Assessing the Impact of Text-Based Communications on Team Performance in a Flight Operations Center Simulation

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Shriver, Chip Arnold
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Middle Tennessee State University
The rapid rate of advanced technological integration in the aviation industry is quickly producing unique changes in the way industry professionals accomplish daily operational goals. Communication structures among industry employees have already begun to change, as evidenced by the advent of the digital datalink system known as Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS). Though this system is utilized to reduce workload and increase data integrity through the relay of text-based messages from ground based stations to aircraft, it is crucial to assess how such improvements can be made in other areas of heavy workload within the industry. In an industry responsible for the safe and expeditious delivery of tremendous amounts of global commodities and invaluable lives, it is critical to develop a keen understanding of the effectiveness of industry communication. Therefore, this study was designed to assess the impact of text-based communications on team performance in a flight operations center setting via simulation. Both qualitative and quantitative methodologies were utilized in this research to generate an information rich study capable of capturing student performance as well as perception. Analysis of results revealed that no significant relationship existed between the quantity of relayed text-based messages and a team’s performance. However, qualitative data indicated that the majority of participants viewed text-based communication as an aid in communication effectiveness. Qualitative analysis also indicated that participants perceived text-based communications to be more useful than verbal communications in numerous airline operations center situations.
Communication, Flight Operations Center, Team Performance, Text-Based, Textual