Discuss about the Business Management for Qantas Airways Limited.
The following assignment presents the concept on industrial conflict considering the selected organization Qantas Airways Limited. Conflict is a situation of disagreements in the beliefs and actions among two or more individuals or within the group members of the organization. Accordingly, industrial conflict arises between the employees and management of the organization with respect to the employment relationship considering the different aspects (Todd 2015). The assignment covers the application of relevant models and theories for the purpose of industrial conflict at Qantas among the organizational management employees. It highlights the organizational background by considering the issues on salaries, leadership and teamwork between the employees and management. Additionally, the issues on conflict management have been discussed by applying Lewin theory and Stage theory.
Qantas Airways Limited is one of the largest airlines by the size of fleet as well as the third oldest organization in the airline sector across the world. Having its headquarters at Mascot, Australia with the fleet size of around 118 and revenues amounted to $15.8 billion in the recent financial year. The organization reported its operating income amounted to $975 million while the total assets amounted to $17.5 billion and the number of employees around 28,622 in the current year. However it was noted that the organization experienced an industrial dispute during the year 2011 between the company and number of trade unions which was commenced at the end of the year 2010. The issue was raised for the agreements of enterprise with the intention of launching its diversified airline in the region of Asia (Qantas.com 2016).
Industrial conflict is a phrase that explains the expressions of disagreement among the employee- management relationship considering the contract or agreements of the employment. Conflict or disagreements at industrial level can be categorized into two classes known as informal and formal. Informal conflict on industry is said to be directly related in the context of employee grievance in an expressive manner that relates to negligence, absenteeism, frequent change of job and such other actions (Roche 2015). On the contrary, formal conflict happens through trade- union or through any employee representative in a strategic manner that results in strike and lockouts. However, Mac Ginty and Firchow (2016) argued that the conflict circumstances generate a form of competition among the employees and management within the organization assist in improving the overall performance standard of the organization. Whereas, Jess, Woodall and McFarlane (2015) stated that the negative impact of industrial conflict situation forms troubled situation in the internal organization which affects the growth and sustainability.
As mentioned, Qantas one of the largest airline organizations faced several consequences of industrial conflict during the year 2011. It resulted in employer’s lockout, intervention of ministry as well as orders from Australian Fair Works. Such industrial conflicts resulted in suspension of operations of the aircraft that were ready to take off and even the continued flights were made stop to the next destination. It was observed that the conflict affected around 68,000 to 80,000 clients on the very first day due to the cancellation of 600 flights including the cost of airlines exceeding $20 million for each day. Further, Australian Fair Works contended that the actions on industrial dispute between the management and trade union should be terminated with regard to the damage in the tourism and other sectors (Qantas.com 2016).
For better understanding and resolving the conflicts at industrial level a theory by Lewin has been developed based on 3- stage model. First stage of the theory in the change of management is known as Unfreeze that involves the acceptance of necessary changes. This stage incorporates a breakdown of existing status in the conflict before the creation of new and developed ways to operate the business activities. In order to form a successful organization, the management is required to challenge the existing business beliefs, values and actions (Dyer and Song 2015). In case of industrial conflict at Qatar, the existing disagreements between trade unions and management required to be analyzed and challenged to make the necessary changes for the betterment of both the organization and employees. In the first of the procedure of change, existing activities are difficult to mould therefore, the management of Qantas was should apply the process of unfreeze by re- examining its employment policies for the benefit of the organization as well as the workers. Next stage of the theory is Change where individuals or disputing parties start resolving the existing uncertainties by taking and considering new means in the activities. It involves the formation of new direction and participation of members in the process of change (Lehr, Akkerman and Torenvlied 2015). It is essential to understand the benefit of change for employees and company by involving the communication and exchange of necessary information. Considering the conflict at Qantas, it can be said that the trade union members and management should engage in the process of communication and discussion about the changes in the employment policy. The third stage of the theory known as Refreeze which involves formation of change and new working ways among the conflicting parties. It creates stabilization and consistency in the employment relationship that are to be incorporated in the business activities. Accordingly, the conflicts on lockouts or strikes at Qantas should be resolved by way of communication between laborers and management (Cox 2015).
Thomas Kilmann’s model is developed to analyze and manage the industrial conflict through different stages over the time. The theory has been based on certain assumptions where each stage places formation for the next one and all the individuals go through those stages in the similar way. There are five ways to manage the conflicts between management and employees in the industry by following different approach i.e. collaborative, compromising, accommodating, competing and avoiding approach. Collaborative approach requires to consider the ideas and opinions of all employees at the same situation and time giving the equivalent importance to each workers by the management (Leon-Perez et al. 2015). Compromising approach is a stage where a decision on conflict matter is partially acceptable which requires some compromise in the interests of employees. On the contrary, accommodation approach requires primary focus on resolving the conflicting situation even when the management fails to solve the conflict in a regular manner. Competing approach of organizational conflict management sticks to a specific decision to resolve the issues that requires the use of knowledge on the business actions on part of the management. The last stage of the model known as avoiding approach, which involves organizational management denies to consider any specific decision in solving the conflict issues. It was argued by Montada (2015) that the avoiding approaches to manage industrial conflict is very critical and effective at the specific time while the quality of result not significant.
In order to resolve the industrial conflict at Qantas, the management could consider the approaches developed by Thomas Kilmann. Analyzing the conflict of the company during 2011, three primary approaches of the model can be applied to resolve the Qantas issue. These are collaborative approach, competitive approach and compromising approach. As the issue was among trade unions and organizational management that resulted in lockouts and strikes, the appropriate approach would be compromising approach. The organizational management developed the employment policies in order to perform the business activities in a systematic manner. However, due to the stringent policies employees lost their interest in performing the business activities which created the friction. Hence, compromising approach could be used to by the organization to avoid the misunderstanding and compromising the interests of both the employees and management (Ellegaard and Andersen 2015). It would assist in satisfying the interest of both the disputing parties either partially or completely as well as by implementing the new policies. The critical situation in the organization occurred during the declaration of lockouts and disruption of aircrafts from operation. Hence, to manage this conflict among the organizational management and employees the organization can implement competitive approach since it involves the execution of decision by any means. Additionally, organization can use the collaborative approach that helps in appropriate solution of the industrial conflict in various aspects that allow both the parties to state their views (Perdue 2015).
Considering the above discussion it can be concluded that industrial conflict occurs in the organization when there are disagreements in actions and thoughts between the individuals or groups. The assignment covered the industrial conflict at Qantas which occurred during the year 2011 between trade unions and organizational management affecting the overall business performance. Further, it has been noticed that the industrial conflict at Qantas affected the performance standard as well as resulted in huge loss from operation during the period. Accordingly, the study covered different theories and models to present the understanding of conflict management that are Lewin theory and Thomas Kilmann model. Identification of the conflict situation at Qantas and appropriate ways to resolve the situations has been made by applying the concept of selected theories. Evaluating the level and nature of conflicts and friction in the organization compromising, collaborative and competitive approach could be used to resolve the issues.
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