Dissertation Information for Terry Lee von Thaden
MPACT Status: Fully Complete
Title: Information behavior in aviation: Distributed practice on the flightdeck
Abstract: Human information behavior has been described as the totality of human behavior in relation to sources and channels of information, including both active and passive information seeking and information use. This includes face-to-face communication as well as passive information reception, with no intention to act on the given information. Distributed use of information within groups remains a weak link between actual information, the meaning given to information, and the sense made of the information. In the world of aviation, often times accident investigations point to a breakdown in communication with no indication of how this breakdown occurs. This work distinguishes how this breakdown may occur through understanding human information behavior on the flight deck. This study discerns that high performing flight crews practice different information behaviors than low performing or accident involved flight crews. Principles from information science, psychology, and communication studies are used to analyze how commercial flight crews involved in accidents (fail to) make use of essential, safety critical information through analysis of the related flight transcripts using a Crew Information Behavior Grid. This work serves as a way to operationalize crew resource management through understanding the social practice of information structuring and communication patterns within the distributed collective practice of the flight crew. From this, researchers may be able to identify the role information (needs, seeking, and use) plays in critical communication patterns related to supportive or ineffectual infrastructure used in the negotiation of meaning on the flight deck. This work also serves as a tool to inform crew training and is applicable to other domains where work is supported through distributed collective practice.
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