Southwest Airlines’ Nonstop Culture: Flying High with Transparency and Empowerment

by: Wayne Baker

Publication Date: April 21, 2015
Length: 20 pages
Product ID#: 1-429-404

Core Disciplines: Communications, Leadership/Organizational Behavior, Social Impact, Strategy & Management

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Teaching Note

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Southwest Airlines has defied gravity as a leading domestic airliner with consistent profitability, extreme customer loyalty, and a happy labor force. Organizational excellence and a positive corporate culture has propelled Southwest to its leadership position in the US aviation industry. But what is the secret that keeps this airliner flying miles above its competitors? While success can be attributed to several competing factors, students will hone in on leadership, employees, and community impact to assess Southwest’s organizational excellence.

Teaching Objectives

After reading and discussing the material, students should:

  • Identify positive organizational behavior within a complex industry setting.
  • Describe organizational excellence and how it is achieved by a company.
  • Articulate the benefits of top-down management and employee empowerment.
  • Detail a corporation's evolving role in bettering society.
  • Model key behaviors to become a positive leader.