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Safety voice and safety listening during aviation accidents: cockpit voice recordings reveal that speaking-up to power is not enough

Noort, Mark C., Reader, Tom W. and Gillespie, Alex ORCID: 0000-0002-0162-1269 (2021) Safety voice and safety listening during aviation accidents: cockpit voice recordings reveal that speaking-up to power is not enough. Safety Science, 139. ISSN 0925-7535

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.ssci.2021.105260


Safety voice is theorised as an important factor for mitigating accidents, but behavioural research during actual hazards has been scant. Research indicates power distance and poor listening to safety concerns (safety listening) suppresses safety voice. Yet, despite fruitful hypotheses and training programs, data is based on imagined and simulated scenarios and it remains unclear to what extent speaking-up poses a genuine problem for safety management, how negative responses shape the behaviour, or how this can be explained by power distance. Moreover, this means it remains unclear how the concept of safety voice is relevant for understanding accidents. To address this, 172 Cockpit Voice Recorder transcripts of historic aviation accidents were identified, integrated into a novel dataset (n = 14,128 conversational turns), coded in terms of safety voice and safety listening and triangulated with Hofstede's power distance. Results revealed that flight crew spoke-up in all but two accidents, provided the first direct evidence that power distance and safety listening explain variation in safety voice during accidents, and indicated partial effectiveness of CRM training programs because safety voice and safety listening changed over the course of history, but only for low power distance environments. Thus, findings imply that accidents cannot be assumed to emerge from a lack of safety voice, or that the behaviour is sufficient for avoiding harm, and indicate a need for improving interventions across environments. Findings underscore that the literature should be grounded in real accidents and make safety voice more effective through improving ‘safety listening’.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Publisher Copyright: © 2021 Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.
Divisions: Psychological and Behavioural Science
Date Deposited: 15 Apr 2021 13:15
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 02:58

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