Aviation Professionalism: Examining the Concept of Professionalism within and between Major Subgroups of the Aviation Industry
Turgut, Rϋstϋ Tolga
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The purpose of this study was to conduct a secondary analysis of Alhallaf’s (2016) study on aviation professionalism by disaggregating his data into five subgroups: Aircraft Maintenance Technicians (AMT); Airport Managers (AM); Air Traffic Controllers (ATC); Non-Pilot Aviation Employees (NPAE), which consisted of business aviation, flight operations, and aviation colleges/universities; and Pilots. The study posed three research questions and endeavored to (a) determine factors related to professionalism in each subgroup, (b) determine the differences in levels of professionalism among the subgroups, and (c) examine each subgroup’ perceptions of professionalism. The study used an explanatory correlational design to determine the relationship between the targeted factors and professionalism. Research factors included gender, marital status, age, race/ethnicity, income, education level, years of experience, number of FAA ratings, total flight hours, perceptions of professionalism, and level of professional activity/involvement measured by Kramer’s (1974) Index of Professionalism (IOP). The dependent variable was professionalism, measured by Snizek’s (1972) Hall’s Professionalism Inventory. The sample consisted of 674 participants: AMT = 68, AM = 76, ATC = 44, NPAE = 199, Pilots = 287). With the exception of the ATC subgroup, IOP scores were significantly related to professionalism, particularly with respect to: number of professional courses taken, number of professional journal subscriptions, number of professional books purchased, number of weekly hours engaged in professional reading, and membership in professional organizations. Other significant factors within subgroups included: income (AMT), race/ethnicity and education (NPAE), and flight hours (Pilots). No significant factors were found in the ATC subgroup. For the between groups analysis, the Pilot and ATC subgroups had the highest and lowest levels of professionalism, respectively. Participants in all subgroups also perceived professionalism from a cognitive (attitudinal or a mind-set) perspective rather than from an empirical (practical and measurable) perspective. The findings supported Kern’s (2011) Model of Professionalism, and help inform the aviation research community with respect to aviation subgroups’ view of professionalism and factors significantly related to professionalism within these subgroups.