Analysis Of United Airlines Case Of Customer And Employee Dissatisfaction

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The field of study that revolves around the comprehending and managing of individuals within the work force, is deemed as organizational behavior. Also referred to as “OB”. Organizational behavior is derived through a multitude of external foundations such as: ethics, management, psychology, statistics, and many other contributing assets. (Kinicki & Fugate, 2018, p. 4) One of the many helpful aspects of developing insight into organizational behavior, is learning how to apply it in order to form solutions to the many complex scenarios that arise within the work force. One particular process that might be used to resolve work place problems would be the, “3-Step Approach”. This strategic and systematic plan helps us bridge the gap between reality and our ideal goals, by assessing the situation and defining the main problem, questioning and recognizing what might be causing this problem, and proposing suggestions on how to take action in order to create a resolution of said problem. (Kinicki & Fugate, 2018, p. 4)

In our text, we are given a case about United Airlines’ customer and employee dissatisfaction, where we get to apply the 3-Step Approach to a real-life situation. In 2010, United Airlines merged companies with Continental airlines, and made numerous decisions solely based around cutting expenses. It was such money motivated decisions, that negatively effected thousands of individuals both internally and externally. From awful coffee and cheap uniform materials, to mass layoffs and outsourcing, it was evident that United Airlines needed to make some major changes if the company had any intentions of turning the “satisfaction plane” per say, all the way around. Luckily, in 2016 the current CEO, Oscar Munoz, also saw the dire need to begin renovations to the company’s organizational culture. Let us assess the company’s main problems and follow through the 3-Step Approach in an attempt to produce a solution.

Step 1: Define the Problem

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The first step in in the pursuit of problem solving via the 3-Step Approach, is to define the problem. However, it may be wise to first and foremost, grasp what exactly defines a problem. To simply put it, as stated in our text, “A problem is a difference or gap between an actual and desirable state or outcome. ” (Kinicki & Fugate, 2018, p. 21) While there were many problems within the United Airlines case, the most essential desired outcome would be increase in customer satisfaction. Some might disagree and say that reducing expenses or increase in employee satisfaction are more important. However, it is increase in customer satisfaction that lies within the heart of all other issues.

Step 2: Identify the Causes of The Problem

The reasoning behind the hypothesis of customer satisfaction, is in fact backed by actual evidence that overlaps into almost all the other problems the company faced. At the surface level, causes of dissatisfaction can be traced back to bad coffee, loss of luggage, and delayed flights. Yet, it is at the beginning of this avalanche, that lead to such devastation in customer satisfaction reviews. When United Airline’s began to lay off employees, outsource, and use cheap uniforms, it caused employees to become discouraged and undervalued. This ultimately lead to the employees having less motivation to fulfill job related duties, both in the mechanical and customer service fields. Which in turn, made it very difficult for United Airlines to hire and keep pilots, flight attendants, and mechanics. When employees are undervalued and unhappy, it caused productivity levels to decrease. When productivity levels decrease, mistakes like loss of luggage and delayed flights are inevitable. Therefore, when all this comes into play, not to mention the famously atrocious coffee, it causes the problem of customer satisfaction going down the drain. What happens when customers are unhappy? They take their business elsewhere! Ironically, this leads to mass profit losses, which is what the company was trying to make up for when they initially began making decisions solely around budget costs.

Step 3: Make Recommendations

So, what type of recommendation might be implemented in an attempt to get United Airlines out of this never-ending downward cycle? Let us refer to what our desired outcome is, increased customer satisfaction. Well, just like how all these problems began at the top, that is probably where the company should begin to make changes first. Initially, by re-establishing the recognition of employee value. Just like how the customers are a business’ assets, so are the employees. Perhaps a flip of the managerial pyramid would give employees a sense of greater purpose. It would also give the corporate level an insider eye to how the company can improve customer service and technical developments. Essentially, this would lead to faster innovations of higher quality content across the board, ultimately leading to increase in higher customer revenue and satisfaction. Highly treasured employees with a voice and purpose, lead to job responsibilities being carried out with more attention to quality detail; which leads to an overall better experience for customers, and realistically everyone involved. This is how United Airlines might consider using the 3-Step Approach to obtain the desired outcome of increased customer satisfaction.

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