Northwest Airlines Confronts Change

Deregulation of the airline industry in 1978 Increased competition, new travelers’ needs, problems, strikes, concern about the safety of aircraft, oil crisis problem … Northwest has a reputation for being very conservative financial control and relationship rules work very hard. Despite the six years since the start of deregulation, Northwest does not yet have the technological capabilities (electronic reservation systems … ) or human skills that are more customer-oriented and service.
Steve Rothmeier took over the management and committed to his side a psychological Ken Myers to help change the organization (potentially hostile environment) in depth   : Have more balance between mgmt and workers operate more service-oriented… Rothmeier’s Story   : Part 1 The strong point of the company is the trust and employee pride The main weakness is unionism (95%). Dr. Ken’s job is to prepare supervisors and managers to adopt a more participatory role.
Ken style (”   bearded academic   “) Is quite different from mgmt in place (”   weird   “) He did not rank high not to be perceived as a member of mgmt but is a general help to communicate, understand the problems of organization and motivation, to pass messages. Northwest is now in a strong position on the domestic market with a strong presence   : The most difficult thing is to maintain this leading position and that change can help. A peculiarity of such a large aviation company is that people are still running and it is therefore difficult to convey factual messages. Rumors faster than new.

Drivers etc are dif ficult to gather together (via cassettes solution does not really work either for channeling rumors). The efforts of Dr. Ken led the company to become 4th in customer service. To deal with all major operators in 1986 announced Rothmeier acquiring Republic Airlines (Minneapolis, stpaul). Ken’s Story   : Part 1 Arrived in 1985 in an organization where there is no   : No marketing (and sellers), no HR (relations punitive, negative), no operations (old infrastructure). For him this represents a great challenge  ”   I was coming out there to do my magic   . We do not give unfortunately not re s sources or status he asks. He gives the first 6 months to build a network of relationships (as a politician) and to gather information on the organization. ”   to build myself into the system, and to build some k nowledge and credibitiliy. “In me me time, travel and visit for a maximum gain confidence and Co-operation of employees, he immersed himself as much as possible to understand the pr e occupations workers (hostility, emotions, frustrations, difficulties). Finally, it refers to Rothmeier regularly its experience, and interpretation of events it becomes necessary.
They establish a personal relationship. Mission Dr Ken   ”   analyze the culture and lead to a culture more oriented to meet customer and people oriented. Build a new spirit, professionalism, pride in the company. Develop and conduct the training that will support these goals, and destroy processes that go against the expected change   ‘ Rothmeier someone has the image ”   Who Does not care about people   “. Ken launches campaign with logo pin and People – Pride – Performance with party and announced in the newsletter.
It is also launching a 3-day program for supervisors on communication and behavioral techniques. Managers were able to meet and talk. It also reviews with a mixed group of employees in the form of performance that everyone hates. Despite these small successes, Dr. Ken is frustrated because Steve does not follow at financial support (buying a projector … ) and Ken pushed farther and faster than it wants to move. Regarding the merger, Dr. Ken believes that the two companies have not prepared enough fusion of cultures (service-oriented old militaristic structure) with team building and planning.
The merger took place in October 1986, and 33 500 employees and the company is now the 5th largest box sector. Rothmeier’s Story   : Part 2 He wants to merge all departments and systems at once. Disaster very fast   : Flight delays, double-booking of passengers, baggage lost, numerous logistical problems, etc … Not to mention the war between the two worlds unionists from each company. Wage inequality, cuts in wages etc.. Unions of Corporate Republic ”   Planned program has HAD to try and destroy the service levels of the airline company and bring the knees to icts   “.
They destroy the image of Rothmeier in the press, pretending to be a boss who does not communicate. Thinks Steve at it again, it would impose more control over the merger (procedures, discipline, structure). He received death threats and tone hardens with unions in daily confrontations. A plane crashes in Detroit   : 156 dead. Ken’s Story   : Part 2 We could have avoided many of the problems by better planning   : Prepare employees how their jobs and responsibilities would change. As he predicted everything that is finally produced, seen as a prophet and called for advice.
He then feels really good. But the company continues to suffer, the operations do not work. He launched the Crew Chief and Supervisor Academies for one week seminar for leaders   : Very positive effect on the leaders, but hardening of Trade Unions (vandalism   ! ). Rothmeier’s Story   : Part 3 Meeting all employees involved in the incident and sharing his experiences with them and listen. The public’s reaction is amazing   : Complaints about incidents that never occurred on flights that do not exist. But catharsis effect for employees who understand that change is necessary.
Ken then starts to dialogue programs to deal with problems without the intervention of management etc.. Great success. Ken enthusiastic people. The barrier decreases with the unions but Ken gets the status of Staff Vice President which provides a barrier with Steve. It loses its power to influence employees, it exceeds the limits of its competence and loses ”   general aid   “. 1988 is the year of profits, union agreements and reduced passenger complaints. But hostile takeover of Marvin Davis … we regret the time wasted in wars union … Ken’s Story   : Part 3
For him, the company has managed the post-crash exemplary manner. This unit employees and accelerated integration. Ken launches ”   On-the-line   “For managers. The program ”   Operation Breakthrough   “Is his greatest achievement over 9 months. Another merger announced in 1989 and Steve is more occupied with that. This undermines the relationship with Ken and Ken frustrating. Budget Ken is also reduced. With the sale of the company, Ken feels that collaboration ends. According to him, Northwest has never been sufficient resources to carry out the change. Report Ken   :
To achieve integration it takes 3 things   : Indoctrination   : Reduce the anxiety of change, take care of personal and professional needs, identify themselves with the company and get to carry out his work. Should be informed about the position, benefits, privileges, new rules of society etc.. Socialization   : Symbols info continuously playing field, trainings, team building, to strengthen the organization, and not to leave the hands of the unions. Organization   : Clarifying roles, reduce potential conflicts, improve communication, solved problems together and ion accelerating natural processes.

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