Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Workforce Education and Development

First Advisor

Hagler, Barbara


Safety Management Systems (SMS) are becoming the industry standard for safety management throughout the aviation industry. As the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) continues to mandate SMS for different segments, the assessment of an organization’s safety culture becomes more important. An SMS can facilitate the development of a strong aviation safety culture. This study describes basic principles and components of an SMS and how safety culture and SMS are integrated. Studies focusing on safety culture assessment were identified for other industries as well as for different areas of the aviation industry. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between an organization’s safety culture and SMS implementation in collegiate flight schools. The research study was designed to determine (a) relationship between SMS implementation and safety culture, (b) the relationship between safety promotion and safety culture, and (c) the relationship between management commitment and safety culture. The study population consisted of 453 individuals at 13 collegiate flight schools. Data were gathered through an online survey to safety officers at collegiate flight schools within the University Aviation Association to determine the level of SMS implementation; and the Collegiate Aviation Program Safety Culture Survey (CAPSCUS) was used to measure the safety culture at those collegiate flight schools. The results indicated that a relationship existed between SMS implementation and safety culture, safety promotion and safety culture, management commitment and safety culture. The relationship for all three was more prominent within the Formal Safety Program major scale of the CAPSCUS. It is recommended that collegiate flight schools examine their existing level of SMS, management commitment, and their safety promotion and assess safety culture within their institution. Future studies should be done to further examine the relationship between SMS implementation and safety culture so that the collegiate flight training environment would have guidance regarding SMS implementation.




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