A case study on British Airways

Introduction

In the recent era of globalisation, the organisations focus on knowledge management in order to maximise the performance of the staff members and improve their creativity so that, the employees can work hard and contribute positively in organisational achievements. Knowledge management practice refers to the method of creating, sharing, using and managing the information and knowledge in the workplace. It is mainly multidisciplinary approach to achieve the organisational objectives in long run by making the best use of knowledge. The study aims at managing knowledge in the workplace through developing effective organisational culture a designing other strategies to maximise individual performance. The organisation British Airways is a famous organisation operating across the international markets. The knowledge management principles of the company British Airways will be evaluated in this study through identifying different types of knowledge and the role of ICT, critical analysing the importance of HRM practices and their contribution to knowledge management and exploring the organisational culture that facilitates knowledge management practices.

British Airways is the flag carrier airline of the United Kingdom, established in 1974. The company serves 183 destinations and total revenue that has generated by the company was more than 13 Billion British Pounds, in 2019. The airline is the second largest UK based carrier, based on fleet size and passengers carried. British Airways is the first passenger airline to have generated more than US$1 billion on a single air route in 2017-2018. Total numbers of employees of the company was approximately 40,000, who are efficient to manage the operational activities of the airways in a systematic way. Knowledge management is hereby mandatory for the company to handle the strong employee base and retain them for long run. The experienced staff, technicians, pilots and executive officers are working collaboratively for maximising the overall performance and provide the best airway service to the customers worldwide (British Airways, 2021a).

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Discussing the different types of knowledge and the role of ICT

The main goal of knowledge management is to improve an organization's efficiency and save knowledge within the company, where the organisation aims at sharing, structuring and enhancing knowledge in the workplace. British Airways is a famous organisation operating internationally and it also aims at knowledge management practice to develop strong team in the workplace. Through effective knowledge sharing, it is possible for the leader to manage the workers at international locations and develop trust and corporate relationship to work as a team and meet the strategic aim of the company. There are mainly two main types of knowledge, tacit and explicit knowledge. The tacit knowledge cam be gathered through working experience which improves know how, innovative thinking and understanding workplace activities efficiently (Zaim, Muhammed and Tarim, 2019). On the other hand, explicit knowledge refers to the knowledge and information that is easily taught and codified. British Airways implements different types of knowledge management practice in order to create more efficient workforce as well as ensure faster and better decision making practice. The organisation aims at making a collaborative decision by empowering the staff and thus it is mandatory to manage knowledge of the staff so that they can highly skilled and experienced. Increased collaboration, partnership working practice and retention of the staff are other advantages of knowledge management at British Airways, where the company is successful to manage more than 40,000 employees worldwide (British Airways, 2021a).

For knowledge management process, the managers of British Airways focus on in-person tutoring, company-wide training sessions, online chats and group discussions. The in person tutoring is possible where the managers are effective to identify the training needs of the employees through quality supervision and workplace monitoring. There is continuous support and guidance from the senior team to lead the employees (Zaim, Muhammed and Tarim, 2019). Hence, workplace communication is enhanced with collaborative working practice. Moreover, the organisation provides induction training programs at the time of recruitment, where the employees can attend the programs and understand the organisational activities and individual job role. The managers also focus on online chats and group discussion, so that the staff members can clear their doubts and work efficiently. The technical training courses are also arranged to provide support the staff members. On the other hand, written communication is effective for managing knowledge in the workplace and the management team at British Airways focus on Documentations, guides, guidelines, FAQ and tutorials, where the employee can review the practices and gather vast data and written information about the organisational practice, working activities and strategic planning to serve the ultimate customers (Martins et al., 2019). Hence, both the online training programs as well as sharing document are effective to ensure knowledge management practice at the organisation. The managers try to enhance employee’s creativity to make innovative solutions, and here the managers are proficient to encourage the staff and provide them a scope to share their ideas in front of others.

In this context, ICT is playing a crucial role in facilitating knowledge management practice in British Airways. The company is financial stable and it invests huge capital in developing technical infrastructure (Martins et al., 2019). The communication and information technology (ICT) are technologies which facilitate the management to share knowledge and information, in which the communication technologies such as computers, e-mail, database, data mining system, search engine, video conferencing equipment and telephones are interconnected. ICT have a prominent role on knowledge management initiatives as the employees can be engaged with other staff members and senior managers in different departments of the company. The telephonic conversation can be conducted at the workplace to share any urgent information and clear any doubts. On the other hand, there are company notice board as well as e–mail services, where the daily updates and information is shared timely (Razzaq et al., 2019). The employees also can utilise the online data base management system of British Airways, where there is password protected computerised system and the employees need to have the access of the database. The senior managers and leader sometime share the database with the employees to review the working activities, analyse the data and evaluate it for better solution. Hence, such knowledge management practice through ICT encourages employee’s creativity and technical innovation to run the business sustainably.

The managers and technical trainers are laying a crucial role in the company in arranging training courses and study materials and hare it through personal e-mail. The employee of British Airways has personal computer system and they are continuously updated with latest information and data. This practice of sharing information further facilitates knowledge management, where the employees are able to access the information and gather vast knowledge. In this regard, Data is mainly fragmented pieces of symbols and characters strung together, whereas information is refined data whereas the knowledge is useful information (Abubakar et al., 2019). The management team shred the data base to turn the information into knowledge. The main aim of the HR managers and trainers is to improve knowledge and professional skill set of the employees. Hence, they try to create learning environment to continuously support the employees and lead them towards achieving the future success. On the other hand, webinars are the online seminars that can be very helpful in widely disseminating ideas throughout teams, branches or the entire company. The staff members of British Airways try to attend the webinars to engage with international staff and share their knowledge and ideas for better performance. Hence, knowledge sharing practice and continuous learning environment further provide a scope to the organisation to facilitate knowledge management and enhance the employee’s capabilities in long run (British Airways, 2021b).

In the rennet pandemic era, there are remote working facilities for some employees of British Airways, and in this critical phase, knowledge management is important for encouraging the staff and developing strong team work to perform better. The managers try to provide shared workspace, where more than one employee can work through the web portal to serve the customers online (Ferreira, Mueller and Papa, 2018). The team members can collaborate with each other and interact for better clarity in work. This further improves their knowledge and skill set through sharing their ideas which improves the organisational overall performance. Moreover, the managers try to arrange general meeting through video conferencing, where the employees participate actively for gathering vast knowledge and information. Hereby, ICT is playing an important role to get connected with each other and share information and database for facilitating knowledge management practice. The managers utilise different communication modes in ICT including telephones, organisational web portal, shared workspace, webinars and video conferencing for sharing information and improving the abilities of the staff in working efficiently. Hence, learning environment and continuous training and developmental programs are effective to encourage the staff to gather vast information and improve knowledge to increase their productivity (British Airways, 2021d).

Evaluating the importance of HRM practices and their contribution to knowledge management internal processes

Human resource management or HRM is the modern process of maintaining people at workplace, with the focus on acquisition, development, utilisation and maintenance of the employees, in order to lead them towards achieving the firm’s success. It mainly provides space for employee involvement, performance and growth and thus in the recent era of globalisation, all the multinational corporations focus on managing human resource in the workplace in order to retain the experienced staff and knowledgeable employees who can handle the workplace operational activities successfully (Adeniran and Olorunfemi, 2020). Hence, HRM is playing a crucial role in managing the staff and retaining them for long run. Recruitment and selection is one of the major functions of the HR managers, where the managers try to hire the best candidate as per their knowledge, academic performance and professional skill set. The operation of the British Airways is a complex task and it is mandatory for the leader and managers to manage the employees of operating globally. Hence, attracting and retaining the right candidates at British Airways is possible through suitable HRM and it further ensures development of skill and competencies (Papanikou, 2020). The HR managers arrange induction process and technical training and development programs for updating the skill set of the new candidates. It is mandatory for knowledge management at British Airways. Train the people for challenging role in the airways, generating employment opportunities and sharing knowledge and data through the training and development programs are effective for knowledge management process at the organisational workplace.

In addition to this, the HRM practice includes promoting team spirit, where the HR managers aim at develop a strong team in the workplace and encourage others to share adequate information and data with each other (Papanikou, 2020). This promotes knowledge management practice, where each staff can share their ideas with others and also enhance cooperative learning process. Team learning activities and continuous support and guidance to the employees are also beneficial for British Airways to manage knowledge and share adequate information and data with others. The HR managers try to enhance the internal working practice by creating collaborative earning, arranging technical training and skill development programs for the employees as well as improving job satisfaction. Through continuous support and guidance, the managers try to encourage the workers of British Airways and create values for the staff through ensuring job satisfaction. The personal and professional skill enhancement programs encourage the employees to show their creativity and participate actively to share knowledge and skill set for working collaboratively and maximise the overall performance of the airways (Abualoush et al., 2018). Hence, the HRM practice of training the people for challenging rules, sharing clear vision and organisational strategies as well as continuous support while working with other by sharing information and latest data are effective to promote knowledge management where the employees can learn more through gathering working experience at British Airways. The knowledge management principles are hereby possible through training and development programs, arranging organisational annual meeting and seminars and workplace support from the senior management team, so that the employees can learn more and improve their capabilities to perform efficiently (British Airways, 2021c).

Hereby, the HRM practices are effective to enhance overall productivity and performance of the employees which further provides a scope to run the business operations efficiently. The internal policies and practice of managing human resource further increase employee’s satisfaction and encourage their creativity to perform well. This further promotes knowledge management, where internal communication and cooperation in the workplace help the workers to work as a team and meet the team goal successfully. The HRM practices are hereby beneficial to create suitable working environment along with ensure employee engagement so that the staff members of the British Airways feel comfortable and special in working in the workplace (Abualoush et al., 2018). The senior management team continuously promote knowledge management practice through ICT and integrated computerised system, so that the workers can improve their knowledge and perform in partnership working practice. The business creativity is hereby possible, through employee empowerment and strategic changes, where the leaders and managers design training programs and arrange general meeting for sharing important information, data about market trend and other statistics in airways so that the staff members can acknowledge all the necessary information and perform better. Commitment and competency are also ensured with such HRM practice that motivate the staff and encourage them to show their creativity. In terms of organisational performance, the profitability and overall sales volume of British Airways are increasing year by year, where the employees are efficient to serve the customers with innovation and best services to the aeroplanes. Hence, the human resource practices further facilitate knowledge management in the workplace, where shared workspace, team working practice and continuous support from the senior team members are helpful for the staff to improve their knowledge and develop skill set to run the business operations globally (British Airways, 2021d).

In order to develop effective human resource practice for knowledge management at British Airways, it would be beneficial for the HR managers to arrange technical training programs to provide the scope of developing different techniques so that the employees can access attest technology of client handing. The company is successful to hire more than 40,000 employees across the international markets and the management team is efficient to maximise their interest by fulfilling the organisational commitment and developing loyalty and trust. The leader and management team of British Airways are successful to operate internationally by managing huge numbers of employees (Mills, 2017). ICT is utilised to share the information and provide latest updates. It would be advantageous for the leader to create online training programs for knowledge management, where files and training activities must be shared with the employees with appropriate employee code so that the staff members can access the website and participate in the skill enhancement programs as per their continence. The lectures and seminars must be recorded and the files are necessary to be shard with all the employees, so that the can develop their knowledge and gain personal working experience for working better. Hence, through the access of online training courses designed by the company British Airways as well as the human resource management practice, it would be possible for the firm to manage knowledge and lead the employees towards achieving the future success (British Airways, 2021d).

In addition to this, the leader and managers must empower the employees in the organisation and arrange feedback session, so that they can share their perception and information with others. Knowledge sharing practice further help others to gain the ideas abut working efficiently and meet the organisational job roles and responsibilities. On the other hand, arranging employment portal will be another best strategy, where managers and leader can assist the staff and the employees also can post any queries and communicate with senior managers (Webb, 2017). This practice would be beneficial for the management team to ensure knowledge management at the workplace and develop strong team work, where the employees are supported and continuously motivated. Effective supervision and enhancing group discussion in the workplace are also ensured in long run, so that the employees can share their thoughts, share database of the company, access the integrated computerised system and manage cloud computing system for analysing the data and deliver the best quality airway services to the customers.

Analysing organisational culture to facilitate knowledge management

Organisational culture is playing a crucial role in promoting knowledge management practice where it is the collection of values, expectations, and practices that guide and inform the actions of all team members. The corporate leader and managers in the workplace try to develop good corporate culture which further ensures effective corporate governance (Mills, 2017). British Airways is a famous organisation in airway industry and it is the role of the leader and management team to develop good workplace culture so that it would be possible to manage the stakeholders, including employees, managers, staff members of different departments, suppliers and distributors. British Airways focuses on fulfilling the organisational commitment and create values for the employees, as the employees are the main stakeholders group to run the operations of airways sustainably (Webb, 2017). Hence, organisational culture is important to promote knowledge management and maximise the overall performance of the employees in long run. British airways need to develop good organisational culture by identifying the characteristics of the corporate culture that facilitates knowledge management. In the recent competitive era, the vision of British airways is to become the world's most responsible airline and mission is “To ensure our customers fly confidently that together, we are acting responsibly to take care of the world we live in”. The aim of the firm is to provide the best global connectivity for the customers by expanding their operations across global cities, either directly or through network of airline partnership. In order to manage such critical activities worldwide, it is important for the corporate leader and board members to develop good strategies planning for developing operate culture, where the employees can work efficiently by partnership working practice (British Airways, 2021b).

There are several characteristics of corporate culture that facilitates knowledge management practice. Innovation and risk taking culture refers to the degree to which the employees are encouraged to show their creativity and adopt innovative practice in the firm. The organisational board members and management team in this regard must focus on empowering the employees and experienced technicians at British Airway, so that they can analyse the current phenomenon and explore alternative solutions to conduct the operational activities. on the other hand, the high risk taking culture further leads to change management practice, where the leader and managers of British Airways focus on leading the changed initiatives by implement latest technology and strengthening the ICT system, so that the employees can perform the task efficiently and met the strategic vision of the company (Kuljanin et al., 2021). The company is mainly outcome oriented culture where the organisational profitability and sales volume are the critical success factors for evaluating the business growth. Hence, the managers are concerned about individual performance and continuously motivate them to improve their productivity and innovation to meet the aim. Innovation leads organizations to get the most out of available technologies, resources, and market and continuous innovation and employee’s empowerment will develop trust and loyalty among the team to seek support from the senior managers and progress in the work creatively. Integrity and respect for each other is important in the culture of British Airways so that the leaders can manage the international employees (Kuljanin et al., 2021). The leader ensures that all the employees are treated respectfully and fairly, and in this regard equality and diversity are managed well. The culture of equality and diversity further develop strong team work, where the employee start collaborating with each other and perform well to meet the strategic objectives.

In addition to this, Resilience is a key quality in highly dynamic environments that leads changed initiatives successfully. For making the business successful, the culture with continuous innovation and change management are effective where British Airways can renovate their services and create customers values in long run (Mills, 2017). Internal trust and loyalty among the team members as well as respect for others must be promoted in the workplace. The managers also try to focus on shared workspace and enhancing team working activities, in which the team members can work as a partnership working practice and meet the team objectives together. This further helps to enhance collaboration and communication in the workplace. The leader must provide freedom to work and also maintain harmony in the workplace, so that the workers can get suitable working atmosphere. On the other hand, enhancing internal communication through implementing ICT, arranging grout discussion and general meeting will provide a scope to share the ideas and information among the employees (Siricharuanun, Na-Takuatoong and Koraneekit, 2017). Hence, the employees will be able to access all the necessary information and company data base to understand the current trend and renovate their working practice for creating values for the ultimate users. Additionally, fair internal practice, managing transparency and accountability and managing employee’s safety and security are also managed well in order to protect the employee and motivate them to work efficiently at British Airways (British Airways, 2021d).

As per the organisational culture by Cameron and Quinn (2006), there are four dimensions which are clan oriented, adhocracy, and market and hierarchical oriented. Clan oriented culture refer to a very personal place, suitable for family business, mentoring and equal participation. The market orientation is mainly the practice where the managers and leaders are result oriented, and trying to get their job done efficiently to ensure future achievements (Moore and Taylor, 2021). Open the other hand, adhocracy orientation means the dynamic and entrepreneurial management; people take risk in the workplace to enhance organisational vales by improving innovation and business creativity. Additionally, hieratical orientation refers to the practice of favouring structure and control, coordination and efficacy must be ensured along with stability. Implementing adhocracy culture in the workplace would be beneficial for managers at British Airways to facilitate knowledge management practice (Siricharuanun, Na-Takuatoong and Koraneekit, 2017). In this cultural perspective, the leaders are concerned about gaining competitive advantage and secure future sustainable growth rather than maintaining brand stability and control. The corporate firm aims at expanding their business for serving vast range of customers worldwide, and in this regard, knowledge management is important so that the employees are highly skill and knowledgeable to perform better and fulfil their responsibilities. Hence, under this culture the managers should provide flexible working practice and enhance individual’s creativity by employee empowerment.

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There would be strong communication and cooperation during changed initiatives, where the employees can share their opinion and make collaborative solutions to make the business successful. Hence, dynamic team work, encouraging employee’s creativity, motivating them through monetary and non-monetary incentives and leading the staff effectively are helpful to create good corporate culture (Moore and Taylor, 2021). The monetary incentives are designed well including remunerations, bonus and compensation, salary and performance related pay and these are effective for encouraging employees to perform better. The non-monetary rewards including health and safety of the staff, workplace condition, good supervision and control, employee empowerment, promotion and self-actualization practice are also beneficial to motivate the staff and ensure good knowledge management practice (Karami, 2017). The learning culture must be developed at British Airways, where the leaders and managers try to support and provide guidance to work efficiently. The technical training and professional skill enhancement programs as well as seminars and group meeting will be arranged where the employees can participate and communicate with others for sharing latest information and data that facilitates knowledge management (British Airways, 2021d).

Conclusion

Knowledge management practice in British Airways is effective, where the latest technology, ICT and integrated computerised system are developed for managing the employees and maximising the overall performance of the company. The managers are efficient to arrange induction process and technical training and development programs, to support the employees with adequate information and data. The organisational data base is also shared with the staff for encouraging their creativity and motivates them to perform proficiently. Hence, adhocracy style of corporate culture along with continuous communication, employee empowerment and team working practice enhance the knowledge management practice in British Airways.

Reference List

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