A motivational profile can provide insights into whether a company is doing the right thing or requires improvements. Although nearly every company proclaims its goal is to deliver exceptional service, research confirms that the service quality of many corporations is below consumer expectations. Southwest Airlines has created a competitive advantage through valuing employees’ needs as a strategy that motivates them to provide better customer service (Hallowell, 1996). According to Czaplewski, Ferguson, and Milliman (2001), Southwest Airlines was one of only two companies to place in both the top-10 most admired organizations and best places to work. Even though there are specific steps Southwest Airlines could take to address motivational strategy deficiencies, Southwest Airlines has developed motivational strategies that provide a positive experience for its employees. Provided is a closer look into the background of the airline industry and Southwest Airlines background. This includes a brief history of the business, products and service offered, and financial information for the last five years. The corporate culture and management section describes the mission statement, organizational structure, and the company’s decision-making strategies. Further detail describes Southwest Airlines’ motivational strategies: employee empowerment, incentives, performance appraisals, and leadership styles. The analysis considers what makes working for Southwest Airlines a positive experience for its employees, such as the essence of its approach to motivation and recommendations on specific steps the company could take to address deficiencies. The analysis will also include what makes Southwest Airlines’ motivational techniques unique, successful, how it improves employee retention, and the best motivational practices.
Background of the Industry
The airline industry has a long history providing air transport services for freight and passengers. The airline companies either own or lease aircraft to supply various products and services. The airlines may form partnerships with other airlines providing a shared financial benefit for the airline industry and the consumer. A Brief History of the Airline Business
Innovative entrepreneurs and inventers created and defined the airline industry in the early twentieth century. Early airline leaders had to contend with unreliable aircraft, nervous passengers, and heavy government regulation. The early airlines relied on government contracts, technical innovation, and connections to the politically powerful. Because the government regulated pricing, new services such as flight attendants and in-flight meals differentiated one airline from another (Mayo, 2009). This model turned early airlines into the legacy carriers. Massive government deregulation in 1978 brought about challenges and opportunities for the industry. Pricing and routes that had been under government control shifted to the airlines. Predictable profits vanished as airlines struggled to create a competitive advantage. Consumers were awarded with lower prices yet service levels declined. Many of the industry’s legacy carriers floundered to visionary leaders and new ideas. Products and Services Offered
The launch of the Boeing 707 in 1958 changed the industry and brought air travel to new audiences (Lukas, 2004). Modern globalism can trace its beginnings to the 707. International business travel made doing business abroad a readily available reality. As flying became more accessible, the shipping, and rail industries faced doom. Business and leisure travel exploded, facilitating new business models to develop. Airports became new centers of commerce, and hotels and restaurants spawned new opportunities for meetings and holding conventions. Cities became increasingly reliant on their growing airports. While interest in air travel was growing among...