Studying Airport Security
Alan A. Kirschenbaum, Michele Mariani, Coen Van Gulijk, Sharon Lubasz, Carmit Rapaport, and Hinke Andriessen, “Airport Security: An Ethnographic Study,” Journal of Air Transport Management, 18 (January 2012): 68-73 (full article is behind a paywall).
Abstract: This paper employs a behavioral science perspective of airport security to, examine security related decision behaviors using exploratory ethnographic observations. Sampling employees from a broad spectrum of departments and occupations in several major airports across Europe, over 700 descriptive items are transcribed into story scripts that are analyzed. The results demonstrate that both formal and informal behavioral factors are present when security decisions are made. The repetitive patterns of behavior allowed us to develop a generic model applicable to a wide range of security related situations. What the descriptions suggest is that even within the formal regulatory administrative framework of airports, actual real-time security behaviors may deviate from rules and regulations to adapt to local situations.