William F. White
Grand Canyon University
Southwest Airlines took their first flight in June 18, 1971. The company got underway more then four years earlier but had a number of tough lawsuits against them before they were able to get their first plane up in the air. Southwest Airlines began serving the Texas cities of Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. And then in 1979, Southwest Airlines finally made their first voyage outside of Texas to New Orleans, Louisiana. In an industry that saw an entire industry literally destroyed by the events of 9/11, airlines were filing bankruptcies, most notably United Airlines. Southwest, on the other hand, has constantly made a profit for 30 years and added value to their business. So much so that Serafimov (2004) states that 200 shares of Southwest stock purchased at just over twenty-two dollars per share back in 1985 is now worth just over $24,000. This translates to a 17% increase per year. It is the purpose of this paper to discuss the business juggernaut that is Southwest Airlines and its leader Herb Kelleher. Intangible assets are more important than tangible ones. How is this evident at Southwest? Investopedia.com defines an intangible asset as an asset that is not physical in nature such as corporate intellectual property (items such as patents, trademarks, copyrights, business methodologies). Human capital is an intangible asset and arguably the most valuable asset held by an organization today (Weatherly, 2003). It is human capital that is paramount at SWA. So much so, on the SWA website, the say this about their employees: We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth. Creativity and innovation are encouraged for improving the effectiveness of Southwest Airlines. Above all, Employees will be provided the same concern, respect, and caring attitude within the...