Anthony P. Ciavarelli, Jr. Ed.D.

Anthony Ciavarelli received his doctorate degree from the University of Southern California in Education, in 1988, and a Masters Degree in Experimental Psychology from the California State University in 1976. He is a Research Professor for the Modeling Virtual Environment and Simulation (MOVES) Institute at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) in Monterey California, and the founder of Human Factors Associates, Inc. Dr. Ciavarelli has been associated with NPS for over 20 years, where he has taught and conducted research in human factors. He served as Associate Provost and Dean of Instruction for a 2.5 year period, during which he was responsible for spearheading the schools entry into Web-based graduate education. Over a 40-year career, he has developed systematic methods to develop, validate, and apply quantitative and qualitative measures of effectiveness in real-world operational environments. His professional experience includes the design of military and civilian training systems and the development of performance measurement methods used in the assessment of educational and training effectiveness. For the past few years he has worked on the development and validation of organizational effectiveness measures that address organizational climate and risk culture. Prior to joining the Naval Postgraduate School in 1989, Dr. Ciavarelli had over twenty years experience in Aerospace and Defense Industries, where he served as a R&D product manager, Staff Scientist and human factors engineer working to improve individual, team and organizational performance. Dr. Ciavarelli founded Human Factors Associates, Inc., and successfully brought his work in aviation safety to the civilian aviation, aerospace and medical service industries by offering online (Web-based) assessment and technical consultations directed at improving risk performance and organizational reliability.


Aviation Human Factors & SMS Wings Seminar:

Real-World Flight Operations and Research Progress

Dallas Texas: 30 March 2010
Anthony Ciavarelli Ed.D.

Accidents across a variety of industries, including aviation, aerospace, and healthcare appear to exhibit the same or similar factors underlying what has become known as an “organizational accident”, or man-made disaster.

The US Navy and several high-hazard civilian industries in aviation, aerospace and healthcare now recognize the influence of such organizational factors as safety climate and culture on their safety performance. The leaders of these organizations have sought a means to determine the state of their safety climate and culture, as perceived by their employees – because it is understood that the people “on the ground” are closest to the daily routines, hazards, and risk issues that may prevail in any high-hazard business operation.

Safety Climate-Culture Surveys are one means for managers to keep abreast of hazards and risks inherent in their organization. Survey results can provide the opportunity for an organization to identify possible unknown risks and to intervene in time to prevent accidents and manmade disasters from happening.

For the past 12 years the author has worked on developing, validating, and applying survey methods used to poll employees about their perception of safety climate and culture as a means to assess organizational safety, and performance reliability risk. This assessment process uses a web-based survey system to obtain the data needed for immediate feedback regarding the state of safety climate and culture to management personnel and their employees. The survey system has been applied across domains, including aviation, aerospace and healthcare. As a result a repository of data exists that can be used for performance benchmarking and for normative comparisons within and across these domains.

The norm can be based on a particular company’s average rating or on the average for that particular industry. With this “normative” approach it would be possible to establish benchmarks for the entire airline industry or for other sectors of the aviation industry, like Air Traffic Control. And, with enough survey data we would be able to establish norms, or standards for different industry sectors like Aerospace, Oil and Gas Extraction, and Healthcare. Unfortunately, at this point in time, there is no clear method for sharing safety climate – culture findings because of perceived and actual data restrictions, or the risks of disclosing proprietary information.

This presentation summarizes the goals, methods, and general findings from the past 12 years of research – and poses the question regarding how specific results can be shared with industry partners to improve safety in the aviation, aerospace and healthcare industries at large.