Societal culture and tradition are continually transitioning with the fast rate of globalization and technology advancements. Cultural variation has become more pronounced with the dynamic changes witnessed in the political, social, and economic arenas. Additionally, the vast majority of organizations are vulnerable to cultural changes. Concurrently, depending on the actions taken by the management, these alterations may impact the corporation positively or negatively. Thus, there is a need for organizations to be well-versed with the developing cultural changes to respond in a way that would ultimately befit the business.
Question One: Role of the Leaders in the British Airways, their Profile, Background, Achievements
British Airways is renowned as one of the largest international airlines that offer flight services to more than 550 destinations worldwide. The airline has gained worldwide popularity due to their high-quality services that they continue to provide its clients. British Airways has thrived in the global airline market due to its consistency in providing outstanding services as well as their continued increase in international flights. Additionally, British Airways has gained massive profitability and success due to its large number of fleets.
British Airways has progressively developed from an Aircraft Transport and Travel organization to the current international Airline that it is. The corporation was established in 1974 as a result of a merger among two airline corporations, namely British European Airways and British Overseas Airways Corporation (Jarvis 1). The new airline employed over 50,000 personnel who worked to ensure that it attained its set goals. However, managing these employees turned out to be an arduous task for the management. For example, the young organization experienced conflict among its employees who were had extreme cultural differences. The airline also experienced huge losses attributed to the global oil crisis. Redundancies, later on, followed These issues. Consequently, the corporation was forced to downsize its aircrafts from 215 to 174 aircrafts (Jarvis 4). During late 1981, British Airways was almost dissolved because of the huge loses and bad reputation. It was during this period that the organization’s Chief Executive Officer chose to initiate a change management program that could serve as a prudent way of tackling cultural diversity among its employees.
King Marshall, who was the airline’s CEO, opted to introduce the change management program as a way for reviving the company and hence regaining its lost glory. For starters, the program sought to repair the enterprise’s damaged reputation to not only the general public but also to its stakeholders. As a customer oriented organization, British Airways transformed its operational performance with the intent of providing quality services to its customers. King Marshall also introduced the Staff Development Initiative program to create a harmonious work environment for the employees who were from different cultural backgrounds (Jarvis 10). The move turned out to be a success as most employees developed good working relationships with each other with the aim of fully serving the airline’s customers. Furthermore, the Staff Development Program entailed a series of cultural training that helped the employees to identify their cultural diversity as a strength instead of weakness (Jarvis 12). As a result, most employees became more efficient and focused on achieving the organization’s set goals and objectives. Today, British Airwayshas significantly progressed as it owns more planes, infrastructure, facilities, and customers than it did ever before. The company’s effort to listen to its customers’ suggestions has also enabled it to make sound changes necessary to provide outstanding services to its clients. Thus, the British Airline has gained a wider market due to its customer’s loyalty.
Role of Leadership
An organization that is well-versed with the people’s culture and traditions can push for effective organizational changes that would in turn significantly contribute to the enterprise’s success. In essence, the it is crucial for British Airline to have sound and effective leadership for this to become a reality. This is because the airline’s leaders play an integral role in ensuring that a company attains its desired goals. The term ‘leadership’ has been conceptualized as the process of transformative change whereby the ethics of individuals are integrated into a community as a way of embracing evolutionary social and cultural developments (Alvesson et al. 1). British Airlines initiated a High Performance Leadership (HPL) system which formed a basis of rewarding, awarding and appraising leaders who had highly performed their designated duties. HPL System motivated the British Airway’s leaders to continue with the good work of managing the airline’s personnel into providing quality services for its customers. Additionally, British Airline leaders were also recognized as transformational leaders identified by their four key characters namely: inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, idealized influence, and individualized consideration (Bass et al.1). Through leadership training programs, the British airline’s leaders are taught on the importance of possessing certain integral traits, such as persistence, emotional intelligence, and creativity. In a diverse work environment, a BA leader is tasked with the responsibility of fostering teamwork among employees with different beliefs and culture. Aside from HPL system, BA also developed new leadership initiatives that served to provide its leaders with comprehensive leadership guidelines. There are three major leadership initiatives namely: leadership development potential, leadership matters and behavior for success. These initiative encourages both emerging and senior leaders to manage the organization with the intent of attaining the airline’s set goals and objectives.
In essence, organization change is a crucial aspect that if affected properly lead to tremendous positive outcomes for the entire organization. As a company that supports organization change, British Airways has been able to cut an edge over its fierce competitors. The organization continues to be updated with the current industry and technological changes. The airline has also developed a key strategy of encouraging its employees who would be motivated to find ways to serve the customers fully. Furthermore, it is among the world’s leading airlines due to the tremendous efforts made by its employees who work efficiently to satisfy the customers. In essence, good transformational leadership is a fundamental aspect that has helped the British Airways to attain massive profitability and prosperity.
Bass, Bernard M., and Bruce J. Avolio. “Transformational leadership and organizational culture.” The International Journal of Public Administration 17.3-4 (1994): 541-554.
Alvesson, Mats, and Stefan Sveningsson. Changing organizational culture: Cultural change work in progress. Routledge, 2015.
Jarvis, Paul. British Airways: An Illustrated History. Gloucestershire: Amberley Publishing, 2014. Print.