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BRITISH AIRWAYS CASE STUDY

We live in a changing world and so do our businesses. British Airways otherwise considered as one of the oldest legacy carriers is an international airline based in the United Kingdom. The main service of this airline is to offer transport services to passengers. This airline has faced many challenges from its competitors. These challenges include introduction of Low-cost carriers, introduction of online ticketing and check-in processes and high fuel costs. This has seen the airline cut on employee payments, shrink staff and restructure its organization.
The collapse of high-end demand at the end of the year 2000 was a wakeup call to the British Airways management to embrace change and consider coming up with Low Cost Carriers. The gap between legacy carriers and low cost carriers in terms of cost is significantly large. This is because Low Cost Carriers are affordable not only to leisure travelers but also to business travelers. From the article we are told that the carriers which earn a lot of profits are the ones that charge the lowest prices hence British airways needs to adjust their fares to suit air travelers (Forsyth, 2005).
The airline is also faced with structural challenges such as lack of network distribution channels which is a major hindrance for the management to up their game because their existing distribution channels and systems were not networked. This therefore made it easier for its competitors whose channels were already internet enabled to offer their services online hence low costs. This therefore calls for British airways to accept to incur installation costs that would help them change their systems so as to be at par with its competitors.
The services of British airways on the other hand prove to be important because they still can offer services that Low Cost Carriers can’t offer such as offering direct flights with just one connection ( Bennet, 2006).
In the past high-cost carriers such as British Airways were able to counter the cost gap by focusing on increasing revenue on business travelers and the sale of premium tickets. The strategy worked back then because the customers were used to paying high fares and they dint have alternatives (low fare carriers). This shows that the airline could easily run into bankruptcy and debts which could intern result in pension obligations. The airline therefore needs to come up with an alternative strategy of making profits.

To some extend British airways can’t avoid the cost gap because it is an international carrier and international operations normally bring higher costs thus generating higher revenues. The airline is equipment and labor intensive and therefore not efficient because planes and employees wait for long hours. Low cost carriers on the other hand avoid connections to the big hubs and therefore empty and refill airplanes much faster (Shimbun, 2010).
Therefore British Airways may try to use change management theories and models in order to catch up with its competitors. These change management theories include :
Creating an urgency
Forming a powerful coalition
Communicating the company’s vision
Removing obstacles
Creating short-term goals or targets
Building on the change
Anchoring the change in corporate cultures
The management of British airways may try and show its employees the urgency of changing their culture with regards to the competition that they are facing (Weinwright, 2010). They should come up with convincing reasons on how the market competition is affecting them and have the staff members brainstorm on strategies to use in order to achieve a flat platform with its competitors. The management should go as far as developing scenarios to employees on what might happen in the future if they do not embrace change. This will in turn motivate the entire organization to get things moving (businessball 2010).

Managing change entails leading it. This can be achieved by forming a team of strong and influential people such as CEOs, shareholders, experts and politicians. This team can be referred to as a change coalition meaning its been formed to build and emphasize on urgency and bring about change.
Creating a vision for change is another trick that British Airways can use to make change a priority. A vision will speak for itself and therefore management will not face resistant from its employees. Everyone will know what the company is driving to achieve and therefore they will understand more on the directives given to them. Apart from creating a vision, the management should come up with a strategy on how they intend to execute their vision (Blokdijk, 2008).
Communication within the organization should be by use of the created vision. Make it a routine to talk about the vision at every little opportunity and go as far as using it to make decisions, carry out judgments and solve problems.

The organizational structure, job description, staff appraisal, performance and the compensation system should tally with the new vision of change. If this is not the case then the organization is facing obstacles to embracing change. The company should therefore eliminate any employee who is resisting change and even processes or structures that are getting in the way. For instance British Airways should come up with their own model of Low Cost Carriers that will make it easy for them not to face competition. I would though congratulate the management of British Airways for training 1000 cabin crew staff to work in place of the ones who were on strike. This strategy was used so that the airline doesn’t incur losses. Doing away with obstacles or barriers can empower and encourage the team that’s geared towards executing the change vision thus helping the organization to move forward (A.Hitt, Ireland, & Hoskisson, 2009).
The management also needs to come up with short term goals as a means of motivating staff members to work towards achieving required change. By forming short term goals the management is able to curb or deal with critics who might hurt the company’s progress. The achievement of this short term goals will in turn drive the organization towards achieving long term goals. For instance British Airways can launch one Low Cost Carrier flight and introduce online check in procedures and ticketing, if this works then it can go ahead and launch as many flights as it can and ensure that it keeps improving on them. The management should also ensure that the change practices become part of the organizations culture (Williamsom, 2010).

The management should derive ways to sustain the wanted changes by coming up with a reward system for the hardworking employees and establishing feedback in order to know if the changes that are being enforced are working. Management should also support employees and provide on-job training sessions this which would result in success and celebration (Academy, 2007).
For a long time, high cost carriers have been resisting to make profits out of short-haul operations and this gives low cost carriers an edge over them. They concentrate more on long-haul operations thus letting low cost carriers dominate the short-haul market. The low cost carriers use strategies aimed at attracting passengers and making them comfortable with the prices that they offer. Low cost carriers concentrate more on domestic passengers unlike legacy carriers who are only interested in international passengers (Czerny, 2008 ).

Both the high and low cost carriers should aim at selling their products by treating their customers with respect; this is seen through ensuring that in their email ads they start off by addressing their customers with respect. They should also offer snacks to their passengers in form of selling them so as to make extra revenue. Advertising mediums to be used include email ads, television ads and printed ads that should be kept in flight magazines to increase their sales.

Airlines have earned enormous profits in the past in a various ways such as building market share and dominating hub airports. This has helped legacy carriers to be able to control prices in their hub markets and controlling landing areas and gates at hub airports. Faced with a competitive environment, airlines have focused more on offering transport rather than trying to integrate with related suppliers and distributors because of the intense competition. Due to competition Legacy carriers, have embraced change management strategies including vertical disintegration which have helped airlines to cut costs through outsourcing and introduction of a variety of quasi-vertical alliances which have helped the airlines to increase revenue.

Steps that airlines can take to maintain its culture while achieving desirable levels of growth includes being smart about how they spend their money, time and resources. They need to be more innovative and do the things that are necessary to differentiate them from their competitors. Apart from focusing on growth, they also need to focus on the best interest of the customer by cutting down costs and increasing the number of flights. Legacy carriers also need to cut on underperforming staff and concentrate on domestic expansion (Hartley, 2010 ).
For airlines to record profits, the management should conduct in-store training sessions for employees. This can be done by letting employees watch video messages from the company’s legal advisor advising them on how to treat their customers by showing love and compassion.

Last but not least, for airlines to grow, they should inculcate an ethical change culture that will ensure an establishment of a code of conduct, encourage regular communications, and initial and ongoing staff training. An organizational change culture should also encourage staff appraisal that will reward employees who implement the change culture and do away with the ones that are hesitant to help the industry grow. It is important to train employees from time to time so that they know what is expected of them and this can in turn help to enhance airline profits( (Alvesson & Sveningsson, 2007).

British airways should therefore focus on growth, because growth is the only way of lowering costs . Airlines that have shown growth increase modern generation planes that are usually in perfect condition and are thus reliable. Growing airlines spread management expenses among few passengers thus increasing per passenger cost. Management should therefore take responsibility and advocate for its employees to look back to the company’s vision and make the necessary changes that will evoke the cultural tradition, heritage and passion of the airline.

Below are the tasks and the criteria on which this will be marked. I do not think you have identified an appropriate model of change to build your argument around and some of it reads like a series of quotations with very little material from yourself. The conclusions you draw do not appear to be based on the theory that has gone before rather you have decide to look at the growth prospects for the company and how they should become more profitable which was not the aim of the work. This draft has a lot of room for improvement and needs to have a structure built around one or two change theory models and a critical engagement with those models to get a good mark.

1. Using the application of relevant change management theories and models provide critical analysis and evaluation on the nature of the changes taking place.

2. Explain and justify the specific recommendations towards managing change within British Airways you will make as a result of your investigations.

3. State clearly the conclusions that you draw from your investigations, you may use further research to evidence your views.

 

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