Crew Resource Management: A Time for Reflection
Daniel E. Maurino International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
Although there is no real possibility of a quantitative evaluation of the benefits, no airline having set up a CRM program would now consider to kill it.
-- Pariès and Amalberti
Despite their rather gloom and ominous remark, it would be quite mistaken to consider Pariès and Amalberti prophets of doom. The remark reflects the concerns of many within the international aviation human factors community who believe that Crew Resource Management (CRM) is an essential prevention tool in the contemporary aviation system, and who haven taken to critically review CRM and its history to ensure that there is a meaningful future for this training in aviation. The history of CRM appears to be one of extreme success: With barely enough age to vote, CRM has already been assigned a significant role as contributor to the safety and efficiency of the aviation system. It is perceived by user population and regulatory community alike as a sound way to proceed. In fact, nobody would dare say that CRM does not work.
There is, however, more than meets the eye in the successful history of the development, implementation, and operational practice of CRM. Without casting doubts about its value, there are certain quarters that suggest caution about what the future might hold, because they perceive that the relationship between CRM and improved safety is still tenuous. In these quarters, the prevailing attitude is one of critical vigil. Neither endorsing optimists nor sceptics, nor denying eventual merits in each relative position, it is contended that there are present-day issues which, in the best interests of CRM itself, must not be ignored.
The literature in regards to CRM is abundant ( Cooper, White, & Lauber, 1979; Hayward & Lowe, 1993; Orlady & Foushee, 1986; Wiener, Kanki, & Helmreich, 1993). Readers interested in CRM development, implementation, and current practices may refer to these and many other existing publications. This chapter does not discuss CRM in itself; rather, it assesses some of the issues that might affect its future. Such assessment is conducted within the framework provided by a historical review of the evolution