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Date Submitted: 09/04/2011 11:54 PM

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In 1966, Southwest Airlines started off as a small commuter air service owned by an entrepreneur named Rollin King. After over hearing business men complain about their routine drive between San Antonio, Dallas, and Houston Texas, in 1967, King filed papers to incorporate the new airline and submitted an application to the Texas Aeronautics Commission for the new company to begin serving Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. After several years of legal problems from rival airlines, by 1971 Lamar Muse was brought in as the CEO of the small commuter air service to get operations underway. Muse was a self confident veteran of the airline business that had the skills needed to send the small service in the right direction. In a short time Muse raised $7 million in new capital which was used to purchase planes and equipment.

Discuss the corporate culture at Southwest Airlines and how it leverages its culture to achieve a competitive advantage.

Whereas the litany at many companies or firms is that customers come first, at Southwest, the operating principle was that employees come first and customers come second. Southwest’s management believe that delivering superior service required employees who not only were passionate about their jobs but also knew the company was genuinely concerned for their well-being and committed to providing them with job security. Southwest placed emphasis on attitude in service delivery. Southwest hired employees for attitude and trained for skills. Management believed that delivering superior service came from having employees who treated customers warmly and courteously. Adding good customer service to other consumer satisfaction variables such as low-cost, low-price, no-frills strategy, the colorful attire of her hostesses, and shorter average flight turn-around time, Southwest enjoyed a relative competitive advantage. In 2000, the number of passengers on Southwest flights exceeded 60 million, and revenue surpassed the $5...