Environmental Analysis: Southwest Airlines

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Southwest Airlines Southwest Airlines is one of the most successful airlines in the United States. There has never been layoffs or strikes in the history of the company, although there were several times when layoffs could have been justified, including the months following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. However, Southwest's Mission statement says “Above all, Employees will be provided the same concern, respect, and caring attitude within the organization that they are expected to share externally with every Southwest Customer.” (Southwest, 1988). The Airline has always believed that their corporate culture is one of the keys to their success. The culture recognizes that employees have emotional intelligence and that their…show more content…
A critical factor during a time of high oil prices is Southwest's history of hedging future fuel costs. Southwest is not only able to gain from a lower oil price, they are also better able to budget costs for the upcoming year. (USA Today, 2008). Consumers are starting to cut back on luxury purchases. According to Reuters, “...just 25 percent of respondents rated their financial situation as better than a year ago, the lowest in 27 years.” (Reuters, 2008). In the first year of operation, Southwest was experiencing cash flow problems. While other companies may have begun layoffs, the President of Southwest went to the ground service people and discussed the issue with them. Together, the company set a goal of decreasing the turnaround time for at the airport gate from 55 to 15 minutes increasing the revenue capability of the airplane. Having found a way to increase revenue without losing any people, the ground service crew felt like a valuable part of the team and the President of Southwest did lay anyone off. (Smith, 2004) In the second instance of potential layoffs, revenue passengers became scarcer in the wake of September 11, 2001. To help the company through the crisis, Southwest asked employees to take a pay cut instead of having to
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