A Study of HR Practices on Aviation Software Project Outcomes

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1 International Academic Research Journal of Economics and Finance Vol. no.4 issue no 1, March 2016, Page No ISSN No: (Print) A Study of HR Practices on Aviation Software Project Outcomes JoJo Williams Research Scholar Research and Development Centre Bharathiar University, Coimbatore Tamil Nadu, India. Id: Dr. C. Sengottuvelu, CPM(ISM-USA) Professor & Doctoral Research Supervisor SCMS Cochin School of Business Prathap Nagar, Muttom, Cochin Kerala, India. Abstract This research studies the impact of human resources practices on aviation software project outcomes. Aviation software projects are some of the most complex projects undertaken in the software industry and critical in terms of requirement of specifications, functionality and safety. In aviation software projects that have many unique and complex characteristics, human resource management play a unique role in promoting the efficient use of complex human resources practices. Human resources still account for the majority of costs in many aviation software projects owing to the high cost of retaining skilled staff in this field. This research paper examines human resource and project management literature and identifies the application of the related project managerial techniques and human resources practices with a focus on aviation software systems projects. This study examines 12 aviation software projects analyzed included Maintenance Repair Overhaul System, Airline Reservation System, Cargo Operations System, Internet Booking Engine (IBE), Airport Control Solution, Airline Revenue Accounting Solution, Airline Loyalty Program Management (Frequent Flier program), Airline Holidays management system Flight Planning System, Fleet watch systems, Flight Data Management System, Fuel Emission Management Information System. About 100 sample questionnaires were administered based on analytical study of staff involvement in projects, and based on various feedback, data collected and analyzed for the study area related to this research. Each questionnaire was personally administered to respondents and data verified for accuracy and consistency based on feedback on the questionnaire. Due to time constraints of various respondents, verbal replies were administered to the questionnaire based on knowledge feedback provided by the respondents over a course of time. In order to ascertain the sampling instrument is consistent, it was given to key management personnel and project executives for scrutiny and approval. Instrument for data collection will be structured questionnaire, which will consist of data from the respondent related to project title, status etc. and the effect of Human Resource management and project outcome. A Likert scale measures the extent to which a person agrees or disagrees with the question. The Chi-square statistical analysis was conducted for data analysis and the key findings and conclusions were made for implementation. Keywords: Aviation industry, HRM, software development cycle, overruns aviation projects, aviation software project management. INTRODUCTION This research studies the impact of human resources practices on aviation software project outcomes. Anecdotal evidence indicates that human resources related factors impact software project outcomes, while extant research literature on measuring human resource factors and their impact on aviation software project outcomes is limited. Aviation software projects are some of the most complex projects undertaken in the software industry and critical in terms of requirement of specifications, functionality and safety. As aviation companies continue to expand rapidly into global markets, various ambitious aviation technology projects are being undertaken in various airlines and software companies around the world. In aviation software projects that have many unique and

2 11 Jojo Williams and Dr.C.Sengottuvelu March complex characteristics, human resource management play a unique role in promoting the efficient use of complex human resources practices. Heinz, Mark & Harold (2008) states that planning involves selecting key objectives and deciding on the various functions, both human resources and other project functions, to achieving them and should be studied and researched into to reduce as much pressure as possible during project execution. Although aviation technologies and aviation management techniques have advanced rapidly, project managers still need to pay more attention to staff or people management. Human resources still account for the majority of costs in many aviation software projects owing to the high cost of retaining skilled staff in this field. Aviation software projects normally require a longer time span with multiple entities involved in its successful outcome. HR issues have positive and adverse implications for aviation industries in most airlines. Due to the complex characteristics of international airline projects, there is an increasing need to understand the relationships between various project participants and the strategies of HRM, and to develop an efficient HRM approach for an international airline projects. This research paper examines human resource and project management literature and identifies the application of the related project managerial techniques and human resources practices with a focus of aviation related projects, with focus on aviation software systems projects. In addition, the paper uses literature review analysis to describe the nature of human resource management with particular reference to aviation related projects. In this paper, data from a sample of 12 large scale aviation software related projects will be analyzed, from aircraft maintenance, flight operations to reservation system, of an international airline, and its foreign software development vendors, to study the impacts of human resources related practices on these complex systems software project outcomes. The collected data are subject to statistical treatments using chi square test. AIRLINE INDUSTRY PROFILE The aviation software project outcomes were studies at an international airline who s main line of business is scheduled air passenger carriage. The airline has been in operation over 50 years, making it one oldest airlines in the world and is a member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA). In addition to scheduled passenger carriage, the airline also provides the carriage of air cargo through its Cargo unit. It also pays extraordinary attention to technical aircraft maintenance and has a dedicated engineering services unit to conduct regular aircraft maintenance checks. Their greatest strength is highly skilled and committed workforce of over 5000 employees. Every employee is given an equal opportunity to develop themselves and grow in their career. Continuous training, positive work environment, participate style of management have all ensured development of a committed and motivated workforce setting higher limits in terms of productivity and quality of project execution. REVIEW OF LITERATURE Human Resources is a critical factor in aviation software projects. Airline corporate executives have come to realize that human resources are very necessary and an essential component to ensure satisfactory project outcomes. The successful implementation of HRM functions are elements for improving personal, team and organization

3 2016 International Academic Research Journal of Economics and Finance 12 performance (Belout & Gauvreau, 2004). Human resource management has a significant influence in the aviation industry. Although aviation technologies and management techniques have advanced rapidly, project managers still need to pay more attention to people management. The complex international aviation industry climate, caused by increased global price fluctuations and competition, development of technologies, changing of airline industry, incoming low cost carriers have prompted project managers to utilize their employees more effectively to gain competitive advantage and project success. In recent years there have been a widespread realization that improvement of HR performance is a critical element to achieving improvement in efficiency, productivity and cost effectiveness in the aviation industry. Various HR Factors can be considered that bring about a favorable project outcome, such as Human Resource Planning, Recruiting and Selecting right person for the job, Managing Diversity in team, Planning and implementing Compensation Management, Planning and implementing Reward Structures, Time Management for HR, Work Load Management, Stress Management, Utilizing Project Management related Software, Communication Management, Conflict Resolution and Mediation, Performance Monitoring/Management, Managing Motivation, Training & Development, Health, Safety and Security Care. A number of authors state that the basic functions of HRM include planning, job design devising position descriptions, employee selection/recruitment, employee training, performance appraisal systems, reward systems, employee relationships and employee s health and safety (Bratton & Gold, 1999; Ramlall, 2003). Again, on the importance of another key HR factor, the cultural one, Kim (1999) & Milliman et al. (2002) state that the implementation of successful global strategies needs to pay more attention to the cultural differences in HRM. However, for the purpose of this study 3 of the key HR factors, viz., allocating tasks for the project, time scheduling for various tasks allocated and adequate training for project undertaken by staff were analyzed for 12 aviation related software projects in an international airline over a 1 year period, and the project outcomes based on the 3 HR factors analyzed. With reference to training and its importance, Maroudas, Leonidas, Kyriakidou, Olivia Vacharis, & Artemis (2008) reveal that the quality training and development programmes consider the provision of financial benefits that make sense to the employees. Again, Mullins (1999) notes that HRM should include practices, which provide training and development opportunities for all employees to improve individual skills and flexibility of roles. The 12 aviation software projects analyzed included Maintenance Repair Overhaul System, Airline Reservation System, Cargo Operations System, Internet Booking Engine (IBE), Airport Control Solution, Airline Revenue Accounting Solution, Airline Loyalty Program Management (Frequent Flier program), Airline Holidays management system Flight Planning System, Fleet watch systems, Flight Data Management System, Fuel Emission Management Information System. Monica Ordiz & Esteban Fernandez (August 2005), finds how that the adoption of practices that affect workers motivation and involvement that necessarily produce an improvement of results. Frequent project delays, failures in airline software projects globally are a

4 13 Jojo Williams and Dr.C.Sengottuvelu March concern, with project delays costing corporate millions and sometimes over a billion dollars. Of particular concern are aviation related mission critical software projects, which not only affect the bottom line of the airline, but also involve the safety and security of the airline services to the customer. In view of the above, the study is set out to determine and to investigate selected HR factors that are of primary concern to aviation software projects, and how they affect project outcomes. OBJECTIVES The main objectives of this research are to identify predominant HR practices and employees perception over the effectiveness HR practices in the selected airline and to establish a valid foundation for further research on measuring the impact of human resource management economically for international aviation projects. International aviation projects are one of the activities of the industry, which involve multinational participants from different political, legal, economic and cultural backgrounds. HRM can contribute to success in achieving the main objectives of attaining target dates, meeting financial plans and controlling the quality of the final project. Purpose of the study is to find out how HR management and project outcomes are related with particular reference to aviation software projects. The study will attempt to provide answers to the following research questions: Is there a significant relationship between task allocation and project outcome? Is there a significant relationship between task scheduling and project outcome? Is there a significant relationship between adequate training and project outcome? The following three hypothesis have been set for the research questions: There is no significant relationship between task allocation and project outcome. There is no significant relationship between task scheduling and project outcome. There is no significant relationship between adequate training and project outcome. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY The study is based on both primary and secondary data. The primary data is obtained through a structured questionnaire which consists of various human resource practices pertaining to top level executives, middle and operational level employees in the airline. The research methodology will involve the use of a descriptive research design and will attempt to analyze the relationship between the independent variables related to HR management and the dependent variable project outcome. About 100 sample questionnaires were administered based on analytical study of staff involvement in projects, and based on various feedback, data collected and analyzed for the study area related to this research. Each questionnaire was personally administered to respondents and data verified for accuracy and consistency based on feedback on the questionnaire. Due to time constraints of various respondents, verbal replies were administered to the questionnaire based on knowledge feedback provided by the respondents over a course of time. In order to ascertain the sampling instrument

5 2016 International Academic Research Journal of Economics and Finance 14 is consistent, it was given to key management personnel and project executives for scrutiny and approval. Instrument for data collection will be structured questionnaire, which will consist of data from the respondent related to project title, status etc. and the effect of Human Resource management and project outcome. A Likert scale measures the extent to which a person agrees or disagrees with the question. The most common scale is 1 to 5. Often the scale will be 1=strongly disagree, 2=disagree, 3=neutral, 4=agree, and 5=strongly agree. The Chi-square statistical analysis was conducted for data analysis. Formula for Chi-square statistical analysis is X2 = (O-E) 2 / E, where O= observed, and E = Expected. Chi-squared statistical analysis was used to determine the relationship between the dependent variable and the independent variable, and, simple percentage was used where applicable. ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION In this section the researcher decided to analyze 100 respondents from 12 aviation software projects, with the breakdown being 12 project managers, 88 team members with an avg. 7-8 team members per project being considered for the survey as seen in table 1 below. Further, as seen in Fig.1 chart below, it was found that 75% of projects, or 9 projects, were successfully completed, and the hypothesis was formulated around the three HR factors on task allocation, task scheduling and adequate training and how it had contributed to the success of the various completed aviation related software projects. The following charts illustrate the results of the data collection and responses received: From the above chart it is clearly seen that on tasks allocation there was strong agreement of 94% that tasks were allocated efficiently leading to a better project outcome, and the same was noticed on tasks scheduling where 90% agreed, and on adequate training 96% were in agreement on the importance of adequate training for successful project outcome. The results of the hypothesis and findings on the above collected data are as follows based on Hypothesis that were formulated and put to the test to know if there is any bearing to knowledge gained, on key HR factors and their impact on project outcomes based on data collected. Hypothesis: One H 0: No significant relationship between task allocation and project outcome. H 1: Significant relationship is existing between task allocation and project outcome. Using Chi-Square (x 2 test), and at 0/05 level of significance, the critical hypothesis will be rejected if X 2 calculated value is greater than X 2 table value and the alternative hypothesis will be rejected otherwise decision is reversed. For task allocation it was noticed that most respondents agreed that tasks were better allocated for better project outcome and thereby the chi square test was calculated as follows. Expected Frequency: n/df = 100/3 = 33.3, and therefore, X 2 = (O-E) 2 / E = Level of Significance = 0.05, and Degree of freedom = 2 (as only 3 variables were

6 15 Jojo Williams and Dr.C.Sengottuvelu March considered as shown in Table 2), and subsequently, X 2 calculated (2, 0.05) = (from chi-squared table). The result above shows that value is greater than value. Hence H 0 is rejected while H 1 is accepted. Hence there is a significant relationship between task allocation and project outcome. Hypothesis: Two H 0: No significant relationship between task scheduling and project outcome. H 1: Significant relationship is existing between task scheduling and project outcome. Again, it was agreed by most respondents that tasks scheduling resulted in a positive project outcome, and using the results further analysis was done as follows. Expected Frequency: n/df = 100/3 = 33.3, and X 2 = (O-E) 2 / E = 146.1, with Level of Significance = 0.05, Degree of freedom = 2, giving an X 2 calculated (2, 0.05) = (from chi-squared table). The result above shows that value is greater than value. Hence H 0, the null hypothesis, is rejected while H 1, alternative hypothesis, is accepted. Hence there is a significant relationship between task scheduling and project outcome. Hypothesis: Three H 0: There is no significant relationship between adequate training and project outcome. H 1: There is significant relationship between adequate training and project outcome. On adequate training there was strong agreement, that training was adequately provided which helped team members execute tasks successfully, and this data was used to calculate the hypothesis as follows. Expected Frequency: n/df = 100/3 = 33.3, X 2 = (O-E) 2 / E = 177.1, Level of Significance = 0.05, Degree of freedom = 2, thereby giving X 2 calculated (2, 0.05) = (from chi-squared table). The result above shows that value is greater than value. Hence H 0 is rejected while H 1 is accepted. Hence there is a significant relationship between adequate training and project outcome. KEY FINDINGS AND CONCLUSION It was found through this research that there is a significant relationship between task allocation and project outcome. It clearly reveals that good correct and well-judged allocation of tasks will definitely have a positive effect on the project outcome. Further, the result in hypothesis two shows there is a strong relationship between task scheduling and project outcome. The alternative hypothesis indicates clearly that proper network scheduling, critical path analysis etc., which are concepts of time scheduling based on available resources, are key factors in ensuring time is correctly allocated to the available human resources for each task, thus providing a positive project outcome. Similarly, hypothesis three confirms that adequate training to carry out project tasks is a key factor in ensuring project success. The complexities and interrelationships in an international aviation project require that its key players possess comprehensive knowledge in implementing HRM. Human resource management is qualitatively different from traditional personnel management. HRM strategies and practices are developed and implemented in the light of business objectives needs. However, a variety of factors influence the

7 2016 International Academic Research Journal of Economics and Finance 16 implementation of HRM in international aviation projects. This paper has reviewed previous research on human resource management in large scale projects and has summarized the key factors of HRM implementation in international aviation projects and the HRM function of each of the project participants over the project period. This paper has also established a valid foundation for further research on measuring the impact of human resource management economically for international aviation software projects. For future extension of this research, numerical analysis based on empirical data will focus on quantitative studies of each HRM component relevant to international aviation software projects. In conclusion, it is seen that human resources is a key factor in project outcome in aviation related software projects, and, a key finding has been that project managers assigned to the project need to have the theoretical, practical and experience under the guidance of senior project managers for a no. of years before undertaking large scale projects, to ensure that tasks are scheduled and allocated correctly to team members, and further adequate and relevant training provided to enhance skills needed for a particular project, thus ensuring a successful project Limitations of the study This study only revolves around some software projects in a corporate airline, and a sample data has been collected from a much wider population of projects and respondents. There is further potential to research incorporating multiple airlines and related projects, even out of the software arena. A survey of one global airline and its software vendors and software technology participants is limited in the types of information that maybe collected. A larger field of study involving multiple airlines and aviation software vendors can explore the topic in more depth and may benefit from access to written records of various project outcomes. REFERENCES Belout, A. & Gauvreau, C. (2004). Factors influence project success: the impact of human resource management. International journal of project management, 22(1), Bratton, J. & Gold, J. (1999). Human Resource Management theory and Practice, Macmillan Press, London. Heinz Weihrich, Mark V, & Harold Koontz (2008) Management A Global and Entrepreneurial perspective: Tata McGraw Hill Publishing Company Ltd., New Delhi. Kim, P. (1999). Globalization of human resource management: a crosscultural perspective for the public sector. Public personnel management, 28(2), Karon Legge (2005) Human Resource Management: Rhetoric and Realities. Palgrave Macmillian, Maroudas, Leonidas, Kyriakidou, Olivia Vacharis,& Artemis, Employees' motivation in the luxury hotel industry: the perceived effectiveness of human resource practices. Managing Leisure. Jul- Oct2008, Vol. 13 Issue 3/4, p p Millman, J., Taylor, S. & Czaplewski, A. (2002). Cross-cultural performance feedback in multinational enterprises: opportunity for

8 17 Jojo Williams and Dr.C.Sengottuvelu March organizational learning, Human Resource planning, 25(3), Monica Ordiz & Esteban Fernandez Influence of the sector and the environment on human resource practices' effectiveness International Journals of Human Resource Management, August Mullins, L. (1999). Management and Organizational Behavior, Pearson Education Limited, Essex. Ramlall, S. J. (2003). Measuring human resource management s effectiveness in improving performance, Human Resource Planning, 26(1),

9 2016 International Academic Research Journal of Economics and Finance 18 S.No Project No. of Percentage Name Respondents (%) 1 Boeing e-enablement Mars Cargo System IBE Macs Rapid CRIS Ocean Lido PDC Amos MRO Femis 5 5 Total Projects: Table 1: Project Type O E Variable O-E (O-E) (observed) (Expected) (O-E) 2 / E Strongly Agree Agree Uncertain Strongly Disagree - - Disagree - - Total Table 2: Chi Square Test using data collected for task allocation Variable O (observed) E (Expected) O-E (O-E) 2 (O-E) 2 / E Strongly Agree - - Agree Uncertain Strongly Disagree - - Disagree Total Table 3: Chi Square Test using data collected for task scheduling O E Variable O-E (O-E) (observed) (Expected) (O-E) 2 / E Strongly Agree Agree Uncertain Strongly Disagree Disagree Total Table 4: Chi Square Test using data collected for adequate training

10 19 Jojo Williams and Dr.C.Sengottuvelu March Fig.1: Project Status Chart Fig 2: Breakdown of feedback from survey

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