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Aviation industries are currently competing with one another to survive in the current global market. Presently, the aviation industry is changing at an increasing rate causing many airlines to close down due to bankruptcy and lack of customers. Additionally, technology is changing at an increasing rate, making the customers to change their tastes and preferences. Consumers like to travel with the cheapest and the safest airline. Therefore, to ensure that there is safety in the airlines, management should include a culture to enforce these measures. In this case, the different managements of these industries are realizing that by utilizing organizational culture as a strategy, they are going to increase competition, gaining a competitive advantage over the other companies. In this case, the airline industry should take into consideration the use of proper strategic cultures as a tactic for gaining a competitive advantage over the airline industry.

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Organization culture is one important topic to the aviation industry. This concept may seem simple and unimportant but in real terms, it creates competitive advantage over the other companies. Organization culture can be described as collective behaviors in certain organizations that are perceived to be the norms of the organization (Lumpe, 2008). In most cases, they are a common set of values, policies or norms, existing in a certain company making the performance of activities in the company. Organization culture is extremely important for companies because it is the platform, being used by industry, to interact with other parties internally and externally. Additionally, all members of the organization depend on organization culture to perform their duties. Finally, when a new employee is being introduced in the company, organization cultures are used in teaching employees what is expected of them in the industry.

Safety is one element of organization culture being applied in an organization. Many firms are being urged to form a safety culture as part of strategy for purposes of gaining competitive advantage over other companies (Salas & Maurino, 2010). In order to have a proper understanding of the safety culture, two approaches are applicable. The first approach is the industrial approach, where the industry should be able to identify and distinguish excellent and poor strategies of safety, based on experiences (Edkins & Coakes, 2000). In this approach, employees are not only made to have safety cultures in the organization but they are motivated to apply them. The second approach is the academic one, where scholars are trying to establish ways of improving safety cultures (Edkins & Coakes, 2000). In this situation, scholars are coming up with proper measures that are going to be applicable for improvement of safety cultures.

In aviation industry, safety in the airlines is everything. According to the current surveys, consumers are using the safest means to fly to various destinations. For instance, an airline industry that is surrounded by accidents is likely to lose clients to other safer airlines. Therefore, the management of airline industries should consider culture as part of their strategy in particular safety cultures. When considering this, they are supposed to include other aspects to improve overall safety in the company. First, the management should consider providing employees with safety hazards as part of their safety culture. In this case, the employees will be motivated to improve safety cultures in an organization. In order to understand cultures in aviation industry, two airline industries are going to be used for the study, where their organization cultures are evaluated and compared to come up with conclusions of financial performance and safety.

Southwest Airlines was first founded by Herb Kelleher and Robin King in 1971. The headquarters of the company are located in Dallas, Texas. Their main aim for introducing the airline was to provide cheaper means of transport for distances less than five hundred miles (Smith, 2004). The airline was first flying to Dallas, Houston and San Antonio during the first years since its initiation. Currently, the airline is considered the largest domestic airline in America (Smith, 2004). Over the years, the airline has acquired several airlines in the country as a strategic means of widening its scope. The airline is successful as compared to other airlines in America due to the strategies it has been employing. In this case, safety cultures of Southwest Airlines are evaluated to show how they have led the company to tremendous success.

Southwest Airlines First Organization Cultures. The first culture of Southwest Airlines is the company mission statement. The mission statement affirms that ‘Dedication of the highest quality of customer service should be delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and company spirit’ (Smith, 2004). The mission statement was first created by Kelleher when the company was first initiated. In order to guarantee that this mission statement was followed, Kelleher made sure that all employees were empowered. In this case, he made the airline to appear like a home, where all the employees of the company are referred to as people. Secondly, Kelleher ensured that all employees had freedom to say what they wanted during the flights. In this situation, cabin crew members had an opportunity of having humorous moments with customers ensuring they were comfortable during the flight. Additionally, cabin crew members were allowed to wear hot pants or other clothing appropriate for the customers they were serving.

The second part of the mission statement is addressing corporate employees of the company. These people are facing stressful decisions that can lead to health hazards. In this case, Kelleher made sure that employees had a day, where they could wear pajamas to work (Smith, 2004). This was for the purposes of creating a safety environment for people in the corporate section. Additionally, Kelleher is adding rocking chairs in the corporate section of the company. During meetings, the people usually sit on rocking chairs, where they have fun, when making strategic decisions, leading to prevention of stress. Finally, Kelleher is giving the corporate people freedom of becoming innovative, while performing their duties. These tasks are extremely technical and they can be stressful for the people. In this situation, they are extremely innovative coming up with new and high quality ways of performing their duties.

It is worth noting that this culture was created by Kelleher, when the company was first initiated in 1971. According to various studies, certain cultures form by themselves in the company. In the course of performing daily routine chores, employees might start noticing that there are certain norms, values and policies of the company that are becoming part of them. In the past, these policies were not there but after the company existence for a long time, they are slowly becoming part of the company. In this case, they are referred to as cultures. On the other hand, Kelleher did not wait for the cultures to form by themselves in the company; instead, he initiated them for the employees to follow. It is also worth noting that this culture has stayed in the company since the times it was first introduced to the company by Kelleher.

Strengths and Weaknesses of the Culture

This culture has certain advantages and disadvantages in Southwest Airlines. The first advantage of this culture is that it motivates the employees to perform their work effectively. According to the company history, employees are highly motivated to work, ensuring quality in the company. When the employees are assured of better working conditions, where they are free of doing what they feel is right in performance of their duties, they are going to be highly motivated. Additionally, the employees are going to be highly motivated if they are free from any stressful working conditions that might result to poor quality performance in their duties. In this case, the culture is likely to motivate employees to perform their duties with a lot of quality. As a result, it is going to increase the overall quality of work done in the organization.

Secondly, this culture is ensuring increase in total revenues of Southwest Airlines. It may be difficult to understand how this culture has resulted in the increase of revenues but having a closer look it is clear that the culture is extremely effective. First, the culture is strongly motivating employees to perform their duties on their best level. Secondly, it is enhancing efficiency in customer care service. This is because employees have been highly motivated to do their best, resulting to high performance in customer care services. As a result, the company is attracting a huge number of customers, resulting to increase in revenues. In this case, the culture is strongly enlarging the profits of company. According to Southwest Airlines, revenues have been increasing significantly, despite the financial crisis, causing other companies to close down.

On the other hand, the culture contains a certain weaknesses that might be disadvantageous for Southwest Airlines. When people are given too much freedom to do what they want in an organization, they might tend to abuse their authorities. For instance, they might start becoming inefficient, when they are conducting their duties. This is because there is nobody to control their behavior. In the end, the company might end up loosing there customers to other companies due to inefficiency of employees. For this reason, the management of Southwest Airlines should provide limitations to the employee freedom ensuring that quality in the performance of duties is increasing, resulting to significant increase in revenues.

Southwest Airlines Second Organization Cultures

The second organization culture is a combination of factors or policies in the company. When Southwest Airlines was beginning its operations, it was constantly facing several challenges. One of the challenges was lack of customers. This was leading to low revenues, proving to be expensive for the company to hold many employees. This reason made Kelleher to decide it was time to initiate cost effective measures to cut cost. In this case, he introduced a culture, where employees were involved in every decision making in the organization. Since Kelleher did not want to lay off the employees, he asked them if they could reduce their working time for purposes of cutting costs to increase revenues. In this case, the employees agreed to this decision, creating a culture, where employees are involved in decisions making. From this time, Kelleher declared the employees to be the first priority of the company, while the customers are second. Similar to the other culture, it is worth noting that this culture did not form on its own, it was formed by Kelleher as part of the strategy to cut cost and maintain the company financial security.

Strengths and Weaknesses of the Culture

The first strength of the culture is that it has led Southwest Airlines to survive the different financial crisis in the country. For example, during the September 2011 attacks, the airline industry was facing many security issues, where the customers were afraid of flying. For this reason, the level of revenues started going down, resulting to a reduction in the total amount of revenues. As a result, the company had to find ways, in which it was going to cut costs. The employees stepped in and made a proposal to the management to reduce their wages as long as nobody was going to be laid off from their duties. Another good example of strong culture is during the financial crisis of 2008. The employees were afraid that the company was going to lay off people like the other airline companies. The employees created a proposal for the management, where their wages were going to be reduced and nobody was going to be laid off. This culture was ensuring that Southwest Airlines survived different financial difficulties, while their competitors were closing down.

On the other hand, the culture can prove to be weak if the employees start to demand increase in their salaries. This is because employees can notice that every time there is a financial crisis, they are reducing their wages but what about when the company is performing extremely well. In this case, they will force the company to increase their wages on the basis they are reducing their salary, when the company is facing challenges. This can continue to affect the company revenue collection. Southwest Airlines might start to decrease their revenues resulting to losses, rather than capitalizing on the market opportunities. For this reason, Southwest Airlines should create a technique, where the employee wages rise and fall in accordance with the existing market conditions together with other factors.

Southwest Airlines Third Organization Cultures

The third culture of Southwest Airlines is the safety culture. All airline industries are expected to have safety measures in the company, where they can protect both their employees and customers as they are working or flying with the industry. Since the company was initiated forty years ago, the management of the organization has been ensuring that safety of the customers and the employees is always first (Southwest Airlines, 2011). First, Southwest Airlines started ensuring that its employee safety comes first in the airlines. This is where the airline is following all the rules and regulations laid down to create a health hazard-working environment for employees. Additionally, the company is rewarding its employees who maintain proper environment for the customers, while they are using the airline. This way it is able to improve safety.

On the side of the customers, Southwest Airlines is making it its culture to ensure that it is providing proper safety regulations for its customers. The airline has fulfilled all the safety regulations stipulated by the airlines regulatory authorities. For instance, it has trained its employees on all safety measures they are supposed to take, when they are delivering services to their customers. Secondly, the company installed all its airplanes with safety equipments that might be used in case of any emergency. In this case, it is able to offer its customers safety, while they are flying with Southwest Airlines. In addition to all the safety regulations, the management of Southwest Airlines is involved in ensuring that safety in the organization is involved. For instance, the management is involved in the training of employees on how to deliver safety services to the customers.

Strengths and Weaknesses of the Culture

This culture is one hundred percent effective in the company. According to the company safety records since it was started, there has never been any accidents occurring as compared to the other companies. This shows that its safety culture has been one hundred percent effective. Additionally, the company’s safety culture has been able to increase its chances and stand to tests as the other companies have been going down due to numerous accidents that have been occurring. For example, during the September 11 attack, the company was able to convince its consumers that they have the best airlines. In this case, it attracted many domestic customers to fly with its airline because it had the safest airlines across America.

American Airlines

American Airlines was formed because of acquisitions of several domestic airlines in 1930. The company has its headquarters located in Dallas, Texas. The company name was initially formed by business before 1930 but it later acquired several domestic airlines and it used the name to call these newly acquired airlines. The company gained fame carrying the U.S. mail all over America. It can be noted that America Airlines begun its work before World War II. In this period, the owners of the airlines decide to concentrate on speed since they were transporting the U.S. mail across the world. As compared to Southwest Airlines, American Airlines did not concentrate on cheap prices but rather provide speed to their customer. In this case, the air carrier made sure that it transported its customers from one area to another at the shortest time possible. Since its initiation, the company has continued to acquire new airlines, making it to expand further. However, over the long period of existence, the company has been experiencing difficulties but it has been able to stand them all and survive the numerous difficulties.

American Airlines First Organization Culture

The first culture, formed by the company, is the new policy that was created by the management known as partnership for safety. This culture aims at empowering the safety of all the employees to motivate them so that they can provide safety to their customers. In this case, the senior management was put to test. This is where the senior management is made to take up safety as part of duties to both the employees and customers. Secondly, this culture is making all the employees of American Airlines to take responsibility of their own safety and the safety of the customers. In this case, employees are made to ensure their safety before taking care of the customers (Carey, Von & CEO Academy, 2003). When this is done, overall safety of the company is significantly improved. Thirdly, the culture tries to identify any problems causing the accident. This is where the company investigates the root causes of the accident. After that, it creates measures to prevent reoccurrence of the accident in future. Finally, the culture entails improvement or upgrading of existing safety infrastructure in the company. In this case, the culture is trying to ensure that there is zero tolerance on accidents in the company by both preventing and acting on emergencies (Air Transport Research Society, 2007).

Strengths and Weaknesses of the Culture

This policy has strengths that are making it to be successful since its inception. First, people have been falling down resulting to injuries. In the past, employees were working in poor conditions, where injuries were common occurrences in the airline. However, after the introduction of this culture, people, falling down, have been reducing in the company. Additionally, customer have been receiving proper safety measures over the last few years, making it possible for them to trust the airline, resulting to increasing revenues in the company over the last few years. This shows that the culture is greatly reducing accidents, showing that it is strong in enhancing safety in the airlines.

Secondly, the culture is greatly increasing employee training on safety, improvement of safety infrastructure and employee engagement in safety. In the past, before the culture was introduced in the company, employees were not engaged in any safety measures. Additionally, employees did not have any training that could help them in performing their duties. Additionally, the airline did not have proper safety tools that could be used in times of accidents. For this reason, it was extremely difficult for the airline to maintain safety (Grollmes, & Federal Emergency Management Agency Washington DC, 1985). However, after the introduction of this culture, all safety equipments have been improved in the organizations, ensuring that there is proper safety in the company.

However, this culture has difficulty in that employees might take long before they start understanding the culture. This is because employees might resist changes the organization is trying to make because they are not motivated. In the end, safety will not be increased. Instead, it will be decreased gradually, resulting to reduction of revenues in the company. Secondly, technology is currently changing at an increasing rate leading to obsolete equipment. In this case, management of the company might improve the old safety equipment, resulting to improvement of old obsolete safety equipment useless to the company. As a result, they might end up loosing a lot of money in the end, and yet they could have tried to cut costs.

American Airlines Second Organization Culture

The second American Airlines culture is cutting or laying off employees in times of crisis. Since the company was started, every time it was facing tough crisis, the management has resulted to sacrificing employees in order to save the company financially. First, when the company was hit by the 1982 recession, many people did not use the airlines to travel to their destinations. This was leading to the reduction of customers, causing a massive reduction in the year-end profits. Additionally, during the recent financial crisis in 2008, American companies were facing bankruptcy at their doorstep. In this case, they were resulting in laying off their employees. American Airlines as well was using their culture of laying off their employees to cut costs for purposes of increasing revenues in the company. Due to this current trend, the company is likely to lay off other employees if it is going to face crisis.

Strengths and Weaknesses of the Culture

The only strength about this culture is that it reduces costs in the short-term. When a huge number of employees are reduced in the company, it means that all the employees' benefits, the employees were receiving from the company, are going to reduce, gradually resulting to an increase in revenues. Additionally, all the wages employees were making, when they were working in the company, will be reflected at the end of the financial reports as profits. This shows that this culture of cutting off employees in the company is extremely strong in increasing profits at short-term purposes resulting to high revenues. The culture is ensuring that American Airlines is surviving through the hard crisis, while the other companies are closing down due to bankruptcy.

However, there are various weaknesses to the culture. First, the company is lowering the brand name of the company. Customers and the society do not respect a company that is laying off their employees. This is because companies are supposed to take corporate social responsibility to the society. Among these corporate social responsibilities, offering employment opportunities to the people living in the society is one of them. In this case, when a company cuts off its employees it means that it is not performing its corporate social responsibility (Croisant, & Geneva College, 2001). American Airlines is going to lose respect from the society and the customers. In the end, it will not be in a position to conduct business. As a result, revenues are going to reduce on long-term basis. This is because even after the end of the crisis, the company is facing, it is going to take time before it makes a name to increase its profits.

Secondly, it costs more to cut off employees as compared to the other options. This means that the culture is becoming costly for the company (Greenwald & Madigan, 2003). In order to cut off employees from the company, valuable time is lost due to paper work. In this case, the time that could have been used serving the customer is being wasted on serving employees who are cut off. In addition, there is no motivation in the company. Employees who are left behind do not have any form of encouragement. This is because they always think they are next to being cut off from the company, resulting in the reduction of quality in the work being done by the employees. Finally, the employees, who are left in the company, are often getting more work that was previously done by the employees who were cut off from the company. All these weaknesses of the culture are causing the company to lose a lot of money. In the end, it is resulting to financial crisis leading to bankruptcy.

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Comparing two airlines, it is clear they have different organizations cultures that are making them successful since there inception. According to Southwest Airlines organization culture, it is to empower the employees. First, the management of the company is making the employees wear what they want on certain days of the week. In this case, the management of the company is trying to create a stressful free working environment for the employees in both the corporate section and the cabin crew members. Secondly, the management is continuing to create a stress free environment in the corporate section by putting rocking chairs in the company. Moreover, it allows all the employees to be innovative in their work. Currently, cabin crew members can interact with the customers humorously and corporate members can make their own decisions, while they are working. Finally, all the employees are part of decision making in the organization. During financial crisis, they agree on reduction of salaries as long as the management is not going to lay off anybody. This is improving customer care services, leading to increase in a number of customers.

In terms of safety, Southwest Airlines is making safety come first before anything else. Since the company was started, the management of the company has been creating a safety culture, where employees are going for training and later they are made responsible for the safety of the customers. Additionally, the management is becoming part of the safety culture by ensuring that all safety equipments are on constant improvement. Finally, the management is creating a safety culture by ensuring that all safety regulations stipulated by different airline authorities. In this case, Southwest Airlines has been maintaining one hundred percent safety in the organization.

On the other hand, American Airlines is applying a different organization culture. First, the company is introducing a new culture to enhance safety in the organization. In this case, it is training all their employees on safety and regulations measures. Secondly, the management is becoming part of the safety by ensuring that all the safety equipments in the organization are improved. Finally, employees are held responsible for their own safety and the safety of customers. Since the safety culture was introduced in the organization, accidents are gradually reducing resulting to a safe environment.

The other culture is the cutting off employees in the company in case a crisis arises. American Airlines is known for laying off their employees in case there is a massive crisis that could affect the operations of the company. In this case, the organization is increasing its profits on short-term purposes as it is reducing their costs.

It can be noted that Southwest Airlines financial performance is likely to enlarge at an increasing rate on long-term purposes. This is because the management is creating a culture of innovation and freedom in the company resulting to high quality services. As a result, it has been increasing its customer base. On the other hand, American Airlines is continually sacking their employees, yet they are assets in the organizations. This has been slowly leading to poor quality provision of services in the company. In the end, the company is going to lose its customer resulting to poor financial crisis. However, both companies are proving to have proper safety cultures, resulting to improvement on safety. These organizations should not forget to upgrade their safety equipment in accordance with current technology to maintain a one hundred percent safety in their organizations (Evans & Lindsay, 2002).

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