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…show more content…
Rewards and Motivators Southwest 's reward system is reflective of the work demands placed upon them. Southwest offers competitive compensation, including free travel for employees and immediate family. In addition, Southwest provides considerable profit sharing, bonuses, and retirement savings programs. Many employees receive stock options, and collectively the employees own 11% of the company. To further motivate employees, the company holds many celebrations, both business-related and social. Occasions marking business-related achievements are well orchestrated, visible, and memorable. Often, employees are given merchandise, travel, and spontaneous praise to promote continued actions in line with the company 's beliefs. Stories and Legends Story telling is a key component to the Southwest philosophy. Sharing stories of exceptional service or organizational triumph is a means to promote the family unit that is Southwest Airlines. For example, there is the story told of an airplane captain who left the plane after landing, and began to help baggage handlers remove and load baggage. Knowing that the flight was going to miss the arrival time by 15 minutes, he had radioed ahead to advise the ground crew to get additional help to unload the baggage in an attempt to regain the 15 minutes. The pilot assisting the
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