BRITISH AIRWAYS CASE STUDY
BUS661: LEADING ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE
DR. JIM JEREMIAH
JUNE 23, 2013
The British Airways (BA) Debacle occurred because the management team introduced a swipe card system which would allow management to use staff more efficiently and to record employees start and end time for each work day. This was a unilateral decision by BA to introduce the swipe card because the staff was not adequately consulted. (Palmer, Dunford, & Akin, Managing Organizational Change: A Multiple Perspectives Approach, 2008) As a result of the unilateral decision, BA’s employees went on a 24-hour strike which caused major problems for BA. BA had to cancel its services, which left 10,000 passengers stranded. It was apparent that there was a lack of change management. This paper will address ways in which the situation could have been avoided and ways to avoid repeating the same scenario.
There were several key issues that lead to the strike. Employees were already concern about job security because BA had started cutting one out of four jobs, the imposing power of management, and it was the start of the busy season. When management forced the swipe card system on the employees, this made matters worse. If management had applied the sense-making approach, they would have been able to understand how people perceive and interpret change when they are involved in the change process. Management failed to consider how this approach would help them obtain a clearer understanding of the issues surrounding the change that lead to the strike. The management staff viewed the new system as a way to improve organizational efficiency but was unaware of the employee’s interpretation of the change. The employees could not see the positive outcome of the change. The employees view the system as a way for management to manipulate them. They also saw the system being beneficial to management and not them. The strike served as proof that...
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