Dr. J: Jim Jeremiah
January 14th, 2013
In the case study, the British Airways which was swipe car debacle, British airways (BA) introduced a system for electronic clocking in that would record employee started and finished work for the day. This was a unilateral decision made by BA management to introduced swipe card, but, lack proper and adequate consultation with the affected staff members (Palmer, Dunford, & Akin, 2009). As a result, the BA staff held a twenty-four hour wildcat strike which caused BA to to cancel its services to over 10,000 passengers stranded. The lack of change management is apparent and ways of avoiding a repeat of this situation is addressed (Aspery, 1990).
The changes in perspective such as organizational development, change management, sense making, processual and contingency from the wildcat strike cats are the key issues to understand. For instance, organizational development process of BA was questionable at the time of the strike. This is because all parties involved in the smooth running of the airline operations which includes the staff and management were unintentional not involved, thus the organizations plans to increase in efficiency resulted in a disaster. The mission, vision, strategies and goals of the management in regards to swipe card introduction was not in unison with the expectation of the staff members in terms of proper consultation before introducing a key system that was going to affect their working and life patterns. The objectives of BA management should have gone hand in hand with every staff members in order to make the swipe card implementation a success. ???Different groups will apply their own retrospective sense-making in order to understand emerging organizational events??? (Palmer, et al, 2009 p, 207). In change management the BA management failed to get the staff to buy-in. The decision to implement swipe card was made without taking into consideration the concerns of the staff. The swipe cards should have been implemented along systematic approaches, because employees want to know how the change initiative will benefit them or what they are going to lose. (Zigarmi & Hoekstra, 2008, p, 3). BA management did not create an atmosphere of trust nor were they concerned athow the change will affect the employees. When the change initiative failed BA management did not have a contingency alternative plan, a strike occurred and it cost them a loss of approximately 40 million. BA took the commanding change intervention where the time period is short term, abrupt, and rapid. The change was implemented by senior executives who demanded compliance from organizational members (Palmer, Dunford, & Akin, 2009, p,231). Staff members were given only 5 day notice. In the processual approaches a collective bargaining process of negotiation was achieved, ???as part of stabilizing change, or making things which happens stick, which includes changing the organization??™s systems in order to reinforce and support the changes???(Palmer, et al. 2009, 234). The approaches would have involved giving meaning to the swipe card introduction and studying the process of implementation, the wild cat would have been avoided. By the contingency techniques, the management would have foreseen a possible strike reaction and been able to avoid or plan for this.
A change consultant should advised BA management how to avoid situation like this in future dealings with change and employees. A strategy should be implemented to effectively implement change and should be used relentlessly and consistently throughout the change process (Zigarmi &Hoekstra, 2008, p,5). The lessons that emerge from each perspectives and recommendations to BA administrations are as follows: In regards to organizational development of BA, the airways, the efforts put behind swipe card introduction did not necessarily mean that the airline would automatically increase efficiency and viability because The organizational development procedure only covered one side which is the effect of the swipe card on staff efficiency without carefully analyzing the response of the staff to the new change that would in turn affect the organizations goal for efficiency and viability. An organization should always weigh the impact of all parties on the success of intended change in order to achieve the efficiency and viability goals. The dissemination of information should have been properly carried out. It is highly recommended that employees should have been advised of every proposed change in order to avoid potential roadblocks to a change. In sense-making BA should have informed all employees the benefit of swipe card to them and to the organization. This would have saved the airline from the massive losses of strikes as the staff would have seen the sense behind the new system instead of just seeing it as a means of management trying to manipulate working patterns and and shift hours for the staff. Processual and contingency processes would also have been carried out as they would have allowed the management to plan the implementation process without leaving crucial issues addressed. Contingency planning would have allowed the management to foresee a strike or a possible resistance of the new system. It is thus very crucial for organizations to study carefully all aspects of change and make sure they are fully addressed before introducing something even if the new change is for the good of an organization. Misinterpretations of change can cost organizations a lot of money and reputation as seen in the wildcat strike.
In order to understand the root cause of the wildcat strike, it is important to identify the staff reasoning that instigated the strike. Management should have piut all perspectives into place: (1) Management should apply organization development so that all employees buy-in to the initiative, (2). Sense-making so that all personal and business concerns are addressed prior to implementation, (3). Change management so that a strategy is created to initiate and implement a change, (4). Contingency so that if the change fails there is alternative plan to fall back on, and finally the processual approach would have avoided a strike scenario because the implementation would have been well planned and the staff given an ample time to give feedback after consultation process in order to reinforce and support the change.
In conclusion, the poor attitudes and the resistance to swipe card by the BA staff is directly related to the poor implementation of the program by BA management. Change perspectives are very vital guidance tools when an organization is planning to introduced new aspects. It is important that an organization plan ahead for this process and use all available change management tools to ensure that intended objectives of achieving efficiency and viability with minimum resistance from staff. Creating a vision whereby employees are regarded as an asset, with open line of communication in a two-way and candid so management undertakes and enabling as distinct from a controlling role.