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Southwest Culture

Essay by   •  December 14, 2011  •  Essay  •  457 Words (2 Pages)  •  2,931 Views

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Southwest Culture

Artifacts that convey Southwest Airlines' culture would be the rituals or events the company practices, such as their annual chili cook-off, Halloween party stories, and the impression company employees have of executive management. In some ways, the conveyance of corporate culture is directionally top-down, as Kelleher is open and honest with drink and cigarettes in hand and not afraid to reprimand people who do not act accordingly in situations. The stories that are mentioned about Mr. Kelly's Halloween costume is another example of top-down culture, as he tries to fit into it by being very different and not being the typical CEO of other competing companies. These behaviors, I would argue, leaves a strong impression on employees as a way to encourage them to be as honest and open as their bosses. This would lead to finding creative ways to enjoy their work.

An espoused value that Southwest Airlines would state is that they do things differently than their competitors, which is an understatement on various levels. The article mentions that although the wages in Southwest was higher, they don't last long in the company because they work much more than competitors. One thing not mentioned in the article that I am reminded of was the viral video and news of a Southwest Airlines employee rapping the safety instructions. The video is still on YouTube and shows the longevity of an impression made on viewers and customers of the airline. It's not unusual anymore to find Southwest Airline videos uploaded on YouTube of other flight attendants also putting a unique spin on procedures. Such examples show off the company's value of differentiating from competitors.

The real culture of Southwest Airlines is that the employees don't mind working extra hard for the company as they are rewarded with encouragement for being different than the status quo of the industry. People who do not understand that culture and entering it will feel uncomfortable if they are unable to fit or adjust to it. The commitment of the employees due to the non-financial rewards the company has to offer is the biggest indicator of a strong culture, as the company still actively competes and is successful at it by offering high wages for employees and low prices for customers. The success of Southwest Airlines relies on the commitment made by the employees to work hard in a demanding environment but to try to have as much fun as possible. The outcome is leaving more positive impressions for both employees and customers, and would improve chances of repeat business and ensuring long term profitability. It's tough to name any other airline whose flight attendants will rap, sing opera, or impersonate Elvis as a way to get passengers to remember safety protocols.

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