Thursday, January 31, 2013

Managing People and HRM in Hospitality Organisation: British Airways



Managing People and HRM in Hospitality Organisation: British Airways
Executive summary
British airline is the UK’s largest airline based on international flights and international destinations. The firm is faced with a number of problems that are brought about by the management and leadership style as well as the employee motivation and satisfaction. The operations at British Airways are greatly affected by the different elements of the management and leadership that are found in the organisation as well as the general lack of employee satisfaction and motivation. The autocratic style, highly formal operations and the centralisation of the decision making in the firm would lead to a situation where the performance levels of the different employees in the firm are significantly low. The centralised decision making and the lack of consideration of the welfare of the employees greatly contributed towards the motivational problems and employee dissatisfaction. The issues are analysed through the use of Herzberg’s Motivation-Hygiene Theory and Vroom’s Expectancy Theory. Recommendations based on the findings of the analysis are provided; key amongst them being the decentralisation of the decision making and the greater involvement of the employees and maintenance of the balance between the efforts and rewards.






Introduction
Organisational behaviour refers to the study of group and individual dynamics in an organisation. The organizational behaviour, according to McShane and Travaglione (2005), serves the purpose of helping the different members of the organisation to be able to forge relationships that are helpful in their groups, between themselves and also in the whole of the organisation so that the different goals of the organisation, the groups in the organisation and the individual employees in the organisation can be effectively achieved. The interaction between the individual characteristics in the organization leads to a situation where a single dominant characteristic can be established in the organisation.
British Airway (BA) is the largest airline in the UK based on the size of the fleet, international destinations and international flights. BA was founded in 1974 and it operates from two hubs; London’s Heathrow Airport and Gatwick Airport. The firm provides both passenger and cargo services and it operates over 150 destinations globally. The above stated destinations do not include those that are travelled by the different subsidiaries of the firm. The firm plies routes to North America, Central and Latin America, Spain, Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia. The corporate headquarters of the firm are located in London. According to Datamonitor (2005), the firm operated both short haul and long haul flights out of the two main hubs of the airport. The firm has more than 280 aircrafts excluding those of the different subsidiaries of the firm. The firm recorded revenues of €11.482 billion in 2011. The firm provides an array of hospitality packages to the various customers for instance flights and cars, hotels, car rental and also aiding the travelers is deciding the different travel destinations which they may visit. The paper will consider the leadership and management style and motivation and job satisfaction issues at British Airways. The issues will be analyzed through the use of Vroom and Herzberg theories of organizational behaviour. Recommendations will be provided followed by a brief conclusion recapping the various issues that have been discussed in the paper.
BA’s Vision and Mission
The vision of British Airways is to be “the world’s favourite airline’ (British Airways, 2012). The vision greatly focuses on the customers of the firm as well as the employees. The customers are toe be provided the best service and hospitality that they would not be able to get anywhere else. To the employees of the firm, the focus is on the ways through which their welfare includes motivation, career progression and general wellbeing can be greatly enhanced in the industry. The above two conditions would help the firm to be able to become a global airline through the support of the employees and customers. The latter, the customers, would help through their loyalty to the airline which would lead to an increase in the business for British Airways.  
The mission of the airline is to be the ‘undisputed leader in world travel’ (CAP Online 2012, para. 2). This mission statement entails the elements of good customer service and relations, an increased focus on loyalty programs so that the firm can be able to hold onto the customers that the firm already has while significantly adding new customers. ‘British Airways is aiming to set new industry standards in customer service and innovation, deliver the best financial performance and evolve from being an airline to a world travel business with the flexibility to stretch its brand in new business areas' (CAP Online, 2012, para. 3). The mission statement of the firm also entails a great focus on innovation especially the reliability of the electronic booking, new loyalty programmes for the customers and seat comfort amongst the many other innovations.
Issues noted at British Airways
Management and Leadership style
The management style at British Airways greatly focuses on the compliance with the different rules and procedures that have been laid down. Over the years of the operations of British Airways, autocratic leadership style has been noted with the leaders of the firm being considered to be technically biased and authoritarian. The relationships in the organisation are usually much formalised (Wagner and Hollenbeck, 2010). The formal structure of the organisation brings to the fore a number of problems as majority of the people, workforce, usually want to work in organizations where they have the freedom to be able to interact with the other employees without any significant inhibitions. The management and leadership style has been characterised with distancing, high rate of segmentation of the different functions, low levels of feedback thus significantly inhibiting the ability of the firm to be able to undertake the various functions.
There is also a general tendency towards the neglect of the different employees of the firm. This can be seen in the various cases of strikes and employee go slows that have been faced by the firm in the recent past. There are also high instances of management support for individual work and achievement without considering the contribution of the whole body of the employees towards the achievement of the different role of the organization. The other issues that have been noted at British airways are the elements of depersonalization and the problems of the tall hierarchy where the different employees at the lower echelons or operational level of the organisation do not engage in any form of decision making (Schermerhorn, 2011). Even the issues that greatly impact the employees on the organisation are not decided upon by the employee body. The management style was characterised with a very high rate of centralisation and there was a very low incidence of mutual relationships in the firm. The delegation of authority was greatly absent in the organisation.
Motivation and job satisfaction
There are also problems that are being noted at British Airways with regards to the motivation and the satisfaction of the employees. These issues can be understood through the consideration of the decision making at the BA, the communication including the other elements such as remuneration and benefits that the employees can be able to enjoy in the environment where they work. The employee motivation is low due to the highly centralised decision making. The employees of the firm are usually given a free will to be able to engage in the innovation by British Airways. However, the problem arises as all the decisions regarding everything that takes place in the industry must be taken by the British airways Board (CAP Online, 2012). This leads to motivational and employee satisfaction problems as they cannot be able to engage their creative selves without having to convince the board about the very feasibility of the programme. The problems also arise due to the belief of the management that when the processes are highly standardized, the performance of the firm will be higher. The employees are thus stuck with boring and age old processes which do not offer them the intellectual challenge and flexibility that characterises the 21st century workplace (Robbins, 2005). The motivation of the employees of British Airways are also low due to the fact that in many instances, the firm focuses on the business needs and thus the communication does not touch on the family and social needs of the different employees of the firm.
There are issues of employee satisfaction which arises from the work design. The different employees of the firm are sometimes not given the different jobs according to their capabilities and preferences (CAP Online, 2012). This leads to a situation where the morale of the employees is low. The above impact negatively on the satisfaction levels of the employees (Robbins, 2005). Finally, the rewards and remuneration at BA can be said to be poor if the recent upheavals by the employees at the firm are anything to go by.
Analysis of the issues using organizational behaviour theories
Management and Leadership style
The Herzberg motivation-hygiene theory is premised upon the work of Fredrick Herzberg with regards to the different factors that caused the satisfaction and the dissatisfaction of the employees. The different elements for dissatisfaction that were noted in the work of Herzberg can be used to understand the issues that are seen at British Airways because of the management and leadership style that was adopted by the firm (Nelson and Quick, 2008). First, the great focus of the management of British Airways on the rules and the procedures is consistent with the Herzberg’s findings that company policies was one of the elements that greatly contributed towards the dissatisfaction in an organisation.
Secondly, the autocratic leadership style that is used at the firm is also an element that was noted by Herzberg in his work with regards to the satisfaction of the employees. The elements that characterised the autocratic leadership style at the firm include the high levels of supervision as the employees of the firm are significantly told what they should and should not do (Nelson and Quick, 2008). The relationship between the employee body and the management of the firm was also very formalised thus significantly contributing to the satisfaction problems that were being witnessed in the firm (CAP Online, 2012).
Herzberg also noted that the conditions of work would also lead to the creation of an environment where there is dissatisfaction. The high incidence of centralisation coupled with the absence of delegation of authority at British Airways is also a contributor to the problem of low satisfaction of the employees at the firm (Nelson and Quick, 2008). The management and leadership characteristics at the firm can then be seen as great contributors to the lack of motivation and dissatisfaction of the employees of the firm.
Motivation and job satisfaction
            The motivational and employee dissatisfaction issues at British airways can be understood through the consideration of the expectancy theory that was developed by Vroom Victor in 1964 while he was at Yale School of Management (Robinson, 1992). Vroom noted that motivation usually arises from the consideration by the employees that when they performed highly, they will be rewarded by the organisation. There are three main themes in the theory; (a) valence (relationship between the performance and effort), (b) expectancy (relationship between the rewards and the personal goals of the person) and (c) instrumentality (the relationship between reward and performance.
            The lack of motivation and dissatisfaction of the employees at the firm can be noted in a number of instances through the consideration of the elements of the expectancy theory. The centralised decision making plays a great role in the low motivation level at the firm. Robinson (1992) noted that the lack of control leads to low levels of self esteem amongst the workforce and thus they see themselves as being of no value in the organisation (CAP Online, 2012). The above stated factor is related to expectancy as there should be congruence between the personal goals of the individuals and the work that is undertaken by the workforce. The centralised decision making at British Airways also affects the goal setting which has an effect on informing the workforce’s motivational level. When the employees set their own goals, they will be more satisfied and they will have a greater drive towards working for the achievement of the goals of the organization. Miner (2005) noted that when the decision doe not lie with the employees, there will be a very low rate of motivation just as has been seen in the firm.
            According to Isaac, Zerbe and Pitt (2001), the relationship between effort and performance is inhibited by British Airways in a number of ways. First, the allocation of the different duties at the firm does not take into consideration the skills and capabilities as well as the interests of the workforce (CAP Online, 2012). The employees thus lack the drive that would make them to inject efforts into the activities in the organisation thus leading to very low motivational levels and the general dissatisfaction of the employees.
Recommendations
            There are a number of changes that cans be undertaken to the leadership and management styles at the BA. First, there should be a movement towards greater decentralisation of the elements of the decision making in the firm (Griffin and Moorehead, 2012). This will bring about a situation where the employees will be of the view that their dignity as well as respect is assured in the organisation. The other element that the decentralisation will help to promote is the focus on the involvement of the employees in the setting of the job designs so that the different members of the organisation can be of the feeling that they are undertaking meaningful work in the organisation. The firm should also develop a non-formal communication structure so that all the needs of the employees can be taken care of by the firm. The considerations will play an instrumental role in enhancing the performance of the firm.
            The motivation and satisfaction in the firm can be further enhanced through the use of principles of equity where there is a proper balance between the input (effort) and the output (rewards and benefits) that are offered to the different employees (Mathibe, 2011). The balance can be maintained through the provision of rewards and bonuses to the employees so that they can be able to put more effort in their duties. Secondly, the decision making in the firm should be decentralised so that the employees can have a greater understanding of the activities that are taking place in the organisation.
Conclusion
            The operations at British Airways are greatly affected by the different elements of the management and leadership that are found in the organisation as well as the general lack of employee satisfaction and motivation. The autocratic style, highly formal operations and the centralisation of the decision making in the firm would lead to a situation where the performance levels of the different employees in the firm are significantly low. The centralised decision making and the lack of consideration of the welfare of the employees greatly contributed towards the motivational problems and employee dissatisfaction.




Bibliography
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