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There is a truth within organisational culture methodologies that a company’s culture is made up of every person, process and outside organisation which has interacted with the company over time. Some of those interactions will have passed almost without noticing whilst others may have had a more seismic effect. And it is also true that it is the role of organisational leaders to understand those interactions and shape the image, values and ethos of the organisation around them.
It is no surprise then that organisational leaders play a pivotal role in defining and maintaining company culture but it is a rare leader who is prepared to step up and publically acknowledge that cultural failings can be laid at their door. Hats off then to Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary who told shareholders at the recent AGM that “I am very happy to take the blame or responsibility if we have a macho or abrupt culture. Some of that may well be my own personal character deformities.”
Responding to shareholder concerns that negative publicity was adversely affecting business Mr O’Leary announced a refocus on customer service including a revamped web site and a new digital marketing strategy which will see Ryanair switch “a significant proportion of its marketing budget from old to new media, with a particular focus on mobile and social media platforms.”
The company is also to become more lenient on areas such as fining people for bags which are very slightly over size. Commenting Mr O’Leary said “A lot of those customer services elements don’t cost a lot of money … It’s something we are committed to addressing over the coming year.”