Assessing Corporate Culture: Southwest Airlines

Essay by tiernyUniversity, Master'sA+, June 2005

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Assessing Corporate Culture: Southwest Airlines

When discussing airlines, one small but powerful name stands out; Southwest Airlines. This airline positions itself as different for a number of reasons. The most logical is that they are the only short haul, low-fare, high frequency, point-to-point carrier in America. The airline flies to 58 cities in 30 states and they offer numerous flights to the same cities each day. This makes them very convenient for travelers. Southwest Airlines also values their employees very much. The airline prides itself in being a great place to work. They state that their people are wonderful. They reward the employees' productivity and treat them with respect.

Southwest Airlines is the fun airline. Southwest is an organization whose focus is on the customers as well as its employees. The main philosophy of the airline is to provide the consumer with low budget no frills flights. They do not provide meals but they do hand out peanuts.

Handing out the peanuts signifies that their fares are so low that you can fly for peanuts (Allerton, 1996). CEO Herb Kelleher has instilled corporate values that are distinct from any other business. According to J. Quick author of Crafting an Organizational Culture: Herb's Hand at Southwest Airlines, Southwest has "three pillars of belief" which are "Value 1: Work should be can be play...enjoy it. Value 2: Work is important...don't spoil it with seriousness. Value 3: People are important...each one makes a difference" (Quick, 1992).

These values suggest that Kelleher's philosophy is that if the people are happy they will work harder. It also implies that if the consumers are happy, they will come back. Given that Southwest has enjoyed 50 consecutive quarters of profits Herb's philosophy seems to be correct.

Southwest has over 400 offices, with its main...