The concept of leadership dominates all work environments. This is especially so because no organization can run successfully without the able guidance of a good leader who leads by being an example himself (Anderson and Sun 2017). In this report we will try to analyze the leadership and management of Oman Air, an airline service based in Oman.
Oman Air is the national airline service of Oman headquartered in Muscat, the capital city. Established in 1993, the airline service has grown rapidly since witnessed substantial growth and has played a chief role in transforming the city of Muscat into an essential air traffic hub in the Middle East. The airline also led to the development and supported the florishment of industry and tourism in the region (Omanair.com 2017).
Known for its classy couriers and world class in flight services, the airline is a flagship transporter service of the Sultanate of Oman. The airline service currently operates direct international flights from Muscat to almost all the countries of the Gulf Middle Eastern region and also to Cairo and Amman and Kenya recently. The airline also offers its services to 11 destinations in India, 2 in Bangladesh, 3 in Pakistan, 1 each for Nepal and Sri Lanka and also to the southeast Asian destinations like Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Jakarta, Zanzibar, Dar Es Salaam and Guangzhou. The destinations in European region are London, Milan, Munich, Frankfurt, Paris and Zurich.
Objectives of the airline
- To be a safe airline
- To be the airline of first choice
- To increase revenue and reduce cost
- To cater for growth towards our 10 year plan
- To contribute to the development of the Sultanate of Oman
- Trust and respect
- Integrity and transparency
- Taking responsibility
- Teamwork and fun
A look on the objectives and value system of the Omani air service provider gives an insight into the commitment of the airline in developing the business as a leader in the market by empowering the employees management.
In context of Oman air, it is very important to understand that the airlines is owned by the Sultanate of Oman, headed by the ruler Qaboos bin Said Al Said. The system of absolute monarchy by hereditary is practiced in the country where the ruler is the decision maker. Moreover Islam being the main religion prevalent, the organizational operations of businesses are largely guided by Islamic laws and principles.
Organizational leadership refers to a dual focused management approach which works towards the dual motive of achieving the best for individuals as well as for the group in a and simultaneous manner. Leadership is defined as the capacity to make participants in an organization focus on a goal which is considered as important by the leader (Bolman and Deal 2017). The leader here, sets a goal, decides the path and encourages the others to follow it. This approach underlines the need of an attitude to work as well as an ethical manner necessary for work that empowers employees and individuals to lead an organization be it from the top, middle, or even the bottom layers. The origins of organizational leadership can be found in the hands of Richard Cyert, Richard Cyert and Herbert Simon. They are often referred to as the Carnegie School of Behavioural studies in 1950s and 10960s. These researchers are known for their contribution in behavioral studies in understanding the actions of individuals and organizations in the existent world and their challenges to the neoclassical supposition of optimization and maximization in resolution making and organizations (Chhokar et al. 2013). They found that the works of neoclassical economics gave little consideration to the institutional and cognitive constraints on economic and organizational behavior. They also found that the individual decisions and possibilities of making mistakes were also overlooked. March in addition to Simon also wanted to amalgamate empirical techniques along with theories to establish the legitimacy of their work. In context of the airline service Oman air it is interesting to see how the airline has incorporated the components of organizational leadership in its mode of operations. In this regard, focus is laid on discussing the important components of organizational leadership in context of Oman air as follows:
A world vision: The development of a worldwide view in understanding the position of the organization through its own perspective as well as through the worldviews of others is very important in emerging as a leader. This view is not only concerning the conventional beliefs regarding religious ideologies, political affiliations and traditional practices but also beyond these aspects that combines the influence of existing external factors. A world view of an individual is framed by the influences of the individual’s attitudes, values, opinions and belief. In terms of an organization it is very important to have a worldview as it gives the organization the leadership strength to give proper guidance operating in an organization to interface the world. It is also important for the organizational leadership to understand the composite worldwide understanding of other organizations (Elbanna 2016). Oman Air critically understands the need for worldview and for this reason the airline is observed to have incorporated the vision of transforming the organization as one of the best in the world. Moreover the slogan of the company has been set by the leadership as – modern vision; timeless tradition. This lays focus on the fact that the leadership aim at emphasizing on the existing rich traditional and cultural base of Oman with a view to be a leader in the field of airline business by offering them services that are modern, world class and quality focused.
Strengths: Capitalizing on the strengths of an organization and managing the weaknesses are very important for the success of leadership. It is very important for leadership to nurture talents, understand the knowledge and employ the skills of the employees working in an organization to achieve good results. Strength is often misunderstood as being the same as ability; but ability is converted into strength only when it is utilized constantly, happily and with success (Khan, Rajasekar and Al-Asfour 2015). Oman Air leadership focuses on utilizing the strengths of the organization by enabling the workforce of the airline to offer services to the customers with proper training. The training is focused on enabling the participants to enlarge the knowledge, skills and responsiveness. This will in turn give them the ability to make over their departments by providing group based leadership through the formation and communication of vision and values, to achieve superlative standards of feat.
Ethics: The aspect of ethics is of vital importance in organizational leadership as it gives an understanding of what is right and what is considered wrong in a working environment. It guides the leader to approach a situation with impartiality and find solutions to problems. In situations where the solution is ethically questionable an effective leaders will try to look for an alternative to solve it. In organizations, leaders must be ethically guided to help develop a healthy and willful working environment. Oman air in this respect displays good ethical business behavior.
Communication: A successful leader always indulges in effective, transparent and fluid communication not only within the organization with his subordinates and colleagues but also with the external world. Communication plays a vital role in setting the correct goal for the organization and the employees with clear messages. An individual who is supposed to lead must have an understanding and acknowledgement of the morals, assumptions, viewpoint and outlook of the people to whom he is communicating the message. This will help him to acknowledge the past differences and focus on areas of agreement for greater cooperation (Ruben and Gigliotti 2017). Good leaders go beyond the barriers of communication arising from lack of confidence, vocabulary, accent, speaking difficulties and appearance and give a patient ear to all the employees equally. The time to time publication of reports, in house letters to employees are such good communication tools.
Dynamics in an organization can be defined as the process of continuously augmentation of the existing resources and working on enhancing performances of employees. It can also be described as the manner in which an establishment manages and promotes directorial learning, better business practices and strategic management. The origin of works on organizational dynamics lies in the hands of Ralph Stacey who in 1990 in his work Dynamic Strategic Management discussed on conventional ways of thinking and practice in relation to the leadership and dynamics of organizations (Shin et al., 2017). The later works gradually emphasized the importance of implementing dynamic strategic measures to make an organization effective and productive by incorporating changing trends of analysis and checking whether the organization has adapted itself with the changing times. The primary business activities that contribute to organization dynamics are:
Planning: A clear and strategic planning that defines and demarcates various departments within an organization is helpful in setting measurable goals to be achieved. This sets a clear path for the necessary actions to be taken and the decisions in future. Such planning in an organization may include control of inventory, scheduling the production, appropriate forecasts for revenue generation and managing expenses.
Skill based execution: After the planning, the execution of the goals should be implemented by evaluating and following up according to the expected deliverables. To achieve this, the leadership must allocate resources and responsibilities based on the skills and potentials of the employees.
An exemplary oversight: The leadership must possess hands on experience with a prior knowledge of outcomes in order to motivate the employees to be innovative and perform well.
Systematic evaluation: This helps the leadership in formulating systems to gather data qnd evaluating if the goals are met.
Effective human resource practices: An effective system of human resource management to ensure that employees are trained and skilled up to function productively is inevitable for an organization. It helps the organization to be up to date with the requisite knowledge, technical knowhow and skills. Project managers can go a long way impacting the overall performance by effectively planning, managing risks and empowering individuals to excel.
Oman Air, since its evolution has held on to the adoption of a dynamic system of organizational functioning. The airlines have incorporated a strategic approach of transforming the organization as a world class business model by investing on a well built infrastructure network and skilled manpower who are rooted to the Omani culture and yet ambitious to have an international appeal. Right from the inclusion of fuel efficient and modern business class aircrafts to implementing schemes like providing skills on leadership to airline managers the airlines has carved a niche for itself as a leader in the aviation industry of the Middle East. The adoption of investment plans in innovations in the aviation sector and the policy of customized service excellence with dedication and punctuality have enabled the business to reach the pinnacle of success. The codeshare agreements Oman Air has with the leading airlines have also helped it expand successfully.
Management control over development of Organization
An organization can be called effective only when its top management comprehend how to handle and control it effectively. The primary intention of the facet of control as a notion and route is to stimulate and route workforce in their roles. In order to ensure that organizations run effectively in the long run, understanding the process of managerial control and systems is very important.
The term control has different connotation depending upon the context of the use of the term. In the context of organization control refers to an ability to order and manage the functions and management of unit. As a supervision process it aims at achieving defined goals within a fixed period of time through an established time schedule. It is the composition of three elements which are: (1) setting standards, (2) enumerating actual performance, and (3) taking remedial action.
Control exists in every level of an organization and it aims at a continuous exercise of evaluation of the necessary actions that need to be taken to fulfill the objectives of an organization. It is mainly a managerial activity where all the top office bearers of the organizations involve in rigorous evaluation. It decides plans and strategically designs the plan of action and the path to follow it taking into accounts the existing resources and deficits. Control exists in all the management levels of an organization and the jurisdiction of control authority varies from one level to another. The apex management would be involved in strategic control, central management into calculated control and lower level into operational control. Since the objective of a control mechanism is always goal oriented in an organization hence, it should involve strategic planning.
Organizational composition of Oman Air
The organizational structure of Oman Air consists of a board of directors and three distinct committees. They are-
- Executive Committee
- Audit Committee
- Human Resources Committee
Executive committee: The Executive Committee plays the most important supervisory role in ensuring that the operations of the airline are carried out in pursuing the future vision and current mission of the service. The Chief Executive Officer
(CEO) of the airline, Paul Gregorowitsch is the head of the executive committee.
Audit committee: This committee helps the board of Directors to ensure the veracity of the financial statements and recommending the appointment of the external auditor to the shareholders.
Human resource committee: The purpose of the Human Resources Committee is to assist the Board in the effective discharge of its responsibilities to oversee establishment and implementation of appropriate human resources strategies and policies to achieve short and long term organizational objectives.
Board of directors: The board of directors constitutes the governing body of the airline with officials from within the airline and also ministers from the government of Oman. The chairman of the airline, Darwish bin Ismail bin Ali Al Balushi is the chairman of the board.
Each of these committees is entrusted with specific roles and these determine the level of control they can exert on the airlines business operations. They evaluate the various achievement levels in the different modes of evaluation and identify the deficits. They also set targets that need to be achieved. Another very important aspect in case of management control in Oman Air’s operations is the state control on the business. Since the Sultanate of Oman owns the business the implications of political affiliations, alignment to certain international bodies with mutually alike ideologies and an inclination to the Arab countries are predominant in shaping the control mechanisms of the airlines business as well. The development of a more Central Asia focused air route, inclusion of Islamic cuisines like the halal food in the menu are such examples. The airlines has developed its business on the basis of a clan control approach adopted by its top management which in another way had shaped the functioning of the airline basing on the principle of alignment to the Omani culture. Their products and services also represent this aspect where they advertise exquisite holiday packages to picturesque Omani countryside and also offer business class ground transportation facilities to business class passengers. This highly underlines the control mechanisms where the organizational objectives are designed as not only being routed to the Omani culture but are also modified with the adoption of new age technologies.
Organizational chaos can be defined as a situation in which the employees loose the motivation and commitment to work. It is the result of the lack of an effective leadership which makes the workers incapable of setting a goal and measuring the way to lead to it. The lack of an organized and systematic planning in management makes the workers ultimately less productive and thereby they gradually lose their commitment to work. The presence of an effective leadership coming from a structured hierarchy of management officials each equipped with necessary skills, knowledge bases and controlling mechanisms obstructs creation of organizational chaos.
Question of whether control is necessary or not
It is often discussed and debated whether there should be a system of control from the top management or not. While many experts tend to support control in management practices many oppose it too. In understanding the implications of this problem it is first of all important to understand what are the advantages and disadvantages of having control or not. It is an established fact that effective controlling leads to a functional efficiency of a business and the absence of it leads to a directionless functioning. Therefore, it is advisable for organizations to have control systems from top management to make the organization run in a profitable way. This will help in understanding what needs to be done in achieving the goals an organization sets for itself as well as what needs to be avoided to stay away from incurring losses. In this regard, Oman Air can be said to have a practice of control from its top management and it is this effective controlling that has helped the airlines grow as a business that needs no introduction. The airline’s maintenance of a high service quality by the employees to constantly make the travelling, in flight services and airport based services memorable and wonderful customer experiences have been the guiding principle set by the top management. This has helped Oman Air to provide world class travelling experiences by constantly evaluating the operations and mode of conduct. The regular annual reports on the evaluation of the company’s business and performance depict the seriousness and sincerity of the company in its self evaluation. In this respect, the vision statements set by the Chairman, the CEO and the executive committee portray how they envision the company to perform in the global airlines business.
Time to time evaluation, a check on the adherence of standards in products and services helps the organization understand its current position in the market and also its position in the near future. The only aspect that needs to be kept in mind is that the level of control should not be such that it binds the organization to a set of rigid rules making it difficult for employees to perform with motivation. The leadership of Oman Air has been decisive in creating strategies by incorporating social responsibility towards the Omani people as a core area of it operations.
The airline service Oman Air has achieved a considerable position for itself in the aviation industry of the Middle East. But, in order to be brand recognizable by everyone in the global market it can work on the following parameters.
- The organization can work on its leadership plan by including modification of its policies in recruiting and promoting the employees. It can follow the policy of promoting the senior workers to higher positions to create an environment of trust and growth.
- It can conduct training sessions, workshops and career growth plan oriented programs to motivate the employees. Thus, by initiating such steps the employees will be capable of taking up new challenges in transforming the organization to a center of excellence.
- The leadership can also help the other workers to be more efficient by demonstrating mutual respect and acknowledgement of the contributions of the employees. This will help in enhancing organizational behavior.
- The level of control should be exercised with utmost care. It should not be applied to limiting benefits enjoyed by the employees fostering an element of security into the organization in terms of employee turnover.
- Since the airlines aims at setting a world standard for itself, it can collaborate with international quality airline services like British Airways to conduct workshops on bilateral programs where the leadership from there can come and take some sessions and workshops.
- The airline can also try to include more aircrafts and also lay emphasis on increasing the number of economy class flight services bringing in a more dynamism in the organization. This will also require in transforming the way it trains its employees to conduct themselves with passengers who are largely business class.
- The communication channel practiced by the airlines also needs to be clearer by promoting more interaction and communication with the immediate supervisors. A policy of closed door should not be encouraged.
- Since the airline is based in a country dominated by Islamic culture it has certain rigidities pertaining to the functioning of the organization. It should therefore also try to imbibe good values and organizational practices from other cultures as well keeping the Omani people the center of their operations.
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