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Etihad Airways: Leadership Attitudes Essay

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Updated: Jul 20th, 2021


The leadership attitudes of an organization are crucial for its performance and competitive capacities. They affect the level of customers’ satisfaction and the staff’s turnover rates. There are several factors that may contribute to the effectiveness of the company’s management. This paper presents an analysis of the issue in the example of Etihad Airways and other airline companies. It identifies the leadership techniques that have led the company to success and investigates the flaws of its management system.

The research encompasses the methods of the literature review, surveys, and personal interviews with personnel of Etihad Airways, Fly Dubai, and Air Arabia. It concludes that although there are areas of improvement, the current leadership techniques of the three organizations are successful due to their innovative approaches, support for the employees, and strong corporate cultures.


This study considers the types of leadership attitudes and their impact on the companies’ performance and the employees’ job satisfaction level on the example of Etihad Airways and other airlines in the United Arab Emirates. The research involves the literature review to identify the most effective techniques that improve workers’ dedication and reduce the turnover rates. It also utilizes surveys and personal interviews aimed to obtain the internal perspective on companies’ management methods. The primary objective of the study is to identify the factors that contribute to the effectiveness of the Etihad Airways leadership.

The research also aims to investigate the existing management techniques and define which of them are utilized at Etihad Airways and other airlines. Finally, the study’s goal is to outline the most useful leadership techniques that can be implemented to improve organizational performance, as well as the employees’ dedication. The research question utilized for the study is: what factors contribute to the effectiveness of the Etihad Airways leadership?

The choice of Etihad Airways for the analysis is determined by the fact that it is one of the main airlines in the United Arab Emirates; its business model is exemplary. Currently, the organization is one of the most profitable carriers in the country and aims to become the world’s leading airline company (Bose 25). Although Etihad Airways have many competitors including Fly Dubai and Air Arabia, the organization has managed to become one of the leading airlines globally due to its strategic management techniques. The research considers the success of the company as the result of its effective leadership attitudes.

Background to the Research Problem

Leadership is significant in both social and organizational contexts. The existing research on the leadership techniques and the factors that contribute to their effectiveness is broad. Many leadership theories have been developed to improve organizational performance and corporate culture, as well as employees’ dedication. Notably, currently, there are no universal strategies that are admitted to be the most effective for companies’ performance, which allows for the development of alternative methods of organizational management.

Moreover, leadership may be perceived from different perspectives; it means that it is impossible to develop a single definition of the concept (Silva 1). Silva notes that leadership can be understood as the process of influence aimed to achieve common goals (3). It implies that organizational management encompasses many strategies for productivity and improvement.

Leadership techniques may be applied in a variety of settings from the management of small groups of individuals to creating strong corporate culture. The effectiveness of the management methods may be determined by their consequences. For example, they may include the high level of employees’ dedication and clients’ satisfaction, as well as the workers’ perceptions of the corporate culture and the relationships within the company. Moreover, the level of competitive capacities of the organization can illustrate the firm’s attitudes toward leadership.

Literature Review

The findings of the literature review show that the topic of leadership effectiveness is relevant and is broadly examined in the current literature. For example, Asrar-ul-Haq and Kuchinke note that the most effective leadership styles are transformational and transactional ones (55). They add that the utilization of these leadership attitudes contributes to the increase in the level of employees’ job satisfaction (Asrar-ul-Haq and Kuchinke 55). Another study performed by Hartnell proves this point of view, adding that positive corporate culture may improve the effectiveness of organizational performance (846). This research is aimed to contribute to the available studies on the topic of leadership, as it presents the issue from the perspective of airline companies.

Theoretical Framework and Topic Statement

The theoretical framework of the research on leadership effectiveness is presented by the existing studies on the topic. The problem of leadership has been investigated since ancient times; some of the notable theories were outlined in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (Silva 2). According to classical studies, the factors that contribute to the effectiveness of management methods include a leader’s capacity to develop a clear vision, strong interpersonal influence, and clear companies’ objectives (Silva 2). Personal traits of mentors, such as intelligence, charisma, and ambitiousness, are significant for leadership as well.

The problem of effective leadership is closely related to the field of business ethics. The primary question that is significant to the issue is the role of ethical standards in all areas of organizational management. For airline companies, the principles of business ethics should be applied in customer service, phone calls, the development of price policy, and strategies for competitiveness. Business ethics create the organization’s reputation, build its corporate culture, and serve as a benchmark for employees.

Different theoretical research methods were used to perform the study and identify its topic. The historical and educational documents on leadership, its basic concepts, and development were analyzed to outline the issues relevant to the investigation. The information about the performance of airline companies was obtained to select the focus of the study. The findings allowed for the development of the research topic, which is the contributing factors of leadership effectiveness in Etihad Airways.


The project utilized empirical methods of research, including surveys among the airlines’ staff and personal interviews. The sample sizes were limited to 25 individuals to allow for the comparison of the findings obtained in each organization. There were no age restrictions for the participants; all of the employees were more than 18 years old. The questions for the personal interviews were designed accordingly to ethical issues; the written consent of the individuals was be obtained before data collection. The focus groups included the employees of all levels working for Etihad Airways and other UAE-based airlines.

The choice of such a methodology is determined by the need to examine the leadership methods implemented at the organizations from the internal perspective, in other words, from the employees’ point of view. Besides, the integrative literature review was performed before the research to analyze the existing types of leadership attitudes and theories about them, as well as their impact on companies’ performance and personnel’s dedication.

The following steps were taken to conduct the research and analyze its findings. Firstly, the background information about the significance of leadership methods was collected to study the research problem. The keywords used for the literature search included leadership, leadership attitudes, companies’ effectiveness, and organizational performance. The utilized databases were Business Source Complete and ProQuest. The topic is well explored, which allowed for obtaining a broad perspective on the issue. The possible contradictions and flaws of the existing approaches to leadership were examined as well.

Secondly, the analysis of Etihad Airways’ management techniques, as well as the company’s corporate culture was performed. The obtained information was compared to the available data regarding other airlines based in the United Arab Emirates. Next, the surveys and personal interviews with airlines’ personnel were performed. Finally, the findings were analyzed and used to identify the factors that contribute to the effectiveness of the Etihad Airways leadership.

Significance of the Research

The significance of the research is determined by the necessity to analyze the leadership methods to improve the companies’ performance. In the case of airlines, studies in the field are crucial as the corporate cultures within these organizations may affect their customers and the quality of their lives directly. For example, if the leadership is effective and the employees’ job satisfaction rates are high, the turnover rates of the staff may decrease.

Consequently, employees can provide high-quality services to clients due to their professional skills, which ensures individuals’ safety and comfort during traveling. Moreover, the findings of the study may be utilized to develop an effective approach to leadership for various types of organizations. Management techniques used at airlines may be exemplary as such companies work with individuals directly, which requires detailed planning of the organizational strategies.

The research is beneficial for the business administration and management industries. The reason for it is that nowadays, strong corporate cultures and effective leadership techniques may be crucial for companies’ competitiveness. The study provides both the theoretical background on the topic and the investigation on the cases of the existing airline companies and their strategies. The strong point of the research is that it encompasses the findings of the literature review and the experiences of the personnel. It allows for a comprehensive approach to the investigation and creates a reliable basis for the improvement of leadership techniques and future studies on the topic.


The literature review presented the data about the company’s recent performance. The analysis of Etihad Airways’ revealed the factors that have contributed to the effective leadership in the company and the high level of individuals’ satisfaction with its services. First, the airline values clients’ feedback, implementing customer visits in its practice, and using comment cards to collect data (Venkatraman 157).

It is also evident that technology plays a significant role in the effectiveness of leadership. The company uses innovative methods to approach its customers, including the establishment of a user-friendly website and the utilization of several languages in its contents, as well as the implementation of e-commerce methods. Venkatraman also notes that employees of Etihad Airways receive training, which improves the company’s competitiveness (161). Another study performed by Bose shows that the organization utilizes strategic management techniques including the maintenance of corporate and social responsibilities and working on the development of the airline on the international market (22). Moreover, Etihad Airways considers ecological problems and follows existing environmental policies.

The surveys and personal interviews performed with the staff members of the organization also provided insight into the factors that make the companies’ leadership effective. They report that Etihad Airways offers a good reward system for its employees, including high salaries, health care coverage, and flight benefits. However, they note that the corporate culture of the organization needs improvement as some of its practices are unethical or do not comply with its official policies.

The research also included interviews among the personnel of other airline companies, including Fly Dubai and Air Arabia. The staff of Fly Dubai (24 interviewees in total) reported that the organization was supportive of its employees. The mentioned positive factors were visa assistance (8 participants), housing opportunities (4 participants), and ticket discounts (20 participants). However, the majority of them noted the communication problems between the companies’ authorities (16 participants) and staff and the lack of provided training (13 participants). Notably, the personnel of Air Arabia did not mention significant flaws in the leadership style of the organization.


The findings of the study suggest the factors that contribute to the effectiveness of Etihad Airways’ leadership. It is evident that the airline utilizes a customer-centered approach to business, which allows for the implementation of the changes suggested by individuals and results in high rates of clients’ satisfaction with its services. Moreover, the implementation of technology is another significant management strategy.

As the company uses the modern approach to communication with its customers, it allows for improvement of their perspectives on the organization and motivates them to prefer its services to those of other airline companies. Another significant factor that allows for the effectiveness of the companies’ policies is the focus on the employees’ training. Firstly, it improves their professional skills and reduces the turnover rates. Secondly, and most importantly, training of the personnel enhances the quality of service and establishes a safe and comfortable environment for the clients.

There are recommendations that can improve the leadership attitudes of Etihad Airways. According to the surveys, the managers of the organization lack attention to its corporate culture. To improve this problem, the company may consider the establishment of informal meetings for the employees or additional training sessions. Another area of improvement is ethical issues, which should be considered by the organization. Etihad Airways should make implement the principles of business ethics into its management style. They can create a welcoming environment for the employees and clients, and develop policies that imply honesty, reliability, and responsibility in the organizational leadership.


Leadership is a complex subject that needs to be addressed and discussed to improve organizational performance, decrease the staff’s turnover rates and ensure customers’ satisfaction. The example of Etihad Airways shows that effective management techniques may contribute to the company’s success, making it one of the leading firms in the field. The implementation of the innovative and customer-centered approach are crucial factors that have affected the airline’s performance. However, there are areas of improvement, such as the company’s corporate culture and business ethics.

Works Cited

Asrar-ul-Haq, Muhammad, and Peter Kuchinke. “Impact of Leadership Styles on Employees’ Attitude towards Their Leader and Performance: Empirical Evidence from Pakistani Banks.” Future Business Journal, vol. 2, no. 1, 2016, pp. 54-64.

Bose, Indranil. “The Strategic Environment of the Aviation Industry in UAE: A Case Study on Etihad Airways.” IIUM Journal of Case Studies in Management, vol. 9, no. 1, 2018, pp. 21-27.

Hartnell, Chad A., et al. “Do Similarities or Differences between CEO Leadership and Organizational Culture Have a More Positive Effect on Firm Performance? A Test of Competing Predictions.” Journal of Applied Psychology, vol. 101, no. 6, 2016, pp. 846-861.

Silva, Alberto. “What is Leadership?” Journal of Business Studies Quarterly, vol. 8, no. 1, 2016, pp. 1-5.

Venkatraman, Raghu Raman. “Empirical Study on Effect of Employee Engagement to Achieve Maximum Customer Satisfaction in the Airline Industry – A Case Study of Etihad Airlines.” American Scientific Research Journal for Engineering, Technology, and Sciences, vol. 26, no. 3, 2016, pp. 155-163.

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