Who We Are: The Culture of Southwest Airlines

Essay by natalieniceUniversity, Bachelor'sA, August 2014

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Who We Are: The Culture of Southwest Airlines 1

Who We Are: The Culture of Southwest Airlines

Natalie Nice


May 5th, 2014

Professor Katalin Ogle

Who We Are: The Culture of Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines is not defined by the products and services it provides, but by its culture and the conglomerate of its people. Any institutions' character is indisputably dependent upon all the particular elements that participate in fashioning the whole. The individual character of the employee must, therefore, coalesce with the ideological and cultural principles of the institution and perpetually search to actively and accurately answer the call of the conglomerate as time reveals it. Southwest Airlines emphasizes and explicitly communicates the values of its culture, allowing and involving its employees to become active participants in the creation of the organization as a whole.

Essence of Culture

"Southwest Airlines (Southwest) is the only profitable airlines in the USA" (Smith, 2004, An evaluation of the corporate culture of Southwest Airlines, para.

1). How is this possible? There are a few primary defining characteristics of Southwest Airlines, but predominantly above all others, is its emphasis on culture. Its employees are dedicated to the mission of the company. The environment of the entire organization is strongly positive, and it asks for an equally reciprocal relationship between its employees and customers. The employees are respected through job security, encouragement of ideas and thoughts, and profit sharing. They are asked, in turn, to treat customers with the same high level of respect and consideration. At Southwest, there is a carefully balanced understanding ingrained within the culture: the freedom to be bold and participate in the overall growth of the company, but at the same time maintaining a serious stance on keeping costs low, providing excellent customer service and maintaining...