Eastern minds in western cockpits: Meta-analysis of human factors in mishaps from three nations

Wen Chin Li, Don Harris, Aurora Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Aviation accident rates vary in different regions; Asia and Africa have higher rates than Europe and America. There has been a great deal of discussion about the role of culture in aviation mishaps; however, culture is rarely mentioned as a contributory factor in accidents. It is hypothesized that different cultures will show different patterns in the underlying causal factors in aircraft accidents. Methods: Using a meta-analysis of previously published results, this research examined statistical differences in the 18 categories of the Human Factors Analysis and Classification System (HFACS) across accidents in the Republic of China (Taiwan), India, and the United States. Results: Seven HFACS categories exhibited significant differences between these three regions. These were mostly concerned with contributory factors at the higher organizational levels. The differences were related to organizational processes, organizational climate, resource management, inadequate supervision, physical/mental limitations, adverse mental states, and decision errors. Conclusion: Overall, the evidence from this research supports the observation that national cultures have an impact on aviation safety and adds further explanatory power with regards to why this should be so. The majority of the cultural issues identified seem to be associated with the style of management of the organizations rather than the operation of the aircraft per se.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)420-425
Number of pages6
JournalAviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Accident investigation
  • Cross-culture
  • Human error
  • Human Factors Analysis and Classification system (HFACS)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pollution
  • Medicine(all)


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