Industrial disputes in British Airways

Industrial disputes has become the order of the day lately at British Airways and this has impacted negatively on the organisation as a whole in terms of profit making and in its stride to gain confidence from its customers in the highly competitive aviation industry.

This dissertation focuses on assessing the current external and internal environment at British Airways. It identifies those factors that are responsible for the problems of staff demotivation and disengagement and how they have impacted negatively on the overall company goals and objectives. The external environment addresses the political, economic, social, technological, environmental and legal factors( PESTEL) which have impacted British Airways to the extent that management is been forced to undertake cost reduction policies with adverse effects on the pay and benefit of employees and eventual staff redundancies, thereby causing employee disengagement and demotivation. The internal environment addresses the leadership and management style which additionally has further worsened the situation at British Airways in terms of employee disengagement and demotivation. Based on these findings, recommendations have been made in order to address these external and internal problems so that employees at British Airways can once more become fully committed to the company’s long term goals and objectives as well as improved customer service.

Introduction

British Airways is a major UK based company with strong brand recognition worldwide. In recent years, British Airways has been consistently ranked amongst the best airline service businesses and has continuously expanded its operations all over the globe. The airline industry is however faced with enormous competition, making British Airways to operate in a highly competitive environment. This has had adverse effects on the company in terms of cost reduction on flights. What this means is that British Airways has been forced to implement cost reduction strategies so as to remain competitive, thereby addressing cost and efficiency improvements by laying off employees and pushing for labour productivity increases. This move by management has created negative industrial relations and has resulted to ongoing staff disengagement in the form of protests and strike actions.

In effect, British has found itself in a very difficult situation, held between two contradictory course of action with cost cutting and an autocratic management style on one hand and high quality and staff involvement strategies on the other. It is however a high risk move, which has been evident by recent events, in implementing a cost cutting strategy which fails to take employees and their representatives on board. What would be an ideal situation is a high employee involvement in the management of restructuring and above all, a participative management style so that they too can be highly involved in how the organisation is been run.

The whole reason behind the protests and strike actions is because the employees are not motivated. External environmental factors such as political, economic, social, technological, environmental and legal( PESTEL), have impacted British Airways adversely to the extent that it forced management of British Airways to employ cost reduction strategies with a spill over negative impact on employees pay, benefits and redundancies. These external factors can be analysed through the use of PESTEL, Porter’s Five Forces, SWOT Analysis and Burke-Litwin analysis. Additionally, the internal factors clearly spell out the leadership and management style at British Airways which can be addressed using the Adair’s Action-Centred Leadership principle and John & Scholes’ Cultural Web Analysis. This is against the background that the current Chief Executive Officer, Willie Walsh and his team have pursued an autocratic form of leadership that has caused demotivation amongst staff and has further heightened staff disengagement. However, the application of certain leadership theories and models such as the Fielder’s Contingency Leadership theory, the Hackman & Oldham’s Job Characteristic Model can all bring out suitable answers as to how this situation can be rectified. Also, a management plan for improvement can be suggested and with the use of Beer, Eisenstat and Spector’s Organisational Change Model, a bottom-up change can be created that would improve employee motivation and customer service at British Airways.

1.1 Background to British Airways

British Airways is a British owned company, with the primary business of providing international and domestic air passenger services. The company is also involved in cargo services, aircraft maintenance, aircraft ancillary services, repair and overhaul and non airline businesses. British Airways operations cover over 550 global destinations and as early as the 2007/2008 fiscal year, carried more than 33 million passengers, with an employee strength at that time standing at 42,000 persons (Data monitor 2008, p.4).

British Airways main place of business is Heathrow Airport, with established alliances with the Australian airline Qantas and the Spanish airline Iberia. It is moreover a part of the one world alliances which includes American Airlines and Cathy Pacific.

British Airways has won several recognitions in the past in the aviation industry. One such recognition was in 2008 when in the Commercial Airline ranking of aviation week; British Airways was placed at 9th position globally, behind Lufthansa and Aer Lingus (Aviation Week 2008, p.1).

The problems at British airways emanated in the early 1980s during which period the company consistently incurred big losses, its reputation for service reliability very poor and its cost exceeding those of its competitors. The situation was such that, the then conservative government thought that the best way out was to privatise the company. In order to prepare for this, a new management team was appointed so as to pursue value-added business strategy with priority on customer service and which depended in part on the development of human resource management practices such as employee development programmes, profit related pay scheme and team working. Another important aspect of this reorientation involved a sustained cost-cutting programme otherwise known as the “survival plan”. The company attempted to improve relations with the trade unions, through an open communication system, though however, collective bargaining was not used as an instrument for change.

In the second half of the 1980s, British Airways financial position improved in the context of favourable product market conditions. During this period, the company had significantly near monopoly of domestic routes and a duopoly position in most of its international routes into and out of the United Kingdom. The employee base between 1984 and 1990 rose from 35,000 to around 50,000. A predominant feature of industrial relations at British Airways was that of industrial disputes and occasional industrial action, with at least one dispute every year between 1982 and 1990.

The early 1990s was characterised by deregulation, which opened up competition within Europe coupled with a general market downturn due to the recession and the Gulf war. This situation drastically changed the environment at British Airways. The government could not subsidies to company’s operations and as such the management pushed ahead with aggressive cost- cutting strategy thereby shifting its approach away from value-added and high quality service. There was enormous pressure therefore on the business units to deliver improved performance, helping to erode the company’s corporate ethos of an open management style. Threats of franchising operations than through consultation and negotiations resulted to a strain or a break in relationship between management and employees. Between 1990 and 1993, about 5,400 jobs, which were about 10% of the workforce, were lost. Employee morale reduced drastically and industrial disputes became very persistent with at least one bargaining group in dispute every year in the early 1990s.

The mid 1990s saw the advent of Bob Ayling as the company’s Chief Executive Officer. In 1996 precisely, the company announced a pre-tax profits of GBP 474 million with a prospective outlook of a potential alliance with American Airlines. Management wanted to increase profit further by projecting GBP 1 billion cost-cutting within a three year period, in what was known as the Business Efficiency Programme. The whole idea of the Business Efficiency Programme was a long term strategy, in response to an anticipated recession, which also became very much useful in the increased deregulated market.

In its cost-cutting stride, management also sought to reduce labour costs. There were attempts to restructure allowances and salary scales for cabin crew, which eventually prompted a strike action in 1997. The management’s position headed by Bob Ayling adopted a very tough position in this dispute by closing the Heathrow office of the cabin crew union with threats of sacking and suing for breach of contracts. This move was however counter-productive as staff saw this as bullying and turned moderate staff opinion against the company. A three day strike resulted, involving 300 cabin crew, with more than 2,000 going on sick leave thereby resulting to longer term disruptions in flight schedule throughout the month of August in that year. This strike action cost the company about GBP 125 million. Staff morale was further reduced, service and company reputation also further damaged by the introduction of a new baggage-handling system which lead to record levels of lost baggage.

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To add to the industrial relations problems, the alliance with American Airlines resulted in regulatory difficulties, with a controversial GBP 60 million rebranding of the company’s aircraft been abandoned. Notwithstanding the success of the Business Efficiency Programme in achieving its cost reduction target, the company’s finances plunged into deficit and by 2000 the company was heading for losses of about GBP 200 million and hence the eventual resignation of Bob Ayling on 10th March 2000. His resignation came at a time of when industrial relations were uncertain, with the company declaring a renewed cost-cutting policy involving around 6,000 redundancies and at the same time exploring the possibilities of enhanced partnership agreements with the trade unions. This feature translates itself in the recent history of industrial relations and their possible future directions.

British Airways has thus steered a difficult and often contradictory course between cost-cutting and a macho management on the other hand and a high quality and staff involvement strategies on the other. The mid 2000 witnessed another era in the company’s management by the advent of William Willie Walsh as the Chief Executive Officer. Walsh became the Chief Executive in 2005, an Irish pilot who was responsible for the turnaround of Aer Lingus after 2001, when the Irish Airline was suffering heavy losses. Walsh’s tactics in doing this was ruthless: disposing of a third of Air Lingus staff and repositioning it as a low-cost carrier. The response he got as a result of this approach was a series of strikes and protests by the Irish Airline unions. Walsh’s reply was that “we make no apologies for focusing on profit”( BBC News Online 2007).

Thus Walsh’s coming into British Airways with an autocratic attitude and a hardline leadership style only worsened the situation at the company with a history of adverse industrial relations. Walsh sees himself as brutally honest, an authoritarian figure who can face hard truths head on (Management Today 2008). His first noteworthy actions was to sort out the company’s GBP 2.1 billion pension deficit by negotiating tough new contribution deals with all the unions (Management Today,2008). This resulted in trade union discontent with serious threats against his action and was forced to hold talks with trade union leaders to avert a strike action (Khicha 2008, p.46). Industrial dispute during Walsh’s period seem to have taken a different dimension and has been ongoing lately. Unto December 2009, cabin crew wanted to go on strike which would have impacted the company greatly as the strike should have coincided with the Christmas holiday which would have caused disruptions to millions of passengers flying within that period. The legal system however overruled the strike action. There was another threat of strike action during the Easter holiday of this year and quite lately a strike action actually became a reality when a war of words broke out between management and trade union unite, after negotiations between the two fell apart, signalling that British Airways customers will face up to 15 days of disruptions. The main reason behind this strike action is the removal of staff travel perks by management. The union through its general secretary, Tony Woodley, called on management to drop the withdrawal of full travel perks for striking cabin crew and said that the strike would be cancelled if the airline met its wishes. This latest industrial action did cost the company about GBP 7 million per day which indeed is not a healthy situation for British Airways.

In view of all these developments at British Airways, management seem to be getting a lot of external pressure from somewhere that is responsible for these hard lined decisions and policies which have impacted on the employees. The employees feel de-motivated and the only weapon in venting out their grievances is in the form of protest and strike actions and in dealing with this management too has resulted in adopting a leadership/management style which has not produced good results. Nevertheless, despite all these problems, there is a possibility of constructive relations between the company and the unions. The external factors impacting on the company needs to be addressed along with the management style for us to better understand why these problems are so eminent so that suggestions can be made regarding the way forward for British Airways.

1.2 Aims and Objectives

The aims and objectives of this research are:

An analysis of the external environmental factors that have impacted on British Airways and how this has impacted negatively on employees.

An analysis of the internal environmental factors that have impacted on British Airways and how this has further worsened the employer and employee relation.

The impact of continued industrial dispute on the organisation

Based on these findings, suitable recommendations and action plan for improvement to be implemented so as to alleviate the current trend at British Airways.

Literature Review

Employees are the most valued assets in any business organisation, as it is through them that things can be done. Therefore, the job of the manager in the workplace is to get things done through employees. The underlying factor that determines the success of the manager in doing this depends on how well he is able to motivate the employees.

However, motivation practice and theory are difficult subjects that touch on several disciplines. What makes it more problematic is against the background that to understand motivation, there has to be a thorough understanding of human nature itself, which unavoidably is a prerequisite for an effective employee motivation in the workplace and thus an effective management and leadership. It is thus a very complex subject matter. It is necessary for managers to consider the importance of motivation because it stimulates employee behaviour so as to achieve organisational goals. Motivation sustains human behaviour and keeps it systematic and focused, directing our responses towards the goals we value. Without knowledge of motivation, managers will make critical mistakes in guiding the behaviour of their subordinates towards outcomes that are desired by the organisation. Several theories have been put forward regarding human nature in general and motivation in particular. These theories have been split into content theories and process theories of motivation.

2.1Content Theory of Motivation

A content theory of motivation is specific to those factors in individuals which stimulate, direct, sustain and stop behaviour. It answers the question: “What specific needs cause motivation”? Two major pioneers of this school of thought are Abraham Maslow and Frederick Herzberg.

2.1.1 Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

According to Abraham Maslow, human needs can be put into five levels in order to better explain motivation. The formulation of his motivation theory addresses human behaviour in all settings and which was quickly applied to the narrower range of human behaviour in organisational settings. The five levels of Maslow’s hierarchy are:

Physiological Needs: These are the lowest order needs of air, water, food, shelter and production. These needs according to Maslow are basic to our biological survival and are thus dominant over psychological needs.

Safety Needs: These are in other words security needs relating to protection against danger, threat or deprivation. Once physiological needs are satisfied, people want to move up to the next level to guarantee satisfaction of their safety needs. Safety needs according to Maslow are tied very strongly to physiological needs, as meeting safety needs ensures continuity and predictability for fulfilment of the basic needs.

Social Needs: This is the third level in the needs hierarchy with sets of needs that has to do with the desire to give and receive affection, acts of friendship, the desire for group acceptance and giving and receiving emotional support. These needs according to Maslow are higher order needs that can never be completely satisfied. Human beings develop these needs through sustained contact with their social environment.

Ego/Esteem Needs: this represents the fourth level in the needs hierarchy that deals with social status, which is defined as recognition, prestige and appreciation from others. It is at this level that employees want to face with challenges, autonomy and self reliance in their jobs and when work is not enriched to meet these needs, then the employee feels like the job is monotonous and may lead to job dissatisfaction and low performance.

Self Actualization: This is the final level in the needs hierarchy. This needs arises out of desire to fulfil one’s fullest potential or by making use of talents and experience. However, many jobs do not provide employees with much opportunity to self actualise on a regular basis. Managers should thus take note of this tendency and address them appropriately so as to improve on the design of work in order to provide more opportunities for employees to self actualise.

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Several other points are worth noting in the needs hierarchy; a satisfied need ceases to motivate at that need level. When needs are not satisfied, undesirable outcomes may occur at work such as an experienced state of job dissatisfaction which may lead to reduced performance, lateness, absenteeism and resignation. In the job place, people are assumed to have a need to grow and develop their full potential and would therefore strive to move up the hierarchy so as to satisfy higher order needs. In organisations however, lower order needs are satisfied mostly by monetary rewards unlike higher order needs which are satisfied purely by social interactions and by the design of meaningful jobs. Much of the employees job satisfaction is based on the belief that future job situations have great potential for meeting higher order needs and therefore managers need to seek in guiding and directing employee behaviour that meets organisational needs and individual needs simultaneously. The quality of an organisation’s reward system can be enhanced by clarity of pathways between employee performance and rewards which satisfy lower and higher order needs.

2.1.2 Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory of Motivation

Herzberg’s Two Factor Theory of Motivation is another content theory of motivation which is somehow related to Maslow’s hierarchy. His theory is otherwise known as the motivator-hygiene theory. The motivators are factors like promotion, challenges, achievements, professional growth, responsibility and recognition whereas the hygiene factors are factors such as company car, company policy, working conditions, salary and benefits, interpersonal relations and security. The hygiene factors are those surrounding the job. Their absence causes job impoverishment and may lead to absenteeism, low performance, job withdrawal, alienation and forms of sabotage. Moreover, frustrations may occur if a job has little hygiene. Short term positive feelings may occur as management tends to improve hygiene factors in a job though these improvements may not lead to a sustained job satisfaction and performance. Situations may occur within an organisation wherein hygiene factors may be removed due to business restructuring or in the case of for example a takeover or a merger. When this happens, there is a natural tendency for job satisfaction to plunge and it is in fact for this reason that hygiene factors are referred to as maintenance factors.

Motivators according to Herzberg on the other hand are those factors which in the long run increases job satisfaction and overall performance. These motivators are related to the employee’s job interaction and are therefore job centred. When present and with an acceptable level of hygiene factors, employees tend to achieve satisfaction of higher order needs. On the other hand, when absent, jobs can become boring and not challenging and can therefore lead to apathy and alienation, meaning that the employees self actualisation and ego needs at work are not met.

Frederick Herzberg’s theory has been of great help in organisational behaviour and management. Its main focus is on the effects of company systems and job design on employee’s job satisfaction and performance. The older notion that performance was only a function of pay was contradicted by Herzberg. According to him, the roots of job satisfaction and performance were much more complicated, against the background that a higher level of hygiene factors can never ensure that an organisation has productive, creative, highly involved and motivated employees.

2.2 Process Theory of Motivation

A process theory of motivation is all about how behaviour is stimulated, directed, sustained or stopped. As such, this theory actually explains how motivation occurs. One of the main contenders of this school of thought is Victor Vroom who put forward the Expectancy theory which in modern days has become the leading explanation of employee behaviour at work such as turnover, absenteeism, career choice, performance and the effectiveness of leadership. Human behaviour according to this theory is always purposeful and goal directed, based on the probability that certain behaviour will lead to valued outcomes to the employee.

This expectancy theory is based on three components:

Valence: This is described as the personal attractiveness of different outcomes. If say for example an employee views the outcome of heading a new branch as having a positive valence, the employee will be strongly pulled to those behaviours that will make this outcome highly likely. Undesirable outcomes thus carry negative valence. These outcomes can be as either first level outcomes or second level outcomes. First level outcomes can be namely, job performance, lateness, leaving or accepting a position etc. These outcomes are very important in the organisation and can have immense effect on the employee. Second level outcome always do occur after first level outcomes which are the direct result of achieving or not achieving first level outcomes, examples of which are, obtaining a pay rise, promotion, receiving recognition, attending a training programme etc. It is worth noting that employees attach valence to each type of outcome.

Instrumentality: When there is a personal belief that first level outcomes leads to second level outcomes then we are talking about instrumentality. If it is positive, then the employee believes that with some level of performance, a second level of outcome is bound to occur. When instrumentality is negative, it implies that the employee believes that a second level of outcome will not occur after a given first level. Managers thus should put high premium on instrumentality. When they address employee performance issues, they want to see a clear pathway from performance excellence to second level outcomes that have positive valence. With an equitable distribution of rewards based on excellent performance, employees are bound to experience rising instrumentalities and increased job satisfaction. It is therefore imperative on managers to remove any responses or systems within the organisation that may have the tendencies to cloud instrumentalities as these may lower employee’s effort and performance.

Expectancy: This is the subjective belief that a given level of effort will lead to a first level outcome on the job. It actually bears the relationship between given levels of effort and various levels of outcomes. If in a job an employee decides to put forth his energy in a particular job but then the expectancy is zero, then he is going to have the belief that there is no connection between effort and first level outcomes. It is like the feeling of saying “no matter how hard i try, i will never get to be a pilot”.

The Expectancy Theory is thus a very powerful analytical tool for managers in organisations. It helps managers have a better understanding of their subordinates and the organisational environment in which they work. There is however some other important factors that managers need to fully understand under the expectancy theory. Firstly, they should understand that the employees need for achievement is a personal trait which in a way systematically influences level of effort, instrumentality and expectancy. The achieving employee believes that his performance can and should be high, and he is willing to expend mush effort on the job if it represents a challenge to his skills and abilities. If the achieving employee believes the organisation does not reward performance equitably, then he will probably leave. It is worth noting that every frustrated employee with a high need for achievement is a potential valued asset to the organisation. Secondly, managers should understand that numerous organisational factors do influence employee motivation. One such has to do with role ambiguity. This occurs when there is lack of understanding of a job. Manager who delegate a job and give feedback about performance are highly likely to remove ambiguity and see the connection between efforts, performance and second level outcomes or otherwise, they will inhibit expectancies and instrumentalities about performance and its connection to rewards. Moreover, role conflict may lead to inconsistent work expectations. For example in British Airways, management’s decision on cost reduction whilst maintaining a given level of service quality can be conflicting. When role conflict and role ambiguity are high, the accuracy of employee perceptions about expectancy and instrumentality deteriorates. Wider fluctuations in instrumentality are thus experienced by employees.

British Airways for a very long time now has failed to address the key factors that have caused employee demotivation. Some of these are salary, a healthy working environment, achievement, responsibilities etc. As a result, we have been able to witness a lot of industrial disputes in the form of disengagement and strikes. Most other companies have been able to conquer this situation by providing the basic necessities for their employees such as good benefit and compensation system and the right strategies which enable workers to self actualise. Continental Airlines for example through its Chief Executive Officer in 1994 was able to change the structure of the company by implementing company policies in favour of employee concerns. Some of these policies were, a change in the pay system for pilots, restored wages to employees that had been previously cut, setting up of toll free numbers for employees to call if they had complaints or problems, created committees to respond to every call within 48 hours and gave about USD100 per employee per month if the company achieved the top three. This had a positive impact on Continental Airlines in being amongst the best 100 companies.

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British Airways with the motive of cutting cost, embarked on a lot of policies unlike what we just discussed with Continental Airlines. Much of their cost cutting measures as early as 1997, came from staff savings, including voluntary redundancies with staff to be replaced by newly hired employees on lower pay (Blyton and Turnbull, 1998), a change in the structure of payments to cabin crew, a cut in some basic allowances such as petrol, overnight stay etc. Based on the theories of motivation, this kind of a situation is bound to create discontent and demotivation with serious consequences. This was evident by staff disengagement and a threatened strike action and management taking a macho management style of taking disciplinary action in the form of demotion lose of both pension rights and staff discounts on flights for three years on any one who stayed away from work. For anyone taking industrial action would be faced with summary dismissal or be sued for damages. The action by management did not produce good result based on the fact that the strike went ahead with about 300 workers officially declaring it and over 2000 more calling in sick. These are basically the results of a demotivated staff who can vent out their grievances through strikes and protests, absenteeism etc.

The basic problem with this kind of prevailing condition is that management of British Airways are not been effective enough to understand that employees have their own drives, aspirations and needs as human beings. They fail to recognise these needs in order to motivate employees so as to work to the best of their abilities. It is for this reason that the efficiency of the company has been affected overall. Job satisfaction is not only about making employees work better but also stopping them from not performing well which is what management is doing. This in essence means that management lacks the inability in utilizing strategic management systems in terms of employee relations which over the years has cost the company a fortune.

Based on this, has been a continued conflict between employees and the British Airways leadership. Management has always responded with an autocratic management style wherein decisions are taken on a top-down basis with little consultation of employees. This simply means that employees don not participate in any form as far as decision making is concerned and which can be highly de-motivating and this was highly manifested the lack of real leadership, motivation and manager influence with staff with regard The Terminal 5 blunder ( Corkindale 2008). There was no line of communication between staff and management as staff complained of their experiences been ignored. Terminal 5 was opened without proper training and staff reported being completely been unfamiliar with the systems and procedures (Corkindale 2008). The autocratic leadership is being supported by a rigid and militaristic organisational culture with the result of an inflexible management being responsible for the history of industrial disputes. The underlying problem has been the breakdown in communication between management and employees particularly the skilled staff such as pilots, mechanics, engineers and cabin crew and this has been due to the fact that there is no middle management through which lower level employees could vent out their grievances. Management has been very much arrogant and complacent and bent on trying to breakdown union power instead of them trying to tackle the issues and regain employee confidence in them. As such, the work climate has been such that employees have no choice but to resist the autocratic pressure from management which has been evident in the series of disengagement and strike actions.

British Airways labour productivity is very high due to its continued cost cutting policy and top managerial pressure. However, the morale is unfortunately not, and translates into repetitive strike action and other forms of subversive protests, such as complaining about customers on Facebook. In the end, having high productivity but low staff morale and motivation can only undermine British Airways image as a quality driven carrier.

Methodology

Research methodology is basically a plan for the collection, organising and integrating data with the aim of achieving a desired end result (Meriam 1994). In this section, issues regarding the research strategy, different research methods, techniques, collection and various ways by which data is analysed are been addressed.

3.1 Research Strategy

The research strategy undertaken is dependent on the research problems, how these problems have impacted and what recommendations could address these problems. A case study approach has been undertaken against the background that the issues relating to the research question are highly evident in the organisation chosen as a case study.

Case studies can be a very good approach in answering “how and why” questions, more so when the main focus is on a contemporary phenomenon with real life context (Yin 1999). They are very much ideal for practical problems with the advantage of having the ability in drawing information from many different sources, namely interviews, observations and historical data. There is however problems associated with the case study approach. Firstly, it can be designed to meet the researcher’s goals and purpose. Secondly, it does not provide a good basis for comparisons on the grounds that no two business organisations are the same and therefore results will be different.

For the purpose of this research however, a single case study approach has been taken in accordance with Meriam (1994), who stipulates that case studies are complete, reality based, empirically grounded and exploratory which is exactly what this research intends to justify.

3.2 Research Method

Research methodology can be categorised into the positivist approach and the phenomenological approach.

The positivist approach deals with the testing of hypothesis that is generated from theory, mainly quantitative data and statistical analysis. It provides a basis of whether results deduced actually do confirm or refute a theory. The quantitative approach provides a statistical comparison of data (Andersson and Nylander 1999).

The phenomenological approach derives its conclusion based on detailed investigative studies, qualitative data and letting the investigation guide the project. This approach however gives a better understanding of a case study as it delves deeper into issues into issues relating to the research work.

My case study will be based on both qualitative and quantitative sources. The issues regarding the external and internal factors that have impacted on British Airways that have caused serious strains on the employee relationship with management will be analysed using the qualitative approach so that based on the outcome of the studies, suitable conclusion can be reached and recommendations made. The impact of these factors on the organisation as a whole in terms of how badly they have affected the finances of the company will be analysed using a qualitative approach.

3.3 Data Collection

Data collection can be achieved through varied sources such as interviews, documents, archival records, direct observations, participant observation, and physical artefacts (Yin 1994). These are basically evidences and can be in the form of either primary or secondary data. The basis for the collection of primary data is to satisfy the specific purpose of the study whereas secondary data is based on published findings from earlier research work, which normally gives a background and basic information about the topic under research. These two sources of data combined can give a very good and detailed understanding of the qualitative data.

My primary data is based on interviews which is been generally accepted to be the best form of evidence collection in a situation wherein facts cannot be obtained based on observation. My interview attempts to target management, customers and a reasonable number of the employees, though this may not be representative of the entire organisation. The interviews will have to be semi-structured though at the same time targeting major issues so as to get detailed results. These interviews will be an opportunity to get the views of both management and the lower level of employees and to will make me better positioned to draw up conclusions based on my findings.

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