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Managing Change And Internal Communications

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Question:

Discuss about the Managing change and Internal Communications.
 
 

Answer:

Introduction

United Airlines has been in a bad light due to a major incident that happend i the recent past. A pilot on the airline’s flight used the flight’s intercom to make comments about her personal life and also commented on the election process going on in the US, specifically giving opinions about the two candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. This incident made the airline look very unprofessional in front of the general public. The news spread like a fire through social media and the company lost a lot of customers. This inident clearly stated the irresponsible behaviour of the airline’s employees. The safety and security provided by the airlines was put to question too. The competitors were all set to take advantage of this incident and United Airlines was trying to fix what had been done.

This has led to the dissatisfaction of the organization’s internal and external stakeholders and has also brought a bad name to the Airlines in the society. The company lost its customer base and could not target new customers due to its current bad image in the eyes of the public. In order to rectify what was done in the past, the company has to make several changes in its existing policies and business strategies.  This change requires effective communication and stakeholder management(Rick, 2013).

The purpose of this report is to provide the organization with appropriate ways to motivate and manage the change both within the organization as well as outside the organization. The internal environment includes the staff and the external environment includes customers, business clients and the society as a whole. The report also includes a description of the stakeholders of United Airlines and the methods that the organization can use to develop strong long term relationship with its key stakeholders(Murphy, 2013).

 

Ways an organisation can 'motivate' change

Change is an inevitable phenomenon. Due to the fast growing nature of the business, it has become very important for companies to modify their policies from time to time. This change in the organizations policies and strategies and be both internally and externally induced. The first step towards change initiation is to identify the need of change and the nature of change. After that the area of change should be recognized and a path on how to communicate and implement the change should be developed(Eisenhauer, 2013). Change in any organization has to be motivated and communicated internally to the employees and externally to the stakeholders like customers.

For any organization that wants to introduce change, it is very important to identify the problem or cause of the change and set new goals and objectives(ACAS, 2012). The internal environment of the organization works towards the achievement of organizational goals. Hence, in order to introduce change internally, the organization should either develop new goals or make amendments to the existing one. It is also very important to gather data and information that clearly states the problem and devise a solution. This will give an insight to the employees about what they are expected to accomplish. An agent of change should be assigned. This will enable the organization to monitor the process of change and mange it effectively. After the identification of the issue, a pathway should be defined that includes various methodologies and processes to implement the change. The consent of the employees should be considered while devising these methodologies since the employees will already be resisting to this change. If the organization involves the employees in the process of change, the employees will be more welcoming towards it. Also, this will render emotional support to those employees who are not very happy with the change. In the end, feedback should be taken from employees on how they liked the change, the process and its implementation. This feedback is very important for the organization in order to discover the loopholes and improve accordingly(Leddy, 2015).

If the organization is introducing and implementing a change in their business operations, this change has to be communicated to the external stakeholders like customers. These changes can be made to the existing products and services offered by the organization or the organization might as well introduce new products and services. In order to communicate this change effectively, it is very important to understand how the change will impact the organization’s customers and clients. For instance, if the organization is making any changes in the cost of their products then there will be a direct impact of this on the customers. Customers should be made to understand the cause of this change and how they can benefit from it. A clear message should be framed that consists of the aspects of the change and the need for it. In case the organization feels that the stakeholders will not be happy about the change, the organization should empathize with them, but should also explain how this change was inevitable and could prove beneficial in the long run for both the organization and the stakeholders. The organization should also identify a correct mode of communication. Wherever possible, the change should be communicated face to face rather than using emails or letters(Lernell, 2016). If the change is communicated personally, the stakeholders feel important and the organization does not appear hostile or insensitive. Also, this gives an opportunity to the organization to see the reaction of stakeholders towards the change and pacify any upset segment. In the end, change is a slow process and people should be given time to understand and adapt to this change in order to manage change effectively.

Company structure and stakeholder management

United Airlines is one of the largest private airline companies in the world and the fourth largest in the U.S. It was started in 1926 and is one of the founding members of the Star Alliance. During the 1930s United Airlines became the first to employ female flight attendants as well as the first commercial airline to create an inflight kitchen. United is owned and operated by its parent company United Continental Holdings which is based in Chicago(CPEQ, 2017).

United Airline’s operates on the corporate strategy of competing worldwide. It is the fourth largest airline in the USA. The airline has several competitive advantages over its competitors like the largest passenger inflow travelling from U.S to China, bargaining with a number of Middle East governemtn to acquire routes and the airline’s Economy Plus class that is available on both domestic and international flights. The airline is using cost leadership as its business strategy. Under this strategy the organization aims to provide the right kinf od service to the right kind of the customers at the right price. The organization is using ost effectiveness and differentiation strategy to remain the cost leader in the industry.

United Airlines is a multidivisional organization with a vertical hierarchical structure. A board of directors and a hierarchy of officials/authorities of the different sections of the organization, together contribute to the productivity of the organization. The President/CEO is at the top level of the hierarchy.United Airlines has about 87,800 employees approximately and operates in 54 countries with 339 destinations around the world, of which 127 are International destinations and 212 Domestic destinations(McGraw, 2013)

 


Stakeholders are the people who are directly or indirectly related to the organization and get affected by the organization’s performance and operations.  The stakeholders can be divided into three major categories Primary Stakeholders, Public Stakeholders and Secondary Stakeholders. Primary stakeholders are the stakeholders that have brought the company into existence. In case of United Airlines, United Continental Holding (Owners), Customers, Suppliers, Shareholders and Employees form the part of primary stakeholders. Public stakeholders provide the organization a legal and social framework to carry its business operations(Archives, 2013). These include Government and Communities, specifically local communities and tourism industry in case of United Airlines. The third category known as secondary stakeholders, are the parties that get affected by the operations of the organizations indirectly. These include Media, Competitors and Special Interest Groups like Air Transport Association and Environmental groups.

In order for an organization to work smoothly, it is very important to manage the stakeholders effectively. Honesty and communication is the key to building a long lasting relationship with the stakeholders. The key stakeholders should be identified and prioritized. In case of large organizations like United Airlines, the range of stakeholders can be very large. Hence, it becomes very important for the organization to prioritize the stakeholders. There are individuals and groups both inside and outside the organization whose needs and demands are more important than others. The stakeholders should be divided into groups and then ranked according to their importance. This will enable the organization to keep the relationship with key stakeholders intact. The organization should communicate with these stakeholders on regular intervals in order to understand their needs more appropriately. Frequent interactions also ensure that the organization is satisfying the stakeholders’ demands. This will help the organization to stay in line with the process of goal attainment(Team, 2016).

 


The organization should also aim to develop a trustworthy relationship with the stakeholders. This can be achieved by communicating honestly and resolving any conflicts occurring between the organization and its stakeholders. The organization should aim to fulfil its commitments towards the stakeholders, especially when it comes to decision making power and reward distribution. This will help to build a strong long term relationship with the stakeholders. The stakeholders that have the right to participate in the decision making process of the organization should be involved and encouraged to participate in the process. This will make them feel valued and heard both at the same time. Also, the stakeholders will feel that company has plans for them and is working actively to maximize their profit.

Once the key stakeholders are identified and their expectations are understood, the organization has to indulge in effective communication with these stakeholders. In the fast growing environment and busy schedules, technology can prove to be a great blessing(Rice, 2017). The company can develop a collaborative software package can be used to keep a particular group up to date with a specific project development. The stakeholders can also be contacted and updated using regular email newsletters and status reports. The email newsletters can also be divided into internal and external newsletter on the basis of their concern to staff and other clients. In case of small groups, a direct interaction can be arranged for. This will also give the organization to listen to the grievances of the stakeholders and resolve them instantly.

Lastly, it is very important to monitor the communication and generate feedback. Even though it is important to put efforts to communicate with the stakeholders, the efforts can go all in vain if the efficiency of communication is not up to the mark. In order to ensure this, a communication monitoring system should be devised to recognize the most responsive and efficient modes of communication. These modes should then be used more widely and the lesser popular ones should be improved. Once the stakeholders have been contacted, their responses should be taken seriously. Communication is only effective if it is two way(Yaverbaum, 2017). The feedback can be gathered via surveys and interviews. This feedback provided by the stakeholders should be recorded and analysed. This will help the company to understand what the stakeholders are expecting and how to get there. Stakeholder management can hence be made easy using these methods.

Conclusion

To conclude, it can be said that United Airlines still has a chance to win back its customers if it considers changing its existing policies and business strategies. Introducing change is not an easy process but using the ways stated in the report, United Airlines can surely make it less complicated. Additionally, the organization is advised to constantly research and identify the change in the taste and preferences of its customers and the expectations of its stakeholders in order to identify the need of change. Any organization that does not move with the society can lose a lot of business. Also, United Airlines should indulge in effective communication with its key stakeholders in order to ensure smooth working of the organization. The stakeholders should be encouraged to participate and should be heard carefully for valuable feedback.

 

Recommendations

United Airlies should begin with a baseline survey of their work culture in order to aalyze how every individual in the organization perceives hsi role and how well they understand their responsibilities. This is very important because the crew members were not following their role responsibility durig the incident that brought down the airline’s name.

Review the organization’s employee training campaigns. This is very important since the company needs to find out the loopholes in the process. It can either be that the training procedure is not upto the mark or else the problem lies with certain individuals who are not sticking to what they have been taught in the training.

The airline’s should conduct sessions where it should discuss with individuals that are working with the organization, about what is being expected of them as employees. This ession could also generate valuable feedback which could help the business as well as the employees.

The company should increase customer compensation incentives and make customer service its priority if it wants to win back the trust of its customers. The company should assitionally empower its employees to resolve customer issues on the spot without causing any unnesccessary delays.

The airline should reduce the volume of overbooking. It should ensure that crews are bbooked onto a flight at least 60 minutes before the departure. Most importantly the airline should limit the use of law enforcement to issues relating to security and safety only.

 

References

ACAS, 2012. How to manage change, Available at: https://www.acas.org.uk/media/pdf/k/m/Acas-How-to-manage-change-advisory-booklet.pdf

Archives, T. N., 2013. Effective Communications: Raising the profile of your archive service, Available at: https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/documents/archives/effective-communications.pdf

CPEQ, 2017. 3 internal and external communication strategy, Available at: https://www.cpeq.org/en/guides/good-neighbor/3-internal-and-external-communication-strategy

Eisenhauer, T., 2013. How to Communicate During Organizational Change, Available at: https://axerosolutions.com/blogs/timeisenhauer/pulse/383/how-to-communicate-during-organizational-change

Leddy, C., 2015. 5 Steps to Using External Communications to Tell Your Clients and Customers About Company Changes, Available at: https://www.middlemarketcenter.org/expert-perspectives/5-steps-to-using-external-communications-to-tell-your-clients-and-customers-about-company-changes

Lernell, C., 2016. How to Communicate Product Changes To Your Users, Available at: https://community.uservoice.com/blog/how-to-communicate-product-changes-to-your-users/

McGraw, C., 2013. Using a Communication Strategy to Improve Stakeholder Relationships, Available at: https://www.pmiwdc.org/sites/default/files/presentations/201609/PMIW_Symposium2016_Presentation_McGraw.pdf

Murphy, E., 2013. Managing change and Internal Communications - Internal Comms Forum, Dubai, Available at: https://www.slideshare.net/thechangesource/managing-change-and-internal-communications-internal-comms-forum-dubai

Rice, S., 2017. 5 strategies for effective stakeholder management, Available at: https://worldcomgroup.com/5-strategies-for-effective-stakeholder-management

Rick, T., 2013. internal change management communication, Available at: https://www.torbenrick.eu/blog/change-management/internal-communication-an-important-part-of-any-change-management-process/

Team, U., 2016. How To Build And Maintain Stakeholder Relationships Management, Available at: https://www.ukessays.com/essays/management/how-to-build-and-maintain-stakeholder-relationships-management-essay.php

Yaverbaum, E., 2017. United Airlines Has A Bigger Problem Than You Think, Available at: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/united-airlines-has-a-bigger-problem-than-you-think_us_58fa4374e4b0f02c3870e97f

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