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Posted on April 24th, 2014, by

HOW IS THE CULTURE MAINTAINED AND FOSTERED AT THE SOUTHWEST AIRLINES? The organizational culture at the Southwest Airlines is maintained and fostered by means of the Southwest Airlines leaders’ initiatives. According to the Annual Report, the employees are offered “the freedom to pursue good health, create financial security, travel, make a positive difference, learn and grow, work hard and have fun, and stay connected”¯ (Annual Report: Southwest Airline Inc., 2011). It is found that in 2011, over 40,000 Southwest Airlines Employees took part in the company’s benefits programs, to which the company contributed about $670 million. Besides the above mentioned facts, in 2011, the employees were offered a number of benefits in addition to paid holidays, vocation and sick leave. They include 401(k) retirement savings plan, profit sharing plan, medical and prescription, vision, dental, adoption assistance, pre-tax commuter benefit, life insurance, mental health employee assistance program, accidental death and dismemberment, dependent life insurance, long-term disability (Annual Report: Southwest Airline Inc., 2011). Moreover, the employees are offered special training programs which can help them to perform their duties in a proper way. This training also helps them to advance their careers. It is found that there are both internal and external training programs for the employees. In addition, in order to maintain and foster the organizational culture, the company conducts regular employee surveys which allow the leaders to have a collective picture of the company’s workplace and to learn how the employees feel about working at the company (Annual Report: Southwest Airline Inc., 2011). One more important method to foster the culture at Southwest Airlines is focused on the employee recognition programs. For example, Star of the Month program helps to recognize the most outstanding employees from different work sections of the company “for their outstanding Servant’s Hearts, Warrior Spirits, and Fun-LUVing attitudes and their importance to the Company”¯ (Annual Report: Southwest Airline Inc., 2011). One more important method to maintain the culture is to recognize the best employees of the company with the President’s Award, the highest honor of the company. It is known that each year in June, Southwest Airlines hosts a banquet to celebrate the company’s anniversary in which the most hard-working employees are recognized. Another award is the Winning Spirit Award which recognizes Southwest Airlines employees “for going above and beyond their normal job responsibilities, for consistently displaying their can-do attitudes, and for Living the Southwest Way”¯ (Annual Report: Southwest Airline Inc., 2011). The culture of Southwest Airlines can be described by Edgar Schein’s model which includes three levels artifacts, rituals and values (Schein, 2010, p.12). STRONG RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE SOUTHWEST AIRLINES SUCCESS AND ITS CULTURE There is a strong relationship between the Southwest Airlines success and its culture because the employees who cherish and maintain the company’s culture are considered to be effective employees. Their motivation helps them to achieve the company’s goals. Southwest Airlines culture is the company’s “heart and the foundation that propels them forward”¯ (Annual Report: Southwest Airline Inc., 2011). The leaders of the company are sure that the key to success is their corporate culture. The major principles that are taken into consideration by all Southwest Airlines employees and that help the company to hold the leading position in the market include a Warrior Spirit (to work hard, to have a great desire to be the best, to be courageous and innovative and to display the sense of urgency and persevere) , a Servant’s Heart (to treat others with respect, and to follow the company’s rules and regulations, etc.), and a Fun-LUVing Attitude (to enjoy the work, and be ready to celebrate successes, etc.). Taking the above mentioned facts into consideration, it is necessary to say that Southwest Airlines culture is the company’s formula for success in the competitive market of airline services. CONCLUSION In conclusion, it is necessary to say that Southwest Airlines is one of those companies that can be used as a model in terms of organizational culture. Organizational culture of this company is comprised of the values and beliefs, norms and assumptions of the members and their behaviors. The employees of the company have common goals and try to do everything possible to be the best. They are treated well, respected and valued high. Corporate culture of Southwest Airlines helps the company to succeed in business.

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