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Major Assignment: Southwest Airlines

The success of any business organization depends on its leaders’ willingness to apply appropriate models and theories, empower their followers, and make strategic decisions depending on the forces experienced in the sector. Managers need to utilize their competencies to support all core functions and ensure that every partner is involved to transform organizational performance. Southwest Airlines stands out as a good example of an aviation company that has succeeded due to the management’s ability to examine the nature of competition in the industry and implement evidence-based initiatives. The purpose of this paper is to use its case to describe how organizations can rely on the power effective managerial approaches to become profitable and overcome the challenge of rivalry in their respective sectors.

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Southwest Airlines: Study Aim

Southwest Airlines Co. is one of the recognizable brands in the United States domestic aviation sector. This company has been in operation since the year 1967 and it serves most of the regions and major cities in this country (Chishty-Mujahid, 2017). Herb Kelleher started and developed this organization within less than a decade to become an intrastate airline (Sparks, 2019). By 2018, it was the leading company in terms of the number of passengers served locally (Sparks, 2019). Currently, it has a total of 60,000 workers who provide high-quality services to the increasing number of local customers (Sparks, 2019). He goes further to indicate that it operates around 4,000 flights during peak seasons or months (Sparks, 2019). Due to its positive performance, it has been on the frontline to identify more destinations and surrounding countries as a way of maximizing profits. The latest reports indicated that this company was earning revenues of around 21 billion US dollars. Its assets in 2018 stood at 26.4 billion US dollars (Sparks, 2019). These statistics reveal that the airline has been expanding steadily due to the managers’ approaches and focus on the trends recorded in both the regional and local markets.

The global airline industry remains unpredictable and fragile due to numerous vulnerabilities and changes that can affect the level of profits and operations. Several issues make it impossible for many organizations in this sector to achieve their goals. For example, challenges of insecurity and terrorism compel companies to implement powerful mechanisms to be prepared for such eventualities (Forbes, Lederman, & Tombe, 2015). The problems associated with the limited nature of resources and increased costs for fuel make it hard for emerging firms and established corporations to break. Despite the presence of these potential obstacles, Southwest Airlines has managed to survive at a time when large organizations have merged or decided to retrench most of their workers. The discussions presented below describe the unique managerial attributes that have made this airline company successful and unique in the local industry.

Management Perspective


The adoption and implementation of desirable organizational practices and models have led to positive results at Southwest Airlines within the past five decades, including culture, structure, and processes. However, the aspect of leadership remains critical since it is what dictates how different workers collaborate and focus on the intended mission and vision statements (Batocchio, Ghezzi, & Rangone, 2016). The four functions of management have remained the true source of inspiration and action at this organization.

At Southwest Airlines, the managers begin by taking the issue of planning seriously to maintain a sense of direction (Roberts & Griffith, 2019). Those in charge of different departments collaborate to make appropriate decisions and determine how they have the potential to improve or affect future business goals or operations. The innovator and owner of this company, Herb Kelleher, established a superior approach whereby the incorporation of the external and internal forces became an evidence-based model for streamlining performance (Rifkin, 2019). The company has been in a position to apply the same planning strategy to identify emerging challenges and opportunities that can dictate the nature of performance. External attributes that Southwest Airlines takes into consideration include emerging governmental policies, nature of comthe petition, consumer behaviors, and emerging trends in the industry. From an internal perspective, the leaders consider the organization’s strengths and attract the right people to meet the demands of the increasing number of customers (Forbes, Lederman, & Tombe, 2015). The planners go further to develop the best organizational processes, structures, and practices that can maximize the experiences of the targeted passengers.

The concept of ethics remains critical in any business firm that wants to remain sustainable and meet the needs of more clients. Different theories and models have emerged that dictate the responsiveness and willingness of companies to protect different partners and stakeholders, such as customers, community members, and even employees (Daft, Murphy, & Willmott, 2017). From this perspective, Southwest Airlines implements emerging ideas and strategies to compensate all workers and ensure that they are capable of pursuing their personal goals in life. Such compensation frameworks have made it easier for this company to attract more potential workers when necessary. They also receive additional resources, training, and desirable working environments that make it easier for them to deliver positive results to the company. These individuals are encouraged to be involved in various decision-making processes and eventually present additional insights that can make the organization more competitive.

The concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) borrows a lot from the process of management. At Southwest Airlines, emerging challenges and environmental issues receive the relevant attention to protect the available resources (Sparks, 2019). This company ensures that its aircraftsaircrafticed regularly to reduce their carbon footprints. The use of paperwork has become a thing of the past since it has the potential to potential affect the integrity of the natural environment (Slávik, 2019). This outcome is possible since trees and forests will be destroyed to meet the demand for paper. Customers can pay and book flights using various online-based strategies or platforms. This managerial aspect has made this company more admirable to an increasing number of potential customers in the United States and all the neighboring countries.

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Southwest Airlines has implemented a decentralized leadership model that empowers workers and equips them with the relevant resources and opportunities to improve performance continuously. Sparks (2019) indicates that this concept has remained critical at Southwest Airlines since it dictates thehow authority is defined and applied to promote effectiveness and coordination. The leaders ensure that individuals focus on clear goals and actions that resonate with the company’s wider mission (Foelber, 2020). Managers of different departments identify specific tasks and mentor or guide the right people to perform and complete them efficiently (Sparks, 2019). Delegation is also essential since it allows employees to be aware of their unique roles and responsibilities that resonate with the expectations of the targeted passengers (Mayfield & Mayfield, 2017). While pursuing such duties, leaders require that their followers put the needs of the customers first. This coordination approach has made it possible for Southwest Airlines to become a reputable brand in the local industry.

Using the concepts of management, this company has merged all functions with the established business model as a way of delivering the intended results. With the increasing level of competition from different companies in the local aviation sector, this organization’s leaders have been borrowing a lot from the personality of Herb Kelleher (Rifkin, 2019). The attributes of continuous managerial innovation have become a reality at Southwest Airlines since every initiative is pursued and monitored to ensure that it focuses on the demands and expectations of the employees. A bottom-up organization culture is an evidence whereby all workers present numerous ideas to the managers and encourage them to implement what can work positively to improve performance (Lemus-Aguilar, Morales-Alonso, Ramirez-Portilla, & Hidalgo, 2019). These workers become empowered and willing to engage in a wide range of roles that eventually ensure that the greatest number of customers is satisfied.

The managers understand the importance of an effective work-life balance since it makes it possible for the individuals to strike a balance between their personal goals and the company’s objectives. The motivational theory of needs hierarchy by Abraham Maslow appears applicable in such a scenario. The reasoning behind such an argument is that the managers put the demands of their followers first, provide the necessary incentives, and allow them to experiment with emerging concepts or ideas (Maon & Sen, 2016). They also provide competitive remunerations and salaries to improve the level of motivation and guide them to focus on the changing needs of their respective customers. This strategy has made it possible for Southwest Airlines to overcome the challenge of competition, thereby remaining a successful player in the industry.


Withoan effective leading and staffing strategies, chances are high that Southwest Airlines might be another struggling organization in the American aviation industry. The company’s top management incorporates the human resources (HR) department that is tasked with identifying, recruiting, compensating, and training competent people who can support organizational performance and deliver the anticipated business outcomes. Janković, Mihajlović, and Cvetković (2016) argue that the human aspect will always be an integral part that determines the level of organizational performance. After focusing on the trends and social forces in the external environment, Southwest Airlines engages in powerful strategies to equip all workers with the right ideas, technologies, and resources to meet the demands of all the passengers.

This company has created effective workforces whereby employees receive proper remunerations, incentives, and support systems to become more involved. They become satisfied and replicate the same attributes to maximize the experiences of the customers (Rifkin, 2019). The managers go further to lead all followers using a participative model that encourages them to share their experiences, expectations, and challenges (Lemus-Aguilar et al., 2019). This knowledge influences the manner in which the supervisors introduce and implement new changes (Perez, 2020). The empowered and contented find a reason to remain involved in every activity and focus on the strategies to improve the level of performance. Consequently, this organization has managed to attract more people who have made more successful and profitable.

Competent and successful workers receive incentives that continue to create a culture of excellence. Supervisors pursue the idea of delegation within the realm of organizational management (Sparks, 2019). Followers are directed and provided with tasks that can make it possible for the company to deliver high-quality services to the increasing percentage of passengers (Yi, Park, & Kim, 2019). All employees are included within the decision-making model since the established model is founded on the actions and achievements of such stakeholders (Kouzes & Posner, 2017). These attributes have resulted in a superior organization design that empowers all individuals to take actions, liaise with customers to understand their needs, and present additional ideas for improving service delivery (Perez, 2020). The level of communication has increased significantly, thereby making it possible for Southwest Airlines to achieve its business goals.

The example of this airline company is a clear indication that Fayol’s managerial functions should become the foundation of every business model since they outline the activities and actions that have the potential support the nature of performance. Leaders who rely on such attributes should go further to consider additional strategies depending on the nature of the industry, the external forces, and the identified internal factors (Panigrahi, 2017). The acquired knowledge will result in the establishment of the most appropriate business model that resonates with the demands and expectations of both the workers and the identified customers (Sparks, 2019). When these aspects in place, any new or existing company can overcome the challenge of competition, attract more partners, and increase the level of sales.

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The leaders at Southwest Airlines understand that this attribute of management remains essential since it has the potential to dictate the effectiveness of the above three functions. Through the application of proper controls, managers can ensure that all initiatives, processes, and strategies are in accordance with the outlined plans. Currently, this company relies on different tools to maximize operations while at the same time identifying new ways to reduce errors and wastages (Sanyal & Hisam, 2018). For example, all leaders monitor work performance and match the results with the outlined best practices. They go further to identify contingency plans to executive when the targeted strategies fail to deliver positive results. The managers have been keen to monitor the experiences and views from different customers as a way of examining whether the actual practices different employees undertake are in accordance with the outlined plan. The idea of implementing corrective approaches or solutions remains critical since the leaders find a new opportunity to identify areas of weakness and improve service delivery continuously (Lemus-Aguilar et al., 2019). The managers still go further to identify some of the best practices from other countries and corporations in order to improve its processes continuously (Sparks, 2019). Such an initiative becomes a new opportunity for providing quality support and experiences to the greatest number of passengers from the United States and the neighboring countries.

Through the concept of controlling, the leaders have understood how link various aspects of the business to create the most appropriate business model that resonates with the expectations of both the workers and the potential customers. Those in managerial positions understand that it is always necessary to consider all critical areas of a business that has the potential to influence performance while at the same time ensuring that the key aspects of a sustainable business are in check (Mayfield & Mayfield, 2017). This outcome becomes possible when companies understand the possible implications of both the external and the internal environmental factors and how they can promote or drive organizational profitability.

On top of the above management functions and practices, the leaders have implemented the best leadership processes as a way of controlling and making this organization profitable. For instance, they guide others using their personal examples and create the best environment for improving the nature of communication (Yuliansyah, Gurd, & Mohamed, 2017). Individuals are encouraged to promote positive interpersonal relationships that make it easier for them to work as teams and focus on the changing expectations of the identified passengers. Performance measures are essential since they merge the established model with the anticipated outcomes.


The above discussion has revealed that the concepts of management are critical in any business organization. Business leaders should possess the relevant competencies to create the most appropriate model that integrates the functions of management, organizational theory, CSR, and design. Managers can go further to consider the case of Southwest Airlines to create the best environment whereby workers remain motivated, communicate effectively, support decision-making processes, and receive rewards from the executed performance measures. From this analysis, it is agreeable that corporations can expand the major functions of management to coincide with the implemented business model and supportive strategies. The consideration of such aspects will make more companies profitable and overcome the challenge of competition in their respective sectors.


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