Airline Command and Control: An Ethnographic Study
Feigh, Karen M.
Pritchett, Amy R.
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The role of airline operations control centers in the national air transportation system is increasing. Yet, the role of airline operations personnel has not been well studied. This paper presents the findings of a series of ethnographic studies examining the work of airline Operational Managers (OMs) across several major and regional airlines. The role of airline OMs, and the information and tools they use to solve problems and maintain the airline's published schedule are discussed. Additionally, several work models developed as a result of the ethnography are presented and discussed. The work models include an information flow model, cultural model, artifact models, and sequence models. Implications are presented and discussed which transcend airline operations and are applicable to command and control more generally.