Southwest Air Line is an American company with its head quarters in San Diego, California. The company was established by Herb Kelleher and Rollin King in 1971.
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Determine how Southwest Airlines’ corporate culture differs from other airlines
Corporate culture refers to an organization’s standards, values and ideology. It is reflected through manager’s style of leadership, ways of communication and the pattern of work. In many organizations, the corporate culture is usually introduced and maintained by founders of the organization and those who take over from them.
Southwest Airline has a unique culture which is shaped by its founding leaders. The company has a reputation of suitable schedules, affordable fare, true concern for its passengers and joyful service. Unlike other companies who take every opportunity to increase there fares even when economic circumstances do demand such increments, Southwest Airline never executes unnecessary fare increments.
For example, it refused to charge customers who travelled with their checkered baggage. Instead they encouraged their clients to come with them by sarcastically having a poster in their premise which read, “We love your checkered baggage”.
These standards, values and ideology of South West Airline trickle out to its clients. This is because the company endeavors to make its customers happy. By motivating their workers, employees develop a feeling of belonging. Employee happiness is converted to customer happiness.
The driving principle for South West Air Line states that, happy workers leads to satisfied customers. One of the ways the company uses to motivate a team of over 32,000 employees is by involving them in decision making. When employees are involved in decision making, they easily implement solutions reached at in decision making forums (Boone & Kurtz, 2012).
Their method of hiring talented and service oriented employees is also unique to them. They use the phrase, “servant at heart” to refer to their employees. To make sure they only recruit the best among the best, interviews are conducted in groups and candidates are allowed to interact actively with other candidates. Managers identify candidates with high interactive skills and bring them on board. This hiring style is only unique to Southwest Air Line.
Another special feature of Southwest Air Line’s man power lies in its style of management. The company gives power to its supervisors, frontline employees and middle mangers to make decisions on ways of strengthening relationship between the company and its clients. This has made employees at South West to work for the company like it was their own (Elwood & Trott, 1996).
Therefore, one can conclusively say that Southwest Air Line’s culture is different from that of other companies because it puts true interest of the customer first by focusing on price and comfort, hires a talented and service oriented work force and adopts participatory decision making process. This is a corporate culture nurtured by founders of the company and maintained by current managers.
Analyze three (3) ways that Southwest’s unique culture has benefited the airline and its employees
The unique culture at south west company has benefited the company and employees in various ways. Firstly, the culture guarantees employees job security and a stable work environment. A stable work environment is achieved through employer’s willingness to listen to workers grievances and respond to them adequately. A stable work environment leads to job security.
In addition, employees are able to access and benefit from career development opportunities available at the place of work like training, scholarships and promotions. These opportunities are open to all employees irrespective of position one holds in the company.
The airline on the other hand benefits through employees who give their best services to customers which leads to increased customer satisfaction. Once customers are satisfied with the quality of service, they are more likely to come back with their friends. More customers therefore lead to more profits (Farris, Neil, Pfeifer, & Reibstein, 2010).
In addition, a peaceful relationship has been developed between employer and employees. This relationship eliminates the need of workers to join unions or to go to industrial courts to resolve disputes arising between them. The company does not waste resources in expensive court tussles. These harmonious relationship leads to higher production, a feature which is important to any company. This further increases employee loyalty, a motivated labor force and satisfied customers (Parasuraman, 1991).
Speculate how Southwest Airlines would continue to thrive as a company if its current corporate culture would need to change in the near future
According to my analysis, the culture at Southwest Air Line has stood the test of time and I would not recommend change of culture if the organization is to prosper. The customer satisfaction perspective adopted by the company is good for the growth of the business now and in the future (Kissel, 2002).
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However, the company could consider expanding its business not only to destinations within Dallas, Houston and Sanantonio but also to destinations outside America. In this regard, the company could consider exploring other markets in Europe or/and Asia.
Boone, E. & Kurtz, L. (2012). Contemporary business. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Elwood, F. & Trott, J. (1996). Trends toward a Closer Integration of Vocational Education and Human Resources Development. Journal of Vocational and Technical Education, Vol. 12(2), 7-8.
Farris, P., Neil, T., ;Pfeifer, P., & Reibstein, D. (2010). Marketing Metrics: The Definitive Guide to Measuring Marketing Performance. Upper Saddle River, N J: Pearson Education, Inc
Kissel, G. (2002). Poor Sailors’ Airline: a History of Pacific Southwest Airlines. McLean, VA: Paladwr press.
Parasuraman, A. (1991). Marketing Services: Competing Through Quality. New York, NY: Free Press.