Change Management Assignment: Case Analysis Of Emirates Airlines
You are supposed to develop a change management assignment report illustrating the strategic change management plan for Emirates Airlines.
The present report on change management assignment is based on the concept of “change” which is an important process to enhance the profitability and growth of an organization. In order to stay competitive, an organization is required to implement different changes in the business strategies. Change process within the organization is a significant process that may have both positive as well as negative impact on the business operations. By implementing successful change management process, an organization may achieve competitive advantage over the competitors in the market. Basically, change can be considered as permanent process in an organization that can be helpful in dealing with an individual as well as organizational issues. Change process within an organization includes significant actions to support the initiatives taken for the success and growth of business. Generally, changes are the cause of various actions and activities that are helpful in improving the position of organization in the operating business environment. Implementation of changes is essential according to the changing business environment so that the set business goals and objectives can be achieved significantly. In addition to this, it is also important for managers to adopt effective change management strategies to achieve the change objectives. Managers are required create change management plan and inform employees about the process of change within the organization.
This report on strategic management assignment focuses on strategic change management plan of an organization i.e. Emirates Airlines. The discussion has included the background of organization along with the changes required in the organization. Further, the report identifies the need for change in the organization along with factors driving for change and resource implications during the process. In addition to this, the report also explains change management models and their relevance with the organization. Major changes in the business operations implemented by the organization along with their implication on the performance are explained in proper manner. Apart from this, the report also presents barriers to change and provides effective strategies to overcome from those barriers. At the end, effective change management strategy is proposed for implementing changes in Emirates Airlines. The strategies are also formulated and proposed in this report to deal with resistance to change. The report has also provided some recommendations for smooth change management process.
Change management is essential concept for most of the organizations to stay competitive and successful in the operating industry. Due to negative impact of pandemic, it is essential for organizations to implement new business strategies for effective business operations. Basically, change management can be defined as the set of processes to ensure that effective changes are implemented in controlled and systematic manner. This report focuses on the change management process of famous Airlines i.e. Emirates Airlines. Because of Covid-19, international flights were cancelled by various countries and this affected the business operations of airline industry in negative manner. In order to increase profitability and competitive advantage, Emirates Airlines is required to implement some innovative changes in its business strategies. Emirates Airlines started its business operations on 25th October 1985. Based in Garhoud, this was first airline chain in United Arab Emirates. The airline is controlled by Emirates group which is taken care by Investment Corporation Group of Dubai government. Before pandemic, the airline was operating 23600 flights per week from Dubai International Airport’s hub. Further, the airline has also achieved a record in Guinness World Book for being most multicultural in all over the world (The Emirates Group, 2021).
Background to change
Organizational change can be described as the most effective way to enhance the current state of the business process. There is no doubt that change initiatives can decide the future of organization in the operating market. Change management basically includes the implementation of systematic management interventions, and allows individuals to adapt different situations and outcomes aligned with the organizational strategy. Businesses in all over the world are facing crisis and issues amidst the global Covid-19 pandemic. Due to this, airline industry has started its business operations with significant decline in the number of passengers. In the aviation industry, pandemic has caused airlines has caused airlines to temporarily stop their operations and implement international travel restrictions. According to travel website TripAdvisor and global market research Phocuswright has released that travelers have tendencies to explore local destinations in this difficult time. The market would take long time to shift from domestic to international phase. In addition to this, the airline has lost $3.4 billion in six months which was huge loss for the organization in thirty years. For increasing the number of passengers and improving the profitability, airline is required to take some strategic decisions and implement effective changes in the business operations (CNBC, 2020).
Need for change
While talking about the need of strategic changes in an organization, there are some factors that should be considered significantly. Those factors can include change in the preferences of consumers towards specific services and strong positions of competitors in the market may also be significant factors demanding for need of change. Not only such basic factors, there can be some economic factors like changes in GDP rates, inflation rate, and changes in the interest rates affecting the position of an organization in the operating market. Changes in rules and regulations, technology, budget restrictions, and boundaries on business operations are other crucial factors contributing to need for a change within the organization (Fickling, 2020).
Taking about the need for strategic change in Emirates Airlines, the organization is required to enhance customer’s trust and experience by offering different services. Covid-19 created tough time for customers also i.e. they do not want to travel outside of the country due to the fear of infection. The management of Emirates Airlines needs to make some strategic changes in the organization in terms of enhancing the consumer’s experiences by providing hygienic services in flights. In this regards, company may implement changes to protect the workforce and customers from this serious disease.
Factors driving change
There are various factors which drive the need for change within the organization. Some of the factors driving change in Emirates Airlines are as follows:
Less preferences by consumers- In case of Emirates Airlines, the situation of covid-19 has affected the profitability of the aviation companies in negative manner. Lack of competitive advantage and trust among consumers has created the need for the change in the business operations of Emirates Airlines. This situation of the airline made an impact on the businesses with increasing cost of operations and lesser profit margins. On the other hand, passengers are not giving preference to travel outside of the countries due to fear of infection and disease and this is affecting on the revenue and profit of the airline in negative manner.
Restrictions of international flights- Basically, political and legal factors like restrictions on international flights and safety rules and guidelines have created the situation for the airline to introduce new changes in the business strategies. At the global level, demographic aspects for aviation services varies much so, Emirates can take it as an opportunity and increase its profitability in aviation industry (The Emirates Group, 2021).
Digital revolution- In such pandemic situation, it is important for the airline to identify and implement technology so that contactless services can be provided to the passengers. Airline is required to identify such system in which passengers may not to come in the contact of any staff member. In addition to this, new technology and system are also required to monitor and scan the symptoms of virus among passengers so that safety measures can be followed in flights.
In the change management process, if the resources are not implemented in proper manner then it would highly impact on the performance and business operations of the organization. The resources are the significant part of change management process including employees or staff of the organization, project teams, departmental heads, and IT infrastructure etc. Resource implications for not responding to these changes are discussed below:
- If there would be improper information technology infrastructure system within the organization, then it can create issues and challenges in implementing new and innovative technologies. If the organization does not have resources related to unique and new IT frameworks then this would impact on the entire project of change in negative manner.
- Further, there can be issues or problems related to increased project time that might affect the change management process in Emirates Airlines. In addition to this, there can also be issues related to the lack of inactive participation and cooperation from employees and various departments. If IT department would not be able to meet to meet the deadline on the time of requirements related to implementing new IT systems within the organization then it would affect overall change process negatively (Al-Haddad & Kotnour, 2015).
- Apart from this, lack of dedication and motivation of project team towards completing the change process may also negatively impact on the quality and planning of the change project. Moreover, if the staff is not well trained and educated related to new business strategies then it would also create problems and challenges in managing business operations.
- Development of crisis management centers requires huge amount. If there is lack of financial resources then it will impact on the growth and profitability of the organization. The problem may also be occurred if the departments and employees are not able to utilize the resources in proper manner.
Change management models
In order to implement the change process successfully, there are some change management models which can be considered by the organization. In this manner, Lewin’s model of change and ADKAR model are appropriate for the strategic changes in Emirates Airlines. The explanations of these models are as follows:
Lewin’s model of change
According to this model, initial step of any change process is to unfreeze the current pattern of behavior as the significant way of managing opposition to the change. This change management model can be helpful in analyzing the changes implemented by Emirates Airlines. Basically, there are three stages of change process given in this model i.e. unfreeze, change, refreeze.
Figure 1: Lewin’s Model
(Source: Hayes, 2018)
In this step of change, the company has started preparations to implement changes in business strategies. In case of Emirates Airlines, unfreezing stage is helpful in reducing the hierarchical levels within the organization and provides more flexibility to employees and staff members to complete their work without any difficulties. Basically, this phase is helpful in improving the performance of the organization. Activating crisis management center to monitor the situation of covid-19, providing medical advice to staff members, and implementation of practices at the airport to meet requirements of specific country travel can be introduced at this stage. From these practices, the airline may get good response from employees as well customers. These can be considered as major changes in Emirates Airlines (Hayes, 2018).
This is the second stage of Lewis model of change. In this stage, the real changes are identified which the organization is implementing from top management level to bottom line employees. In order to support this stage, proper systems and structures are required at the airports. High-tech solutions like facial and iris recognition systems, safety initiatives, and enhanced measures to ensure safety and hygiene are significant strategies which can be used by the airline.
This is the final stage of change management process in which final changes are implemented by the organization. In this phase, the airline would try to implement and maintain changes by introducing new high-tech solutions and safety and hygiene practices. Customer engagement is one of the best practices that can be used by the airline to ensure the betterment of change process (Hussain et. al., 2018).
Change management is important for Emirates Airlines to deal with the issues raised due to pandemic. Change management is an important strategic process to achieve organizational goals and objectives in significant manner. According to the ADKAR model of change, there are five crucial steps that should be adopted by an organization while implementing changes in the business operations. The steps include awareness, desire, knowledge, ability, and reinforcement.
Figure 2: ADKAR Model
(Source: Hornstein, 2015)
The process of change management would be exceptionally successful when the organization tries to implement the change process for customers and employees. In case of Emirates Airlines, employees are key resources to implement changes successfully. Basically, organization may seek support from staff and various departments. Basically, employees always take active participation in the business operations so the organization is accountable to create awareness about the change process. Airline is required to make employees aware about the changes going to take place in the business operations. Awareness of high-tech solutions and policies related to safety and hygiene of individuals might be helpful for organization in implementing changes easily (Hornstein, 2015).
By making employees and various departments aware, the airline is required to create desire of changes among them. This part of the model advocates desire of the change in the organization i.e. employees should take active participation in following guidelines of hygiene and safety while passengers are traveling in the flight. In addition to this, there should also be the desire to implement new and high-tech IT systems and taking technological initiatives to manage the impact of global health crisis. Basically, the desire to achieve change goals and objectives can be created when employees are properly aware about the change project.
The knowledge phase in this change model can be considered as he understanding of change which is going to take place in the business strategies of the organization. In case of Emirates Airlines, knowledge related to high-tech solutions i.e. facial and iris recognition system and new immigration policy should be provided to the employees as well as customers so that they can be prepared to adapt the changes in business operations. In order to build knowledge, some of the tactics like training with effectiveness, offering work tools, coaching employees individually, and developing training groups can be helpful for the airline (Galli, 2018).
This part of the change management model can be considered as the skills or talent required to achieve the change goals and objectives in the organization. Basically, this element of the model focuses on the importance of providing adequate resources, manpower, and equipment on time for the implementation of changes in proper manner. In case of Emirates Airlines, if manpower, resources, and equipment are not available in adequate manner then whole change management project may be compromised and each step of change may not be completed. In this manner, the airline may support change by supervisor involvement on daily basis, appraise performance of employees, involve employees and staff of various department in training exercise, and provide expert advice in subject material (Ik and Azeez, 2020).
This is the last and extremely important element of change management model as this phase is helpful in ensuring the sustainability of the change process for the long term. Knowing the fact that changes may be failed sometimes, this model can be helpful in providing proper planning to build sustainable change management plan. Reinforcement might be helpful in measuring the impact of change process on the business operations of the airline. Continuous management support and essential positive feedback is important to sustain change process for long duration. Managers in the organization must be aware about their roles in successful change and their responsibility in implementing new systems for the continuous growth and change in the business operations. In the reinforcement phase, the organization may use audits, appraisals, metrics, personal feedbacks, and recognitions for implementing continuous and effective changes in the business operations (Harrington, 2018).
Relevance of models
This section of the paper highlights the relevancy of strategic change models in Emirates Airlines. It is very clear that world is facing serious problems due to covid-19. In addition to this, profitability and growth of businesses are also affected due to various restrictions. In this scenario, it is important for Emirates Airline to take some innovative and effective initiatives so that profitability and business performance can be enhanced during this pandemic. Lewin’s change management model would be helpful for the airline in identifying essential changes and implementing them in significant manner. In addition to this, ADKAR model of change would also be helpful for the airline in generating awareness, knowledge, desire, and ability to implement significant changes in the business strategies. The change management models have objective for the business growth of the airline by investing in new business strategies and operations. In this regards, change models are also helpful in enhancing trust of consumers in terms of safety and hygiene. Apart from this, the relevancy of the models can be seen that the airline is developing and activating crisis management centers to closely monitor the situation of corona and preparing staff members to adapt this change significantly. This would help the airline to provide safe services to the passengers and attract them to avail their services. Additionally, implementation of high-tech solutions to avoid direct contact of staff and passengers would also be possible with change management models. These initiatives would make strategic changes and create a different and unique ways to manage the business operations during this difficult situation (Rosenbaum, More and Steane, 2018).
In order to enhance the profitability and competitive advantage during this difficult situation, Emirates Airline is required to implement some effective changes in its business operations. It is the well-known fact that the situation of covid-19 has affected the profitability and revenue of the aviation industry as various nations imposed restrictions on international flights. In addition to this, consumers are also not giving preference to travel outside of the countries. Instead of traveling on distance, they are giving preference to local destinations and these factors are affecting the business operations of Emirates Airlines in negative manner. In order to attract the potential customers and increase profitability, it is important for the organization to implement changes its business strategies. Three major changes done by the airline are as follows:
- Considering the difficult situation of pandemic, the airline would plan to develop and activate Crisis Management Centers to closely monitor the situation and take significant actions and measures in all the areas of business. By developing crisis management centers, the organization would take measures like providing medical advice to staff and passengers, implementation of effective practices at airport to meet travel requirements, and adjusting the schedules as per the passenger’s demands.
- Implementation of high-tech solutions would also be another strategic change in the business operation of Emirates Airline. The organization would introduce new systems like facial or iris recognition system to reduce the unnecessary contact of passengers and staff. In addition to this, the organization would also launch a new immigration facility i.e. a smart tunnel would be created for passengers from which passengers can walk into flight without receiving a stamp on the passports.
- Safety initiatives and extra protection measures would also be introduced for passengers and flight assistants. Along with this, the staff members would be responsible to ensure the safety and hygiene of passengers i.e. they receive a sanitizing kit at check-in including gloves, masks, wipes, and hand sanitizers. Plus, cabin service assistant would also be placed on board to look at the restrooms to ensure that they are good in conditions for passengers’ use (Singh, 2020).
Implications on organizational performance
The above discussed changes in Emirates Airlines may have significant impact on the business operations. The changes in the business strategies might require additional resources in certain areas of business to meet day to day requirements. Passengers and employees are key areas of the strategy of the airline. By implementing these changes, the aim of the airline is to protect the workforce and passengers from this serious disease and limit the impact of covid-19 on the business’ profitability in this tough economic condition. The safety and health of potential customers and employees would be taken seriously by the airline so medical guidelines and directives are followed in this manner. By implementing the above mentioned changes, Emirates Airline would be able to deal with the challenges occurred due to pandemic. With these proactive approaches, the airline would also be able to encourage passengers to make use of functions and systems that would make their journey easier. This is the well-known fact that covid-19 has created a challenging time for the aviation market. By taking innovative actions, the airline would be able to deal with difficult time of pandemic in efficient manner.
Barriers to change
In case of Emirates Airlines, there might be some barriers in completing the change management process which should be considered by the organization. Basically, change implementation is not an easy process as it requires amount of resources to complete the entire process. There might be some barriers for the organization during the process which is discussed below:
- There can be issues related to shortage of financial resources in the change management process. Shortage of funds within the organization can be occurred for implementing changes and conducting training and coaching sessions. Organization might utilize financial resources in promoting the implemented changes so, it is crucial for the airline to maintain adequate financial resources for the change process.
- There might be barrier related to lack of communication system within the organization which can impact negatively on the business operations. Employees might have fear related to changes in the business strategies. Employees do not adopt or make changes in their day to day activities and business operations.
- Lack of proper knowledge in the employees about new systems and technologies can be considered as key barrier in the overall change process. If the organization is not conducting training sessions for employees, they would not get enough knowledge to deal with changes.
- There can the issue related to shortage of managers or leaders to conduct training sessions for employees. Unavailability of senior staff could generate issues in the change management process. if the organization hires coach or trainer for the coaching sessions, more time and money would be required which can be a significant barrier in change management process (Schmidt, Groeneveld and Van de Walle, 2017).
- Lack organizational structure during the change process can also be considered as a big barrier. Managers are required to set whole organizational structure in an appropriate manner so that the change management process can be implemented successfully.
Overcome from barriers
In order to deal or overcome from barriers, some of the effective strategies for Emirates Airlines are given below:
- The organization may implement the tactics to stay connected with staff members within the set duration about the changes. Higher management or authority of the airline should take suggestions from employees before taking decisions related to change process. Further, managers should update employees about the impact of overall change process on their performance, daily routine, and work style.
- Further, managers might seek for the notice from the senior authority of the organization while implementing changes in effective ways. In order to manage change process effectively, managers are required to implement critical thinking and innovations to achieve the change objectives.
- Next, there should be strategies related to training and development and those should be implemented strictly by the managers so that employees and key staff should be aware about the changes. By conducting coaching and training sessions, employees would be able to get knowledge about utilization of new systems and technologies for successful change.
- In addition to this, there should also be the strategy for technical department i.e. new systems and technical resources should be provided in proper manner. by providing new technical resources on the set time would be helpful for the managers to come up with new and innovative ideas.
Measures for change process
The environment of business organizations are changing continuously and pandemic has affected aviation industry in negative manner. In order to implement changes and manage the process smoothly, there are some measures that should be taken by change leaders. If the leaders are able to influence employees and staff members then the change implementation process would be easy for the airline. In this manner, proper leadership behavior and measures are required to manage the business operations effectively. Some of the measures that can be taken by leaders are as follows:
- Monitoring change management activities and provide essential resources whenever required,
- Creating clear picture of organizational goals and prepare change initiatives to achieve those goals,
- Setting change management timeline and supporting employees to adapt the changes,
- Implementing change management strategies to deal with emotions of employees like fear and resistance, and
- Ensuring effective two-way communication to achieve sustainable behavior change
Decisions taken by leaders
In case of Emirates Airlines, some of the effective decisions can be taken by leaders to manage change manner. Those strategies or decisions are explained below:
Training and coaching sessions- Leaders can be effective in conducting coaching and training sessions whenever required. Basically, leaders provide essential information about the changes to employees. In addition to this, training related to new strategies and technologies is also given by the leaders to employees so that they can easily adapt changes and help in enhancing the profitability and business growth of the organization.
Solving conflicts- Leadership can be helpful in solving conflict among employees during the change management process. Leader can be able to manage and resolve issues by dealing with both the parties. Basically, leaders provide opportunities to the employees to express innovative ideas and views for implementing changes. In order to deal with conflicts and change process, leader provides best solutions to minimize the negative impact on conflicts in change management.
Building effective work environment- It is essential for an organization to offer effective work environment to the employees so that sustainable growth of the business can be ensured. Leaders keep the importance of human relations in their minds. Basically, Leaders always try to maintain strong relationships with employees so that they can deal with their problems and issues of employees in effective manner. The objective of leaders is to get the work completed by employees. Leaders might be helpful in building positive work environment for employees who are dealing with change management process (Cameron and Green, 2019).
Change management strategy
In strategic change management process, two types of people can be involved i.e. enthusiastic and people with resistance to change. Enthusiastic people are motivated and ready to adapt the change implemented within the business operations. On the other hand, people with resistance to change are not ready to adapt the changes within the organization due to their emotional and personal behavior. By considering the behavior of such individuals, well-established and planed strategies should be formulated and implemented by the managers in Emirates Airline.
Leverage strategies- This strategy should be implemented by the airline to focus on the individuals who are ready to adopt changes in easily manner. The leverage strategies are required to be implemented by the organization to motivate people who are good adopters. Such individuals always support and cooperate with the implemented changes and make significant impact on the business operations.
Engagement strategies- Under this strategy, the organization would focus on key stakeholders who have a significant impact on the overall change management process but they are not able to adapt the changes in proper manner. Therefore, the key objective of this strategy to transform the influencers into adopters of change and use their influences on those individuals who are less interested and committed in adopting change.
Outplacement strategies- By implementing this strategy, the organization may focus on people who are powerful and influential to manage resistance to change. In this manner, the organization may provide opportunity to those individuals to show their commitment and interest for managing the process of change properly. If individuals are not agreed to it at all then unambiguous consequences might be taken into account.
Containment strategies- By using this strategy, the organization would focus on individuals having high competencies, skills, experiences, and knowledge but are not ready to adapt changes. With the help of containment strategy, the organization might be able to utilize their skills and knowledge in change management process.
Involvement of stakeholders
Change management process has significant impact on each and every stakeholder within the organization. In case of Emirates Airlines, key stakeholders of the organization are customers and employees and it is important for the stakeholders to be aware about the changes in the business operations. The organization is required to keep stakeholders informed about the requirement of changes in business strategies. In addition to this, the airline would also provide updates to the stakeholders about each and every stage of change process. In this manner, effective communication strategy would be used to keep stakeholders connected with the change project. Additionally, education and training sessions would also be conducted to provide important information to stakeholders (Kuipers et. al., 2014). Apart from this, reviews and feedbacks would also be achieved from key stakeholders to improve the change management plan. These initiatives would make stakeholders feel more engaged, involved, confident, and motivated in overall change management process. When stakeholders notice that they are being heard and getting importance in the entire change management process then they come with more innovative and efficient ideas for successful projects. As the result, the involvement of stakeholders through these processes would be enhanced in the change process of Emirates Airlines. The organization would be required to make stakeholders fell important and valued during overall change process.
Strategies to manage resistance to change
Resistance is the significant part of the change process within any organization. There can be some individuals who may not adopt the change process and their behavior is called resistance to change. But, the process of change implementation is not an easy task as employees may resist of change. Main reason of resistance in the organization could be that employees might be afraid of some situations like impact of change process on their performance, their working relationship with other staff, and other job related things. Although, small amount of resistance is acceptable for the business operations but high-level of resistance can negatively impact on the performance of the business. So, this is important for airlines to manage the resistance in timely manner otherwise it would be difficult for the airline to enhance its profitability in this pandemic. There are some strategies and tactics to manage the resistance of change.
- Education and communication strategy should be implemented by the airline to stay connected with key stakeholders. The stakeholders may be educated in proper manner about the effective changes that should be adopted significantly. Communication strategy would be helpful in dealing with confusions and misinterpretations. Along with this, the questions and doubts of the stakeholders would be managed by effective communication strategies.
- Further, change resistance can also be managed by enhancing participation and involvement of stakeholders and employees in the change process. If the investors are associated in the change process by well-established and suitable tactic then they will come with new and innovative ideas of change process. This strategy would be helpful for the organization to resist with the change process.
- In addition to this, negotiation and agreement can also be helpful for the airline to deal with the change resistance. In order to implement the change process successfully, it would be important for organization to bring all employees and staff members on the agreement (Jayatilleke and Lai, 2018).
- Next, the organization should provide support and facilitation to employees in effective way so that they are ready to adapt the change process easily. This would be helpful in enhancing the level of confidence of staff members. Additionally, the organization may also set an example for other airlines that are not ready to adopt changes or resist changing.
This report focuses on the case of Emirates Airlines and highlights the strategic change plan along with the implementation process. The report presents effective change management models and evaluates the significance of these models in the airline’s business operations. In addition to this, the report also explains factors that create requirements for change within the organization and evaluates consequences if employees are responding to implemented changes. Based on the overall analysis, it is observed that there can be some economic factors like changes in GDP rates, inflation rate, and changes in the interest rates affecting the situation of an organization in the operating market. Modifications in rules and regulations, technology, budget restrictions, and boundaries on business operations are other crucial factors that should be considered by the organization. There can be some barriers of change management process like resistance to change and lack of training and education. It is important for the organization to implement effective strategies to deal with resistance to change and barriers.
There are some recommendations for Emirates Airlines to complete the change management process in effective manner.
- For dealing with the issue of resistance, organization should generate innovative ideas to implement change management plan in proper manner. Additionally, managers should also understand their ethical responsibilities to manage resistance to change.
- In order to manage the change process in proper manner, airline should make the stakeholders aware about overall project. Communication strategies should be implemented by the organization to give them significant information.
- Managers in the organization should focus on the ethical consideration for implementing change management plan and motivate employees to adapt changes in positive manner. Managers or leaders should implement inspirational leadership approach to motivate and engage employees in the change process.
- Coaching and training sessions should also be conducted by airline so that staff can learn about using new and high-tech systems in proper manner.
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