Contrasting Outcomes in Multiteam Systems – Part 5

Lessons from the study – Selection and training of MTS aircrew

The findings of Bienefeld and Grote’s study has implications for selection and training of crew to perform within and across teams for enhanced aviation safety [3]. The salient points were:-

Selection of MTS aircrews is to be based on the leadership potential of the crew, who can undertake shared leadership to be able to optimally utilise leadership requirements both within and across teams effectively. Especially for pursers, individuals with high leadership potential is recommended to be selected.

Continue reading

Contrasting Outcomes in Multiteam Systems – Part 4


What does Bienefeld & Grote’s Study on Multiteam Systems (MTS) say?

Bienefeld and Grote [3] conducted a study on 84 cockpit and cabin crews (n = 504), simulating an in-flight emergency in a high fidelity simulator with two-man cockpit and a fully furnished passenger cabin. Their aim was “to examine the effect of shared leadership within and across MTS on team goal attainment and MTS success” with the premise that the shared leadership, with proven effectiveness in single teams, “may be an effective strategy to cope with challenges” faced by MTS. This was to understand leadership within and across teams, despite different and at times competing goals in MTS [3]. The authors had three hypotheses [3]:-

Continue reading

Contrasting Outcomes in Multiteam Systems – Part 3


Shared Leadership in Multiteam systems

During an on board emergency, despite their differing roles and responsibilities, the crew work interdependently with the primary objective to protect and save lives of all passengers and crew on board, after the aircraft has landed safely. The shared goal of safety during the dynamic and stressful environment of an in-flight emergency is defined by the two onboard teams collaborating, sharing information and being able to handle high demand situations with equanimity. This requires a change from the conventional ‘vertical’ leadership style to that of shared leadership in multiteam systems (MTS) like aviation.

Continue reading

Contrasting Outcomes in Multiteam Systems – Part 2

Airbus 340

Airbus 340

Air France Flight 358 – 02 August 2005 [2]

What Happened?

It was an Airbus A340-313, which departed Paris, France on a scheduled flight to Toronto, Ontario, Canada with 297 passengers and 12 crew members on board. Thunderstorms were forecasted at Toronto prior to its departure, and while approaching, the crew was advised of weather-related delays. On final approach, they were advised that the crew of an aircraft landing ahead of them had reported poor braking action. Flight 358’s aircraft weather radar displayed heavy precipitation encroaching on the runway from the northwest.

Continue reading

Contrasting Outcomes in Multiteam Systems – Lessons from Air Canada 797 and Air France 358 accidents


In commercial aviation, there are two teams at work during flight: cockpit crew and cabin crew. The former being led by the captain who also has the overall responsibility of the flight, with the first officer/co-pilot as a member in the cockpit. The purser leads the flight attendants in the cabin. The formal leadership roles of both crew are well defined, but come under scrutiny particularly during an emergency as was amply evident in the contrasting outcomes of flights Air Canada 797 [1] and Air France 358 [2] on 02 June 1983 and 02 August 2005, respectively.

Continue reading