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Southwest Airlines Motivation Strategy, Research Paper Example

Pages: 1

Words: 550

Research Paper

Introduction

This paper examines the leadership policies and practices of Southwest Airlines from the lens of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.  The theory puts forward the premise that there are deficiencies in the airline that impact both leadership and Human Resource Management.

Analysis

The concept of self-actualization is by Companies having the ability to create the right environment for employees to fulfil their potential. Southwest Airlines have achieved this by having an inclusive communications policy with their staff and including them in the decision making process.  This is particularly reflected in the airline staff that demonstrates a high level of contentment and job satisfaction (Conley, 2012)

The concept of self-esteem has been reflected by the personal belief model of the CEO Herb Kelleher.  His leadership style puts the employees at the top of the agenda. They have worked hard on the adoption of an open communications system where all staff are kept informed and have the ability to make decisions.

The sense of belonging in Southwest Airlines is very much attributed to the family spirit engendered in the firm.  Despite being highly decentralised the management team have worked hard to try and be ‘enablers’ that help individuals fulfil their role in the organization. This is evidenced by the high levels of productivity and dedication of the staff to their duties.

The concept of employee safety and concern for employees is best demonstrated by the following statement from the Chairman Gary Kelly “We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth. Creativity and innovation are encouraged for improving the effectiveness of Southwest Airlines. Above all, Employees will be provided the same concern, respect, and caring attitude within the organization that they are expected to share externally with every Southwest Customer” (Kelly, G. 2008)

The success of Southwest Airlines relative to other Fortune listed companies is primarily attributed to sound executive leadership policies, sound communication skills and a good strategic plan for the growth and development of the business.

Reinforcement Theory of Motivation

This theory was developed by B.F. Skinner and briefly provides that the behaviour pattern of an individual  is a function of consequences.  As such this can be attributed to the ‘law of effect’ and that positive behaviour is often repeated whereas negative tends not to be repeated.  Skinner’s theory tends to ignore the personal inner feelings of the individual and is more concerned with the consequences of actions.  As such the external environment is an important part of individual motivation.  The management team at Southwest Airlines have a good track record of working with the strong employees Union. Despite 87% membership in the Union the Airline has not suffered from strikes or serious industrial disputes.  It has made a policy of trying to look after its employees and that they receive a high level of remuneration.  This tends to engender a very positive attitude amongst the employees and this percolates through every level of the business.  Employees are also offered a profit sharing plan and this motivates work performance so as all benefit in the success and profitability of the company. The firm offer a sound policy of interactivity with the pilots working harmoniously with the Flight attendants.

Works Cited

Conley, C. (2012, 9 19). Admiring Actualized Companies. Retrieved from Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chip-conley/admiring-actualized-compa_b_178002.html

Kelly, G. (2008). Doing The Right Thing. Southwest Airlines.

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