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'Flying the friendly skies:' Why US commercial airline pilots want to carry guns

Fraher, Amy L.


Amy L. Fraher


Previous studies of social systems have shown that organizations develop mechanisms to defend against anxiety inherent in the system. This article uses field theory, systems psychodynamics and a participant observer methodology to examine certain defenses that became activated within a US commercial airline in the post-11 September 2001 period. In particular it analyzes forces affecting the event of arming pilots with handguns at work. This article's central claim is that pilots' desire to be armed resulted from a combination of external and internal pressures, personal valencies and work life changes.


Fraher, A. L. (2004). 'Flying the friendly skies:' Why US commercial airline pilots want to carry guns. Human Relations, 57(5), 573-595.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date May 1, 2004
Deposit Date Oct 1, 2012
Journal Human Relations
Print ISSN 0018-7267
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 57
Issue 5
Pages 573-595
Keywords applied group relations, commercial airlines, field theory, participant observer methodology, 11 September 2001, systems psychodynamics, Tavistock institute
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