Southwest Airlines: a Cultural Assessment

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Southwest Airlines: A Corporate Cultural Assessment
University of X
September 17, 2005 Southwest Airlines: A Corporate Cultural Assessment
Southwest Airlines (Southwest) is a domestic US airline that provides short haul, high frequency, point-to-point, and low-fare service to and from 60 airports in 59 cities across 31 US states. From humble beginnings in 1971, this airline with only four passengers per flight, and airhostesses wearing hot pants and white go-go boots, has evolved into a leader in the airline industry with unsurpassed employee loyalty. Southwest 's unique and relaxed corporate culture has created a highly successful airline business that has shown a profit for 30 consecutive years. This paper will examine corporate culture of Southwest Airlines and its impact on the company 's success.
Southwest 's Formal Statements
Southwest has a commitment to customer service as evident in their mission statement, "The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedicated to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit" (Southwest.com/about, 2005). According to the Department of Transportation, the airline has the best cumulative consumer satisfaction record in the airline industry. Southwest makes meeting the expectation of their customers a priority; realizing travelers have options when selecting an airline. The Southwest philosophy is that they are in the customer service business, which happens to provide airline transportation. Southwest has written a Customer Service Commitment, which is an official Contract of Carriage. The Customer Service Commitment discusses Southwest 's pledge "to provide safe, affordable, reliable, timely, courteous, and efficient air transportation and baggage handling service on every flight we operate…" (Southwest.com/about).
Work Environment
The work environment at Southwest is an informal culture with motivated and energized employees. On board, the



References: Bailey, R. (2005, February 1). Southwest Airlines advocates honesty and thrills at work [Electronic version]. Personnel Today, , . Retrieved September 13, 2005, from Business Source Premier database Chapman, B Czaplewski, A. J., Ferguson, J. M., & Milliman, J. F. (2001, Sept/Oct). Southwest Airlines: How internal marketing pilots success. Marketing Management, 10(3), 14-17. Retrieved September 12, 2005, from ProQuest database Gittell, J Greengard, S. (2003, July). Gimme attitude. Workforce Management, , 56-60. Laszlo, G Pfeffer, J. (2005, Jan/Feb). How companies get smart. Business 2.0, 6(1). Retrieved September 12, 2005, from Business Source Premier database Rasmusson, E Smith, G. (2004). An evaluation of the corporate culture of Southwest Airlines. Measuring Business Excellence, 8(4), 26-33. Southwest Airlines participates in federal airlift effort; carrier will bring support into New Orleans, transport evacuees Southwest.com/about. (n.d.). Retrieved September 12, 2005, from http://southwest.com/about Teitelbaum, R.S

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