West Jest vs Air Canada Essay

1191 Words Sep 25th, 2011 5 Pages
How serious is the threat from conventional airlines that want to imitate the westjet culture? What does it take to imitate organizational culture? Can Air Canada compete against westjet’s employee productivity and its relationship with its employees?

Ever since its establishment in 1996, WestJet has aimed to operate as a low-cost carrier while employing non-unionized members in a unique organizational culture. In its simplest form this unique organizational culture can be labeled as a labor managed firm. In a labor managed firm employees are owners, and they are affected by the company’s performance through profit sharing. Then it should not be surprising that in labor managed firms, the employees can voice their opinions and actually
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And it is for these reasons that the threat from competition, which aims to imitate the organizational culture of WestJet, is not viable. Based on extensive research Barney (1986) arrived to the conclusion that “organizations that have a rare and hard to imitate organizational culture benefit from it as a competitive advantage.”

For other airlines to imitate the organization culture similar to WestJet they also have to make extreme changes to their unionized labor force (the case of Air Canada). Given the very nature of unions, it should be obvious they will face sever barriers and challenges, filled with lawsuits and complaints, that will be very costly, if at all possible, to accomplish. Recently, Air Canada has been aiming to move towards an organizational culture similar to WestJet. They went as far as to distribute shares among their employees, roughly $500 to each employee. Half of the share values are given upfront and the remainder is to be distributed in 2014 (The Global and Mail, “Air Canada in Black, workers get shares”). This number is pretty insignificant compared to the 84 percent of employees at WestJet owning shares in the company. This adds further strength to the argument that a imitating an organizational culture after years of operations will not have the same effects as a co-operative establishment from the very

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