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Southwest Airlines’ Organizational Behavior


The aviation industry is extremely fast paced and pursuant of organizational achievements. The airline industry can be viewed as ideal on how to properly exact organizational behavior, growth, and the ultimate successfulness of a company. Leadership will continuously challenge other leaders and their capabilities in an effort to make them better or seek out alternative methods of improvement. These encounters are a challenge to increase to a diverse level and test yourself to improve in the process. This also shows that you can achieve approximately that may seem problematic or even impossible. There are substantial avenues of approach that are taken when one seeks employment within the airline industry. Organizational behavior is a tool that any organization that wants to be effective must use as a directive to ascertain goals. The major communal goal of any organizational behavior is to advance the relationships within the confines of the organization in order to accomplish all objectives set before them. In the wake of 9/11, Southwest Airline decided to protect the jobs of its employees, thus reminding their employees that they are an important fixture within the airline community.

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An organization’s performance directly affects its strategy and the principles behind its procedure. It is a necessary task that supervisors need in order to create a stability between exterior densities from the establishment’s environment and interior densities on or after certain choices that could have a formable impact on business. Observing from an outer viewpoint, the strategy can be the root of organizational members viewing and responding to the environment in a dissimilar way. Viewing from an inside objective, an organization’s structure may put an appropriate amount of pressure on teams and individuals to conduct themselves in constructive ways. The conservational, political, sociological, emotional and economic foundations of one’s demeanor are predisposed according to their accomplishments in relations to a structural strategy. When conferring structural strategies of Southwest Airlines, we will concentrate on mission, management, philosophy, and occupational strategies as the fundamentals have a thorough effect on structural behavior.


The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of customer service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and company spirit (Co. S. A., 2018). Airlines rely on numerous departments to achieve their goal and keep them in business. According to U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, Flight crewmembers make up 33 percent of air transportation employment, and include pilots and flight attendants (Occupational Employment Statistics, 2018). Due to Southwest’s customer-friendly guidelines one might imagine Southwest to be moderately stagnant when it comes to finances, compared to its competitors. On the opposing side, and in shrill disparity to its heritage and low-cost rivals, Southwest has been extremely lucrative for over forty years now. Cost-effectiveness can be derivative to numerous factors, yet ideally its conceivably the most substantial strategy of its functioning model. With an exceedingly well-organized plans and low costs, the airline has the financial means to spend more on the customer-friendly guidelines that outlines its brand which has facilitated in Southwest becoming one of the US’s major domestic airline.

Southwest Airlines has ascended pass the industry challenges and its mission statement summarizes their viewpoints as remaining committed to maintaining the highest dominance of customer service. Southwest’s current CEO Gary Kelly discovered doing the right thing usually turns out to be the smart thing (Kelly, 2013). The main principles of Southwest have produced customer satisfaction within employees and fliers. The challenges that they present to themselves, focuses on what Southwest Airlines has done to continue its straight on thinking and verbalize commerce and administrative encounters, thus contributing to an overall success and sustained profitability.

Southwest Airlines (SWA) is primarily the first cost effectual transporter in USA. From its beginning, Southwest has tracked a low-cost no small print strategy. Southwest has always stood by their moderately modest fare, with all the fare selections continuously shown on the company’s website. The lowermost fares are normally nonrefundable but could be transferred to future travel on Southwest without incurring a change fee. In November 2007, Southwest presented a groundbreaking Business Select fare to appeal to economically inclined frequent travelers. In 2008, competitor airlines initiated a subsequence amount of charges ranging from, a fuel surcharge to buying a ticket in person (Co. S. A., 2018). Southwest, however, elected not to participate in what is ultimately considered al le carte pricing and continued with their all-inclusive fare price structure.

Southwest runs all flights as a point-to-point service in order to capitalize on its operational efficiency and remain profitable. The point-to-point model presents the airline with a substantial rate and a modest financial benefit. The point-to-point business model that Southwest functions on allows it to travel on supplementary direct and nonstop flights, with about 76% of customers flying nonstop. This flight strategy permits Southwest to offer faster, more expedient flights compared to its larger opponents. It uses the strategy to keep its flights in the air more often and therefore achieve better capacity utilization (Srinivasan, 2018). Southwest flies to regional airports to decrease travel interruptions and consequently deliver exceptional amenities and service to its clientele. It has dominated the industry in on-time performance, with minimal complaints from customers. Southwest has also been able to minimize its airport operational costs comparatively more than competing airlines.

At the heart of Southwest’s success is the decision for the company to exclusively fly Boeing 737 jets. Flying this communal type of aircraft suggestively shortens preparation, procedures, and flight maintenance. The training costs for everyone involved in the operation of a Boeing 737 is comparatively cheaper due to only have a fleet of one type of aircraft. This is relatively cost efficient to the airline itself and its customers.

Southwest always be viewed as a strong competitor due its advanced organizational style. Having the ability to uphold an unyielding focus on over achieving associations and its management observations has been a significant key to its unmatched accomplishment in the industry. The mission statement confirms that the company possess a durable obligation to its workforce. The business grants identical reverence to employees as customers. The Southwest mission statement is inimitable in distinguishing the significance of its personnel within the comprehensive occupational strategy, which highlights excellent customer service and operational efficiency (Co. S. A., 2018). The employees return the same admiration and trustworthiness that Southwest starts. Southwest employees are branded for their dedication, admiration, and modernization. Employees are a distinctive feature that differentiates Southwest and the rest of the airline commerce. Southwest employment strategy is exclusive and encompasses discovering people with the correct boldness that will help them succeed in the Southwest ethos. Wide-ranging measures are hired for their constructive attitude and commitment. Those who do not have those abilities are withdrawn before they enter further into the process. Colleen Barrett, a non-operational officer at Southwest, states that “Hiring is critical, because you cannot institutionalize behavior. Instead, you must identify those people who already practice the behaviors you are looking for. Then you can allow Employees to be themselves and make decisions about Customer service based on common sense and their natural inclinations (Srinivasan, 2018).”

Southwest was originally fashioned from a different and unique philosophy which was cultivated from its beginning. In 1990, a unique idea that was formed from within the industry and amid all large corporations, Southwest Culture Committee was implemented. The committee also had it’s own mission statement: “This group’s goal is to help create the Southwest spirit and culture where needed; to enrich it and make it better where it already exists; and to liven it up in places where it might be “floundering” (Makovsky, 2013). Ultimately, the group’s goal was to help the airline thrive intellectually. While also providing a distinctive Southwest essence and principle that has made it the corporation it is. While looking at the overall environment of the organization, the determination that the purchaser service is strictly intrinsic to Southwest and its culture. Their culture is a reinforcement that through employee reassurance and customer gratification. This tactic encourages teams to develop dependable performers that always suggest incomparable provisions. The employees of Southwest ultimately distinguish its customer service from the other airlines, by going the extra mile.

Even though the technology will assist Southwest Airlines to continue to be efficient by combining passenger data for the company’s 3,000 day-to-day commutes, concerns were made about boarding times possibly being extended. Nevertheless, attendants found that reading each bar code on the boarding passes didn’t alter the times, but it did affect clerical processes. The new paper bar code system is giving Southwest ticket agents the ability to match a customer record within having to scroll through and log into multiple software screens (Robertson, 2018). The process is much more computerized. Upon scanning the bar code, it checks off the person from the passenger list immediately. The old process involved finding the passenger’s information, which included going through numerous needed to identify the passenger and get them to the gate. Some communal practices cause variances in the quantity of travelers per day per flight. “The hardware used to scan the boarding passes has been installed. The company is progressively replacing customer service back-office paraphernalia at airports including at its headquarters in Dallas. At Southwest Airlines’ headquarters in Dallas, Texas, the office has been recently redesigned around “culture centers” on each of the floors (Robertson, 2018). Each midpoint expounds on one of the company’s morals and offers break services, meeting rooms and talent to create their value.

Southwest ranks its employees first among the customers and shareholders. Without the employees, there wouldn’t be an airline. “We believe that if we treat our employees right, they will treat our customers right, and in turn that results in increased business and profits that make everyone happy,” the airline explains in a blog post about its company culture (Makovsky, 2013). By producing a culture that’s enjoyable as well as all-encompassing, matched with principal morals it will remind all employees to enjoy what they do. Once an employee feels that they are headed to a job and no longer a career, the organization will start to lose its luster. The airline encourages personnel to take pride in themselves and what they do.

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Southwest also seeks out employees with proactive attitudes, making every team member feel responsible for the success of their colleagues (Makovsky, 2013). A team-based atmosphere thrusts personnel to continuously go above what is required of them. When customers are witnesses to this, it increases customer gratification and faithfulness. Society today has an overall disdain for the airline business, so it is encouraging to see that one airline, Southwest Airlines, is actually standing by its cultural values. The general attitude of the company can be best summarized by the airlines’ co-founder and Chairman Emeritus Herb Kelleher, who said: “The business of business is people.” Even though the company honors and values all people involved in its business -employees, customers, supplier/vendors, and shareholders – the company puts its employees first (Robertson, 2018).” Southwest Airlines admits that respect flows in a circle within its organization. A happy work environment, with happy employees, creates happy customers.

Southwest Airlines has the sturdiest balance sheet and maximum yield on capital in the industry. This is reflected especially when looking at the Debt/Equity, and ROIC metrics (Makovsky, 2013). Southwest has the minimum amount of influence and still claims the maximum earnings. This within itself says a lot about the company, considering they are pretty much employee run. Establishments face circumstances that can cause suffering to various parts of the occupational environment and have fluctuating notches of effect. The challenge for any corporation would be to anticipate and strategize on various forms as efficiently as possible. The airline industry has to continuously plan for an indecisiveness decision

Southwest Airlines members produce ground-breaking programs to help the intensification of efficiency, produce philosophies to cut costs, be philanthropic within the communities and have downtime to recoup. Southwest continues to honor their promise to producing a supportable business and the triple bottom line—Performance, People, and Planet (Co. S. A., 2018). By evolving a multi-tasking team whose core goal remains to categorize and outline crucial performance pointers within social responsibility and to improve and recognize occasions. Southwest has created goals for the sustainability of airlines, so that they can progress in all characteristics of citizenship within their business practices.

The Management in Training (MIT) program is a growth involvement for high performing leaders with longevity and leadership potential within the organization. There are two program levels: MIT Level I and MIT Level II. Each level of MIT is intended for certain employees with the airline industry. When a supervisor sees the potential for promotions, they encourage the employees to apply for these trainings. Once they apply, they are then interviewed to partake in the three-week course, to improve operational leadership skills over a certain time period. MIT Level II applicants are supported by their senior leadership to participate in a six-week program that is covered over an eight-month period. When attending these classes, each participant learns how to develop tactical leadership skills, improve their leadership styles, investigate and gives suggestions to senior leadership on at least one of the company’s strategic ingenuities. They will also learn the process to progress their crews, and efficiently coach them through changes.

The way an organization outlines their job strategy from the different employees to a comprehensive edifying characteristic produces a larger influence on how the distinct departments communicate with each other and society. Southwest revealed infrequent capabilities to receive multiplicity and encourage originality within the organizational strategy. Organizational strategy encompasses visualizing essential requirements of the work system correlating to a specific job. It addresses matters such as the procedures of undertaking a job, the individual in charge of undertaking the occupation, and the place of achieving the job. The actions involved with occupational strategy aids in production of predominant professions and work systems being more thought-provoking and stimulating for the personnel.

Leaders and high latent associates attend extensive management training, up to three weeks at a time, and are exposed to the company’s managerial best practices and what they call the “way we do things around here (Srinivasan, 2018).” Leaders are encouraged to learn their subordinates. When a leader knows their subordinates, it opens comfortability within the group and enhances the comraderies within the organization. Someone in a leadership position should know the essential things about their employees ranging from their family to their health issues. In order to a point in this work relationship, there needs to be team building and bonding. Southwest’s team uses social media in order to ensure that their employees receive the accolades that they deserve, not only from their team members but from customers. Southwest receives over 7,000 of these kinds of compliments a month (Asthana, 2015). Southwest Airlines’ organizational structure and its work environment have become a model for other businesses. The airline’s achievement validates the necessity for a sturdy and vivacious corporation philosophy of putting employees first. Southwest has epitomized the say “when you know better, you do better.”

An organization dedicating incomes to improving policies and procedures inspiring ethical actions shapes an optimistic communal culture. Team member assurance progresses once personnel feel safeguarded from reprisal for individual principles. Any organization can face lose of consumer confidence with bad reviews, whether online or word of mouth. Organizations should hold customer trustworthiness through moral practices starting with reasonable and truthful marketing approaches and consistency throughout the sales process. Organizations quickly lose consumer confidence when they fail to hold true to promises and rectify grievances in a reasonable manner. Scrupulous training and concrete guideline of all employees in advantages to all corporations. Southwest’s employees are very faithful, and an important part of the business’s complete policy and total look. Southwest knows how advantageous that their employees are to their organizational culture. The company uses incentives that work for their culture and intimidation is not a factor within their environment. Southwest’s employees sincerely enjoy their jobs and shows that gratification by passing it on to consumer.


  • Asthana. (2015, September 18). Operations Management of South West Airlines. Retrieved from Slideshare: https://www.slideshare.net/GauravAsthana1/operations-management-of-south-west-airlines
  • Co., S. A. (2018). About Southwest. Retrieved from Southwest: https://www.southwest.com/html/about-southwest/index.html
  • Co., S. A. (2018). Purpose, Vision, Values, and Mission. Retrieved from Investor Relations: http://investors.southwest.com/our-company/purpose-vision-values-and-mission
  • Makovsky, K. (2013, November 21). Behind The Southwest Airlines Culture. Retrieved from Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenmakovsky/2013/11/21/behind-the-southwest-airlines-culture/#75056cba3798
  • Robertson, K. (2018, May 29). Southwest Airlines Reveals 5 Culture Lessons. Retrieved from Human Synergistics: https://www.humansynergistics.com/blog/culture-university/details/culture-university/2018/05/29/southwest-airlines-reveals-5-culture-lessons
  • Srinivasan, M. (2018). Southwest Airlines Operations – A Strategic Perspective. Retrieved from Airline Industry Articles: http://airline-industry.malq.net/southwest-airlines-operations-a-strategic-perspective/
  • Uhl-Bien, M., Schermerhorn, J. R., & Osborn, R. N. (2014). Organizational Behavior: Experience Grow Contribute (13th ed.). Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


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