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Southwest Airlines

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The Case in this course is an ongoing case, which means that we have been taking an intensive look at one company over the course of 5 modules. This term, we conducted a strategic analysis of Southwest Airlines. In order to be best prepared and perform well on the cases, it is highly recommended that you complete the background readings and the SLP before writing the case.

Required Reading

Please refer to the required and optional readings on Strategic Controls, the theme for this module.

Assignment

In Module 5, we will conclude the case study process by researching Southwest Airlines' strategic controls and their fit with Southwest's chosen strategy.

Keys to the Assignment

Step One. Review you Case papers from Modules 1-4 so that you are familiar with the mission, vision, SWOT, strategy, and strategic choices you have identified over the course of the class.
Step Two. Research the structure, systems, people, and culture at Southwest Airlines. Use the questions listed in the SLP as a guideline. You will not be able to get answers to every single question, but you will need to answer at least one or two for each component.
Step Three. Describe Southwest's organizational design, key strategic control systems, primary human resources concerns, and cultural factors, the effect they have had on the implementation of Southwest Airlines' strategy.
Step Four. In a paper, critically evaluate the fit - or the lack of fit - between the company's mission, strategy, and organizational components critical to implementation. Do these components complement the strategy? Why or why not?
Step Five: Consider the Case as a formal business report that you are developing for the Board of Directors and CEO as Southwest Airline's company consultant. This is a professional document. Follow the format below:
Executive summary: a synopsis of the main points, conclusions and recommendations made in the longer report. If you have never written an executive summary before, or would like a refresher, check this website: http://www.highendfinance.com/CommercialLoans/Docs/07-4%20ES%20Guidelines.doc
Introduction: State the main purpose of the paper (thesis statement), what you hope to accomplish, and how you will go about doing it.
Main Body: The "meat" of the paper. Emphasize analysis, not just description. Delineate separate topics or sections with headings.
Conclusion: Summarize your paper in the light of your thesis statement.

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Solution Preview

Introduction: State the main purpose of the paper (thesis statement), what you hope to accomplish, and how you will go about doing it.

There is a moderate fit between the mission statement of Southwest Airlines and its strategy. The components support the strategy of Southwest Airlines. We hope to compare the mission statement and the strategy of Southwest Airlines. We will also compare the components of the strategy and the mission statement of the company.

Main Body: The "meat" of the paper. Emphasize analysis, not just description. Delineate separate topics or sections with headings.

The key organizational design of Southwest Airlines is based on the approach used by Southwest Airlines. It does not use hub and spoke approach and instead uses short haul flights and point to point approach. Correspondingly, its organizational design is decentralized. Its key strategic control system is that its crews are paid by the trip, and time it took to turnaround a plane after it reached a destination.

The primary human resource concerns at Southwest Airlines are that employees should be kept happy, satisfied, dedicated, and energetic. Southwest Airlines considers its human resources as its single greatest strength and the most enduring long-term competitive advantage. The culture of Southwest Airlines is one of hard work, high-energy, fun, local autonomy, and creativity, in-flight contests, and recognition of personal initiative (2).

There is strong effect of these factors on the implementation of Southwest Airlines strategy. The organizational design is decentralized and so the local personnel have full freedom in implementing the strategy. The key strategic control system give direction to Southwest Airlines, the employees support the strategy, and the culture leads to efficient implementation of the strategy.

The mission of Southwest Airlines is to provide highest quality of customer service delivered with ...

Solution Summary

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Review and analyze the Southwest Airlines Website: Overall message, targeted stakeholders, marketing vs public relations

Review and analyse the Southwest Airlines Website.
The website is www.southwest.com

Shockley-Zalabak (2012) describes strategic organizational communication as "communication processes in which organizational messages are deliberately generated and guided by organizational objectives" (p. 346). Keeping this in mind, explore Southwest Airlines's Web site in depth:

Identify the overall message Southwest Airlines is attempting to convey to stakeholders.
Which stakeholders are targeted on this Web site?
Identify uses of marketing verses public relation functions with these stakeholders.
Do you feel that Southwest Airlines has successfully integrated their marketing communications? Explain why or why not.

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