‘Assume you are the new operations manager of British Airways with responsibility for the baggage system at Terminal 5, Heathrow Airport. Drawing upon scientific management, human relations, contingency theories and culture management, outline how you would manage the baggage handling process and baggage handling staff at Terminal 5. ‘ British Airways lost more baggage per flight in 2008 than almost any other airline in Europe (Laura Clout, 2008).
So if BA, known as one of the ten top world’s best companies with their crowd of extremely experienced personnel can fail so significantly, any organisation considering a big change or introducing a new project needs to be careful with managing that change to ensure its success. This essay will concentrate on one of the 2008 most talked about failures, Heathrow Terminal 5. One of the reasons for this disaster is claimed to be poor management that will be discussed later in the essay in the context of scientific management, human relations, contingency theories and culture management.
This essay also examine problems that relate to management of the baggage handling process and baggage handling staff at Terminal 5 and the importance of quality systems to airport managers in improving airport operations that later will be analysed and evaluated in the context of four management theories. This paper also includes material on best way to manage organization and reviewing the problems with relying on improperly tested new technology systems instead of training staff.
Examples of different statistics as well as the use of surveys and interviews will be used as evidence to support or criticize management theories that are involved. The goal is to implement changes, minimize any damage, and maximise opportunities in the context of best management approach in Heathrow Terminal 5. One of the most dominant and practical management approaches of 20th Century is ‘Scientific Management’ or ‘Taylorism’ which is still used today An appropriate example of a place that can use this management technique is British Airways baggage handling system used at Heathrow airport.
IBM software is used in the procedure of baggage handling that consist of labeling each traveler’s bag with given barcode by BA when the passenger arrives at the airport, holding information that gives detail of their destination, airline and names (Coby P, 2009). Scanners or logistics software are used all over the airport to identify the bag and route it correctly (Thomson R, 2008). Furthermore, the aim of strategic IT was to have four out of five passengers to use online check-in, bring in their boarding passes or use a self service kiosk.
British Airways set-up 96 service kiosks and baggage drop areas within the terminal in order to improve customer experience and reduce possible congestion. One of the reasons establishing global automation in terminal five was to deal with overcrowding and ensure high standard service for customers. However, a significant technical problem occurred that resulted in 62 m for British Airways and British Airways Authority. This unfortunately followed by losing customers to competitors like Virgin Atlantic Airways and BMI.
One of the main reasons of this fiasco is inappropriate management of highly technologically advanced organization. Another reason is that the advanced technology did not undergo under real life situation testing that will be discussed later in the essay. British Airways had quite an inspirational history of changing culture (Heller, 1992). During the 1980s and 1990s it demonstrated the essential compatibility of enjoyment and profits (Goldsmith and Clutterbuck, 1984).
In many ways, managing culture is challenging due to often bad communication, de-motivation of workers and lack of people involvement. To motivate staff, managers seek to promote positive attitudes by increasing employees’ area of responsibility through empowerment (Wilkinson, 1998). Managers often show their interest and initiative by implementing bonus systems or by investing in training so that financial and professional interests would be met of those that demonstrating an organisational commitment (Keep, 1989).
By targeting employee attitudes directly and aspire their commitment, rather than applying scientific management techniques on skilled employees, a ‘common vision’ and team work in the organization will emerge (Ogbonna, 1992/1993). However, regardless of the existence of ‘culture management’, it does not guarantee that the relationship between employees and management is reliable and therefore the conflict or misunderstanding may occur that will lead to possible problems (Salama, 1994).
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