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Carlzon, the youthful (46) CEO of Scandinavian Airlines System, here offers an amiable, once-over-lightly account of how he managed to pilot the flag carrier for Denmark, Norway and Sweden out of the red. Shortly after taking the controls in 1981, Carlzon decided that SAS should cater to business travelers, who tend to be decidedly less price-conscious than tourists. Accordingly, he geared the line's operations to the demands of a commercial market, emphasizing such unique selling propositions as on-time departures, convenient schedules, and comfortable seating. Carlzon's service-oriented plan paid off dramatically, and he soon found himself facing the problem of how to keep the 20,000-strong work force in a collectively competitive frame of mind. His solution: prepare for the challenges that would result if Western Europe's air-transport industry is ever deregulated. Conceptually, Carlzon's sketchy counsel here is above reproach. To illustrate, making employees at all levels responsible for turning customer contacts (""moments of truth"") to corporate advantage seems an uncommonly sensible approach in today's marketplace, where civility and service are increasingly rare commodities. Unfortunately, the author never really gets down to cases. Beyond vague allusions to flattening out the organizational pyramid, for example, the text provides few details on how the notoriously militant unions of three Nordic lands stay persuaded to make common cause with their superiors. In like vein, Carlzon recommends keeping directors informed, but he doesn't address the complexities of dealing with the SAS board, whose members include Danes, Norwegians, and Swedes with presumably conflicting national interests. In sum, a benign briefing that's lighter than air.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1987
ISBN: 0060915803
Publisher: Ballinger