Ho, G.W. and Tang, P.C., Defence Research and Development Canada Toronto, Canada
A repertory grid methodology was used to elicit implicit as well as explicit constructs about the essential proficiencies of captains (pilots) from 98 flight crew members of the Canadian Forces CC-130 Hercules aircraft. This particular methodology addressed institutional and ethical concerns about confidentiality and the erosion of morale by avoiding direct judgements of named captains. Each of the 98 crew members made confidential judgements about the qualities of particular captains they have worked with, including the 3-best, 3-worst, and about an ideal captain. The repertory grid technique is a computerized knowledge acquisition tool that can elicit the constructs through which each individual construes and judges a specific domain. From the constructs generated by the 98 crew members, common captaincy categories were identified within and between crew positions. Principal component analysis, cluster analysis and correspondence analysis were applied to identify meaningful relational structures. The major finding was that crew members perceive interpersonal skills to be the crucial leadership quality of proficient captains, and more important than flying skills or information management. This surprising conclusion had resulted in training programs for pilots that had greater emphasis on interpersonal leadership proficiency, and should encourage further research on other aviation team. Results also dictate a concept of adaptive captaincy, in which task orientated and relational orientated captaincy resources are mobilized to meet mission requirements.