Axia College of University of Phoenix
MGT 245 Organizational Behavior
February 11, 2007
Southwest Airlines embodies the best that a large company can be. The structure is designed to allow quick action and support of its large body of employees rather than complete control and bureaucratic red tape. It is widely recognized as one of the most desirable places to work and is constantly emulated by its competitors, not to mention other business not in competition. It is an entity that holds its employees in the highest regard, even above its external customers. Its culture is unique and strong and based on love and respect. Even after its current leaders are gone, the culture will continue because of the policies in place to perpetuate their rituals and values. Southwest is conservative in its business dealings and very liberal in its care of its employees. Who would not want to be part of an organization like this?
Southwest has a very lean, decentralized structure. There are very few levels between the CEO and frontline supervisors. Their philosophy on structure is very relaxed. Any employee who feels the need is welcomed to contact someone above their supervisor. The president has three executive vice presidents who each have five or six vice presidents who report to them. There is one vice president of Internal Audits and Special Projects who reports directly to the president. (Rivera, Cornwell, Abenes, 2003)
All employees are trained to understand the values that Southwest embodies. They are also encouraged to handle a lot of decision making on their own, without the fear of reprisals if they sidestep "policy". Herb Kelleher, CEO of Southwest, said, "We've tried to create an environment where people are able to, in effect, bypass even the fairly lean structure that we have so that they don't have to convene a meeting of the sages in order to get something... [continues]
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