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«NASA CONTRACTOR REPORT 177459 ^^2MMVN1CATION TRAINING FOR AIRCREWSA A REVIEW OF THEORETICAL AND PRAGMATIcTsPECTS OF TRAINING PROGAM DESIGN Charlotte ...»

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NASA CONTRACTOR REPORT 177459

^^2MMVN1CATION TRAINING FOR AIRCREWSA

A REVIEW OF THEORETICAL AND PRAGMATIcTsPECTS

OF TRAINING PROGAM DESIGN

Charlotte Linde, Joseph Goguen and Linda Devenish

(HASA-Cfi-177459) COMMUNICATION T B a i N I N G FOR N88-263U9

aiEGEESS:: ft R E V I E W OF THEORETICAL fiND

PB&GMATIG ASPECTS OF TRAINING PEOGRAM DESIGN

Final Report (Structural Semantics) 56 p Unclas CSCJ. 01C G3/03 0154835 fW\SA National Aeronautics and Space Administration NASA CONTRACTOR REPORT 177459

COMMUNICATION TRAINING FOR AIRCREWS:

A REVIEW OF THEORETICAL AND PRAGMATIC ASPECTS

OF TRAINING PROGAM DESIGN

Charlotte Linde, Joseph Goguen and Linda Devenish Structural Semantics P.O. Box 707, Palo Alto CA 94302 NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration Ames Research Center Moffett Field, California 94035 Abstract This study is the final report of a project studying methods for communications training applicable to both civilian and military aviation personnel, including multiperson teams of single pilot fixed wing or rotary wing aircraft. A review is provided of a number of theories which have been proposed as relevant for producing training materials on improved communications. Criteria are given for evaluating the applicability of training programs to the aviation environment, and these criteria are applied to United Airlines' Resources Management Training, as well as to a number of commercially available general purpose training programs. The report considers in detail assertiveness training and grid management training, examining their theoretical background and the attempts which have been made to validate their effectiveness. The findings are that there are substantive difficulties in assessing the effectiveness of both training programs, as well as problems with the theories underlying them. However, because the aviation environment offers unique advantages for studying the effectiveness of communication training, recommendations are made on the design of appropriate training programs and on procedures that might be used to validate them.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 1

2. Review of Theories 3

2.1 Review of Communication Studies 3

2.2 Assertiveness Training 7 2.2.1 Definition of A

–  –  –

1. Introduction Thb is the final report of a project studying methods for communications training applicable to both civilian and military aviation personnel, including multiperson crews, and teams of single pilot fixed wing or rotary wing aircraft teams.

It is well known that a high percentage of aviation accidents are caused wholly or in part by problems of communication and -human resource management; for example see (Murphy, 1077, Ruffell-Smith, 1970). In its investigations of a number of commercial aviation accidents, the National Transportation Safety Board has recommended assertiveness training for crew members as one way to reduce the number of such accidents, for example, (NTSB, 1076). Previous and current research at NASA have attempted to determine more exactly the nature of the communication problems that lead to accidents (Goguen and Linde, 1083), (Murphy et a/, 1084, Foushee and Manos, 1081). For aviation crews, accurate and timely information transfer is essential, and improper communication habits may impede or compromise such transfer. Therefore, various forms of trianing have been proposed for crew members. The current project investigates available training programs and techniques that could apply the results of such research to the practical problem of training air crews to communicate in more effective ways. The aim would be to design a training experiment using a currently available training package as a framework to support the specifics of appropriate communication suggsted by NASA research.

This report gives criteria for evaluating the applicability of training programs in the aviation context, applies these criteria to United Airlines Resources Management Training, as well as to a number of commercially available general purpose training programs, and also reviews a number of approaches which have been considered as possibly relevant to devising optimal communications training packages for use in aviation contexts. The report focuses on assertiveness training and grid management training for a number of reasons.

1. Of the approaches examined, these two are most directly involved with the practical issue of altering the nature of communication in small group situations.

2. Assertiveness training has been targeted by the NTSB as a possible training method for commercial aviation crews.

3. Assertiveness training, in the context of cockpit resources management, has been considered as the basis for the development of experimental training programs in communications skills at NASA. (See (Cooper et al, 1070) passim.)

4. Grid management training is currently in use as the basis of United Airlines' Command/Leadership/Resource Management program, and hence has demonstrated applicability to the aviation context.

This report examines the theoretical background of assertiveness training and grid management training and the attempts to validate their effectiveness. It also offers a critique of the relationship between both forms of training and some larger social and linguistic issues. " To summarize, we have found that there are substantive difficulties in assessing the effectiveness of both training programs. However, it seems posisble to overcome these difficulties, and training in the aviation context appears to offer particular advantages for studying the effectiveness of communications training programs. Since we have found that there is no appropriate training program in use which has been properly validated experimentally, the report also offers recommendations to NASA on the design of a training program that might be appropriate, and on procedures that might be used to validate such a training program.





2. Review of Theories As discussed above, the specific area considered in this report is training to alleviate problems caused or exacerbated by poor communication or crew coordination. This section examines a wide array of theories of communication and management which might be relevant for this purpose, chooses two of them, assertiveness training and grid management training as most immediately relevant, explains the reasons for discarding the others, and provides a critical review of these two approaches.

2.1 Review of Communication Studies In order for a theory of communication or effective management behavior to be relevant to the problems of communication in the aviation context, it must have the following

properties:

1. It must be concerned with areas of communication which appear to cause problems in aviation communications.

2. It must be concerned with aspects of communication which are demonstrably train able.

3. It must be concerned with actual linguistic performance, rather than with theoretical aspects of language or communication. This criterion is established because there are many valid theoretical formulations of language and even of communication which have no consequences for understanding practical communication problems and the design of communication training.

4. It must be concerned with short term patterns of communication. Flights can last from 10 minutes to 24 hours, and, at least in the commercial aviation situation, crews rarely work together on a long-term basis. Therefore, any theory concerned with long-term patterns of communication or management style, or with problems that develop over a long history of interactions will not be relevant.

5. It must be concerned with spoken language specifically, rather than with other modes of communication. In the aviation context, although communication occurs through written language, and through non-linguistic modes such as body language, the primary method of communication is spoken language, and the majority of problems occur in spoken language.

Theories and programs which have been proposed as relevant to aviation communications include: Communication theory, general systems theory and cybernetics, theoretical linguistics, theories of nonverbal coding, interpersonal communications theories (including theories of perception and listening), small group communication, organizational communication, team development, leadership training, assertiveness training, and grid management theory. We will consider these in turn, discussing first the unsuitable theories, and then the theories which will receive further consideration.

There are a number of general theories of communication, including information theory (Shannon and 'Weaver, 1049), (Berlo, 1060), (Schramm, 1063), (Barnlund, 1068), (Barnlund, 1070), and General Systems Theory (Von Bertalanffy, 1062). These theories attempt to specify the necessary mathematical properties of information transfer, and of systems in which information transfer takes place. They are not of immediate concern to aviation communications training, since they do not satisfy criterion 3: they are concerned with the theoretical nature of communication rather than with empirical variations in performance.

Theoretical linguistics considers the structure of language, and so might appear to be a fruitful area to examine for insight into problems of communication. Howover, from its beginning, (Chomsky, 1057), to the present, (see for example, (Chomsky, 1086), (Gazdar et al, 1085), (Sells, 1085)) such research is concerned with the theoretical structure of language and the best formal means of describing it, rather than with performance and its successes and failures. Such studies are thus not relevant by criterion 3. More promising are studies in sociolinguistics (for example (Linde et al, 1087), (Trudgill, 1074)), pragmatics (Levinson, 1083), and discourse analysis (Linde, 1081), (Brown and Yule, 1083), which do focus on language in use. Work in such fields can suggest formulations of processes which may cause difficulties in communications, and thus may serve as input to studies directed towards research in aviation communication problems and as eventual input to communication studies. (Note that (Goguen and Linde, 1083) uses sociolinguistics and discourse analysis in just this way.) There are a number of theories of non-verbal communication, which include kinesics (the study of body activity) (Birdwhistell, 1052), proxemics (the study of space) (Hall, 1050), and paralanguage (the study of vocal or physical aspects of delivery that accompany language, such as pitch, volume, quality, inflection, rate, and vocal characteristics including laughter, yawning, etc.) (Trager, 1058). These are rejected because they do not satisfy criteria 1 and 5: they are not areas which have been shown to be a major source of difficulty in aviation contexts, and therefore there is no need to include them in a training program.

Turning from a focus on the theoretical nature of communication to its psychological aspects, there are theories of perception, which consider the processes of selection of stimuli from the environment, and the effect of self concept and self awareness on perception ( (Argyle, 1069), (Schneider et a/., 1079), (Vernon, 1970), (Luft, 1969)). In a related area, theories of interpersonal communication, such as are presented by (Goss, 1082), (Mortensen, 1072), and (Schroeder et a/., 1067), consider the processes by which a person examines and evaluates any interaction between himself and others, and the ways in which an individual's background, memory, and cognitive organization affect the ways in which incoming information is received and understood. Although questions of, this sort are certainly important in the aviation context, it is difficult to specify their effect on aviation communication, and even harder to provide training for improvement. This area remains undecided on criteria 1 and 2.

An area which might form a part of communication training for aviation in the future is training in active listening. Theories of listening consider the difference between passive and active listening and the factors which interfere with the ability to listen ( (Barbara, 1057), (Gibb, 1061), (Clark, 1080)). There is at least anecdotal evidence to show that listening problems form a part of difficulties in aviation communication. Further research would be required to show this and to investigate the demands on listening that are peculiar to the aviation context before incorporating a major component of listening training in an aviation communications training program. This area thus remains undecided on criterion 1.

There have been many studies of the nature of small groups and their process of interaction ( (Durkheim, 1033), (Lewin, 1048), and (Cartwright and Zander, 1068)).

These would appear to be extremely relevant to the question of improving aviation communication, since any aviation crew, whether civilian or military, fixed wing or helicopter, fits the definition of a small group, as formulated, for example, by (Shaw, 1081):

Two or more people who are interacting in such a way that each person influences and is influenced by each other person, (p. 6) However, these studies operate at the theoretical level, and do not consider the actual details of how communication in small groups takes place; they are thus excluded by criterion 3.

More promising are the studies, beginning with (Bales, 1050), which attempt to provide a taxonomy of all possible small group behaviors, so that all utterances made by a group member can be identified as a specific type of action ( (Bales et a/., 1070), (Fisher, 1080), (Tuckman, 1065)). These studies are relevant in that they are concerned with the moment to moment details of small group communication. However, they are primarily designed as a research tool for the theoretical investigation of small group behavior, and so do not offer accounts of optimal behavior, or how to train for such behavior. Thus, they fail on criteria 1, 2 and 3.



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