Management and Employment-Relations Strategies in the Airline Industry: Perspectives on Asia, Australia and the Middle East

15 Pages Posted: 14 Mar 2009 Last revised: 22 Jan 2010

See all articles by Greg J. Bamber

Greg J. Bamber

Monash University, Australia; Newcastle University, England

Jody Hoffer Gittell

Brandeis University - The Heller School for Social Policy and Management

Thomas A. Kochan

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Andrew von Nordenflycht

Simon Fraser University (SFU) - Beedie School of Business; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

This chapter discusses the variety of approaches to the management of people in airlines from the Asia / Pacific / Middle East region in the face of increasing deregulation. We identify key differences between the institutional environment for airlines in the US versus those in Asia-Pacific nations and discuss their competitive implications. Then we describe the competitive and employment relations strategies of seven airlines (both incumbents and new entrants) from four countries. We note that incumbent airlines show little change to their basic employment paradigm, despite major restructuring efforts. New entrants show more variety, both in their approach to union relationships and their approach to relations with employees. However, we find that none of these airlines fully matches the model of Southwest Airlines, one of the world‘s most successful airlines, and suggest that there may be unexploited opportunities to turn employment relationships into a source of advantage.

Keywords: airlines, varieties of capitalism, Asia, Australia, commitment, control, partner, accommodate unions

JEL Classification: J53, L93, L22, R48, M12, M54, O53, O56, O57, P51

Suggested Citation

Bamber, Greg J. and Gittell, Jody Hoffer and Kochan, Thomas A. and von Nordenflycht, Andrew, Management and Employment-Relations Strategies in the Airline Industry: Perspectives on Asia, Australia and the Middle East (2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1359434 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1359434

Greg J. Bamber (Contact Author)

Monash University, Australia ( email )

Department of Management
27 Sir John Monash Drive, Monash University
Caulfield, Melbourne, Victoria 3145
Australia
+61 3 9903 2615 (Phone)

Newcastle University, England ( email )

Business School
Newcastle University
NE1 7RU Newcastle upon Tyne
United Kingdom

Jody Hoffer Gittell

Brandeis University - The Heller School for Social Policy and Management ( email )

P.O. Box 549110/MS 035
415 South Street
Waltham, MA 02454
United States

Thomas A. Kochan

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

E52-583
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-6689 (Phone)
617-253-7696 (Fax)

Andrew Von Nordenflycht

Simon Fraser University (SFU) - Beedie School of Business ( email )

8888 University Drive
Burnaby, British Colombia V5A 1S6
Canada

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

100 Main Street
E62-416
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

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