One of the ways the oil and gas industry can improve health and safety performance is through the implementation of crew resource management (CRM). Under CRM, teamwork and workload management are central themes. In this second part of a two-part story on teamwork and workload management on offshore platforms SCT’s Mario Pierobon reports on the leadership aspects of teamwork and workload management.

Crew Leadership

The offshore oil industry works in a teamwork fashion and operations commonly involve a group of human beings working together. This makes teamwork an important element of effective emergency management. Members of a group need to understand their own roles and responsibilities, as well as the roles and responsibilities of the other team members, says Rhona Flin in their journal paper ‘Crew resource management for teams in the offshore oil industry’.[i]

According to Ramona A. Houmanfar & Joseph. N. Rodrigues, in their journal paper ‘The role of leadership and communication in organizational change’[ii], the overall performance of teams is based on numerous elements that managers can regulate so to facilitate crew success. Performance tends to improve when team members share the same goals and commitment. Establishing shared goals can be accomplished by laying out a clear vision for the team that is aligned with the goals and mission of the organisation, they explain.

CRM requires the support of leadership to be effective, according to Alavosius et al[iii]. “Hierarchical leaders are in the position to organize and manage the resources available for a job site. By identifying some key outcome measure (e.g., rates of injury), the safety performance of a leader can be assessed by the performance of a crew. Effective leaders result in effective crew members who produce desired results”, they say.

Leadership in Teamwork

Leadership on offshore platforms is not to be restrained to organisational leaders; even if those people are crucial to the systemic implementation of CRM, any member of a team need to display leadership.

According to Alavosius et al team-building capabilities contain the choice of effective group contributors and are consequently always directed closer to upper-stage leaders in an organizational hierarchy. In CRM the leader is responsible for making sure that all contributors of the group have the abilities necessary to carry out their task. “Leaders, in that regard, can come from any level of the organization. Delegation, support, guidance, and feedback are all achievable by each member on a collaborative team. When members of a teamwork in coordination with a common goal, they create interlocking contingencies that are reinforced at the group level”, they affirm.

The role of leadership in creating and fostering an organizational culture, which effectively utilizes CRM, is essential, according to Alavosius et al. “From organizational leaders’ power to implement change across an entire system down to instances of leadership from a member of a crew in promotion of CRM, the function of leadership is essential to sustaining the shift to (and continued use of) CRM in any given organization”, they state.

Summing Up

In this second part of a two-part story on teamwork and workload management on offshore platforms we have seen that leadership is essential to make CRM work and that anyone in an organisation can display leadership.



[i] Flin, R., 1997. Crew resource management for teams in the offshore oil industry. Team Perform. Manage. 3 (2), 121–129.
[ii] Houmanfar, R. A., & Rodrigues, N. J. (2012). The role of leadership and communication in organizational change. Journal of Applied Radical Behavior Analysis, N1, 22–27.
[iii] Mark P. Alavosius, Ramona A. Houmanfar, Steven J. Anbro, Kenneth Burleigh & Christopher Hebein (2017) Leadership and Crew Resource Management in High-Reliability Organizations: A Competency Framework for Measuring Behaviors, Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, 37:2, 142-170, DOI: