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Organizational Behavior

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Autor:   •  July 15, 2017  •  Business Plan  •  3,349 Words (14 Pages)  •  132 Views

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1 ) What is the nature of the OB problem?

For every industry, there are different problems that companies should expect and should prepare for. In the airlines industry, just about every problem has to do with either logistics or customer service. As of recent, United airlines has come under fire for a numerous amount of problems. One incident involved United overbooking a flight and having the inability to resolve this conflict in an appropriate manner. Another incident involved the CEO addressing the public and supporting the actions of the employees involved in the incident. After realizing that he was wrong, Oscar Munoz issued a second apology to the public claiming that no one should be mistreated that way.

When putting together a business plan (before opening a business), an owner must consider a number of things. Although it is not required, most businesses develop a vision to guide them in their business practices. A vision, followed by core values and perhaps even a code of ethics. All of these documents act as a foundation for the company for when they encounter a problem. These documents would be useful to United airlines, but there is one problem. United has no vision, no culture and no code of ethics available to the public anywhere on their website. United does however have a statement titled” Our United Customer Commitment”.

What essentially seems to be United’s organizational behavior issue is communication. According to the Organizational Behavior by Stephen P. Robbins (Pearson 346) communication serves five major functions within a group or organization: management, feedback, emotional sharing, persuasion, and information exchange.  By failing to have guidelines publically available for employees (and customers), by failing to properly solve a common conflict and by the CEO giving unfitting feedback, United shows lack of communication in the workplace. In the end, lack of ethics, weak culture, inability to resolve conflicts (properly), and miscommunication all point back to the main topic of communication from when the company began, until now.

2) What factors have caused the problem?

There are several factors that have caused the two issues mentioned before. The airline industry overbooks flights at a fairly common pace. This is to ensure that they fill as many seats in as many planes as possible and utilize as much space and fuel. All of this is to make the most amount of money by lowering costs. However, United has failed miserably. Yes, they offered to pay for customers to take a later flight and offered other benefits, but the idea of forcing your customers off a paid flight just doesn’t make sense in a business or a procedural sense. According to the article, “The United Airlines Fiasco” by Chris Arnold from NPR, airlines do have a right to overbook and eject passengers, but there are several strategies that can be implemented in order to avoid this situation. Airlines should not let passengers board the plane and then take their seats away and if they do, they should offer them a suitable compensation. They shouldn’t make the offer in such a public way, because nobody wants to be a sucker. Finally, they should make better use of technology and start with a big offer. If the airline would have looked into potential problems like this, which all airlines deal with, then this situation should have never happened. United failed to implement industry wide strategies, which allow employees to handle overbooking. Communication is key to handling situations like these and a stronger base of communication would help avoid these failures.

           The other problem United Airlines had was their response. The factors that lead to this problem were failure of top management assessment of the situation and, again, communication. As cliché as it is, social media has put the news speed into warp speed. Any statement made to the public without assessing the situation is recipe for disaster. In this case, Mr. Munoz failed to take everything into account, such as the extreme overreaction by police and employees, before backing up the actions that took place. Video evidence clearly shows that United Airlines was in the wrong. This goes without saying the most, but you should never assault your customers. You especially don’t want them unconscious and bloodied. That is exactly what happened and this was caught on cell phones of other passengers. There is no room for allowing this kind of behavior and procedures. Overbooking is such an everyday occurrence that it is inconceivable how a miscommunication could have happened, but that is exactly what transpired. Top management really dropped the ball on this one with their failure to communicate the proper industry procedures for overbooking and properly assessing the situation and communicating effectively with the public.

3) How can OB concepts be applied to solve the problem?

There are many organizational behavior concepts that can be applied to United Airline’s current situation. Many organizational problems were brought to light during the recent scandal that took America by storm.  The CEO has vowed that the airline will learn and grow from this experience and they still stand behind the incident and have promised to not fire any employees that were involved in the incident involving a man being dragged off an aircraft after the company oversold their flight.

There is a lack of ethics when examining this situation due to the frequent overselling of flights. When consumers purchase a flight at a certain time, they expect to be placed on that flight at the appropriate time and arrive to their destination when their ticket states they will arrive. It appears there is a lack of culture within United Airline’s organizational structure. This is because the CEO of United Airline’s still stands behind the actions that took place and announced on April 9th that this incident will never happen again. However, on April 19th the CEO stated that employees who were involved will not be fired and wants to teach employees how to better deal with over sold flights. This announcement was coincidentally made on the same day that the airline’s stock fell 6.3%, which meant the company lost 255 million dollars off of their market cap.

Miscommunication is also a huge factor in the storm of problems that United is going through because of the ethical principle that comes into play when they overbook their flights and leave passengers waiting around in airports all over the United States. On page 417, The book discusses the benefits of behavioral theories of leadership and how useful it is when addressing this issue because of the importance that is placed on initiating structure within an organization. This


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