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SOUTHWEST AIRLINES

The Spirit of Flying High

Case Study Analysis Human Resource


Management

The Founders & the Beginning


Founded by Herb Kelleher & Rolling King without any
experience of Airlines Industry In Dallas, Texas.
First operations started in June 18 1971 with three beoing 737
aircrafts
Overcame legal barriers from Continental Airlines, Texas
International & Braniff
Flew over 200 Boeing 737 in 1995
Consistently profitable for 21 years unparallel record in US
AVIATION with Low cost. (Running without Hub & Spoke model)

Business Model & Statistics


180

Flying to airports that are


underutilized like Dallas,
Houston, Oakland
15 minutes turaround time
Lowest cost per passenger
as per industry standards
Customer focus in
embedded in the employee
culture.
16000
14000
12000
10000
8000
6000
4000
2000
0

No of empoyees

160
140
120
100
80
60
40
20
0

No of Aircrafts

Leadership-Culture

Hands on, fun loving and paternalistic leadership style.


Kelleher used to interact with customers freely and south
west employees, bringing in transparency and trust
Visiting Cleaners Room in 3 am Sunday morning
cleaning a plane or passing a doughnut.
Strong focus and commitment to the company culture.
A feeling of family spread out through the organization
with Kelleher as the head.
I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it
means getting along with people.
Mahatma Gandhi

STRATEGIC HRM
Selective in recruiting people
Team work, Innovation and
thinking out of the box promoted
Fun & celebrations are part of
companies culture
Cross work functional activities
Productivity index
Lowest Cost/Mile
15 Min turaround
Happy and satisfied
customers

promoted & employee respect is


given high importance
Human capital Alliance,
partnership, collaboration

established within company.


Recognizing that our people are the competitive advantage, we deliver the
resources and services to prepare our people to be winners, to support growth and
profitability of the company, while preserving the values and special culture of SW
airlines

The Competitive Threat


Competition from United Airlines &
Continental
Both trying to copy the Southwest
business model
Both are established carriers &
lowering the costs.
A strong sense of challenge was sent in
corporate communications by Kelleher to
appeal to people of southwest
The size and the diversity of southwest would
be challenge to manage in the face of
competition

The Road Ahead.


The Mantra of Sustained Competitive Advantage
Resource as a Value
In the extremely competitive airlines
Industry, South wests legendary culture
stood out inspiring people to deliver the
best

Resource as Un imitable
Although the commercial business model
can be copied within no time the culture
evolved over decades cannot be copied

Resource as Rare
South wests employees accepted lower
than industry compensations, and always
have a customer first attitude

Resource as non Substitutable


The unique employee relations and the
employee loyalty makes the human
resource non substitutable in south west
Airlines