Locus of control as moderator in the relationship between interpersonal relation behaviour and resilience in the High Reliability Organisation (HRO) environment of aviators
The technological research and advancements of machines in the 21st century have accelerated the human endeavour into extreme and unusual environments. The establishment of these environments, such as the confined cockpit of an aircraft, has placed noted demands on the human capability to adapt to faster, more complex machines while saturated in an over stimulating environment (Antonovich, 2008; Driskell & Olmstead, 1989). The vast amount of research in this field has led to the enhancement and development of safer, more efficient machines. Consequently aviation is a field where errors occur rarely but where the consequences of any error are extreme. The potential for failure is high, however, the amount of actual occurring failures are low (Baker et al., 2006). This phenomenon qualifies aviation as a High Reliability Organization (HRO) (Baker et al., 2006; Bourrier, 2011; Rochlin, 2011). In the HRO environment the crew serves as the central core of all processes, thus highlighting human essence (Reason, 2001; Wesnser, 2015). Yet shortcomings exist in understanding and improving the social interaction of individuals as part of the crew in the cockpit of the aircraft (John Paul et al., 2010). Human beings are the source of resilience in the complex system of aviation and the reason that things go right (Dekker & Woods, 2010). The capacity to be resilient however is rooted within a bond of secure (close attachment) relationships yet cannot be attributed to one specific factor. These predictors are referred to as protective factors (Prince & Embury, 2013). Fundamental basic human needs, characterised by interactive relation behaviour (Sullivan, 1953) is deemed to be such an important protective factor. However, as much as the dynamic interplay of interpersonal needs are crucial for resilient behaviour when in distress, motivation to satisfy social needs can lead to behaviour that erodes resilience and interferes with preserving the living system. The phenomenon of locus of control (LOC), conceptualised as the belief that a person’s behaviour determines consequences either as an active agent, by being master of their own fate or by a function of chance (Thomas, 2017), may provide information on how to understand and improve the social interactive dynamic of the functioning of the cockpit crew and promote resilience (Woods, 2020). LOC may serve as the motivation for potential behaviour to attain interpersonal need satisfaction (Thomas, 2017). 2 Against this background the aim of this study was to investigate the dynamics of human interaction and human social needs in an HRO. More specifically, the objective was to identify whether there is a significant relationship between resilience and fundamental interpersonal orientation and secondly to determine if the behaviour that results from this orientation is moderated by a pilot’s locus of control. A quantitative research approach, non-experimental type has been employed. A correlational design was utilised (Howell, 2017). The measuring instruments included a biographical questionnaire, Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation-Behavioural Scale (FIRO-B), Aviation Safety Locus of Control Scale (ASLOC) and the Inventory to assess Behaviour towards Organisational Resilience in Aviation (I-BORA). Results from this study indicated that only low I-LOC statistically significantly moderates the relationship between interpersonal relation orientation and resilience of aviators in a positive way. The results found that in aviators with a low I-LOC an increase in their overall interpersonal relation orientation will lead to a direct proportional increase in their resilience. Furthermore, the findings indicated that E-LOC does not have a moderating effect on the relationship between interpersonal relation orientation and resilience. The finding emphasises the need for further research on the influence of LOC regarding the relationship between interpersonal behaviour orientation and resilience in the HRO context.