Southwest Airlines' Structure and Culture Case Study by alyson

Southwest Airlines' Structure and Culture
Looks at the the organizational structure, design, form and culture of Southwest Airlines.
# 147506 | 4,735 words | 13 sources | APA | 2010 | US
Published on May 01, 2011 in Business (Companies) , Business (Management) , Business (Human Resources)

$19.95 Buy and instantly download this paper now


This paper analyzes Southwest Airlines' unique culture and structure to determine to what degree they contribute to its exceptional success.
Next, the writer concludes that a key component to the airline's success is its use of mechanistic elements that are required by the company's large size. In addition, the author notes that there also are some organic structural elements, which are preferred due to the airlines' service to employees and customer service objectives. The paper underscores that the freedom given to Southwest employees and the company's laidback approach create an attitude of loyalty to its employees, which is a big part of its strong culture that results in a competitive advantage.

Table of Contents:
Introduction to Southwest Airlines & Elements of Organizational Structure
Organizational Design & Organizational Form
Basic Underlying Assumptions. Espoused Values, Observable Artifacts & 6 Dimensions of Organizational Culture
Culture Strength

From the Paper:

"Having a large union presence at Southwest would make work specialization seem to be highly specialized but in fact, it is the opposite. Work specialization, which is the way tasks are divided into separate jobs, is one of the key elements of defining a company's structure. Southwest's competitive advantage of the "Ten minute turn" requires that employees be highly versatile at all tasks in order to maintain a high turn rate, every employee including pilots take part in helping the plane reach turn around in under 25 minutes. The reason for a high union presence at Southwest was to enforce Herb Kelleher's mentality of putting employees first."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Brancatelli, J. (2008, July 08). Southwest Airlines' Seven Secrets for Success. Retrieved April 10, 2010 from Wired News website <>
  • CBS News. (2007, September 02). Something Special about Southwest Airlines. Retrieved April 10, 2010 from <>
  • Colquitt, J. A., LePine, J. A., & Wesson, M. J. (2009). Organizational behavior: Improving performance and commitment in the workplace. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.
  • Freiberg, K., & Freiberg, J. (1996). Nuts!: Southwest Airlines' crazy recipe for business and personal success. Retrieved from <!+southwest+airlines&cd=1#v=onepage&q&f=false>
  • Holstein, W.J. (2008, Feb. 28). At Southwest, Culture Drives Success. Retrieved April 10, 2010 from BusinessWeek website <>

Cite this Case Study:

APA Format

Southwest Airlines' Structure and Culture (2011, May 01) Retrieved December 01, 2022, from

MLA Format

"Southwest Airlines' Structure and Culture" 01 May 2011. Web. 01 December. 2022. <>