An analysis of the contrasting HRM policies of BA and Ryan Air through 4 frames - Structural, HR,Political and Symbolic and commenting on the alignment of the HRM policies to the strategic objectives of each company
Table of FiguresFigure 1: Impact of HR on Business strategy (Group.1, 2012) _______________________________________ 5Figure 2: Organisations from a frame perspective ________________________________________________ 6Figure 3: Alignment of HR polices to the Business plan (Group.1, 2012) _______________________________ 6Figure 4: Timelines of BA and RA (Group.1, 2012) ________________________________________________ 7Figure 5: Organisational Trade offs (Group.1, 2012) ______________________________________________ 8Figure 6: Employee/Passenger Ratio (Group.1, 2012) _____________________________________________ 9Figure 7: BA’s Divisionalised Bureaucracy ______________________________________________________ 10Figure 8: Ryanairs Structure adapted from Mintzberg (Bolman and Deal, 2008) _______________________ 10Figure 9: Comparison of HR between BA and Ryanair (Group.1, 2012) _______________________________ 12Figure 10: Driving Factors of Employee Satisfaction ______________________________________________ 14Figure 11: Mckinsey “War for talent” _________________________________________________________ 14Figure 12: Mckinsey; Non-financial and financial incentives. _______________________________________ 15Figure 13: Power Controlling Conflicts and Interest ______________________________________________ 17Figure 14: BAs Vision and Strategy ___________________________________________________________ 19Figure 15: BAs returning coat of arms (British Airways, 2012) _____________________________________ 20Figure 16: Crew-member at the wings ceremony ________________________________________________ 21Figure 17: Power Culture (Harrison, 1993) _____________________________________________________ 22Figure 18: Role Culture (Harrison, 1993) ______________________________________________________ 22Figure 19: (Slocum and Hellriegel, 2006) _______________________________________________________ 23Figure 20: Scheins levels of Organisational culture (Schein, 2010) adapted by (Group.1, 2012) ____________ 24Figure 21: Leadership and the Other Frames ___________________________________________________ 26Figure 22: BA Leadership Interaction (Group 1, 2012) ____________________________________________ 26Figure 23: Situational Leadership for British Airways _____________________________________________ 27Figure 24: RA Leadership Interaction (Group.1, 2012) ____________________________________________ 27Figure 25: Situational Leadership for British Airways _____________________________________________ 28Figure 26: Group 1 Structure Pre rationalisation adapted from Mintzberg (Bolman and Deal, 2008) _______ 30Figure 27: All channel network, (Bolman and Deal, 2008). _________________________________________ 30
Executive Summary “Management of many is the same as management of few. It is a matter of organization” – Sun Tzu, Art of WarThe following report is on Managing People in Organizations and analysis the differentframes used in organizations. The report studies the four frames in its depth and analysisthe pros and cons of all the four frames – structural, Human Resource, Political andSymbolic.To get a deeper understanding of the frames they have been studied through two differentcompanies in the airline sector. British Airways which is one of the biggest airline companyin Europe and Ryan Air, the largest low cost airline in Europe.The report studies the different perspectives of the four frames in both the companies andthe presence or lack of them in either. The initial research is on the current status of the fourframes in both the companies and this is done through primary research and researchpapers on both the companies. The research does analyses of the frames and evolution ofthem in the past and compares the same between both the companies.After the understanding of the influence of the frames in the companies, the reportconcludes the current status.The report goes on to highlight the apparent short comings of the current status of the fourframes in both the companies and brings out the possible areas of improvement. A list ofrecommendations is chalked out in the section for each frame and each company. Therecommendations while not being exhaustive and the most politically correct, is based onthe current scenario, company objectives and the potential threat perceived from the currentstatus.Finally, the report gives a detailed action plan for the suggested recommendations in theresearch and the possible methods of implementations of the same. While both thecompanies are pioneers in their own segments and have multiple actions being taken tostrengthen their current position, these recommendations and the suggested action plansare pertinent to the organizational structure and Human Resource development.
1 AcknowledgementsThe group would like to thank the following people who provided insight and information ofBritish Airways and Ryanair from a HR and MPIO perspective. Michelle Moseley and PaulAsquith offered a BA view, Michelle from a Cabin Crew Members opinion and Paul from amanagerial interpretation. Ema Kalan offered insight of Ryanair and what it is like to beemployed by them. We hope we have interpreted this information correctly and ourrecommendations will be beneficial to the company.
2 Introduction The Airlines industry is one that has witnessed tremendous changes over the past 15 years. Events such as the oil crisis, deregulation, terrorist attacks and the resultant more stringent security checks, industrial actions, the outbreak of the SARS, volcanic eruption, all contributed to a more challenging operating environment. (CAA, 2011). While some of the airlines faded into oblivion, others have adopted strategies such as mergers, acquisitions and rebranding in order to survive. The following report analyses two of the trend setters in the UK airline industry - British Airways and Ryanair and how their human resources policies align with their respective strategies and their effectiveness in delivering the strategic objectives. British Airways are a subsidiary of International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (IAG) have been the one of the world‟s longest lasting premium airlines company. The company celebrated its 90th anniversary on 25 August 2009 and has most recently (2011) re adapted its motto of “Fly to serve” thus reaffirming its commitment to customer service. Ryanair claims to be the „World‟s favourite airline‟ operating more than 1,400 flights per day from 44 bases and 1100+ low fare routes across 27 countries, connecting 160 destinations (Ryanair) . The company created the Europe‟s largest booking website-www.ryanair.com in 2000 in order to manage its increasing passenger traffic and sustain its low cost, high profit model of business. The importance of the HR policies of the two companies can be seen from the way they bring deliver the points of difference of each of the companies. Figure 1: Impact of HR on Business strategy (Group.1, 2012) This report analyses the human resource policies of the two companies from the point of view of 4 frames: Structural, Symbolic, Human Resources and Political and brings out the contrasting differences among the companies. Further, the leadership and motivation models of the companies are analysed critically with their relevance to their strategic objectives.
Figure 2: Organisations from a frame perspectiveSome suggestions are proposed to improve the alignment of the policies from the point ofview of each frame and a roadmap is built to implement these suggestions. Figure 3: Alignment of HR polices to the Business plan (Group.1, 2012)
3 Frames3.1 Structural frameThe following chapter discusses the various HR policies of British Airways and Ryanair froma structural point of view and analyses the alignment with their respective strategies.While one analyses the structural framework of an organization, it has to be realized thatorganizational structures are changing periodically and what is evaluated is a snapshot ofthe result of key strategic decisions taken in the past. In each of these decisions, a trade-offhas to be made among a number of criteria and some of them are highlighted here.In order to analyse the current HR policies of BA and Ryanair from the structural framework,the diagram below shows the evolution of the companies is the past 15 years in variousaspects. Figure 4: Timelines of BA and RA (Group.1, 2012)From the above diagram, it can be seen that while Ryanair has had a consistent leader overthe years, with a well-defined strategic vision, it has been dynamic in its practise ofleveraging technology to assist in driving down costs. The autocratic system of Ryanairhelps the company be agile in changing its structure quickly that assists in its rapidexpansion plans.
On the other hand, British Airways has reframed its strategies over the years to keepabreast with the changing needs of the customer and this aligns to their motto of offeringimpeccable customer service. The organization has been proactive in the utilization oftechnology to support this vision which can be seen from their resent adoption of I pads forcustomer service personnel to handle their CRM better.Polarized Tradeoffs of British Airways and Ryanair.Since the strategic objectives of British Airways and Ryanair are polarized in nature, the twocompanies have adopted policies where the advantages of one company is the trade-off thatthe other has taken in order to make its strategy work. This can be seen from the belowtable that compares the organization structure of both companies. Figure 5: Organisational Trade offs (Group.1, 2012)With its Low-cost and efficiency driven strategy, the Ryanair has higher passenger peremployee ratio. This results in overload of work, less time for innovation and oftenunresponsive to customer‟s requirements except those that contribute to increasing profits.At the same time, Ryan Air benefits from a highly efficient staff, who are goalbound andcommitted, with policies that define flexible roles for employees to multitask and earn more.
For example, (Air Scoop, 2011)British Airways, with its motto of “Fly to Serve” has a lower passenger per employee ratio.The elaborate nature of its policies often creates overlap of responsibilities and room forinnovation and creativity. The high degree of team building is prevalent, an example of whichis seen how the BA way is promoted in the organization as already mentioned in the culturalsection of this document.The drive for reducing costs and increasing the overall revenue of the company is clearlyseen from the policy of maintain a much higher passenger per employee ratio. Also thepractise of charging heavily for services rendered helps Ryanair to set new standards inlowering the customer‟s dependency on staff as well as increasing revenue through thesecharges. Figure 6: Employee/Passenger Ratio (Group.1, 2012)Organizational Structure: As complexity grows, organizations need more sophisticated and more costly coordination strategies (Bolman and Deal, 2008)The organizational structure of British Airways can be represented in the Mintzberg diagramas below.
Figure 7: BA’s Divisionalised BureaucracyIt can be observed that BA is a Bureaucratic organization with a number of different levelsand designations spread between the top management and lower rungs of the organization.Each of the various levels of the management has specific roles and responsibilities whichare formed with the end objective of enhancing the customer experience. This can be seenfrom the consistent manner in which they maintain their passenger per employee ratio.Though the revenue of BA is reduced by the more number of employees, it aligns with theirvision of doing things the BA way (British Airways, 2011). (Child & McGrath, 2001)On the other hand, Ryanair is more an autocratic organization with a thinner structure as canbe Mitzberg diagram as shown below.Figure 8: Ryanairs Structure adapted from Mintzberg (Bolman and Deal, 2008)Organization within Airplanes:It is natural that the organization within the airplane varies slightly in comparison to the restof the organization. This is due to the need for decision makers to be a part of each airplanein order to take actions to ensure the safety of passengers and crew.
In the case of British Airways, the focus on customer service requires the adaption of variousteams of staff on the crew. Also the distribution is influenced by the different classes oftickets and the variances in level of customer services expected. Through this differentiationof roles and responsibilities, BA offers attention to detail, time for each customer and worksatisfaction for employees and scores highly on the soft HR practises.On the other hand, the employees of Ryan Air are driven by hard HR practises. Forinstance, the airline staffs are measured on sales targets and are paid only when on air (AirScoop, 2011). This ensures a quick turnaround time and higher efficiency of resources.Policies outside the Airplanes:The strategy of British Airways is to enhance the customer service at all touch pointswhereas for Ryan Air touch points with customers are opportunities to increase the revenueof the company. This reflects in the elaborate facilities offered by British Airways all over theorganization that help customer experience. For instance, BA trained their cleaning staff inairports skills to render the basic directions to various terminals for customers who haddifficulty in finding them. This contrasts a great deal with Ryan Air that charges 40 poundsfine for overweight luggage and offers 50pence reward for the employees who find them.Another key issue to note in the case of Ryan Air is the risk of security of flights as the quickturnaround time of 20 minutes limits the attention to details of maintenance policies.In conclusion.Over the years, British Airways and Ryanair have adopted HR policies that are quiteorthogonal to each other and yet align to the strategies of the respective companies. Ryanairbenefits from the hard nature of its HR policies and hence enjoys a cheaper and quickprocess to evaluate their strategy. Also the structural changes in Ryanair happen in a quickand cost effective manner.Since the results of the strategies in British Airways are soft and indicative by nature, itwould take a longer and costly process to evaluate the strategy. This also results in a highcompetitive inertia (Miller & Chen, 1994) with slower response to change which according toone of its employees is “analogous to steering the titanic” (Group.1, 2012).3.1.1 RecommendationsFrom a structural point of view, the following recommendations would help BA and Ryanairin aligning their HR policies with their strategy.British Airways: 1. Removal of layers of hierarchy in order to enable structural changes to serve the customer better. 2. Improved definition of roles and responsibility in order to reduce confusion between roles 3. Empowerment of employees to be flexible to serve the customerRyanair: 1. Focus on a succession plan to reduce dependency on Michael O‟leary.
3.2 Human resources frameThe Human Resource frame takes the welfare of its human resource as the primary mode ofimproving the productivity and the fortunes of a company. The human Resource frameworks on the concept that organizations are formed to cater to the needs of the people andthey both need each other with the same degree of interdependence. A misfit between bothcan cause suffering for both, whereas a good match can result in a great workingenvironment for the employee and a loyal and productive talent pool for the Organization.David Owen, an 18th century mercantile was one of the earliest proponents of the HR frame.Owning spinning mills across Scotland, he started providing his workers a good standard ofliving including housing and education, especially to the children by abolishing child labour.(Bolman and Deal, 2008)While it can be argued that companies with higher customer service as a thumb rule have abetter employee management policy, It is not as common for companies to see a connectbetween employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction. Research has shown a correlationbetween the satisfactions of employee to profitability.However the two companies chosen for the research have two distinct perspectives despitebeing in a customer service industry. The graph below gives the shortest and clearestsnapshot of the different perspective of the human resource frame employed by the twolargest service companies in Europe. Figure 9: Comparison of HR between BA and Ryanair (Group.1, 2012)
“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory; Tactics without strategy isthe noise before defeat” – Sun Tzu, Art of War. While it looks quite apparent that British Airways has a frame with Human Resource at itscentre whereas Ryan air seems to be one of the most unfriendly places to work, it isimportant to first understand the reason for the distinct outlooks. Like all profitablecompanies the execution is driven by the strategy and before passing judgments on theexecution, it is imperative to perceive the same in context to their overall strategy.British AirwaysAs mentioned earlier in the report, British Airways,though changing its strategy frequently, has a clearstrategy of being the “To be the most admired airlineacross the world‟s key cities.” (British Airways,2011).Historically British Airways has focused onproviding the best customer experience and it is anobjective which is impossible to achieve withouthaving a trained employee bench and company culture. To ensure the same is achieved BAhas taken multiple initiatives in the HR framework like, 360 degree feedback on all managers. As per British Airways “Authentic Leaders understand and accept who they are and are able to recognize and manage their best and worst qualities”. This ensures a free flow of feedback both top down and bottom up. Recruitment process aligned with the cultural and strategic requirement of the company (British Airways) Training and development of its employees. “British Airways is all about bringing people together, and taking them wherever they want to go. This applies as much to our employees as the 36 million people who travel with us every year. For its only when they realize their full potential that we can achieve our broader business goals” (British Airways) Completely formal appraisal and promotion system with multiple panels and process for both.Ryan Air“The deal at Ryan air is simple: We reward you well for effort.Where possible, we incentivize your work so the more you do themore you get paid. We aim to offer competitive salaries withexcellent benefits that are simple and easy to understand. Weoffer an excellent share option scheme, which ultimately allowsyou to own a piece of the airline and share in its success”(Ryanair)The quote in the career section portrays the Ryan Air‟s attitudetowards their human resource but the challenge is to view the same in the light of theiroverall strategy. Some of their key HR policies are,
Majority of the employees recruited and on the payrolls of external agencies, thus reducing their costs of manpower. Trainings and development done through the agencies and paid by the employee. Compensation directly related to the hours spent in the flight rather than a fixed daily working schedule. It‟s quite apparent from the current human resource frame that both the organizations are quite extreme and polar in both their policy and execution of the same. Both while having their own challenges like friction with unions for BA and lack of loyalty and commitment for Ryan Air; seem quite successful in their goal towards achieving their corporate objectives. However, various researches over the period have highlighted the importance of the human capital in an organization to have a long term vision and the contribution of this capital for achieving the same. A research by McKinsey done in 2001 showed the importance of having a stable and motivated employee in the long term productivity of a company. (McKinsey& Company, 2001) Figure 10: Driving Factors of Employee SatisfactionOver the decades companies have realized the importance ofhaving a trained, loyal and motivated employee base. One ofthe biggest shifts over this period has been the mention ofemployees as a tool for operations to seeing them as a capital.This shift has also changed the way the companies deal andtreat their employees internallyAs per McKinsey there is a war for good talent and any humanresource driven company would require five elements for asuccessful talent formula (Mckinsey, 2001) Figure 11: Mckinsey “War for talent”
3.2.1 RecommendationsRecommendationsAs both the companies are so different in their approach, the recommendations are bound tobe quite different. It is also important to highlight that the recommendations are also keepingin mind the corporate strategy.British AirwaysThe biggest challenge with BA has been its relations with the unions and the problems itfaces when difficult decisions are taken. While with its history it is not possible to wish awaythe unions, it is extremely important that they can work on a strategy to create a sense ofloyalty to the company. As per Fred Reichheld in his book The Loyalty Effect, “loyalty is thewillingness to make an investment or personal sacrifice to strengthen a relationship”.Discussions with the employees before making a strategy and discussing the pros and consabout each strategy will ensure better by in and will help in reducing the number of industrialactions seen quite recently. This will also ensure the employees owning the idea andworking towards the achievement of the same.Appraisal process which is more dependent on performance than time driven will help inmotivating employees and make them performs better. This will also bring in moreinnovations in the company.Ryan AirThe biggest challenge for Ryan air remains the loyalty factor of its employees. While theyhave refused to join unions till now, it has been more with the money power rather thanloyalty. Respect to the employee seems to be the biggest factor for employees to work inany organization. The study by McKinsey shows that praise and commendation from theemployer is a bigger draw for employees than even cash incentives (McKinsey global, 2009) Figure 12: Mckinsey; Non-financial and financial incentives.For the long run strategy, Ryan Air should look at taking the employees on their payrolls toensure better loyalty, ownership and better customer service. As employees of a third party,they would neither focus on the customer of the company nor on the vision of Ryan Air.
3.3 Political frame “Every company has two organizational structures: The formal one is written on the charts; the other is the everyday relationship of the men and women in the organization” - Harold S GeneenIn an ideal world the best way to know and understand a company it is enough to read theirpolicies and processes. However, there are some unwritten and unspoken factorsinfluencing right from the strategic as well as the day to day decisions of an organization.The political frame looks at an organization as a contest of individuals and groups. Theassumptions for the same being; Companies are a association of individuals and pressure groups. Differences persist in the beliefs and interests in the members. Major reason for conflicts being the allocation of the scarce resources. Stake holders drive a bargain to protect and enforce their interests in the decisions.In the light of the above mentioned assumptions, it is easy to conclude that unless acompany is under a totalitarian government, the political frame will be in place in allcompanies in some form or the other.Two major interest groups in the airline industry have been the unions and interdepartmental frictions. If the political frame is analysed through the two companies inquestion, it can be seen different challenges and different methods of handling them.British AirwaysThe legacy of being a sovereign company has resulted in the company facing a friction withtheir unions. Any decisions taken by the company, be it the short term or strategic, has facedroad blocks from the unions. This was quite apparent in the company‟s decision to make BAa leaner and more adaptable organization in 2011, where the unions retaliated with industrialaction. This has resulted in the company being very slow to changes and turn around curvepost recession being a really long one.A British airway has also been subjected to a lot of criticism by employee unions for theirdisparate treatment of pilots and cabin crews. While they seem to be bending their backs tothe pilots associations for every demand, they have been abrasive towards cabin crews.Even their perks and benefits like stay in hotels while on work have been differentiated withcuts in cabin crew allowances. This has been confirmed by (Asquith, 2012) in his discussion.Some of their strategy to create unity in the team like „hug the pilot‟ also seems more benttowards satisfying the pilots.Ryan Air“As soon as the fear approaches near, attack and destroy it” – Chankya, ArthashastraThe above quote symbolises the strategy of Ryan Air in dealing with all their threats, be itirate customer, threatening government or disruptive unions. While the unions have triedtheir best to enrol the staff, especially the pilots of Ryan air, the airline strategy have been to
keep the pilots at their side through any means. This has ensured that no union has so farbeen able to penetrate the employees of Ryan air and cause any difficulty in their singlemost strategy of cost reduction.With most of their cabin crew and ground staff on third party payrolls, Ryan air has alsonegated the chances of a friction from unions in their lower tier of employees. While fromthe outside it does look politics free or only top down politics, it‟s quite safe to say that withno say in either strategy or power to give feedback, there would be an undercurrent ofdissatisfaction among the employees, especially the cabin crew and ground staff. Figure 13: Power Controlling Conflicts and InterestAfter analysing both the company models it can be concluded that the politics in anorganization is driven by the power centre. In case of BA there seem to be multiple powercentre‟s with the CEO and various pressure groups like BALPA and Unite all having a say inthe eventual decision of the company. Ryan Air, the power seems to rest solely with theirCEO Michael O‟Leary, which has helped them marginalise all other potential threats andthus able to guide the company in their projected path.3.3.1 RecommendationsPolitics in an organization cannot be defined in any frame as this is normally all pervasive orabsent. So while it is impossible to eradicate politics in an organization, it can be managedto make it positive and fruitful. The recommendations for the same are captured through therecommendations in HR, Structural and leadership frames.3.4 Symbolic frameCulture has many definitions and perspectives; there has been much discussion andconstruction of theoretical frameworks over the years. (Deal and Kennedy, 2000) and(Schein, 2010) state that there are many different cultures and subcultures withinorganisations, consideration should be given to differing facets of both organisations; a)there is the culture of the teams within each aircraft and b) the pervasive culture within theorganisational structure. It should be noted that, ideally the aircraft culture should be asubset of the organisation. Organisational culture affects all facets of the organisation andthe stakeholders involved within it. It is best summed up as (Deal and Kennedy, 2000)stated;
“it is the way things get done around here”According to (Hofestede, 1991), culture is learned, which implies it can be taught.Organisations can and should disseminate their culture through any means available,reinforcing company values and beliefs onto the workforce and utilising the concept ofemployee branding, where the personnel becomes extensions of the company.Due to the polarisation of their business models and strategies, BA and Ryanair havesomewhat differing cultures and methods of using human resources to deliver their businessstrategies. From reviewing of the websites of the two organisations the cultures which arediscussed explicitly from BA are; Safety, Diversity and Inclusion, and most critically a“customer focused culture” (British Airways, 2011) It could be argued that BA also leveragedtheir cultural heritage.Ryanair, by contrast, mentions no cultural values on their website; this would dilute theirfocused core premise of the “lowest fares, lowest cost” paradigm which not only is theirstrategy, but it could also be argued is their “no frills” culture (Clark, 2005).The cultural and symbolic analysis of both organisations takes perspectives from amongstothers Deal and Kennedys, Harrison and Stokes, Schiens and Hofstedes work.History“A shared narrative of the past lays the foundation for corporate culture.” (Deal andKennedy, 2000)BA is an organisational dating back over 90 years, the history is rich and has had to undergomany organisational changes throughout this period. Whilst a rich heritage is something themarketers can leverage (Keller, 2003), from an organisational perspective legacy practiceswill not work in the future, organisations have to be lean and agile in today‟s competitiveenvironment. BA‟s cultural legacy is driven from pre-nationalisation days (Asquith, 2012),this has led it to become a slow, difficult to change beaurocracy with entrenchedperspectives.Conversely, Ryanair‟s history is relatively recent; it has been trading in its present profitable(post 1991) form (Ryanair.com, N/A). Since inception Ryanairs paradigm has been low costlow fares, thus their history is one of the paradigm the culture continues to be focused onthis.
Values and Beliefs “Cultural identity is formed around the shared beliefs of what is really important, andthe values that determine what the organization stands for.” (Deal and Kennedy, 2000) “To Fly, to serve” (British Airways, 2012)BA values and beliefs are outlined in their 2011 businessstrategy; this is furtherdecomposed in the vision and the goals required to realisethe concept (British Airways, 2011). By detailing whichvalues are important the organisation has communicatedto the personnel what is expected of them and how itshould be achieved. There are many challenges to this;the vision, values and strategy has changed several timesover the past decade (Asquith, 2012). Figure 14: BAs Vision and StrategyThese changes are difficult to manage and have not been managed appropriately (Asquith,2012) (Grugulis and Wilkinson, 2002). Furthermore, post 2010 strike, the organisation isviewed with suspicion by the cabin crew members and ensuring buy in for new initiatives ischallenging. The engagement of long serving “old contract” crewmembers continues toprove difficult (Asquith, 2012), prior to 1997 the personnel were on effectively civil servicecontracts and were well recompensed this has led to a “golden handcuff” culture wherebypersonnel can‟t afford to change roles (Asquith, 2012). The downfall of this is twofold; thesepersonnel do not wish to be engaged and participate in the new values of the strategy andvision. Furthermore, as they are senior personnel they should be driving the values andbeliefs and by being exemplars to the junior personnel, but as they are not engaged thevision is not reinforced and their paradigm of “to fly, to serve” does not necessarily work withthe old contract staff.Ryanair‟s corporate values are set out in their charter; this is an extension of the paradigm(Ryanair, N/A). From an HR perspective they state “Ryanair endeavours to control its labourcosts by continually improving the productivity of its already highly-productive work force.”(Ryanair, N/A). These values and beliefs are reinforced by their CEO O‟leary who stated that“We all employ some lazy ******* who needs a kick up the backside, but no one can bringthemselves to admit it.” Furthermore staff costs are usually the highest cost to anorganisation (Clark, 2009). Crew training is paid for by individual personnel (Penman, 2008).The core values of Ryanair, in reality, devalue their staff, they are treated as commoditiesrather than assets. Their treatment of staff is so poor the ITF set up a website to supportpersonnel working for the company (International Transport Workers Federation, n.d.).There is no reason why Ryanair would distance itself from the core strategy of low costs, thisagain reinforces the values and beliefs espoused by the organisation.
Heroes and VillainsIt is challenging to extract Ryanair andMichael O‟leary from one another, they areintertwined, in an almost symbioticrelationship. This relationship is soimportant that in the annual report one ofthe risks identified is over-dependence ofcertain managers (Ryanair, n.d.). O‟leary isthe exemplar of the low cost culture;“Recently I did an interview and I wassitting there with a hotel pen I‟d nickedfrom somewhere. I was asked why and I said: We at Ryanair have a policy of stealinghotel pens. We won‟t pay for Bic biros as part of our obsession with low costs.” (Kilduff,2010). Furthermore, O‟leary drives Ryanair‟s publicity from the front in order to savemoney on marketing, and is seen promoting the airline regardless of location or e(Eleftheiou-Smith, 2012). Much like Ryanair, O‟leary polarises opinion and could beviewed as either a hero or villain. O‟leary personifies the culture of the organisation.BA‟s last CEO, Willie Walsh, who was in the limelight regularly was could be considereda villain to the crew and a hero to the management and shareholders. He personified theorganisation through the 2010 cabin crew industrial action. He has now become the CEOof the holding company IAG. The present BA CEO incumbent is lower key, on hisappointment he used far conciliatory language and viewed the staff as “absoloutelyessential for the brand” (Osborne, 2011) and through his governance further industrialaction was averted. The Inflight Business Manager who was interviewed for this paperwas asked whether there were myths, heroes, he responded that this was not a tool BAutilised.SymbolsBA in 2012 have reintroduced their “to fly, to serve”paradigm, this is reinforced with the return of the coatof arms, this was originally granted to the BritishOverseas Airline Corporation by the college ofHeralds in 1939 (British Airways, 2012) The use ofthis symbol signifies the heritage and is in line with the2011 business strategy goals of “reignite passion andbelief in the brand” and “create the culture andcapabilities for success.” By reinforcing the brand withsymbols and legacies BA are trying to reengage withall stakeholders, be they staff or customers (BritishAirways, 2011). Figure 15: BAs returning coat of arms (British Airways,The Uniform and Wings symbols are further discussed 2012)in the ceremony section.
Rituals“Prior to every flight all cabin crew must go through a pre-flight briefing regardless of airline” (International Civil Aviation Organisation, n.d.).From BA‟s perspective this is formulated as a ritual, the senior cabin crew member leads themeeting and every crew member is asked a safety question. The crew then pick theirworking position on the aircraft; the order is based upon seniority (Unsupported sourcetype (Interview) for source Mos12.). This ritual is required for several reasons, the cabincrew are able to identify with one another as the senior crew member sets the culturalrequirements that they require by the team of personnel on board. Furthermore it supportsthe safety and security culture required by the organisation.Ryanair, too have to conform to the mandatory requirements laid down by the ICAO andgenerally follow the same safety briefings, however the crew are not paid for this 45 minuterequirement (A.I.T., 2012), from a HR perspective this lack of payment is likely to demotivatethe crew and undermine the safety culture.Another BA ritual which was described to one of the authors was the “crew bus drink” thesewas a ritual whereby on the completion of a flight, the cabin crew on their way to the hotel“down-route” would have a drink on the bus and unwind. This practice was banned due toBA‟s health and safety culture. The unintended consequence of this requirement was thatcrew morale decreased and that the interaction and camaderie was lessened across thefleet.CeremoniesOn commencing employment at British Airways, cabin crew areinducted into a six week training program. At the outset theprobationary crew are given their uniforms, but not allowed to wearthem. Only after they have been trained for two weeks and havebeen taught the values of the organisation, the importance of theuniform and what is means to represent the organisation are theyallowed to wear it. The new crew are then told on which day theycan wear it and thus the whole cohort comes in together fostering asense of camaderie. On completion of their training they are onprobation for six months in the worldwide fleet. Once this six monthperiod is complete the whole group returns to the centre tocomplete the “wings” ceremony and they are given their wingswhich signifies them as fully qualified and accepted cabin crew andpart of the BA culture. Figure 16: Crew- member at the wingsRyanair, conversely requires their personnel to pay €2800 for their ceremonycabin training (Crewlink, n.d.) and is something of a contentiousissue due to some sources suggesting that the training payments are utilised as a revenuestream (Penman, 2008). Furthermore the crew are required to rent their uniforms for €25 amonth. The organisation had lowered the crews expectations in line with their businessmodel.
Now that the various facets of the organisations have been identified and analysed it ispossible to further disseminate the organisations in terms of models.Harrison and Stokes(Harrison, 1993) states that the model should be used as a descriptive rather than evaluativetool and that each culture type has both positive and negative aspects.Ryanairs culture is based on highly centralised power base; it iscentralised around O‟leary and he drives the organisation from atop down perspective (Creaton, 2004). The structure of theorganisation has been kept flat to ensure that is lean and agile inall aspects. The challenge that the organisation may have is thatthe CEO‟s force of character may take them into an incorrectdirection as there is no input from other personnel (Creaton,2004). Figure 17: PowerReviewing the board, the majority of the board have either been Culture (Harrison,involved with the organisation for long periods (Ryanair.com, N/A) 1993)and the governance issues could be problematic as the boardmay not challenge the CEO. The fact that O‟leary is also on the board which is against therecommended code of governance (Ferrira, 2010) will not help the board challenge the CEOand his methods which may be involved in group think (Janis, 1982).British Airways culture by comparison is the Role, this is based on ahighly formalised structure containing order, stability and control(Harrison, 1993). BA has many legacies from the national carrier.This has resulted in an entrenched organisational cultural mind-set,which although the organisation has tried to change, changingculture is always difficult (Hofestede, 1991). The hierarchicalstructure has too many strata resulting in a top heavy, slow to react,organisation. From a micro cabin crew level, the advent of the mixedfleet and an injection of new personnel, the infusion of personnelfrom the bottom up may change the emphasis of the organisationand remove the “golden handcuffs” mindset. Figure 18: Role Culture (Harrison, 1993)Slocum and Hellriegel.Utilising (Slocum and Hellriegel, 2006) model the organisations can be viewed from a fouraspects, which are influenced by internal and external factors and how agile and able tochange they are.British Airways culture sits between Clan and Bureaucratic. Clan culture is based ontradition, loyalty, personal commitment, teamwork and social influences. This culture can beseen throughout the cabin crew, the have to be extensively social; every time they fly theyare generally with a new group of people and have to function as a team, the bonding andcamaderie could be likened to a clan. This is futher reinforced by their clannish behaviourduring the recent industrial action where the vast majority acted cohesively to fight againstan “aggressor,” even though that was their employer.
Bureaucratic culture is based on formality, rules and hierarchical coordination. The individualroles are clearly defined and the organisation aspires to stability and efficiency. BA‟sorganisation is based on this type of culture. It is internalised, stable, slow to change andmay result in poor performance during challenging economic times. If the organisation wasable to leverage the crews clannish culture and reengage those disenfranchised personnel itwould take the positives and divest some of the negative connotations. Figure 19: (Slocum and Hellriegel, 2006)Ryanair has a simple raison d‟etre, to make money, to achieve this their strategy is to cutcosts resulting in the organisation being Europes leading low fares airline (Ryanair.com,N/A). To achieve this, its HR relationship is with its employees is functional and theirremuneration is performance based. This is both for Pilots (sectors flown) and Cabin crew(sales made on board) (Ryanair.com, N/A). Utilising the analysis it can be determined thatsince its foundation Ryanair can be categorised as a market culture. Whilst being lean andmean is admirable, the performance and “employees as assets” mentality will result in a highturnover of personnel and dissatisfaction with the organisation. There will be no highpsychological contract connection as the organisation has lowered the expectations of thepersonnel and those personnel will become disenfranchised with the company.SchienThe model developed by (Schein, 2010) has three aspects Artefacts, Values and Basicassumptions. Each level is interlinked and affects the others. Artefacts are those aspectswhich are visible, for example, offices and uniforms, the externalisation of the brand, ritualsand ceremonies can also be placed in this aspect. Values are the invisible aspects, in BA‟scase “to fly, to serve,” Basic assumptions are the invisible, unconscious and resistant tochange. In Ryanair‟s case the organisation has challenged the assumptions that uniformswould be provided and that they could charge their phones on the company‟s expense(Clark, 2005).One of Ryanairs artefacts is the CEO, his visibility is synonymous with the company. Artfactscan also comprise of language and is also part of the visible cultural aspect. The languagethat O‟leary uses is robust to say the least and somewhat unexpected from a CEO of a
billion dollar organisation, however it is in keeping with the cheap, rough and to the pointphilosophy of the company (Creaton, 2004).Basis assumptions the organisation would provide for its staff have been challenged andchanged. The companies environments had to reflect its culture. All parts of the organisationare expected to minimise costs wherever they are (Eleftheiou-Smith, 2012) (Clark, 2005). Figure 20: Scheins levels of Organisational culture (Schein, 2010) adapted by (Group.1, 2012)British Airways, artefacts are their uniforms, their logo, the music from their adverts and ofcourse their tailfins. All these aspects visualise the culture of the organisation.BA‟s values have changed over the years but in their latest iteration is summed up in theparadigm “to fly, to serve” by reintroducing this motto they are leveraging their heritage andputting the customer at the centre of everything that they do (British Airways, 2011).Their basic assumptions of BA are that its personnel crew will be looked after; this is at oddswith the recent industrial action, where the crew felt that the organisation was taking arbitraryand autocratic action and not acting in their best interests. BA are in a difficult position due tothe external influences of the competitive environment; they are not a low cost airline buthave to compete with companies like Ryanair. This is not achievable due to the fact that theycannot follow the same business model as the low cost carriers and they ended up being ahybrid which was not efficient and did not please their stakeholders.3.4.1 RecommendationsBoth organisations HR polices are aligned with the business strategy to some extent.However the implementation and execution differs. BA‟s strategy has changed several timesover the past decade and the HR policies have changed to suit (Asquith, 2012), this is bothchallenging to the organisation and personnel. It is difficult organise change in an efficientmanner; it is even more challenging when the organisation has a culture with a legacyattached to it. Furthermore, the cabin crew staff which have been in the organisation sincethe early 1990‟s are dyed in the wool and don‟t want to change, they don‟t want to leave as
they can‟t afford to, thus any change that is attempted is undermined by the recalricantnature of these personnel. Any new junior personnel who come into contact with these“seniors” are not likely to challenge the precepts given and the cycle does not change. Sincethe organisations paradigm is “to fly to serve” the new business strategy is aligned with this,the cultural changes which the organisation is bringing in are aligned with this. However asdiscussed the execution may be challenging form both an organisation and cabin crewperspective. Through the decades the organisation has been successful, but in recent yearsthey have had many challenges, trying to change the culture will be one of the toughest, butif they manage to achieve this they will go into the future well set up and competitive.Ryanairs strategy and HR policies are aligned, cut costs wherever possible, employees arenot assets, they are commodities to be used as and when the organisation sees fit. Thepolicies and strategy are so simple that it is easy to follow regardless of the standard ofpersonnel involved. The culture is one where personnel should expect nothing from theorganisation apart from the pay, which many would argue isn‟t particularly good (Creaton,2004). By any standards, from a performance perspective Ryanair have been incrediblysuccessful but this is at the cost of personnel (A.I.T., 2012) (Clark, 2005) (Kilduff, 2010).Looking to the future is this a company that will continue to set the bar or will its staff andcustomers look to alternative travel arrangements as they don‟t want to be treated as cattleor commodities?3.5 Reframing LeadershipSeveral authors have discussed of leadership differently. Some authors have describeleaders as who have the "Art of seeing things invisible" (Jonathan Swift) and able to give thevision of the company.Before understanding leadership within British Airways and Ryanair, a difference shall bemade between a manager and a leader. Bennis and Nanus (1985) suggest that "managersdo things right, and leader do the right thing", managers focus on execution whereas leaderson the purpose. (Bolman and Deal, 2008)The table below lists some differences bewteen a manage and a leader:
(Strathclyde University - MPIO Module, 2012)Furthermore, Edgar H. Shein mentions that once the culture exists it determines the criteriaof leadership (Nellen, 1997), given that, it can be stated that culture defines the type ofleadership to be applied within a company.Leadership is different to each frame in a company and has the following assumptions; Figure 21: Leadership and the Other Frames Inspired from (Bolman and Deal, 2008 : 356)But, it is not suitable to decide which leadership is better before knowing what is theobjectives and the goal of the company. The leadership should be suited to the strategy ofthe company and helpful in achieving the goal.The leadership style applied by British Airways culture is bureaucratic because it is a kind oforganisation is "specifically designed to perform cetain functions"..."its operation is based ona set of rules and procedures for every position or job" (McKenna and Beech, 2008: 56)within the company. In addition to that, the governamental legacy reinforces this burecraticleadership style (Paul, 2012). Figure 22: BA Leadership Interaction (Group 1, 2012)
The figure above shows the flow of the chain of command in the BA, with equal participationfrom all the stake holders in the execution of the strategy. The Figure 23 shows us where BAstands in the Situational leadership matrix by Hersey and Blanchard in their situationaleadership theory (Strathclyde University - MPIO Module, 2012), (Mind Tools, n.d.). Figure 23: Situational Leadership for British Airways Image adapted from Hersey and BlanchardThis showes that in BA has a delegating leadership style as there is an optimal balancebetween the ability and the willingness from employees. Moreover, senior managementsupports the suggestion and implementation of new ideas and in case of failure,management backs the employees. (Paul, 2012)Ryan AirSome researchers describe a change of leadership style from the autocratic - "1985 Ryanairis set up by the Ryan family with a share capital of just £1, and a staff of 25" (Ryanair, n.d.)-to the democratic leadership style for RA " The leadership style O‟Leary has instituted atRyanair finds expression in a sort of transition: a movement from autocratic leadership todemocratic one (Nwagbara, 2011:7.) However, the reality seems to be bit different with thedominating CEO, Michael O‟Leary driving the business. While the model of Ryan Air wasinfluenced by the model of Southwest airlines, the execution of the same is quite differentfrom the influencer. Figure 24: RA Leadership Interaction (Group.1, 2012)
While the chain of command seems in discussion with the management, the employees dontseem to have a say in either developing the strategy or execution of the same. This isportrayed in the figure below which shows the situational leadership style of Ryan Air as lowon ability and low on willingness and thus being a „telling‟ form. Relationship Leadership Task Leadership M3 PARTICIPATING M4 DELEGATING ABILITY M1 PARTICIPATING M2 SELLING WILLINGNESS Figure 25: Situational Leadership for British Airways Image adapted from Hersey and BlanchardThe common mistake made by a researcher is to be influenced by going through the bothleadership style and deciding the better on their face value. However, as mentioned earlierwe have to look at the style of leadership from the prism of the strategy of the company toactually come to a conclusion.With a strategy of being "the most admired airline" it is important for BA that each of theiremployee has clear buy in to their strategy and their way of execution. So a leadership ofdelegating seems the most suited for the company. The only concern BA might endure is theflexibility of the employees in accepting some of the difficult decisions when they are relatedto their comfort and compensation. This has been visible in the last two years by theindustrial actions by the ground staff over certain austirity measeres by the BA leadership.Meanwhile "Ryanair business strategy is one of fanatical cost reduction and efficiency suchthey can offer a basic low cost reliable and dependable service which is in high demand. "(Rapid Business Intelligence Success, n.d.) and the strategy seems to be completely topdown and hence the telling method. While a lot of analysts and thinkers would disagree withthe style, it has to be highlighted that Ryan Air is probably the lowest gap between its goalsand achievements. Consequent to its top down approch, they have succeded in keeping theunions at bay and has made the company very flexible in decisions and changes. This hashelped the company evolve and change according to the need of the hour.Looking at the two companies with their different leadership style and the advantages anddisadvantages of both it is approprate to say that it is quite simplistic to say that one is betterthan the other. The appropriate leadership of a company clearly depends on the objectivesset by its shareholders for the company. A Keith williams in Ryan Air might have beenineffective in attaining their objectives and Michael O‟Leary in BA would have resulted in aclosure of the company in the shortest possible time, while both being affective in their stylesin the current positions.
3.5.1 RecommendationsOne of the primary driver for both change and sustenance for any strategy is visionaryleadership. The recommendation for both the companies is made with the corporateobjective in mind and the necessary steps to cover up any gap in the achievement of thesame.British AirwaysThe leadership while having some of the most reputable people in the industry has had lotsof gaps in their execution of strategic decisions. Ear to the ground – There seems to be a gap in the awareness of the senior management about the needs of the employees. This is quite apparent from the industrial actions in the last few years by different groups of employees. The management has to either get comprehensive feel of the employees or take them into confidence before initiating serious changes. Stand tall – The Company has been perceived multiple times to have given in to the threats by the unions. There are times in any company when the management has to take tough decisions and stick to them. To make BA competitive in the current scenario, it is imperative that the company becomes more dynamic and lean. This cannot be done without a strong leadership able and willing to take decisions and execute them. Longer reign – The leadership seems to be seeing constant changes after short stints. This is resulting in frequent changes in the policies and strategies, which in turn is confusing the employees. The company needs to have more stability at the helm and execute a longer term strategy.4 Project methodology and personal reflections4.1 Project Methodology4.1.1 Structural FrameAs we completed our first two modules it became evident that we were falling into siloed andfunctional roles. Once the Governance assignment was completed we had an airing sessionwhere we had an open forum and we discussed where we were going wrong, right and whatneeded to change. Originally we could be considered in terms of Mintzbergs (Bolman andDeal, 2008) bureaucracy where there was an operational engine; these were the writerwriters, with a support staff/technical team who were the document compiler and power pointmakers.
Figure 26: Group 1 Structure Pre rationalisation adapted from Mintzberg (Bolman and Deal, 2008)This had the potential to be fairly dull for the rest of the two terms and wasn‟t lending itself tothe learning experience; it was more an extension of working life. At this juncture wereviewed how we would move ahead. We decided that we would form an all channelnetwork (Bolman and Deal, 2008) organisation where by all personnel were responsible fortheir own work. If someone for example, was reviewing the structural frame they would beresponsible and take ownership for all parts of their work. Figure 27: All channel network, (Bolman and Deal, 2008).4.1.2 Human Resources FrameOne of the key components in the HR policy in major companies is the diversity of theemployees and a process to keep the diversity alive and kicking. One heartening factors ofthe group has been a mix of four nationalities and three continents with 3 Indians, 1 NorthAmerican, 1 British and 1 south American.While different cultures have brought its own challenges to the group like craze ofpunctuality of the British, tardiness of the Indians and Spanish of the Latin Americans, thegroup have revelled in the diversity. The group has had friction due to different backgroundsand work styles but probably the level of maturity and the objective set by each person whileforming the group has helped each take it in a stride. The reason for the group being able towork well and understand each other is the sharing of life outside the work area. Thisensures that despite all the friction and heartburns in the office, once we step out we haveour own life with parties, lunches and dinners. The most important factor has been the
respect shown by each member of the organization and this has ensured that we not only dowell in the past assignments but also looking forward to future challenges.4.1.3 Symbolic FrameWe have decided to call our group an organization as it signifies the seriousness with whichwe approach everything that we do. The cultural perspective of our organization can beanalysed using the (Schein, 2010) model as follows.Basic Assumptions: In addition to basic assumptions that organizations adopt likepunctuality, professionalism and commitment, our organization has adopted certain basicassumptions recognizing the varied cultural differences among its members. Unspokenconsent exists that we would be accommodative of the eccentricities of each member andbe courteous at all times.Values: Practices like Friday evening group lunches and feedback after each module isprevalent in the organization. Our motto has evolved from being the best among the peerorganizations to being the best as well as helping each other to shape themselves betterand yet deliver a better product than peers. To achieve the new goal, we have adopted thesystem of pairing where a symbiotic relationship among the members helps them evolvebetter.Artefacts: The organization adapts the use of technology and social media in all its activitiesand in order to stay connected to each other and reinforce the collective strength.4.2 Personal Reflections4.2.1 Carolina CamachoWhen I told my friends that I was going to prepare an MBA, they ask me if the objective wasto get a better salary at the end the year. Even more, one of my closest friend criticised mebefore leaving France and told me that I was only focused on my career and not on essentialthings of life such as family and health. To be completely honest, this was my principal goalat the beginning of the programme, get a better job with a higher hierarchical level.Six months after having initiated the MBA, I realised that I was completely wrong and that Ihad to forget my BIG ego to be able to survive in the "Challum" class. The principal skill thatwas the hardest to be developed was to learn how to listen to others and I still watchingmyself in this aspect.I had the great chance to work with Justin, Jose and Deepak during the first term and since,we decided to live this MBA experience as a real "learning process" from the professionaland personal point of view. As a result, we decided to include in our team, people whosegoal was to work hard, to be able to go out from the comfort zone and to take the risk to "failsafe, fail fast". For this reason, Chandra and Kathir joined us from January.I consider my team "N°1" as a real organisation with the following features;- Our vision: To do our best as much as we can and to learn from others- Our objective: To generate personal and professional profits from this programme
- Our slogan: "We are going to die" (each time that we list all the actions to be done in ashort period of time)- Our favourite activity: Talk about our multicultural differences and try to find out theequivalent in our own culture.As any organisation, we have interpersonal conflicts and situations in which frustration isidentified. To handle with that, we decided to bring it our as soon as possible and to realignour strategy to guarantee the achievement of our common goal.The learning process is still ongoing and we look forward for the strategy term to push ourlimits even further.4.2.2 Justin MoseleyWe are working better and better as a group. Each module which passes we seem to havemore constructive discussions and it is less ego driven and more topic based. As a group wespend a large amount of time with one another, I spend even more time with Jose as we goto the gym together. This has led to friction and we are recognising it in ourselves, whilst wehave not got to the stage where we can avoid it, it is never personal and we forget about itshortly afterwards.During one of the group meetings we discussed what we wanted as an organisation, initiallywe wanted to be the best and compete against the other teams. This perspective hassoftened recently and we no longer measure ourselves against other teams. Our vision is to“achieve the best results what we can as a group.” I had a discussion over lunch with one ofthe other members and discovered that what is best for him is totally different for me. He islooking for clarity and a structured thought process, I want to hit a distinction, but moreimportantly I want to use the tools and skills which I have been taught once the MBA iscompleted. I met a guy with an MBA and he was in this big office with his ego wall pasted upwith all his certificates and a couple of glass fronted lockers full of MBA books, I asked himhow much he used the frameworks from the MBA, he looked wistful and replied “not at all”. Ithink it would be a real shame if that were to happen to me and a poor use of my time,resources and life.There have been intergroup challenges and we try to mitigate them wherever possible.There are lot of cultural, racial and national differences. I am a stickler for punctuality due tomy Naval background and the perception of this value has caused some friction. However,we bump along well and support each other wherever we can. Whenever one of the team ishaving difficulty with their respective work we support them to move forward as a whole.Recently we set a deadline to hand in the accountancy assignment so we could moveforward to MPIO, two of us managed to hit the deadline and the rest handed theirs in a weeklater. This could have been an issue, but those who had completed were forthright andstated that they wanted to stick with the plan and move forward with MPIO together. Wesupported those laggards by proof reading their drafts and marking up where required. Theissue which has arisen is that we are behind on the MPIO deadline which then adds furtherstress to the exams.
Regardless the challenges we have faced and no doubt continue to face, I am pleased to bepart of this team and we will keep on challenging and driving the team to excel andsubjectively be the “best.”4.2.3 Deepak VarmaMy selection of a school outside my country was to be able to work with people fromdifferent backgrounds and learn from personalities more than lectures.After having worked in 4 different groups in the first semester, the choice of this group was aconscious and calculated decision. The primary reason being the number of years ofexperience and varied backgrounds each member brings to the table. I can safely say that Ihave possibly learnt more in this group by sharing with my team members more than thebooks I have read or the lectures I have been to (leaving MPIO off course!).The group while having its frictions and rough days, has always had the maturity to keep thediscussions at a professional level and never take it outside the room. This is more thanwhat I have seen in some other groups or in my past professional life.My greatest benefit from the group has been the drive and energy displayed by the groupwants me to deliver better and learn more. I have been forced to work on my areas ofdiscomfort by my team mates whom I would have earlier shirked from.While each in the group has their own strengths and weaknesses we have made sure wehelp each other in coming „up to speed‟. One of the most exciting factors of working in agood team is the opportunity to be able to help people who are ready to learn and learn fromteam members who ready to share their knowledge.I do consider lucky to be part of this group and hope to be able to live up to the expectationof the rest of the team members.4.2.4 Chandramouli SureshThis group gives me a lot of scope to analyse and critic both my work as well as the thinkingbehind a lot of our discussions.From a structural perspective, we are an organization that evolves as a web. A week afterworking together , we realized that the chain was only as strong as its weakest link. Hencewe decided to strengthen each other and grow as a group. This set our vision that we wouldevolve as a group of rounded personalities who perform to the best of their abilities.From a cultural and symbolic perspective, as a part of this group I take efforts to behave inthe most professional manner and be punctual as it is one of the basic assumptions of thegroup.From a human resources perspective, the group takes a lot of effort to motivate each otherand being a part of the group I feel the responsibility to motivate my peers to deliver the bestend product.
The political perspective is the most interesting for me to analyse. This is because of thepresence of natural leaders in the group and others who aspire to be leaders. Also thecultural difference between the members fosters groupism and it is an important factor to betaken into account during our discussions.An important development for me is when I was paired up with a group mate that had aworking style completely different to mine. Though we had a disastrous first day, we wereaware of our differences and successfully found a method to work. Overall the group isevolving from strength to strength and on track to reach our goal.4.2.5 Kathiravan AbrananthamI was very excited when I left my country for the MBA program. I was looking forward for thiscourse as I had missed an earlier opportunity 3 years back to do masters in USA.I was themost pampered kid in my family and my mother had warned me before that life is tough in aforeign country as I would end up doing things on my own. The MBA program started withexcitement and fun. The biggest challenge I faced in my first semester is to adapt to theworking style of people with diverse background and different skill set. I am an activist and aproactive thinker, which made my life much more difficult to convince people. I haveacquired lot of patience during the course of the program to handle people with courtesy andrespect. I am a friendly person who would like to socialize and make lot of friends. This inborn quality helped me to get good friends during the course of the first semester. I foundsome people in my program to be weird as they didn‟t like me for being friendly with someclass mates whom they don‟t like. The biggest learning has been in treating human beingsemotions and predicting their mind set in well advance so that I can react cautiously to getthings done.From January onwards, I had an opportunity to work with a TEAM of my choice. I wasfortunate to get in to the best group which had members from diverse background in termsof ethnicity, experience and educational background. I loved the group for their commitmentand hard work towards work. The group dynamics had been good. There have beenconflicts due to extreme stress and those were resolved amicably through open dialogue. Ihave some recommendations for the group, which will help the team to perform well in nearfuture.1) Assign the right job for right people to get things done quickly during time constraints.2) Identify the strength and weakness of every group member.3) The group should be flexible to accommodate team member‟s interest.4) There should be a regular feedback to identify the areas of improvisation.5) A thin layer of bureaucracy exists that should be eliminated.4.2.6 Jose ValdezI feel very fortunate to work with the team I work with. We have a very balanced and diverseteam not only in personalities, but also in backgrounds.We started to work as a group from the beginning of this year, and since then we establishessome rules that we keep to bring a teamwork environment. For example, we always try to be
on time, and to do that we set a rule in which he last one to arrive, in case he is being late,pays a coffee for the rest of the group. With this example we show respect to the group byavoiding that the group repeats something already said.It is quite easy that each member take a role and responsibilities aligned with their strengthsand skills. Especially when the team is working in a process that is repeated more thanonce. However, we have decided to reassign a position to each member in order to be out ofour comfort zone and hence developing a new skill.Specifically for this assignment, we decided to play with our strengths in order to achieve thehighest grade in the least time possible. Therefore, we build a strategy for the way we weregoing to work as a team. The strategy that we built included three main pillars; a) using ourindividual strengths b) assuring that everyone added value c) assuring that everybodyagreed with the points stated in the final paper.First we decided the objective to follow together, to get the best grade possible and finish theassignment 2 days before the deadline. Then, we defined the key success factors, we brookdown those factors into actions, we mapped them in a calendar and then we assign aresponsible for each action mapped. In the end we subdivide into groups of two, in which wecould have one person who were strong in academic writing while the other brings graphsand pictures.We mapped at least three group discussions, in which we tackled the conceptual guidelinesof our paper in order to be consistent all through the assignment.The experience was enriching in many ways. We followed a very structured process, inwhich we could feel as key contributor of the final piece of document of which we all feelproud of, and I think we have achieved that.
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