1.0 Executive summary
This assignment was commissioned to identify the types of leadership and management style displayed in this incident by the United Airlines. Moreover, a reflection is written on the leadership lessons that I learned from the United Airlines CEO Mr Oscar Munoz by evaluating the impact of the organisational culture on leadership behaviour. Recommendation was particularly given on how leader should deal during the crisis situation.
On the 9th April 2017, the United Airline flight 3411 had an issue on overbooking. Before the plane decided to take off, the United Airline made an announcement that they needed four passengers to actually leave from the plane as voluntary as four of their staffs had to fly on that time. The selection of a passenger are based on numerous factors, however passengers who flies frequently or pays higher fare are given main priority in staying aboard which was stated from the United airline spokeswoman. Three passengers which was selected voluntary has left the plane with an agree decision. However, the final passenger which was selected who is known as Doctor David Dao refuses to leave the plane. Due to refusing to leave the plane, he was dragged out violently from his seat which has caused him serious injuries and was hospitalized. This incident was recorded by one of the passengers which became viral in social media and has intensified into a worldwide PR tragedy for the United Airlines. In this assignment, I will be analysing and evaluating this case from the perspective of the leadership and organization.
3.1 The leadership and management style displayed in this incident.
There are few types of leadership and management style displayed by the CEO and their subordinates in this incident.
On the 9th April 2017, a passenger who is known as Dr David Dao was dragged out violently from the united airlines flight 3411. People took video of that incident in where the officers are dragging Dr Dao who was shouting with helpless and bloody around his arms. Other passengers was screaming to stop but they ignored and took him out from the plane. Dr Dao was one of the four passengers who was randomly selected to leave the plane due to the crews who had to fly on that time.
On the 10th April 2017, the CEO Mr. Oscar Munoz came out with an official statement on the united airline website and also on social media platforms in Facebook and Twitter. The CEO mentioned the word “re-accommodate” to the incident, has brought in anger to the public. In addition, another statement which was delivered to the united airlines employees which was revealed to the public in which the CEO appears to be protecting his employees. This shows the leadership skills that he showed was country club leadership. This style have a high concern on the people and less concern on the production (KOC, Kiliclar, Yazicioglu, 2013). This can be proven when Mr. Munoz did not blame their employees for their action but instead blamed Dr. Dao and called him as “disruptive and belligerent” in a letter which was delivered to the united airlines employees which was revealed to the public. He defended his employees and stood by with them on that situation and said that it was a lesson and could take it as an experience.
On the 12th April 2017, The CEO appeared on the ABC’s Good Morning show, America and addressing that this kind of issue will never happen again. He asked sorry to Dr. Dao and felt ashamed after watching the video. The leadership skills that Mr. Munoz displayed in this incident is the authentic leadership. One of the authentic leadership are self-discipline. In which it gives the leaders to focus and determine in terms reaching the goals and move forwards even after facing setbacks (Northouse, 2017). As we could see, he said will take “full responsibility” on that incident and promised to “make it right” and a review will be conducted by the company by April 30th 2017.
On the April 15th 2017, united airlines had made an announcement which is that they have changed their policy where crew members are no longer allowed to relocate passengers who is already onboard in the plane. The CEO has displayed the coercive leadership skills. This style makes the leader in making a hard decision for the company (Zuned, 2017). This coercive leadership style are used when changeover is needed in order to recover from the current crisis situation and that is what Mr. Munoz did it. Now the airline crews have to check in one hour before the flight takes off. This is to avoid of finding a seat for the crew members after all the passengers have booked their seats already.
On the April 27th 2017, the united airlines had settle out with Dr Dao at the court. The both parties had reached to an “amicable settlement” after Dr Dao had suffered several injuries after being forcibly removed violently from the plane, which is stated from Thomas Demetrio (Business insider, 2017). Mr. Munoz has said that he is going to do what is right and he has did it. Moreover, the united airlines took full responsibility for the incident that happened in the united airlines flight 3411, deprived of trying to blame others.
3.2 Leadership lessons from the United Airlines CEO Mr Oscar Munoz.
There are various type of leadership lessons which I learned from the United Airlines incident. Firstly is emphatic value. The decision took by a leader should not affect other third parties like elderly, pregnant women, children and group of people who are not responsible for any consequences faced by an organisation. Empathy states to the aptitude in experiencing and understanding others emotions from the others stand-point (Shi, Ye, 2016). United airline crews failed to recognise the passenger who was screaming, injured and bloodied in that incident. Mr. Munoz as a leader didn’t show any concern for Dr. David Dao’s recovery or well-being who was dragged out of the plane so badly by the United Airlines employees. This incident has impacted the united airlines overall as public urge to boycott united airlines after watching the video of Dr. Dao being violently dragged out.
Secondly, the lesson I learned from this CEO is that as a good leader, we must take full responsibility for any consequences faced by the company. In this case, we can see from two aspects that Mr. Munoz were responsible by accepting the fact that his side was wrong and he apologized for what has happened. Leadership who is responsible is shown through demonstrate, ethics and endurance (Lynham, Chermack, 2006). As we can see, he took full responsibility by changing his company policy to a new policy to make everything right. Due to his responsibility and efforts to make it right, Dr David Dao has agreed to settle with united airlines in the court case for an undisclosed sum as a compensation. This shows Mr. Munoz are responsible for the consequences faced by the passenger by resolving the problem.
Not only that, the leadership lesson that I could take into my personal account is that impatience attitude could lead to a big crisis. As a leader we must learn to be patience in any situation and must handle things in a calm way. United Airlines failed to recognize the importance of being patience in handling things with customers. The incident could see in where the united airline reacted violently by dragging of the passenger instead of dealing with the customer patiently until the both parties could come to a decision. Due to the impatience attitude it has brought bad reputation to the company and has turned up the company to face many financial crisis.
4.0 Conclusion and recommendations
Crisis are where incidents happens outside and usually beyond the organisation routines. In spite of unexpectedness, most of the crises usually doesn’t occur suddenly but due to series of a warning event and also incidents. As in this case, the crisis has occurred through a negative incident which has effect the united airlines in facing a spiraling crisis from the videos which shows that a passenger has been dragged of violently from the plane, and consumers has threated to boycott the airline and also lawmakers has called it for an investigation.
Certain leadership skills and actions in which the leader has during the normal operating situations could be different during the crisis time. Usually during the crisis time, it will affect negatively towards the leader in which the behaviour of the leader will change day to day. This is because due to the pressure that the leader is facing from the stakeholders, publics and media, the action or behaviour that they react will actually impact the organisation. For an instance, after the incident, he defended his employees and blamed the victim for not being cooperative with the employees. But after that statement, he apologise the victim and said he will make everything right after this incident. As we can see from the united airline incident, Mr. Munoz has behaved differently and the action that has be taken changes from occasions.
Leadership skills is such an important ingredient to form a great organization. There are few recommendations from my side to make the United Airlines Company to a better state. Firstly, strategic vision. Strategic vision is a tool for the leader to identify the correct pathway for the company to move forward and gain profits. As a leader, Mr. Munoz must be aware of business threats and must be careful in handling things after such incidents because it might bring again a bad reputation to the company. Thus, as a leader he should bring back the hope and believe that United Airlines could serve a better service among the public. The vision carries an image in what could be accomplished, why it’s worthwhile and also how it could be done (Yukl, 1998). For an example, as a CEO of United Airlines, he could do promotions for public by giving them a valid statement like if any of the passengers who has been mistreated by the crew members of the United Airlines, that particular passenger are eligible to refund their money and they could compile an action against United Airlines. This kind of statement can regain the public’s attention and their hope to travel on United Airlines. They can feel safe and secured whole they are travelling in United Airlines.