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Assignment:Is the South West Airlines blog an example of institutional messaging or meaningful communication between employees and clients? Authors:Mr. Lee Hayes, MBA, 017001315
Mr. Haoqing Sun, CCC (IM), 089063374
Miss Cheng Bo Zhang, IBM, 089138960
Mr. Chunzhe Zou, IBM, 089020366
Module:NBS8053 – Information Systems Management
Lecturer:Professor Lee Schlenker
Submission Date:29/05/2009
Word Count:2000

Table of contents
Section| Title| Page Number|
1| Introduction| 03|
2| Business Challenges| 03|
3| Targeted Competences| 05|
3.1| Good customer relationships| 05|
3.2| Effective work practices| 05|
4| Vision| 05|
5| Metrics| 06|
6| Discussion Questions/Conclusion| 07|
7| References| 08|

1. Introduction
When the President of South West Airlines challenges the President of a rival company to an arm wrestling contest over the use of a corporate slogan or when the acquisition of an airline leads to a ‘wedding’ between two airlines in Gracelands, Las Vegas one knows that the strategy of engagement that South West Airlines uses is unorthodox but has been highly successful. South West Airlines for nearly forty years and has been cited by authors such as Porter (1981) as demonstrating an excellence in operations management. It was founded in 1971 and has grown from being a small regional service, from its inception, to providing a service to many millions in 2004. Back in 1995 South West Airlines created its own website and it is not until the following year that ‘ticketless’ travel is implemented. In 2006 South West Airlines created its own blog which is designed for staff as well as the general public. Naturally, as information-based technology has progressed through the years, the appearance and content within the original website and blog is not easily compared. The purpose of this group assignment is to critically analyse whether or not the South West Airlines blog is an appropriate and effective form of communication, both internally and externally. It is the opinion of the group that before one is able to critically analyse the blog one must be able to understand the history, and in some cases the culture, of the organisation in question. This case study will examine the reasons behind the creation of the blog. Primarily, what were the critical factors behind the decision to implement this blog? Secondly, what were the desired targeted competences? Thirdly, what is the vision behind South West Airlines and finally, once the previous three factors are critically analysed, what were, and indeed are, the metrics by which one is able to determine whether or not the blog has been successful. Naturally, this will lead to some unanswered questions that will form the conclusion. 2. Business Challenges

Weiss et al (2005) maintains that the primary concern of South West Airlines was in providing an excellent customer service. Where other organisations seemingly paid lip service to the concept of customer service, Weiss et al (2005) asserts that South West Airlines has historically made original and searching business decisions that can be argued have helped to improve tremendously its market share from the day the first South West Airlines flight departed. South West Airlines has always had different corporate behaviour to that of its immediate competitors (as detailed in the previous section), but could this creation of a corporate blog be another example of the uniqueness South West Airlines offers? There are three main business challenges that South West Airlines faces in its adoption of a corporate blog and these are customer services, ‘turn around’ time and maintaining uniqueness. The primary concern for South West Airlines is that of providing a good customer service. The then-President of South West Airlines, Coleen Barrett, saw the corporate blog as being an extension of the customer services that South West Airlines provides. It is...
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