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Human Research Management - Southwest Airlines

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2010 Professor Dr. Aziz ï¿œUNJE Student: Majda PEKMEZ SARAJEVO BUSINESS SCHOOL SOUTHWEST AIRLINES Human Resource Management - Individual Case study Q u e s t i o n s: 1. Distinctive culture - what does it mean? Describe SWA organizational culture. How is SWA organizational culture connected with SWA business strategy? 2. What makes Southwest employees so highly motivated and flexible despite the fact that they are 84% unionized? 3. Strategic HRM: Put SWA HRM concept in the frame of HRM Harvard model. Recognize management philosophy as one of situational factors. Shortly describe each of four aspects (HRM Policy Choices) SWA HRM. 4. Sourcing: Describe SWA way of sourcing people. What is your opinion about SWA way of sourcing people? ---------------------------------------------- 1. "I've tried to create a culture of caring for people in the totality of their lives, not just at work. There's no magic formula. It's like building a giant mosaic - it takes thousands of little pieces... The intangibles are more important than the tangibles. Someone can go out and buy airplanes from Boeing and ticket counters, but they can't buy our culture, our spirit de corps." Herb Kelleher, CEO Southwest, Wall Street Journal, 8/31/99. Southwest Airlines (SWA) organizational business strategy principles are based on their culture. In return, their culture (influenced by their managerial philosophy, vision and type of organization) ...read more.


from the time a plane lands until it is ready for takeoff it takes approx. 20 minutes for SWA, while the average of other airlines is 40-60 minutes). In order to ensure employees "ownership" for Company's everyday operations, SWA regularly involves employees' representatives and union officials in strategic business planning and HRM processes related to staffing and other issues, while, at the same time, interconnect employees' compensation / salary schemes to Company's business success / results. SWA' strategy, unique and powerful culture (esprit de corps), managerial philosophy, HRM practice - all together promote motivation, flexibility, high labour productivity, and contribute to Company's high quality customer service, while keeping labour and other costs under control. Company is deeply concerned about employees well being, and is sincerely committed to provide them with job security. Once hired, SWA provide a development and supportive work environment that gives employees freedom to be creative, initiative, responsive, and responsible, making so positive difference in common interest. Being well aware of the fact that nothing hurts the company as layoffs, Kelleher managed SWA to be well known / characterized as no-layoff policy. Such policy not only provides additional security for the employees, but also their strength, loyalty, trust and motivation. Besides those and many other incentives as to keep their employees motivated for their job, SWA even provide the profit sharing plan for their employees (see the previous page). ...read more.


see the page 3). 4. ''...hire and train people to fit into its culture and mirror the Southwest spirit''. SWA: ''Culture, values and operating practices'', p. 59, Thomson & Gamble The core answer to this question is that personal values must be in line with organizational values (culture). It is the SWA' key for success in sourcing people. SWA takes a rigorous consequent approach in hiring new employees. In my opinion, following the HRM soft approach, such way of sourcing people is crucial for achieving real competitive advantages. SWA use their unique hiring process, named "Peers screened candidates and conducted interview", which practically results in working pilot hiring new pilots, or working gate agent hiring new gate agents (pls. see previous page). Actually, SWA screens its top employees in specific job function (e.g. pilots, baggage handlers, ground crew members, or other), identify their relative common strengths / qualities, and afterwards use those qualities to identify best suited candidates during the interview process (called "targeted selection"). SWA hire for attitude as much as for aptitude (''We want people who do things well, with laughter and grace''). Sourcing people executed in such manner, turns to be the SWA' competitive advantage. 1 Through this plan and others, SWA employees own about 10 percent of the Company stock. 2 SWA have rather reduced hierarchical structure, as there are only four levels of management between a frontline supervisor and the CEO. 3 SWA even encourage nepotism, as amongst their employees there are 400 married couples. ?? ?? ?? ?? 6 ...read more.

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