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In 1983 British Airlines was losing almost 140 millions per year and the saying of the time defined it as “Bloody Awful” .
Its most relevant decision was the transformation of the culture of the BA, which would not be in the “transportation business” but in the customer services market, re-orienting it towards the external driven framework. (2005) Profit over people: neoliberalism and global order.
This change management would allow to focus in the client and provide a quick response to the markets needs, as the customer became the center of the management policies. Achieving Post Merger Success: a stakeholder guide to due diligence, assessment and integration.
Although, as the Organizational Behavior, traditionally, divides organizational mechanisms as the structure and the culture, and, group mechanisms as leadership behavior and team functioning, for a result to be achieved, there is need to coordinate organizational mechanism with group mechanisms, as they are interdependent, one being the object and the second being the action.
Notwithstanding the perceived change was at the cultural level, the leadership was reinforced and emphasized in the Change Management strategy, aiming to direct behaviors through the alignment to the new culture. On Becoming a Strategic Partner: The Role of Human Resources in Gaining Competitive Advantage.
The culture of the company was internally driven, as demonstrated by one of its seniors managers which said in 1984 that they could run a good airliner if it werent for the passengers.
The uncertain environment was completed with the privatization which would be carried during the 1980s (Carleton and Lindenberry. In this unstable environment, a new CEO assumed in 1983, aiming to recover the company. (1992) Milton Friedman: Economics in Theory and Practice.
The culture change was allied to the structural change of the company, which had passed through wage cuts and reformulation of compensations.
As the company determined what it wants to be in terms of culture (results, in the case be more customer oriented), it identified the behaviors it need to follow to attain those results, trained the leaders in the skills needed to achieve those behaviors and rewarded those who achieved, the control of protocols furthered the reaching of the strategy of the culture shift, through a coherent Change Management program, transforming the BA in the most profitable airline company in 1996.
On the 30th of January 2014, at 13.30 hours, I will publicly defend my Ph. dissertation entitled ‘Leading Change in Public Organizations: A study about the role of leadership in the implementation of change in a public sector context’.
The defense will take place in the Sentaatszaal of the A-Building of Erasmus University Rotterdam.