Research Projects

Organizational Redesign: Will Your Changes Fly? In Reserve

It's a common refrain: Organizations work to reshape their workforce and organizational structure, transform their business model, or move in a new strategic direction. But a year after the launch, they still have not realized the anticipated benefits. As airports look to make dramatic and unanticipated changes in response to the COVID-19 virus, they will need practical guidance on how to make needed changes "stick." This project will investigate the impact of recent and planned organizational changes and provide detailed, action-oriented strategies that airports can begin to implement immediately.

Background (Describe the current situation or problem in the industry, and how your idea would address it.)

It's a common refrain: Organizations work to reshape their workforce and organizational structure, transform their business model, or move in a new strategic direction. But a year after the launch, they still have not realized the anticipated benefits. Do teams lack a shared understanding of the Director's vision? In the absence of direction or new business processes, have employees resorted to their former, and very different, ways of doing business? Do employees also lack the knowledge and skills needed to operate effectively in the new structure?

Track 4 of the 12th Annual Conference on Transportation Asset Management focused on organizational and workforce change. In "normal" times, it is difficult enough to implement needed organizational changes. But as airports look to make dramatic and unanticipated changes in response to the COVID-19 virus, they will need practical guidance on how to make needed changes "stick."

Objective (What is the desired product or result that will help the airport industry?)

This project will investigate the impact of recent and planned organizational changes and provide detailed, action-oriented strategies that airports can begin to implement immediately. The guide will assist airport directors and managers by detailing such techniques as 1) working with leaders (as well as union representatives) to clearly define the new business model; 2) creating communication channels to promote transparency and clarity around the reorganization; 3) developing operational plans and process maps for each function to serve as a roadmap for employees; and 4) creating individual learning plans (again, in concert with union leadership) to address identified skill gaps. Planning for these types of interventions will help airport leadership develop a shared understanding of the new business model and the role of each employee in the new structure.

Approach (Describe in general terms the steps you think are needed to achieve the objective.)

Tasks expected to be involved in this project include:

Literature Review: Because of the timely nature of this project, we anticipate that we will use mostly contemporaneous sources, including news articles; Websites of relevant member organizations such as ACRP, ACI-NA, and AAAE; aviation and HR trade journals; press releases; and other sources.

Data Collection: Conduct interviews, surveys, and/or focus groups with identified stakeholders.

Needs Identification: Extract themes from data collection to form the basis for the guide. Themes might include change management communication, business process improvement, training, employee engagement, and others.

Best Practices Research: Review the scientific and domain literature to identify case studies and data to anchor our best practice recommendations.

Guidebook Development: We anticipate developing the guidebook as a series of modules or chapters that can be used as standalone resources or in combination. To disseminate guidance and information in a timely manner, we suggest developing targeted Web content during the guidebook development process to offer insights and recommendations that can be implemented immediately. We plan to enlist a panel of airport and human capital experts to review the guide during development and before final publication.

Cost Estimate and Backup (Provide a cost estimate and support for how you arrived at the estimate.)

$500,000, based on the complexity of the activities and the high level of detail in the final product. Although the estimated period of performance for this project is between 18 months and two years, we expect to provide "quick wins" by producing Web content of interest and utility to the target audience at key points during the guide development process.

Related Research - List related ACRP and other industry research; describe gaps (see link to Research Roadmaps above), and describe how your idea would address these gaps. This is a critical element of a synthesis topic submission.

ACRP Synthesis 40: Issues with Airport Organization and Reorganization -- A Synthesis of Airport Practice (2013)

TCRP Report 162: Building a Sustainable Workforce in the Public Transportation Industry -- A Systems Approach (2013)

Conference Proceedings on the Web 25: Proceedings of the 12th National Conference on Transportation Asset Management (2019). Track 4: Organization and Workforce

Annotations
Idea No. 468