Achieving zero accidents: a study of the influences of Indonesian national and military organisational cultures on aviation safety

Rachman, M 2018, Achieving zero accidents: a study of the influences of Indonesian national and military organisational cultures on aviation safety, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Management, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Achieving zero accidents: a study of the influences of Indonesian national and military organisational cultures on aviation safety
Author(s) Rachman, M
Year 2018
Abstract Accident prevention in the aviation industry requires not only a good safety management system (SMS) but also the right safety culture that makes safety systems work. Research shows that safety culture in an organisation is greatly influenced by national and organisational cultures. However, much of the safety research has focused more on safety climate which measures perceptions and attitudes of workers in regard to safety. Moreover, most of the safety climate research has been conducted using a quantitative approach, which cannot uncover the basic assumptions of the culture itself. In addition, the impact of national and military culture on aviation safety has not been addressed in the small amount of safety climate research which has been conducted in military organisations to date.

One of the rationales for conducting this study is a growing concern regarding aircraft accidents that occur every year even though Indonesian military organisations have implemented safety management systems. This research was intended to examine the influence of Indonesian national culture and military organisational culture on aviation safety, particularly in the adoption and implementation of the SMS. The adoption and the implementation of an SMS have not made a significant impact since the organisation still experiences aircraft accidents. As the SMS is predominantly based on Western concepts of management, this study attempted to identify the characteristics of the Indonesian national and military organisational culture that influence the implementation of the program. Furthermore, this study investigated and identified the perception and behaviour of the military personnel and how management manages safety issues within the organisation.

This study employed a qualitative research design, comprising multiple case studies. An ethnography-style research approach was adopted in order to acquire an understanding of the basic assumptions of a culture that drive people to a particular behaviour. In-depth semi-structured interviews, observations, and document analysis were the techniques used to gather data. Twenty-seven military personnel from four different operational air units participated in this research. The participants come from various backgrounds in terms of corps, ranks, and positions within their respective units. Thematic analysis was applied in this study and six phases of analysis, proposed by Braun and Clarke (2006) and Clarke et al. (2015), were used as guidance.

Analysis of the findings showed that the Indonesian military culture has been much influenced by its national culture. Moreover, the unique characteristics of the Indonesian national and military cultures have significant influences on military aviation safety. Several characteristics of the Indonesian national culture, most of which have their origin in Javanese culture, such as hierarchical structure, authoritarian structure, rukun/harmony, unggah ungguh/manner, sungkan/reluctant, and asal bapak senang (ABS)/as long as the boss is happy, have impeded the implementation of the SMS and the promotion of safety culture. Similarly, some characteristics of the Indonesian military organisational culture such as punishment and reward, blame culture, class/rank structure, and siap/can-do culture are factors that obstruct the promotion of a safety culture and the implementation of an SMS. In addition to those cultural factors, the lack of safety education and training, and various perceptions of what constitutes safety have created a situation in which individual safety awareness has declined. However, one interesting finding reveals that there is a tendency for rules and procedures to become another alternative method for dealing with uncertainty. The unit personnel believe that rules and procedures can assist them to cope with uncertainty, in addition to their religious and spiritual beliefs.

This study offers some contributions to knowledge and has the capacity to provide recommendations for Indonesian military organisation regarding its safety program. First, this is an empirical study that provides insight into how the cultural factors influence the implementation of the safety management systems and the promotion of a safety culture in Indonesia. Through this study, an in-depth understanding was acquired of the impacts of the unique military organisational culture on the adoption of Western concepts of management. It is expected that this study will extend various research on safety culture. Second, the findings of the study indicate that one cultural dimension - coping with ambiguity or uncertainty avoidance - is not consistent with Hofstede and GLOBE’s description. In addition to religious and spiritual beliefs, the findings indicate that the increased use of rules and clearly-defined procedures are an additional means of coping with uncertainty. Third, this study recommends that the Indonesian military organisation integrate cultural factors into its organisation safety system, which is essential if the organisation is to successfully implement the SMS, promote a safety culture, and improve its safety.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Management
Subjects Social and Cultural Anthropology
Health Policy
Keyword(s) safety
safety culture
military safety
military culture
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Created: Mon, 10 Sep 2018, 10:59:08 EST by Keely Chapman
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