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The Manic Culture of the Post-9/11, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

In the article “The Manic Culture of the Post-9/11 Airline Industry in America” the author asserts that the emphasis on cost-cutting efforts among airlines has led to an organizational culture that often ignores significant safety issues, particularly those issues that arise as a direct result of cost-cutting. As the author describes it, a “culture of mania” has emerged wherein the focus of airline management on the financial bottom line has caused leaders to “play down (the) severity” of problems and to develop a growing sense of “the organisation’s omnipotence” (Fraher, 2014). The author examines these issues through the lenses of several theoretical perspectives, and asserts that the combination of post-deregulation changes to the industry and the effects of 9/11 on the industry, this “culture of mania” took hold in the U.S. airline industry. The author further discusses the results of a research study designed to assess several hypotheses related to the broader assertion about this “culture of mania,” and concludes that the core problems facing the airline industry are embedded in the systemic problems found in the management structures of the airlines and the failures of government regulators to exert effective oversight on the individual airlines and the industry as a whole.

Support for the Author’s Thesis

The author supports the argument laid out in the article by first describing some of the history of the airline industry in the years leading up to the events of 9/11. According to the author, the deregulation of the airline industry in the 1980s led to increased cost-cutting measures among airlines as they competed for profits. Airlines hired less-experienced pilots, used older airplanes in their fleets, and cut corners in areas like maintenance and safety oversight. As a result, some airlines made significant profits, a fact which led the industry as a whole to emphasize and value this approach to management. The author describes a number of crashes that resulted from these factors, but notes that the industry tended to blame the incidents on individual pilots or isolated circumstances rather than on the organizational culture which allowed them to happen. According to the author this situation only got worse after 9/11 as the financial pressure on airlines mounted. Despite the changes made to the industry related to 9/11, the industry continues to ignore the underlying systemic problems that threaten to undermine the safety of air travelers.

The author cites a combination of sources along with the results of his own survey to support his arguments about the culture of mania at U.S., airlines. One issue cited in the article is the way that the FAA fails to provide adequate oversight of the airlines, an assertion supported by the survey respondents. One respondent, for example, explained that he often did not inform supervisors or the FAA of safety issues because he felt nothing would be done.

The author describes the results of post-crash investigations by the FAA and the NTSB,. And notes that many investigations conclude that individual pilot error or behavior was to blame, but no mention is made of the underlying problems of inexperienced or overworked pilots.

According to the results of the research study “only 3% of the pilots I studied reported decision-makers at their airlines as ‘competent’”(Fraher, 2014). Similar findings indicate that there is a problem with the interaction between management and pilots, and that the working relationship is not conducive to problem-solving. The survey respondents indicate an organizational culture in which management holds all of the power and treats pilots and other workers contemptuously.

References

The author cites numerous recent references, including other studies and official reports. The author makes a strong case for the argument that the organizational culture in the airline industry has focused so intently on the bottom line that it ignores safety issues and fails to accept the systemic problems that lead to crashed and accidents. The author cites numerous accidents and incidents, and discusses how these accidents were investigated and how blame was placed on individuals rather than on management. The author also discusses the results of a research study of pilots which helps to provide insight into organizational culture.

Conclusion

The author does a thorough job of explaining the theoretical framework and the concept of a “culture of mania.” He supports his argument with appropriate scholarly and authoritative references, and combines them with the results of his own study into the issue. Even if one is inclined to disagree with the specific label “a culture of mania,” there seems to be ample evidence to support the argument that the organizational culture of the airline industry emphasizes profits over safety to an alarming degree. In that sense, the author succeeded in making a convincing case about his position on the organizational culture of the airline industry.

References

Fraher, A. (2014). The Manic Culture of the Post-9/11 Airline Industry in America. Organisational and Social Dynamics: An International Journal of Psychoanalytic, Systemic and Group Relations Perspectives, 14(1), pp.53–75.

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