Southwest Airlines: Communicating Success

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SOUTHWEST AIRLINES: SUCCESS IS COMMUNICATING SUCCESS Bernard J Joy January 24, 2011 Southwest Airlines (SWA) is an example of an employee-empowered organization. The successful enterprise is dedicated to its personnel, customers, the environment, and its shareholders. Communication throughout the company adheres to the values and Mission of SWA. The success and future growth of the company depends on the culture taught and lived there, which serves as a model for other companies that choose to pursue this style of management. Historical The company was launched in 1971. It began with four planes and never left the state of Texas ( Of the original employees, there are 12 remaining in the employ of Southwest at this time (Organizational Culture…). The company struggled to survive until 1978 when the Airline Deregulation Act allowed Southwest to lower its airfares and expand service beyond the Texas borders to which it had been held. Herb Kelleher, former Chairman of the Board as well as one of the original founders (Knol, Jurjan), established the culture and philosophy. His style of managing with an open door policy, his vision, philosophy, and grass – roots style of managing were imperative to the company’s success. The current Chairman of the Board, Gary Kelly, is also serving as the President and Chief Executive Officer ( He continues this strong and upheld tradition. As of June 30, 2010, SWA is the largest domestic U.S. carrier for passengers. It operates 547 Boeing 737’s to 73 destinations. Communicating a positive image to the public, while maintaining customer service and efficiency are the most important aspects in his vision. Kelley, an inspirational leader, also explains his rationale in decision-making plans. Kelly and other executives will lunch with new employees just to determine if the expectations are
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