Somebody has noticed that all is not well in the world of airlines, and has deduced that good management practises might help. They’ve written a book about it.
Is it just me, or is there is an insidious implication here that most airlines are badly managed?
The main theme, I gather from the blurb, is that adversarial relationships between employers and employees are bad, motivation and cooperation are good. Wow! what a surprise.
The book’s details are here:
Up in the Air: How Airlines Can Improve Performance by Engaging their Employees by G. Bamber, J. Hoffer Gittell, T. Kochan & A. von Nordenflycht
Southwest, as ever, is the golden boy (CEO Gary Kelly below),
and Ryanair the rogue (tyrant boss Michael O’Leary below):
But hey, wait a minute, don’t they both still make money?
I’m not persisting with sarcasm because it’s not appropriate. Industrial relations in most of the US carriers are a disaster, and elsewhere in the world they could be much better than they are.
Flight agrees it would not be difficult for airline management to get more from its employees than it does by ensuring they are fully engaged and totally motivated. It’s the theme on which we base our Crew Management Conference each year.
But there is something charmingly innocent about the obviousness of this book’s subject. Good management = good results. It’s so easy. Why don’t they do it?
Why does this innocent, optimistic belief that airlines could do better put me in mind of Robert Browning’s Pippa’s Song?
The year’s at the spring
And day’s at the morn;
Morning’s at seven;
The hillside’s dew-pearled;
The lark’s on the wing;
The snail’s on the thorn;
God’s in his heaven–
All’s right with the world.
Optimism. It may be out of fashion just now, but it’s still available. Just do it.