British Airways: Major Problems And Change Plan

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British Airways

British Airways is the flag carrier airline for the United Kingdom with its headquarters in Waterside. The primary hub of British Airlines reaches the Heathrow Airport of London; its second hub is at Gatwick Airport and the 3rd one reaches London City Airport which is served through BA City Flyer a fully owned subsidiary of British Airways.

British Airlines is the greatest airline in the UK based on its international flights and destinations and its fleet size. In the entire year, 1971 British Airways board was formed to manage the two airline corporations, BEA and BOAC, and relatively two smaller regional airlines Northeast Airlines from Newcastle and Cambrian Airways from Cardiff. However, in the year 1974, each one of these airlines was dissolved to form one major airline British Airways (BA). The airline was made aiming at being the worldwide network and attaining economies of scale. The merger of these airlines resulted in 50, 000 workers and 215 aircraft, which are considered to be grossly overstaffed along with many levels of incompatible management structure.

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Major Problems faced by the organization:

When British Airways was formed after the merger it faced several issues and problems. The problem was encountered in terms of the cultural distinctions of the companies. When the members of organizations owned by different and diverse cultures interact with the other person and one of the cultures must adopt the practices and methods of another culture it brings about disruptive tensions. The same situation occurred between the employees of BEA and BOAC both emerging industries of this time. This problem can be explained as a culture clash or acculturative stress.

Another issue arrived in the conditions of the management system being imposed in the business. British Airlines implemented an extremely inflexible, preoccupied and hierarchical management system creating status distinctions that were also evidence of their uniforms. The company also had problems being rule-oriented. Brand new management will have problems in identifying and addressing the needs of its customers. The company emphasized more on their inward-looking management approach and on maintaining their various routes and all of this resulted in customers being unsatisfied.

Change Plan

Management Change is a word heard often now in most corporations. It has been around for some time now but is famous in corporations that are enthusiastic about initiating a big change with their processes which includes both culture and work tasks. The management change is defined commonly as an employed group of the processes to ensure that considerable changes are implemented in a systematic, controlled and orderly fashion to result in organizational change.

Five principles of Change:

While implementing change management there are five basics that the managers need to keep in mind:

  • Different people tend to react in different ways to change.
  • Everyone’s fundamentals needs should be met.
  • Change also involves loss sometimes and folks need to undergo the loss curve.
  • The expectations of most are to be met authentically.
  • Fears of all are to be handled.

Organizational Management Change:

According to organizational management change, both tools utilized by managers and the processes are to be taken into account. Most organizations want the change to be implemented with the least resistance. Because of this to occur change must be implemented with a structured approach so that the transition of one behavior to another is as smooth as possible.

Management’s Role in Organizational change:

The management has to identify the behaviors and processes that aren’t proficient and produce new ones that are more effective for the business. Once these changes have been identified, managers should estimate the impact it will have on the business and its employees. Management also needs to assess the reaction of employees to the implemented change and make an effort to understand the reaction as well. It’s the job of the management to support their employees through the process of change. Finally, the management should help employees to simply accept these changes and help these to change well and effectively after the changes are implemented.

The most significant change that should take place at the group level in the form of operational change when it should be determined by the leaders that there was inefficiency existing in the system. Measures, like reducing staff level and cut in production costs which change can be classified as fine-tuning, can be used. (i. e. Scale Type 1 of Dunphy and Stace (1993)). The business should start decreasing their workforce very systematically. But before doing this, through the change in management leadership of the chairperson, the leaders should give known reasons for the privatization and restructuring so the employees can get prepared for the future changes.

To investigate the means of improving customer service, a steering group should be set up in British Airways. It will be discovered that for British Airway’s offering, customer service is the key cornerstone in the market place. Two courses of action may then be recommended by the steering group which will change the way the company decisions were made. A marketing policy group should be made for the re-organization of the company. Also, by the name of ‘Putting People First,’ an application of courses will be employed throughout the whole organization. This program should be aimed at increasing self-image, achieve the greatest possible standards of customer support and change the attitude towards the external and internal customers. Another program with the name of ‘Managing People First’ covering the perception of the contact staff and their managers should be started.

After identifying the inward-looking rigid culture existing near the top of the management hierarchy, a new top management team whose job is to strengthen customer-oriented culture within the company should be appointed by the company head. This is only when transformation in the management, culture, strategy, and operations will take place on a big scale. These changes are both organizational and strategic. An external audit company should conduct a two-way audit that will cover the perception of customers of the assistance being offered by the company. The frontline employees should be awarded the mandatory authority as well as the information to deal with the customers. The process will start by eliminating layers of the management structure and emphasis from divisional was changed to a functional structure. The personnel function should be restructured and for the mammoth task ahead, a human resource department must be created.

To provide a break from the old British Airlines image, Chief Executive’s two main image fronts which were the uniforms of customer contact staff and the company livery, are to be improvised.

But changing the external face is never enough, so attitudes within the company are to be changed. Time Management International should design a training program for British Airlines to be able to react to the needs discovered in the audit. The ultimate step and the logical step that could be taken is to start linking performance with pay. Strong leaders should be recruited as a part of the change in management. The segmentation policies must be defined.

All these actions can be seen as an amalgamation of both plannings (revolutionary) and incremental (evolutionary) change. The evolutionary change sometimes appears valuable in the short to medium term and revolutionary in the long run. These changes will eventually emerge to improve the company utilizing delivering excellent service and quality to the customers and developing relationships with them and in the long run, the company will appear to be the most significant airline for the UK.

Stakeholder’s Analysis:

To carry the stakeholders along through the process of change, the leaders should give their full support and time. THE principal executive and the Chairperson must act as the change agents for the company. The heavy support from the most notable management officials and the continued training can soften the harsh impact of cultural and organizational change. Although this change is bumpy incremental as there have been staff cuts this kind of change is called ‘Adaptation’ by Balogun and Hope-Hailey (2004).

As a part of the cultural change program, two days received to the employees and five to the managers. Around 40, 000 of the workforce were subjected to this program which was fully supported through analysis and compensation utilizing bonus payments. (Clarke 2001) The leadership style here was democratic and the leader Other supported measures included, action groups, updated performance management, implementing total quality management (TQM), educational seminars and the staff newspaper ‘British Airways News’. 

References

  1. Wikipedia. 2016. History of British Airways. [ONLINE] Available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_British_Airways. [Accessed 12 March 2020]
  2. Studybay. 2018. Explaining change management. [ONLINE] Available at https://studybay.com/blog/explaining-the-change-management-at-british/. [Accessed 12 March 2020].
  3. TINYpulse. 2020. Examples of organizational change. [ONLINE] Available at https://tinypulse.com/blog/3-examples-of-organizational-change-and-why-they-got-it-right. [Accessed 12 March 2020].
  4. Cameron, E. and Green, M., 2019. Making sense of change management: A complete guide to the models, tools, and techniques of organizational change. Kogan Page Publishers.
  5. Lüscher, L.S. and Lewis, M.W., 2008. Organizational change and managerial sensemaking: Working through paradox. Academy of Management Journal, 51(2), pp.221-240.

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