Assess the effectiveness of Southwest Airlines’ leadership.


This week you are required to submit a case study. Your paper analysis should be between 3 – 5 pages, not counting the title and reference page. Each page should be approximately 350 words, so no submission should be fewer than 1050 words.

Format your case study assignment paper so that the three questions asked below are clearly defined. Double space your work, cite your work, limit quotes, and edit your work well for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors.

Review this synopsis:

Southwest Airlines was the pioneer of “low-cost, no-frills” strategy. From its beginnings in 1971, the company had become one of the world’s most profitable major airlines (36 straight years of profitability as of January 2009). The company was known for its fun-friendly culture and high employee loyalty. Its former Chief Executive Officer, Herb Kelleher, was a celebrated leader and had been the backbone of the organization, building it to its present scale.

In July of 2004, Southwest’s new CEO James Parker relinquished the CEO role to Gary C. Kelly, former Chief Financial Officer of Southwest. The organization had been facing problems with its labor unions, a potential threat to its employee loyalty-based culture. Also, with the emergence of other low-cost players such as JetBlue and AirTran, who had made differentiation an integral part of their strategy, Southwest faced the challenge of achieving some parity on differentiation going into the future. The intensifying competition in the low-cost industry segment, increased pressure from employees pushing for higher compensation, and labor restructuring agreements among other airlines were eroding Southwest’s culture, as well as its low-fare and wage-rate advantages. In 2008, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) fined Southwest for missing mandatory safety checks. Southwest swiftly grounded 44 aircraft for immediate inspection. Although CEO Kelly said that safety had not been compromised, the incident was a “black eye” on the airline’s safety record. Southwest had established its strategy based on its low-cost operations.

To solidify some of the SWA safety worries, please review this clip from July 2009:

FAA Too Close for Comfort

Colleen Barrett – Servant Leadership

Southwest Airlines – Culture

Answer the following questions in your paper.

1. Assess the effectiveness of Southwest Airlines’ leadership.

2. Discuss the basis of Southwest’s competitive advantage and the potential challenges to its strategy.

3. What growth strategies might Southwest pursue?

Southwest Chief Discusses Earnings

Submit your paper into the assignment section of the classroom.

Font and Spacing – Use Times New Roman 12 pitch font with double-spaced lines.

Length – Write a 3 to 5 page analysis not including the title page and citation page.

Reference Page – Include all sources including your textbook on a Reference page

Utilize the APA Style for documenting sources. You will need to include at least 4 sources in addition to your text.

Chapters 1-6 of textbook attached.