Changing the Culture at British Airways

952 words 4 pages
1. What was life like at "old" British Airways?
• Employees were embarrassed to mention they worked for the company.
• British Airways stumbled into its 1979 state of inefficiency in large part because of its history and culture.
• British Airways faced the worst crisis in its history in the late 1970’s early 1980’s.
• Unless they took immediate action they were heading for a loss of at least £100 million within that present financial year.
• They faced the potential that by that following April they had losses close to £250 million in two years.
• A special bulletin was written by then chief executive Roy Watts issued to all staff stating the following:
Even as I write to you, our money is draining at the rate of nearly £200 a
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“Manhattan Landing” dramatically portrayed the whole island of Manhattan being lifted from North America and whirled over the Atlantic before awestruck witnesses in the U.K. After the initial airing, a massive campaign was run with a 90-second version of the commercial. The ad marked the beginning of a broader campaign, “The World's Favorite Airline,” reflective of BA's status as carrier of the most passengers internationally. With the financial picture finally brightening, BA raised its advertising budget for 1983-84 to £31 million, compared with £19 million the previous year, signaling a clear commitment to changing the corporate image.
4. Would it be easier or harder to make future changes such as cost-cutting?
• It would be easier by taking the approach Marshall did. He made customer service a personal crusade from the day he entered BA. One executive reported: “It was really Marshall focusing on nothing else. The one thing that had overriding attention the first three years he was here was customer service, customer service, customer service—nothing else. That was the only thing he was interested in, and it's not an exaggeration to say that was his exclusive focus.” Another senior manager added: “He has certainly put an enabling culture in place to allow customer service to come out, where, rather than people waiting to be told what to do to do


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