Virgin Atlantic

Last Updated: 28 Jan 2021
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Virgin Atlantic is facing a number of management challenges for which it actually implemented a solution. This paper therefore will attempt to make an evaluation whether the company’s efforts met its defined objectives with its leadership development program. This will also discuss other challenges the company is facing in the context of human resource development principles. 2. Question and Answers 2. 1. Identify key issue involved in the case and review and use relevant literature to reinforce the arguments put forward.

The main issue in the case of Virgin Atlantic is whether the company was able to accomplish it objectives in implementing its leadership development program and whether there are other actions that must be done to accomplish greater organizational goals. In making evaluating its development program relevant human resources development theories will be used to determine company’s possible application. 2. 2 Use the information provided by the case study to argue for and against the situation in question.

It may be argued that Virgin Atlantic was generally successful in implementing its leadership management program if the basis was whether it accomplished its objectives. Case facts say that its objective in implementing the program is “to increase the amount of management vacancies that were filled internally, to safeguard Virgin’s work culture. ” As to whether the company attained its purpose will be analyzed in the evaluation of alternatives or options. 2. 3.

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Identify most important management challenges facing the firm and/or individuals in the case. The important management challenges include the fact that the company’s “young management team lacked experience and the company was worried about its ability to respond to new opportunities that arose. ” (Case facts) This situation is by the company’s having went through a period of rapid growth, after the slum in air travel following September 9/11 attack on New York’s Twin Towers.

This fact is further made intensive, which is in a sense another challenge, by the company’s strong belief “to increase the amount of management vacancies that were filled internally, to safeguard Virgin’s work culture. ” Based on the said challenge, it is obvious the individuals or managers of the company must face the fact they are young and that they may not avail of the needed level of experience to address the demands of the company while they are engaged in the work place in just having a training for so short a time.

This is therefore supported by the case facts which provide “Virgin decides to send all of its 120 managers on person development workshop at the Roffery Part, at a cost of ? 2,000 to ? ,3000 as per head. Cross estimates the overall cost per head of the whole leadership initiative is ? 4,000 to ? 5,000 for the two and half day sessions started in May 2006, and 90 managers have so far been through the process. The remaining workshops will be held this year. ” 2. 4. Prescribe a solution for managing these challenges (develop alternative solution)

Obviously a solution was already implemented by the company – train existing personnel. As to whether other things could still be done is subject to whether the programs are still to be implemented the same must be able to address the impending need for managers as identified by the company’s management in relation to corporate objectives. Hence the question is: Should not the company resort to recruiting managers from outside the organization? Answer in the affirmative would be therefore be an alternative solution to the need of Virgin Atlantic for management skills. 2. 4.

1 First option – Train existing managers This already implemented. There is therefore a need to describe and discuss the first option which to train existing managers. This supported by case facts which provide, “Virgin Atlantic introduced a leadership development programme that was led by business objectives rather than HR processes, and fitted into the organizations’ long-term goal or increasing profits by 7%. The leadership team started by identifying the traits it believed had made Virgin success and followed with a 360-appraisal of the management team’s strengths and weaknesses.

” The workshop takes the form individual coaching sessions that set personal development objectives for managers, using feedback from the 360-degree appraisal and personality tests. A series of activities was made with the aim to instill the company’s leadership principles into management behaviors. Individual personal development plans resulted from the program as well as splitting each group into two sets of six managers where the others need more follow-ups. 2. 4. 2 Second Option – Hire managers from outside the organization. This option has not yet come into the minds of management at least in the case facts.

It may however be argued that company may not be open to the idea of hiring outside for the meantime because company management want to preserve its existing culture by adopting the policy of promoting from within the organization and this is supported by the company’s plans “to review its leadership development plans annually and implement further development program this year. ” It must be stated however the company’s reason for giving only a session of two and half days is the fact the present managers are already very much involved in the company’s presently expanding operations.

2. 5. Evaluate alternatives and recommend course of action. The first alternative appears attainable but its training of existing personnel might affect present operation as the managers were only given two and half days and that would not be long enough to higher responsibilities in the organization. The outcome as of the training per case facts provide that as the company increased “motivation and retention, the ratio of management positions filled internally rose from approximately 50:50 to 60: 40” according to Cross.

This has also caused Virgin Atlantic to “run a second 360 degree feed program, which revealed the perception of manager’s performance by their direct reports has also improve. ” Unexpected benefits from the close cooperation between different aspects of its business was also observed by Cross. Another effect is the legal manager statement that the procurement department was able to save ? 140, 000. Direct evidence of success was also noted from the employees.

One of them is them is Chris Birch, who was one of the company heads who took part in the 360-degree feedback and personal development workshop, claiming to have used it to manage his own personal development and this has the support of authors in personnel development . Chris further said: “It gives you more buy-in and it helps you to see where you want your career to go. It is also indicative of how the company has grown up- it shows the business understands the true benefits of having a strong leadership at the top. ” As to whether what the company did and experienced is consistent with theory, Moss, et.

al who evaluated a leadership development program recommended among others that the success of the leadership programs justifies implementing more programs for graduate students. It may be argued based on results that the outcome of the training may have exceeded the expected results as indicated above since originally the company wants just to preserve the corporate culture. To evaluate the second option of hiring managers from outside the company, it may be argued that the purpose of the company of training existing personnel was to increase the amount of management that were filled internally, to safeguard its culture.

The case facts did not state of immediate vacant managerial positions after the sessions. The best evidence to know whether the program is success is from its head, Mr. Cross who “admits he could have better attained the concept of the leadership programme to the managers. ” He however explained the trainees “were busy people who hadn’t really had a chance to understand why they were there. ” He added: “I would also have made sure everybody understood that having personal development plan was a requirement going forward to stay in the business development program.

” Based on Mr. Cross statements, there was no indication of any immediate need to hire managers that would mean getting from outside. In fact Mr. Cross was determined to have completed the programme by summer 2006, “but this was not possible, due to the day to day challenges Virgin faced and the impact of the alleged terrorism plot that created havoc in the airline industry last summer. ” Again there is a clear indication that this second option of hiring is simply not open because of lack of need. 3. Conclusion and Recommendation:

It may be concluded the company more than attained its objective of increasing the amount of management that were filled internally, to safeguard its culture. The program head Andy Cross had expressed the need for completing the program and absent any evidence that would show that Virgin Atlantic would need immediate hiring the company is only choosing to wait for the proper time to continue the leadership development program. Giving priority to existing employees would seem be controlling part of Virgin’s corporate culture.

In this sense, Rifkin has corrected painted about Richard Branson’s policy of ‘employees first’ before customers. Mr. Branson has tackled great problems in many industries as Chairman of the London-based Virgin Group and his policy on employees seems to be his secret in his many successes. However, the decision to hire outside managers, must be left as an open option should there be an immediate need that may arise because of fast changing conditions in the business environment with the company still preserving its desired culture.

As to the need to explain to everybody that having personal development plan was a requirement going forward to stay in the business development program, Mr. Cross is never to late to do it by possibly making a memorandum addressed to the employees to produce the needed effect as authors theoretically require trainees to know the purpose of the their trainings.

Work cited:

Adair and Allen; Time Management and Personal Development; Thorogood, 1999 Anthony, et. a. , Envisionary Management: A Guide for Human Resource Professionals in Management Training and Development. Quorum Books, 1988

Case Study: Virgin Atlantic in Practice: High Flying Management, Sir Richard policy `EMPLOYEE FIRST’ Ford, et. al m Improving Training Effectiveness in Work Organizations; Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1997 Moss, et al. , Evaluation of Ten Leadership Development Programs for Graduate Students in Vocational Education, NCRVE Materials Distribution Service, Horrabin Hall 46, Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL 61455, 2000 Rifkin, G. , How Richard Branson Works Magic Salas, et. al; Improving Teamwork in Organizations: Applications of Resource Management Training ; Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2001

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Virgin Atlantic. (2018, Oct 03). Retrieved from

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