Haley Scholars Fall 2012 Reading Groups
In chapter seven “The Ethnic Theory of Plane Crashes,” Malcolm Gladwell discusses the activities of a tragic Korean Air flight and readers get a sense of how the interactions between pilots and co-pilots relates to the larger discussion of cultural legacies. Gladwell explains that some airplane crashes can be linked to the modes of communication, and lack thereof, among the officers within the cockpit.
In addition to pointing out that airplane crashes are the result of a combination of several factors, Gladwell identifies Geert Hofstede’s concept “Power Distance Index" (PDI) – a measuring system “concerned with attitudes toward hierarchy, specifically with how much a particular culture values and respects authority” – as a crucial issue for understanding why, for example, pilots from some nations may have been at a cultural disadvantage for effective and essential communication in an airplane cockpit.
How did you respond to Gladwell's discussion of PDI? Why or how so?