needs” Human Factors, Vol 48, No. 2, 2006, 392-412) shows mixed results. While positive reactions from participants have been the case in nearly all 28 studies evaluated, the impact on the learning and behavioral changes have met with mixed results. While the potential still seems to be there, additional work is needed to ensure maximum benefit.

Copyright 2006 Beville Engineering, Inc.

For further information, visit the links below.

| Workload/Staffing Analysis Overview | Steady State Workload Staffing Analysis | Steady State Job Samples | Upset Response Staffing Analysis | Overtime Calculator -Excel download |


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This year's Fall meeting for the Center for Operator Performance will be October 7-10 in Houston, TX. For more information, please contact Lisa Via. Guests are always welcome!


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David Strobhar's book, "Human Factors in Process Plant Operation," is now available in both hardcover and Kindle e-book.

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