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02.08.2004 Feature Article

Ghana Airways Saga:- An Indictment on our Nation's Competence and Management Capacity.

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The Ghana Airways saga is not only a disgrace but an indictment on our leadership, and our management capacity, with respect to the very organization and also the ministry and all associations and regulatory agencies that are somehow tied in to this organization. It shows the lack of a sense of urgency and our forever disrespect for contracts, which in the western world represents what it is meant to achieve, an agreement between parties to honor a certain product, service, or position.

It also shows the lack of coordination of the organization, in terms of its remote operations, and the work that needs to be done as a country, when we talk about tourism.

One broad impact of the saga, which will affect individuals and companies in the region, is that airline pricing for Ghana, and other West African States, have lost one important aspect of creating competitive pricing to those destinations in West Africa. This will impact tourism and possibly the cost of doing business in the area.

This one failed organization, Ghana Airways, has brought disrepute to Ghanaians, at large, possibly through negative publicity, reduced the potential of tourism, definitely impacted the competitive pricing of flights to West Africa, smeared the image of Ghanaian organizations with respect to integrity and the quality of management running these organizations.

One cannot help but to almost sob to see the level of customer service being rendered after the grounding of the plane. Regardless of the grounding, efforts must be made to at least uphold the image of the disgraced brand. Treat customers with care and respect and go all out to ease the frustration of its stranded customers.

The value of the brand is now diluted and will forever be scarred, just as the name Enron may be associated with deceit, Ghana Airways shall be associated with incompetence, poor service, and for being an unsafe and unreliable airline. It was an existing position in the past, known by many, but now confirmed by the US action.

There could be other negative associations, which go beyond the brand image, and as said may affect the nation as whole, or specifically Ghanaian organizations in general.

This may be good in a sense, because as we talk about being part of the global economy, are we, as a nation, competent enough to play on the global field? Are our players, informed enough, with the technical know how and information to really play on the global field? I beg to differ.

The whole situation must make the nation in itself reflect on the necessary steps to take to continue to improve upon our business capacity, especially as it pertains to firms that operate beyond the borders of Ghana.

For many years, Ghanaian firms have not taken customer service or customer care seriously. They disrespect their clients and operate with the idea that the customers need them and it is not the company that needs its customers. This perhaps, comes from the days when government subsidized all these quasi-private-government institutions, and for that matter, the competitive position of a company did not matter. That philosophy is definitely a killer for any institution today, and if any organization, regardless of its structure, does not put service in front o its operations, and work in the interest of customers, and also focus on the values that drive its competitive edge, they will die.

Unfortunately, it would be extremely foolish for anyone, to think that Ghana Airways can make a rebound now. It is a dead organization that must be laid to rest and must serve as a case study in our local university, to demonstrate how a business should not be run and how a business that impacts the national economy of a small and poor country, like Ghana, must be monitored closely by the regulatory agencies that manage it. It's a matter of priorities gone wrong.

Probably, it even may be a good case study that Harvard Business School can add to its case studies, and that would be the only fame for Ghana Airways, as it starts its unstoppable descent to demise.

Once again, our people failed us, and it is not anyone but our own people. The organization is made up of people and as such we can conclude that this unfortunate situation, which has direct implications, on jobs, our local economy, and national image, has all been brought to question and disrepute not by foreigners but Ghanaians. Who do we have to blame?

Ako Folson
Ako Folson, © 2004

The author has 58 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: AkoFolson

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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