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The CEO and Organizational Culture Profile (Essay Sample)


Analyzing the aspect of culture and diversity at SouthWest Airlines


Integrating Culture and Diversity in Decision Making: The CEO and Organizational Culture Profile
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Integrating Culture and Diversity in Decision Making: Southwest Airlines
Organization Background
Southwest Airlines is a United States low-fare passenger airline that provides scheduled air transportation services. Primarily, the company provides airfreight services and point-to-point services to 72 cities across 37 states in the United States (MarketLine Report, 2012). Southwest Airlines is headquartered in Dallas, Texas. As at 31, 2011, the company had an employment capacity of 45,392. Rollin King and Herb Kelleher formed Southwest Airlines in 1971 and began its services in Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio (MarketLine Report, 2012). It was listed in the New York Stock Exchange in 1977. The deregulation of the United States air transportation industry in 1978 enabled Southwest Airlines to undertake a slow and deliberate expansion across the US. Since then, the company has entered into acquisitions and several acquisition strategies that have enabled the company to reach its current position (MarketLine Report, 2012). It has distinguished itself in the provision of low-fare and high quality commercial services. It is considered a pioneer of low cost air service in the US, with many low cost airlines using its model to offer their services.
Culture of Southwest Airlines
Southwest Airlines remains one of the most respected and admired companies in the US airline industry. Despite the bad image of the US airline industry characterized by bad customer service and delayed flights, Southwest Airlines has managed to display a great corporate culture (Smith, 2004). The organization’s great culture can be attributed to iconic leadership of its founder, Herb Kelleher, who has placed a great deal of emphasis on the need to deliver quality customer service by focusing on every person. The Company’s simple set of values has also played a critical role in enhancing efficiency and expediency. Southwest Airlines’ relentless focus on culture has enabled it to stand competition from competitors such as US Airway’s Metro Jet, Delta’s Delta Express, Continental Lite from Continental Airlines, and United Shuttle from United Airlines (Bailey, 2008)
Culture is inscribed in the business model of the company. Its mission statement clearly outlines that the company is a ‘people’s’ company. This business model is made up of two parts; identifying the people (customers) to serve and delivering the lowest costs possible (Smith, 2004). Concerning the aspect of customer identification, Southwest Airlines capitalizes on external (consumers) and internal customers. The Company believes that treating employees very well motivates them to provide outstanding customer services. For this reason, Southwest Airlines focuses on attitude when hiring employees rather than relying on specific skills among the employees. On the other hand, the company’s record of accomplishment in delivering customer service speaks for itself. Southwest Airlines has continuously taken the top spot in its business sector.
Factors that I used to determine the culture of Southwest Airlines
The following are key characteristics that can be used to summarize the organizational culture of Southwest Airlines;
* The company treats its employees as the first priority. This includes demonstrating proactive customer service delivery and embracing the Southwest Airlines family
* The Company is a service organization. Southwest Airlines uses the Golden Rule of putting others first. The company’s order of importance states that employees are first, then SWA’s customers, and finally, the shareholders. The company equates the employees to being the source of customer happiness, satisfied shareholders, and increased company revenues. Simply put, the company’s culture revolves around people.
* Proper management during good times enables the company to shine during bad times. This involves using small ideas is a key ingredient for growing big
* Impertinence is unacceptable at the company
* Hire attitude and employ training to perfect their skills
* Fun-loving attitude. This entails not taking oneself too seriously, enjoying work, celebrating success, maintaining balance, and being a passionate team player
Factors that caused the organization to embody the ‘people’ culture
The need to develop, improve, and refine the quality of services delivered by Southwest Airlines called for the need of developing a comprehensive culture. The ‘people’ culture of Southwest Airlines values individuality, identity, and personality of particular individuals within the company. Southwest Airlines managed to grow because it believed that engaging employees forms the basis for successful branding. The need to keep the morale of employees high is also another factor that contributed immensely to the development of the current organization culture. With the combination of these principles, the company dedicated its mission towards the delivery of highest quality of customer service delivered with friendliness, a sense of warmth, company spirit, and individual pride. The company communicates the mission statement to all people and incorporates it into daily activities of the company.
Type of Leader suited for Southwest Airline
Based on the organizational culture of Southwest Airlines, I think a participative/democratic leader is suited to head this organization. This type of leader values the contribution of each team member and incorporate...
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