Crew resource management or cockpit resource management (CRM) is a set of training procedures for use in environments where human error can have devastating effects. Used primarily for improving air safety, CRM focuses on interpersonal communication, leadership, and decision making in the cockpit.
The term “cockpit resource management” (later generalized to “crew resource management”) was coined in 1979 by NASA psychologist John Lauber who had studied communication processes in cockpits for several years. While retaining a command hierarchy, the concept was intended to foster a less authoritarian cockpit culture, where co-pilots were encouraged to question captains if they observed them making mistakes.
Crew Resource management grew out of the 1977 Tenerife airport disaster where two Boeing 747 aircraft collided on the runway killing 577 people. A few weeks later, NASA held a workshop on the topic, endorsing this innovative training.
United Airlines was the first airline to provide CRM training for its cockpit crews in 1981.