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Southwest Airline Essay

1077 words - 5 pages

Southwest Airlines: Organizational Culture and Communication

Southwest Airlines: Organizational Culture and Communication
Southwest Airlines is a successful multimillion dollar business that prides itself on its beliefs and values. Often people have wondered how Southwest Airlines remains successful in an constantly changing industry. Several airlines have either filed bankruptcy, or lost significant profits, but Southwest has remained a strong American company. The secret to Southwest success lies within the company’s one-of-a-kind organizational culture.
When Herb Kelleher co-founded the company, he ...view middle of the document...

The company values the employees’ opinion and encourages employee innovation. Furthermore, Southwest cares about the well-being of its employees. Southwest views each employee as a family member. These values emphasize that Southwest is starting within the organization, and if the employees are happy and believes in what the company is promoting, in return he or she will provide excellent service resulting in happy, satisfied customers who will continue to use the airline. Southwest believes in providing an environment which encourages employee participation and voluntarily devoting themselves to the goals and values of the organization. Providing this type of cultural environment is shared by each employee because it has given each the capability to build relationships that include shared knowledge and shared respect. Although Southwest is one of the few company that “practices what it preaches” most organizations do not.
“Culture becomes the vehicle through which problems and challenges become addressed, defined, reframed, and ultimately solved. When cultural values do not work in this fashion, they must be modified or jettisoned. The culture is not the end or goal but rather the means. It may be the focus of attention, but as in the case of the magician, something quite substantive and important may not be meeting the eye.” (Quick, 1992)

Many outcomes are determined by the culture of an organization. When enacted values and espoused values show a misalignment, individuals will perceive the company in a different light. Employee turnover will be high, satisfaction of the customers will be low, and the rate of return for the stockholders will be low because of turmoil within the organization. However, one way a company can avoid misalignment throughout an organization is to communicate with employees.
Southwest encourages its employees to express ideas, and voice any concerns or opinions each may have. According to Clayton Collins, (2005), “Several experts cite Southwest Airlines as a company with open internal communications and a top-down awareness of the value of employee buy-in to the corporate mission.” Southwest does extensive communicating to its employees and strives on keeping each informed on a daily basis. This type of communication allows the organization to nurture its culture by informing employees of the effects that his or her behavior has on the company. When a conflict arises because of communication issues, the company uses humor. The type of...

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