Cockpit Dynamics in Air France 447 and United 232
This case compares leadership and team dynamics between the cockpit crews in two renown passenger airline crashes, twenty years apart: Air France 447 in 2009 and United 232 in 1989. The key dimensions of difference across the cases include organization and task sharing in the cockpit, leadership, the application of established procedures, ability to improvise to create new procedures, the type and quality of team communication, and the outcomes. Both flights encountered unexpected malfunctions; in one, teamwork and problem solving failed badly; in the other, the team collaborated extraordinarily well to try to solve the problem. The case discussion will focus on factors that enable effective teamwork under stress, the organizational conditions that lay the foundation for such teamwork, and the conditions under which dissent is vital to effective performance.