Assessing Corporate Culture: Southwest Airlines

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Assessing Corporate Culture: Southwest Airlines Q Organizational Philosophy, Mission, Vision, Values Southwest Airlines clearly outlines their values in their corporate mission statement: The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of customer service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and company spirit (www.southwest.com). This mission both describes the company's approach to its workforce, and the customer at large. Rather than focusing on the financial side of the business, Southwest has been successful in creating an organization centered in fostering positive relationships with its employees and customers. The airline is also known for its ‘zany corporate culture', and has maintained the buy in of its employees through emphasizing a fun atmosphere (Plunkett, 2004-2005, p.509). Company founder, Herb Kelleher once said, "If work was more fun, it would feel less like work (www.funsulting.com)". Through creating a fun working environment, Southwest has also created a fun traveling option, which entices their customers as well. QWork Environment Southwest's dress code is casual and reflects management's philosophy of placing little value on its formal organizational structure. Southwest is also known for its collaborative labor/management interactions, which have promoted a work environment free of rigid rules and not elaborate guidelines (Southwest Airlines charts, 1995). Teamwork is very important at Southwest and employees are cross-trained. Employees are encouraged to be responsive to fellow employee needs first and then to customer needs. Flight attendants prepare cabins for passengers, and ramp agents help by cleaning toilets, unloading baggage, ... ... middle of paper ... ...r flight attendants. "Southwest invites its frequent flyers to help interview new flight attendants. This involvement not only brings customer expertise to the selection process, but also sends a strong message to the customers participating- you're so important to us that we want you to help us pick the people you think can best serve your needs". (Brown, 2003) Organizational goals are very important to Southwest when it comes to hiring employees. They include: Humor, talent, team play, measuring and rewarding, leveraging the freedom factor, and knowing the internal customer. (Czaplewski, 2001) Kelleher looks for people with a certain attitude (an approach to life, a way of living, or a set of values). "He will not hesitate to fire someone who does not treat his fellow south westerners as they should be treated". Kelleher is intolerant of intolerance. (Quick, 1992)

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