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A comparison between two leadership models for security checkpoints

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3 Author(s)
Emil, W.O. ; Airport Div., Zurich State Police, Zurich, Switzerland ; Rene, L. ; Franziska, H.

The impact of leadership structure and behavior on team or crew performance is well known and has been demonstrated in various studies (see e.g. Guzzo & Dickson, 1996; Zaccaro, Rittmann, & Marks, 2001). However, as far as we know, there is no empirical study available on leadership structures and crew performance in the applied setting of airport security control. This study compares the structure and impact of two different leadership models for security control. The first (older) model consists of one supervisor per sector. In the supervisor's sector, there are three to eight crews at work, each consisting of five security officers (SOs). Each crew independently manages and operates one line of the checkpoint. One of the five SOs in a crew is the crew leader (CL), who works together with the crew as a normal crew member but has a few additional tasks to fulfill. The second (newer) model, which focuses more on integrated crew resource management (CRM) criteria, consists of one supervisor, assisted by two CLs per sector. Together, they form a cohesive leading team. The CLs do not work in the crews anymore but manage two to three lines from behind. The crews still consist of five SOs. It is the new CLs' task to quickly isolate and manage problematic cases so that those do not block the line anymore. Like this, the workload of each team member is reduced. Another task is to keep an eye on the working quality and to communicate with the crews in such a way that working quality is enhanced. The impact of this reinforced leadership on indicators of working quality such as compliance with rules and regulations, as well as its impact on passenger flow (throughput) are analyzed using different statistical procedures such as T-tests, U-tests and Chi-square tests. Moreover, the job models of the new leadership structure are presented in detail and SOs' ratings of their acceptance and liking of both systems are presented. In sum, this study offers another, differe- nt approach to the human factors perspective in airport security focusing on leadership structures, crew resource management, and their effects.

Published in:

Security Technology, 2009. 43rd Annual 2009 International Carnahan Conference on

Date of Conference:

5-8 Oct. 2009