Dynamic governance practices are key in the administration of 21st-century airlines. Knowledge transfer via the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) is germane in governance practices. Studies have proven that the 4IR technologies could enhance airline governance and improve safety measures and productivity. The 4IR role in improving airline governance is yet to receive in-depth studies in South Africa. Thus, this study aims to investigate the governance challenges facing South African airlines in the era of 4IR.
This research used a qualitative research method. The main data were collected via 56 face-to-face semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders. The research achieved saturation. A thematic technique was used to analyse the collected data.
Findings reveal 12 challenges and are grouped into six governance barriers facing South African airlines in the era of 4IR. Also, findings suggest measures to mitigate governance barriers and promote 4IR technologies usage in the airline sector.
The study assesses critical governance challenges facing South African airlines in the era of 4IR. Understanding the importance of vital governance challenges can assist critical stakeholders in promoting innovative policies and regulations tailored towards digitalised aerospace. Thus, the study contributes strategies to improve digital innovation and reduce airline risks in South Africa. Also, it contributes to the paucity of academic literature on developing countries’ airline governance in the 4IR era and the South African aviation sector.
Special thanks to the participants for providing knowledgeable contributions to enhance the findings of this paper. Also, the authors appreciate the comments, suggestions, and recommendations provided by the anonymous reviewers, which collectively helped hone and strengthen the quality of this manuscript during the blind peer-review process.
Funding: Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment and CIDB Centre of Excellence (05-35-061890), University of Johannesburg, South Africa.
Aigbavboa, C., Ebekozien, A. and Mkhize, N. (2023), "A qualitative approach to investigate governance challenges facing South African airlines in the fourth industrial revolution technologies era", Social Responsibility Journal, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/SRJ-07-2022-0278
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