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Southwest Airlines Essay

1078 words - 5 pages

Organizational Behavior and Communication - Southwest Airlines
University of Phoenix

Organizational Behavior and Communication - Southwest Airlines
Culture, Values, and Communication

Southwest Airlines (SWA) is a company of more than 37,000 employees (Southwest Airlines, 2011). It has been recognized as: #1 and #2 by Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work for in America”; the only airline to win the Triple Crown (#1 in most on-time flights, least lost baggage, and fewest Customer complaints) (McGee-Cooper, Trammell, & Looper, 2008); and although unionized, the lowest turnover rate and the best labor relations in the industry (Quick, 1992).
“The Southwest Way” ...view middle of the document...

SWA’s founder, Herb Kelleher, said “We can train people to do things where skills are not concerned, but there is one capability we do not have, and that is to change a person’s attitude” (Quick, 1992, Para 37).
According to Robbins & Judge (2011), an organizational culture refers to a system of shared meaning held by members that distinguishes the organization from other organizations. It is the companies shared values that drive the organization. Leadership at SWA fosters its culture and values primarily through strong communication derived from an internally developed “Culture Committee.” Committees are composed of representatives from all 63 stations with every employee role represented (McGee-Cooper, Trammell, & Looper, 2008). These committees facilitate the free flow of communication regarding business, employee morale, and community support throughout all levels of the company.
By communicating and fostering its values, SWA nurtures its employee’s professional and personal growth, which contributes to the strength of the company’s culture. They not only espouse the values of “Warrior Spirit, Leading with Servant’s Heart, and a Fun-LUVing Attitude!,” they enact them.
Role of Communications in Perception and Organizational Culture

Communication, whether written, verbal or nonverbal, has a major influence on how people perceive us and how we perceive others. According to Robbins & Judge (2011), perception is a process by which individuals organize and interpret their sensory impressions to give meaning to their environment. When espoused and enacted values are misaligned, perceptions within an organization can affect the culture of the organization.
According to Beebe & Masterson (2009), people judged by their behavior, not by their intent. Many years ago, SWA required their employees to produce a doctor’s note if he or she took a sick day. The employee’s perception was the company did not trust him or her, even though it was only a measure taken to ensure the benefit was not abused. To resolve the negative perceptions, SWA leadership filled the interior of one of their planes with bags of peanuts, and made posters with the caption, “We could buy 2.2 million bags of peanuts with what we pay for one day of health care. The plane fact: health care costs are attacking Southwest.” That same year, SWA changed their policy, trusting their employees when they take sick days rather than...

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