Only Southwest Airlines remained profitable throughout that period.
Team Aconcagua Introduction Air travel first emerged in when Wilbur and Orville Wright sustained flight for only 12 seconds in the first ever air craft. Since then, thousands of airline companies worldwide have come and gone Folger, The airline industry is no different from any other industry in the stressors it faces with employee and customer satisfaction and retention.
However the airline industry also has some unique challenges with combinations of variable costs for fuel, maintenance of planes, and environmental issues such as security and weather. The airline companies have all faced these stressors and some have remained hardy while others have closed their doors and gone out of business.
In this case study we will look at what Southwest Airlines has done to remain resilient while facing tough stressors impacting cost and the overall employee and customer satisfaction. Is Southwest Airlines a hardy organization and, if so, what factors contributed to their hardiness?
Their culture has bred customer satisfaction with both the internal employees and external fliers. This case study will use material from interviews, employee statements, and cultural philosophies to focus in on what Southwest Airlines has done to remain forward thinking and prepare for industry and organizational challenges, thus contributing to their overall success and continued profit.
The challenge for these organizations is to foresee and plan for as many of these challenges as possible. The airline industry has a certain level of uncertainty to plan for. Some common experiences are differences in number of passengers per day per flight.
For example as the economy improves, people fly more, and as the economy declines, people fly less but there are still people flying. This uncertainty creates stress on the logistics of offering more or less flights, and trying to optimize flight schedules.
Southwest Airlines has focused their planning on two primary areas for both industry and organizational stressors which are cost and satisfaction. Cost The airline industry faces regular challenges such as weather, fuel cost, maintenance, and labor costs.
Weather - Weather is variable and unpredictable. Extreme heat, cold, fog and snow can shut down airports and cancel flights, costing airlines money. Little can be done to control the cost for these items and several airlines have taken the approach of building increases in these areas into the ticket prices for customers.
However this has an adverse effect on customer satisfaction and retention which is another area Southwest Airlines is dedicated to constantly improving.
Employee and Customer Satisfaction The airline industry is primarily unionized which can introduce a set of challenges all on its own. With unions, come high turnover, low employee satisfaction and the possibility of employee strikes. All of these issues can have devastating impacts on the success of an organization.
Employee and customer satisfaction is a stressor in some degree to every organization and these behaviors can destroy an organization from the inside out. These stressors have various impacts on the organizations profits and culture. These practices have allowed them to thrive and continue to make a profit in an otherwise difficult industry.
Resilience and Hardiness There are three specific attitudes Maddi and Khoshaba describe as being present in groups exhibiting resilience. In order to be resilient, Maddi et al. Performance, People and Planet. This was demonstrated when they installed e-leather seats and vertical winglets on the wings of their planes.
E-leather is an eco-friendly, lightweight leather made from an engineered composition leather which is durable and comfortable. Southwest Airlines has stood apart in remaining true to offering a low cost option to their customers despite the economic pressures to raise prices.
They also continue not charging extra for baggage on flights. They haveSouthwest has been able to do these things because they have beenwere prepared for industry challenges and have structured themselves in such a way that they were able to take a hit when other companies were not.
It flies only s. It serves no meals, only snacks peanuts, mostly. It charges no fees to change same-fare tickets. It has no assigned seats. It has no electronic entertainment on its planes, relying instead on relentlessly fun flight attendants to amuse passengers.
Culture Southwest combats employee and customer satisfaction issues directly with a strong culture of customer service. A motivated employee treats the customer well. To keep the employees engaged Warner et al.
Examples of a Warrior Spirit include: We tell our Employees we are in the Customer Service business—we just happen to provide airline transportation. Every year, Southwest throws large and small celebrations for things like new airport openings or the best server of the year award.Please see the Case Study 13 "Southwest Airlines: How Herb Kelleher Lead the Way", from 'Management' (published by Wiley, Edition 11) for the question.
Southwest Airlines case study. Read the case and compare the key ideas in the case to the relevant theories and models in the chapter of the book.
is in contact with the frontline. Case 13 Southwest Airlines How Herb Kelleher Led The Way. CASE 13 SOUTHWEST AIRLINES: HOW HERB KELLEHER LED THE WAY The U.S. airline industry experienced problems in the early s.
From through , the largest airlines, including American, United, Delta, and USAIR, lost billions of dollars. Only Southwest Airlines remained profitable throughout that period.
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SOUTHWEST AIRLINES: HOW HERB KELLEHER LED THE WAY To say that the airline industry has had problems is an understatement. The largest carriers including American, United, delta, and USAir have lost billions of dollars.
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