The factors that influence the productivity of flight attendants – a study of flight attendants in Kenya
Waithaka, Marygoretti Wambui
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This thesis was concerned with the assessment of productivity among shift workers, specifically flight attendants. Its purpose was to identity the relationship between the factors that influence the productivity of flight attendants in Kenya and the some of the approaches that can be used to reduce any negative influence of shift work. Flight attendants from Kenya Airways as well as management staff participated in the study. The study design was cross sectional and utilised descriptive research strategies. Two methods were used to gather data in relation to the study objectives. These were semi-structured interviews with the Safety Manager, Operations Manager, Inflight Manager and Crew Scheduling Manager and structured questionnaires with the flight attendants. The study was carried out at Kenya Airways head office facilities in Nairobi, Kenya and the study population was made up on flight attendants employed by the airline. A total of two hundred flight attendants and four managers participated in this study and these were selected through a convenience sampling process. The findings indicate that higher levels of fatigue, mental health and physical health all influence productivity. In addition some key approaches proved significant in reducing the influence on productivity, including scheduling factors; education of flight attendants on fatigue management; influence and support of supervisors; colleagues support; input during decision making as well as fair performance appraisal systems. Results from the questionnaire also indicate knowledge gaps regarding some of the organisational measures in place to reduce the negative productivity impact resulting from shift work. Key recommendations include initiatives to improve the physical health of flight attendants and deal with the negative perceptions of rostering systems and performance appraisals. There is also the need to carry out formalised training regarding personal health and fatigue as well as improve the rostering and scheduling systems. Areas for further research include an investigation into the differences in fatigue levels experienced by the various cadres of flight attendants and the effects of individual personality on productivity outcomes among shift workers in other sectors.