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Symposium on Airline Management

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Symposium on Airline Management

Old 7th Aug 2008, 23:08
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Symposium on Airline Management

For anyone interested in issues relating to Airline Management this would be interesting.

I am not aware of the history of Jim Parker former Southwest Airline CEO but the Academic turnout it first rate.

If anyone would like to fly me over there for the sessions I would appreciate it.

How Airlines Can Improve Performance by Engaging their Employees,"
Monday, Aug 11 2008, 12:20 - 2:10pm, at Hilton Anaheim, room Huntington B. Program Session #: 772, Submission: 12438, Division
Sponsors: HR, CM, CMS.

By all means pass this on to others who will be at the AOM who might be interested. Thanks.

Tom Kochan; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Andrew von Nordenflycht; Simon Fraser U., Canada; Greg Bamber; Monash U., Melbourne, Australia.
Practitioner Discussants:
Patricia Friend -International President, Association of Flight Attendants-CWA & Jim Parker -former CEO, Southwest Airlines.
Chair: David Finegold; Rutgers U.

This symposium includes discussion in the areas of: human resources, employment relations, strategic management, critical management, work, and public policy. The questions asked focus on airlines, but are also relevant to firms in other industries that are facing pressures to compete on costs while maintaining quality standards: can employers provide a fair return to investors, high quality and reliable service to their customers, and good jobs for their employees?

Measured against these three stakeholders' interests, most airlines are failing. In the first five years of the 21st century, US airlines lost more than $30 billion. Four of the largest wiped out their equity investors in bankruptcy. In 2006-07, there was one airline in the US that operated with financials above junk bond status (Southwest
Airlines) and only a few others in the world. During this five-year period, US airlines cut wages by more than $5 billion and laid off 100,000 workers. Worker morale fell, while customer complaints rose to record levels.

In this symposium we discuss such challenges in the US and other countries. The symposium considers what the stakeholders can do (in the airline industry and elsewhere) to prevent low cost competition from having counter-productive outcomes for customers, employees and investors. (The academic presenters in this session have co-authored a book with Jody Hoffer Gittell: Up in the Air! which will be available from Cornell U. P. in late 2008. Jody will attend as an informal discussant.)
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Old 8th Aug 2008, 04:54
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Although a tremendous cynicism surrounds this very topic, especially among airline employees (of which I have been one), the fact that a title such as "How Airlines Can Improve Performance by Engaging their Employees" can both be possible and draw people into discussion is remarkable in a day and age when employees are told they're too expensive, they demand too much and are imbued with the sense that they "are in the way of profit".

This is of particular interest to a safety specialist (and retired airline captain) because unhappy employees are first unmotivated and therefore don't care about equipment damage. At my airline, that was over $10m per year just in hangar rash to airplanes and doesn't even touch damage to ground equipment. I should think both shareholders and managers (leaders) would be interested in such outcomes.

This isn't to say that a corporation is responsible for employees' happiness - not at all. But ordinary people merely want to have fair trade for their time in and have their knowledge and skills respected and used to the betterment of their employer and their managers. Usually that's through dealings with the customer (or clients or guests or SLF's... ) but the vast majority of airline employees don't see their customers and don't even see their airplanes and can lose touch with the business they're in.

Those interested might google Andrew von Nordenflyscht of Simon Fraser University for a taste of what may go on at this conference.

Such a conference is an encouraging sign in what is for most employees of airlines today, (not to mention their passengers), a pretty dismal, depressing and constantly-angry enterprise that fewer and fewer graduates want to be a part of.
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