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Investigate and Evaluate the contribution of structure and culture to the management of British Airways

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Introduction

Investigate and Evaluate the contribution of structure and culture to the management of British Airways British Airways is one of the world's leading international airlines, operating international and domestic scheduled and charter air services. Its revenues are generated primarily from business and leisure passengers, cargo and mail. British Airways headquarters are located at Heathrow airport in London, and have several airports situated around the world, making it a multiple plant and multinational company. On 25 August 1919, its forerunner company, Aircraft Transport and Travel Limited, launched the world's first daily international scheduled air service between London and Paris. In 1935 several smaller airlines merged to form the original privately owned British Airways Limited, which became Imperial Airways' principal UK competitor on European routes. Imperial Airways and British Airways were nationalised in 1939 to form British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC). This company had a monopolistic position on international routes. The airline under its current name was formed as a result of a merger in 1974 between the United Kingdom's two publicly owned dominant carriers, British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) and British European Airways (BEA). This marked the initial change from a state owned and subsidised entity towards the privatisation of British Airways on 30th January 1987, and slowly changed the structure of the industry from being virtually monopolistic towards becoming a competitive oligopoly. ...read more.

Middle

This is why it is important for British Airways to have an autocratic management style as every employee must be kept alert and task focused so that problems do not occur. The style of management at British Airways clearly has a large effect on the performance of their employees, so with their hierarchical structure within the company, the autocratic approach to management is most likely to be implemented to make sure all the employees are following the strict guidelines set by British Airways. This keeps productivity high, however the motivation of the employees may not be very good. As a result the democratic style of management maybe considered by British Airways, which involves leaders consulting their subordinates about decision making while still maintaining control of their division. Within this hierarchical and divisional structure, British Airways must utilise a style of management that maintains a good level of communication throughout the company, so that it can perform efficiently, this is crucial to British Airways as it has a long chain of command. They must watch out however, as a democratic leader, may become unsure of him/herself and offload all of his or her decisions to subordinates, which would result in a lack of leadership and tasks taking longer to be solved, with possible disputes between employees (Dessler 1986). ...read more.

Conclusion

"More specifically, contingency theory asserts that as technology becomes more sophisticated and less routinized, environments more complex and uncertain, activities more heterogeneous and employees more skilled and sophisticated, organizations must become more flexible and adaptable and they must do so by moving from bureaucratic to more decentralized forms of administration." (Hales 2001 p.135) This decentralisation has many positive outcomes for British Airways, as it enables decision making to be done closer to the operational level of work. There is also improved responsiveness to local circumstances, as well as an increased amount of customer service. It can also have a positive effect on employee morale and motivation (Mullins 1999). The structure and also the culture contribute strongly to the management of British Airways. The hierarchical structure and role culture at the company, allow for the company to work well, as there is no confusion between workers, which minimises transaction costs within the firm. Everyone knows their role within the company and have certain jobs to complete. Each individual is also aware of whom they are responsible for and to. The divisional structure adopted by British Airways, has allowed the company to remain efficient by decentralising and geographically separating different parts of the organisation. "Decentralisation may give rise to greater opportunities for increased delegation and empowerment." (Mullins 1999 p. ...read more.

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