Management And Leadership Across Culture British Airways Management Essay

Tourism is one of the most varied, exciting, challenging, demanding and vital business in any parts of the world. In tourism sector, the career opportunities are vibrant. In tourism industry we can get the chance to work with travel agents, tour operators, airlines, cruise lines, government tourism commissions, regional tourism associations, hotel chains tourist attractions & special events company. To work in the tourism sector one should have the skills and abilities like automated ticketing & reservation, sales & marketing, information & customer service, administration & accounting and strategic planning.

The word tourism includes all actions of persons like travelling to and staying in places outside their normal environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other reasons. These activities make demands for goods and services, and the organizations which provide such services are considered as part of the tourism industry. The tourism industry also includes organizations whose products are mainly sold to visitors, though they do not form a major share of tourist utilization. There are many infrastructure sectors like power, telecommunication, water supply, roads and some production sectors like travel items, sports equipment, photographic materials, medicines and cosmetics are included in this category. The infrastructure for tourism thus includes basic infrastructure components like airports, railways, roads, waterways; services like electricity, water supply, drainage, sewerage, solid waste disposal systems and also the services and facilities like accommodation, restaurants, recreational facilities and shopping facilities. Planning for maintaining the development of tourism, therefore, involves the integrated development of basic infrastructure and services along with all the tourism facilities in a balanced manner.

(1.1) Overview of British Airways:

This report is about a very well known and prominent organization of United Kingdom which is known as British Airways, which is the United Kingdom’s largest international airline, with routes more than 550 destinations towards all over the world. The British airline is very well-known for their high standards and international recognitions all over the world and they also have being characterized in many reviews by airline critics as well as passengers. As a part from just offering flights, British Airways keeps its position up to the mark within the airline industry which offers a commitment and outstanding service levels of work.

British Airways has been developed from many years with the airline industry. This organization was owned by Comair Limited since 1992. This company was started off with low rate of beginnings as Aircraft Transport and Travel in 1919, with its maiden flight from Le Bourget to Hounslow in August 1919. Later, with the uniting of a few other airlines due to the turn down of the industry, this British airline was named Imperial Airways and was the first major British carrier. At that time, they were functioning with only 18 aircrafts and 250 employees.

Soon after their partnership with Qantas to start the first flight to Australia and with the acquiring of more aircraft, British Airways Limited was created which was an amalgamation between Imperial Airways and the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC). After World War II, British Airways with more transatlantic flights added, another sister airline was also created just to handle these flights. It was known as the British European Airways (BEA). Through the years, British Airways has continued steady growth, incorporating newer and more sophisticated aircraft and as well as running the Concorde since 1979.

The success of British Airways could mostly attribute to its continuous addition of more international flights as well as the expansion of their fleet. Apart from that, the entire airline sings their own praises which provide their passengers with the best valuable comfort service.

(1.2) Leadership and Management roles of British Airways:

Leadership role of British Airways:

Operating in an increasingly competitive market place, BA is determined to stand out from its competitors by regaining the reputation for service leadership it enjoyed in the 1990s.

Having launched a strategic marketing campaign inviting customers to ‘upgrade to BA’ and experience the difference, BA recognized that the key to delivering this promise in the air lay in the hands of 4,000 on-board cabin crew managers. If the company could find a way to effectively re-engage this critical team of leaders, it knew that the full potential of all cabin crew would be released, thereby enriching the service experience of all BA customers.

Once ‘on-board’ with the program’s overall aims, cabin crew managers were invited to the core element of ‘Leadership Matters’ – an engaging and energizing 2-day workshop.

To ensure maximum outputs from these events, NKD designed a comprehensive ‘pre-work’ pack for all delegates. This involved a 360° tool, a ‘lifeline’ diagnostic, and two key articles on Engaging Leadership and Emotional Intelligence – all designed to start the process of increased self-awareness and personal effectiveness.

The workshops themselves were designed to give leaders time and space to consider their leadership style and the impact they have on their teams and customers. The dynamic events aimed to re-ignite the ‘early-career passion’ of on-board leaders, and develop their skills as effective 21st Century leaders.

Every aspect of the workshop’s design – the choice and presentation of the learning venue, event invites, the learning content itself, film, event materials and the style of facilitation – was consistent with the BA service promise and the key traits of Modern Leadership. This distinctively creative approach, a hallmark of all NKD’s work, enhanced the delegates’ connection and engagement with the program.

Early indications suggest that ‘Leadership Matters’ is proving a great success. Satisfaction ratings from delegates average an impressive 5.8 out of 6. The program is successfully reconnecting leaders with the essence of their role and providing them with new skills and confidence to become effective Modern Leaders. So impressed has BA been with the impact the leadership development program has had to date that NKD has now been commissioned to develop a 3 day version of the workshop as a corporate leadership induction program for all BA leaders worldwide.

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Management Role of British Airways:

British Airways management has hit the headlines over the years with many high profile decisions and disputes. British Airways strategy has sometimes proved controversial and in certain examples it has led to industrial action from staff.

Change must start at the top and during the year we reorganised our top management team, comprising nine directorate heads, led by the Chief

Executive. It is now split into two groups -the Management Board and the Customer and Operations Executive. The Management Board, which meets

weekly, is responsible for the vision and strategic direction of the Company.

The Customer and Operations Executive is accountable for day-to-day customer

service, operational performance and ensuring the highest standards of safety.

This group also meets weekly. Legal, director of safety and security and

director of investments also report to the Chief Executive.

2.0 Concept of Leadership, Management and Motivation:

(1) Management:

Management is a global need. It is essential to every individual, a family, educational institution, hospital, religious organizations, team of players, a government, military systems, cultural body, urban centres and business enterprises. Everyone comes across some or the other management functions in their day to day pursuits. Management is required to plan, organize, coordinated control affairs of the business concern. It brings together all resources and motivates people to achieve the objectives of a business enterprise.

According to Lawerence A. Appley(1959)- ” Management is the development of people and not the direction of things.”

According to Newman, Summer and Warren(1959)- “The job of management is to make co-operative endeavour to function properly. A Manager is one who gets things done by working with people and other resources.”

Management as a Process: It involves a series of interrelated functions of getting the objectives of an organization and taking steps to achieve that objective. The management process includes: planning, organizing, staffing, directing, controlling, deciding and evaluating.

(2) Leadership:

Leadership is a means of directing. It is the ability to influence a group toward the achievement of goals. It is the human factor that helps a group identity where it is going and then motivates it towards its goals.

According to Drucker (1954), “Leadership is the lifting of man’s visions to higher sights, the raising of man’s performance to a higher standard, the building of man’s personality beyond its normal limitations.”

According to George R. Terry(1960), ” Leadership is the activity of influencing people to strive willingly for group objectives.”

(3) Motivation:

There is a common myth about motivation that considers motivation as a personal trait – that is, some have it and others do not. Motivation is the result of interaction of the individual and the situation. According to Robbins (2003) motivation is “the processes that account for an individual’s intensity, direction, and persistence of effort toward attaining a goal.”

The definition of motivation is to impel to action. To be motivated is a challenge in this day and time. One must realize what influences them, whether it is positive or negative. Motivation requires self discipline, and a scope of self actualization.

(2.1) Leadership concept of British Airways:

We need great leaders to help us contend with current trading conditions and achieve our long-term vision. A leading global premium airline must be bold and highly effective in developing present and potential leaders. This is why we introduced our High Performance Leadership (HPL) system during the year. This is an integrated system, linking business strategy, objective setting, performance assessment, development and reward. Focused initially on the senior leaders, HPL has rigorous assessment mechanisms to identify talented leaders and to provide them with the right tools and support to continue developing. We have also defined, communicated and begun to measure individual performance against three capabilities we think we need in our leaders, in addition to operational excellence:

• Communicating a common vision;

• Agreeing accountabilities; and

• Motivating and inspiring others.

For each capability, specific behaviours have been developed so that leaders

understand exactly what is expected of them and we are supporting them with

a range of development programmes, including executive coaching, networks,

forums and external courses. We are also using new techniques to measure

performance. These will allow us to monitor individual progress and track our

own overall success at managing talent.

Among the other leadership initiatives we launched were:

• Behaviours for Success – a leadership development programme for the HPL

community, focusing on understanding and developing personal leadership


• Leadership Matters – a scheme to identify and develop leaders who have

pivotal roles in the Customer and Operations areas of our business; and

• A Leadership Development Portfolio that will be introduced this year with the

aim of supporting current and potential leaders at every level of the business,

including emerging leaders, those on a fast track to senior positions and those

with strategic roles at the very top of our organisation.

(2.2) Management theory of British Airways:

Strategic management is that set of managerial decisions and actions that determines the long-run performance of a corporation, and includes aspects such as environmental scanning, strategy formulation, strategy implementation, and evaluation and control ( 2006). Strategic management is essential for every business, as it determines its success in the market, in its formulation and execution of projects. One of the strategies of airlines is alliances or merges. Alliance in airline industry seems persistent, as every international airline is forging alliances of some form, which can be traced as far back as the 1940s (2004). From a strategic perspective, airline alliances have become an inherent part of the task environment of airlines (2004). Alliances are beneficial for airlines in its control and maintenance on the business. Similarly, this strategy was adopted by the British Airways for better service. On March 31, 1924, Britain’s four airlines, namely, In-stone, Handley Page, Daimler Airways, and British Air Marine Navigation merged to form Imperial Airways (2006b). However, during this time a number of smaller UK airline companies had started their operations, so in 1935, these airlines merged to form the original privately owned British Airways Ltd. The British Government in 1939 nationalized the airlines and after the Second World War, the airlines were combined to form the British Airways in 1974 (2006b). The driving factor behind alliances is long-term profitability, and their formation tends to be for strategic reasons, such as accessing larger markets, establishing global brand loyalty and building hub-to-hub traffic (1998). This move is advantageous for the airline to service more passengers and establish market reputation. Alliances or merges are part their strategic management plan, as being part of the strategy formulation and implementation. Strategy formulation and implementation is an on-going, never-ending, integrated process requiring continuous reassessment and reformation, is dynamic, and involves a complex pattern of actions and reactions ( 2006). Being dynamic, airlines tend to always innovate and improve their actions to further enhance the quality of their service.

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In addition, another way for the British Airways to cope with serious competition from other airlines, it continuously provides itself changes and innovation for better services. Strategic management, having its characteristic of being dynamic and complex, enables the British Airways to accommodate change. This change is done by improving the amenities of the airlines and developing new information systems as added services. It remains to be the world’s international airline and the first airline to offer jet passenger services, the first to operate weather-beating auto landings, the first to offer supersonic passenger services, and the first in the modern era to offer fully-flat beds (2006c). Due to the mentioned services, the British Airways were able to build a good reputation in the market and gain the trust of many customers. These has widened their industry and made the airlines to be “the world’s most favourite airline”.

(2.3) Motivation Theory Of British Airways:

(3.0) Explanation on British Airways manage culture

Diversity in their organization:

In British Airways we are constantly working towards creating an inclusive culture that understands and respects the individual differences of our employees. In addition we seek to deliver a service which reflects and responds to the diverse range of customer needs. We aim to drive and integrate diversity into all aspects of our service to ensure that we remain competitive.

As a company which operates globally, we need to attract and retain talented individuals to reflect the diversity of our customer base. Employing a mix of people from diverse backgrounds leads to potential new ideas and innovation.

Our strategy is driven through diversity champions representing departments across the airline and employee groups which meet regularly to discuss issues on religion, disability, flexible working, sexual orientation and ethnicity.

Diversity issues are communicated to employees via our corporate intranet site, diversity forums, diversity employee networks, our company newspaper and in our own monthly newsletters “Diverse Times” and “Religious Festivals”.

(3.1) Explanation on BA manages culturally diverse work force:

Ways in which we manage diversity within our company:



Flexible working

Gender equality

Harassment and bullying

Racial equality

Supplier diversity

Religion and belief

Sexual orientation


The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations have had a great impact across the airline. Prior to the legislation, British Airways ran focus groups to assess employees opinions on the changes.

There was a broad range of responses, most people felt that the age legislation was a positive step and that flexibility was the key to working for longer.

As a result of this consultation British Airways has built a robust programme to:

ensure consistency in recruitment for both external and internal applicants

consider flexible working options prior to retirement

ensure succession planning is age neutral

encourage age diversity in all areas by challenging assumptions and stereotypes linked to age


Working and travelling with BA as a disabled traveller in a wheelchair I get to see at first hand the service offered to additional needs customers and staff, good and bad. In most instances the service levels are of high standard but if things have not been right on the day, feedback has been acted upon.

Richard – British Airways Manager, Credit Cards

Our employees

As a company we are committed to ensuring that disabled employees can achieve their full potential. Reasonable adjustments are made for employees if they are disabled or become disabled whilst working for British Airways. We work in partnership with the Employers’ Forum on Disability. We also work with the Disability Rights Commission to support our disability strategy.

Flexible working – balancing work and family life

“Flexible working has become an important part of the way we work and represents part of a continuing change of attitude. There are clear benefits for our people and for our business and we will continue to support flexible working solutions that are appropriate and meet our needs.”

Kim – Customer service agent

British Airways support a wide variety of flexible working options that are aimed to meet different types of work. These solutions assist the employee to balance home and work life whilst contributing to the ongoing changes requested by the organisation to assist cost reduction.

Gender equality:

“When I started Air Training School in 1991 there weren’t even any showers for the girls as we were such a rarity. There was a real ‘lads together’ type environment. The skills required for selection as a pilot have expanded and changed over the years. These days interpersonal, situation management and team skills (so called “Human Factors”) are emphasised although of course basic flying skills are still important. A lot of women have natural ability in these areas but simply don’t realise that it is a large part of what being a pilot is all about these days. These skills can be trained too. I think that most young women wouldn’t consider flying for a living simply because it is not something that comes to mind they think about their future career. I hope that the idea of a possible career in aviation can be suggested much earlier to girls at school than they have time to plan their studies accordingly, as a good grounding in science is handy. You need to be interested in flying and trying a lesson is the easiest way to see if it is for you.”

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Karen – Short haul Pilot

British Airways has introduced a number of flexible working initiatives that have benefited women who tend to assume responsibility for most dependent care. One objective is to increase the focus on work-life balance to encourage women to return to work after maternity leave.

We are also committed to improving the representation of women in non-traditional areas of the business, such as Flight Crew and Engineering.

Harassment and bullying

The diversity team works with the diversity champions, who represent their own departments, to ensure employees are aware of our harassment and bullying policy and to raise awareness of dignity and respect within the workplace. As a company, we are members of the DTI/Amicus Dignity at Work partnership and work closely with other companies on sharing information and best practice on eradicating harassment and bullying in the workplace. We also undertake activities across the company such as road shows, poster campaigns, journal articles in local publications and seek to create innovative and engaging communication through the production of a video and a variety of training activities.

Racial equality:

“I had no idea when I started at BA that I would work with such a diverse group of people.  I have learnt so much about the cultures and beliefs of others and I like to think that they have learnt from me too.  During my career I’ve had a number of very supportive managers who recognized my potential and encouraged me to seek opportunities to progress.  I take advantage of all opportunities available and have enhanced my skills through a combination of training, development and also through experience. I’ve never felt that my colour or background have held me back.  Now that I’m a manager myself, I try to pass on my passion for learning and development to others so that they can grow their potential too”. 

Elaine – British Airways Manager, eSolutions and Professional Training

It is a priority of our race equality strategy to listen to our ethnic minority employees. We encourage sharing ideas on how we can work on issues such as career progression, training and development, internal and external recruitment, harassment and bullying.

Our main objective is to increase the representation of ethnic minorities at senior levels of the organisation. We work closely with organisations such as Race for Opportunity and the Commission for Racial Equality which provides advice and guidance to us on race equality issues.

Supplier diversity:

We have worked closely with our corporate responsibility and procurement teams to develop responsible procurement standards on labour rights. We are currently examining a supplier diversity strategy to meet the future needs of the business.

Religion and belief:

British Airways is a global and diverse company, which employs individuals of all faiths. To reflect the extended range of religions followed by our employees we provide prayer facilities across the business and we publish a monthly religious festivals newsletter on our intranet site with the aim of raising awareness on the different cultures across the company.

Some religions or beliefs have specific dietary needs. We provide a range of dietary options to ensure key requirements are catered for and foods are labelled. In addition, the British Airways Uniform Committee has adapted the new uniform to ensure that it upholds the corporate image whilst allowing flexibility to meet key religious needs.

Sexual orientation:

British Airways offers an inclusive environment to all of our employees, whether gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. British Airways has for many years included sexual orientation in its the diversity policy. We support our strategy by working closely with organisations such as Stonewall (an organisation committed to equality for gay, lesbian and bisexual people). British Airways joined the Stonewall champion scheme in 2005, where employers can work with Stonewall to promote diversity in the workplace.

(3.2) British Airways support culturally diverse customers:

Our customers

The team are continuously looking at improving site accessibility for people with disabilities. In addition, disability awareness training has been introduced for all customer-facing staff. British Airways is working closely with BAA in the construction of Terminal 5 to ensure all aspects of disability are covered.

(4.0) Effective Management, Leadership and Motivation

Across Culture:

“The terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 left British Airways with a major task to restructure its organisation and cut costs” (Computing, 2004). Because of this, BA has undergone a full scale organisational restructuring bringing a cultural change to the organisation. Since 2001, British Airways laid off 15,000 jobs. For sure this decision had a negative impact on the moral and motivation of its employees. In order to reduce the negative impact on the efficiency of the organisation, BA invested in innovative IT solutions as mentioned earlier bringing even more cultural changes.

(5.0) Recommendation and Conclusion:

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