Essay about Southwest Airline Analysis

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Southwest Airline Analysis

The goal of this paper is to explain the prominent success of Southwest Airline in the United States through a single case study analysis making use of the McKinsey’s 7-S framework. Developed in the early 1980s at the McKinsey & Company consulting firm by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman, this framework looks at 7 internal factors (Structure, Strategy, Systems, Style, Staff, Skills, Super-ordinate goals) which, according to its authors, need to be aligned for an organization to be successful. In this paper, we will analyse each of its internal elements through the case study “Southwest Airlines in 2008, Culture, Values, and Operating Practices”.


The organizational structure of Southwest
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Being convinced that customers are more likely to travel with Southwest if its flights are reliable and on time, managers pay great attention to on-time arrivals and departure. For this purpose, Southwest managers and employees are all proactive when it comes to suggestions for improving practices and procedures. As a consequence, Southwest Airlines had the lowest operating costs in 2008 (13.85 cents per passenger seat mile versus an average of 19.05 cents for the other 7 major U.S airlines).


The management style of Southwest airline is characterized by how greatly it takes care of its employees’ well-being. The management considers it as a mean to achieve higher customer satisfaction: “Keep employees happy, then they will keep customers happy”.
Management highly believes that treating their employees well and making them loved their job will naturally lead them to treat customers warmly and courteously in return. In this regard, Southwest looks for fun loving and spirited people whose natural warmth and compassion contributes to superior customer service. This is the reason why Southwest particularly takes the pledge of hiring employees for “attitude” prior to “skills” as corroborates this quote from the former C.E.O Kelleher “At Southwest, our People are our greatest assets, which is why we devote so much time and energy to
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