Introduction & Case Background
Human capital is essential in any business venture and having the right people in place and make an otherwise difficult expansion a success (Daft, 2013). The coordination of operations and HRM (Human Resource Management) would allow SWA (Southwest Airlines) to place employees as the one who embody the airline’s vision and mission and have the experience and knowledge to keep the operational disruptions to a minimum. It is possible that such an effort could produce sufficient employees who would self-identify to establish and effective and ethical culture in the organization. Collaboration among business functions is a key for any business. In a business like an airline it is especially important to have various divisions work together to maintain efficiency, customer service, and cost controls. The complexities of moving thousands of passengers in hundreds of planes to dozens of places require flexibility and empowerment of operational personnel and customer service agents. The more challenging the environment the more necessary it is for employees to cooperate and push toward excellence.
The objective of this paper is to discuss the organizational behavior concepts for Southwest Airlines. The findings in this paper are based on secondary research and literature review.
The initial research suggests that Southwest Airlines has a strong culture, which is based on ethics, trust and transparency. The effective and efficient culture of Southwest Airline has helped the company to establish ‘Differentiation’ as its core competency (Birnbaum & Lach, 2014). The ethical culture has been cascaded from senior leadership to mid level management and mid level management to low-level employees. The culture of Southwest Airline has helped it get ahead of its competitors.
The modern complex business world requires the constant adjustments of organizational structures. However, it may be achieved only with the help of the proper collaboration and distribution of functions among various organizational departments. The concepts of organizational behavior for Southwest Airlines spans over multiple organizational functions like marketing, operations, accounts and human resource management. Operations and finance would have to work closely together to devise a plan to combat the fuel cost and make it profitable for Southwest to profit from the acquisition and the addition of the flights. Marketing would also need to be an important part of the plan to achieve the success of the business functions. Coordinating efforts and collaboration among business functions is essential to success. Various departments within one organization need to communicate to understand the perspectives of each and how decisions impact workflows. Through dialogue, tactical goals for each department can be determined and operational plans developed. As Daft (2013) reminds us, building positive relationships, discussion, and negotiation are key skills for good management (pg. 211).
Ethics in Organizational Behavior for Southwest Airlines
Corporations must utilize ethical resources including ethics committees and compliance officers to ensure that all members of the organization, including leadership, strive to remain true to the organization's ethical principles (Daft, 2015). According to Schwartz, Dunfee, and Kline (2005), boards of directors should adopt ethical codes specifically aimed at organizational leadership behavior to set an ethical tone for the organization. When it comes to ethical conduct and expectations leaders should be held to the same, or higher, standard as regular members.
The sustainable positive results are possible for Southwest Airlines only if the proper coordination between the marketing and operations functions is established in an ethical manner. On the one hand, marketing measures should orient to the changing consumer needs but elaborate on the existing operations’ potential. On the other hand, the structure of operations should reflect the general dynamics of consumer needs in an ethical manner. Thus, management practices will become more complex and oriented to strategic issues and long-term interests. Correspondingly, the decision-making process will have to address the growing amount of market uncertainty and existing opportunities in an ethical manner (Heskett, & Sasser, 2013). In general, the close and effective collaboration among departments and business functions is crucial for implementing the company’s plans. Only in this way, it can expand its operations and maintain the strong competitive positions in the existing spheres. The collaboration should be observed in the coordinated efforts of different professionals towards satisfying consumer needs according to the existing technological opportunities and cost-benefit analysis.
The distance and the separation in departments does not allow for the most effective collaboration. There are many issues in our department that could have been alleviated with education and training for managers and staff from the HR department. Unfortunately if the connection is not made HR can easily be associated with discipline and hiring only.
Role of leaders and managers
Downe, et al., (2016) suggest leaders that who were willing to informally intervene to steer behavior fell upon morals of treating individuals fairly and codes of conduct require mindful and careful interpretations. Furthermore, Downe, et al., (2016) suggest managerial leaders could provide adequate resources through the appointment of officers for the support training and the processing of complaints to ensure alignment within organizational policies and strategic alignment.
If the board wants to stop unethical behaviors in the organization, they have to be fair towards all the stakeholders. Therefore, I agree, “Regardless of the profitability of the organization, the board has the responsibility of disciplining or discharging an unethical leader. Organizations have responsibilities towards all of their stakeholders, not just those who benefit from its profits”. However, the board’s role in the organization depends whether the organization is using the advisory board model, patron model, cooperative model, and management team model or policy board model approach (Reidenbach & Robin, 2013). The influence of the board on the organization depends on the board model is using in the organization. If the model is the advisory board, the CEO is the founder of the organization. The Board's role is to advise the CEO, and therefore, the board will not be able to act. In the other models the board action can be significant and your position will be right.
According to Fernández-Fernández (1999), an organization’s Board of Directors has primary responsibility for ensuring the organization operates professionally. Fernández-Fernández (1999) went on to say that the Board is ultimately responsible for the supervision of an organization’s executive management and that these functions cannot be delegated. It seems to follow logically that the Board must be well informed and actively engaged in the business of overseeing their organization.
The organization’s reputation could be adversely impacted when the leaders’ unethical behaviors reach the public. To protect against the potential damage of the organization reputation, the organization through the board need to discouraged the leaders’ self-interests and only the interests of greater society can only be advanced. The balance between the organization profitability and ethical is very important for the organization sustainability. According to Rhoades, (2010). “If your company or division is doing pretty well. You may be making your goals.
Daft (2015) states that if at any time the leadership within any organization acts in was that are unethical, the board must act as a governing body that takes corrective action to improve the behavior of that leader or remove that individual. The reason being is that the board of directors must always see to serve the needs of all stakeholders, both internal and external. In other words, when leaders are unethical they can potentially cause harm to the needs and wants of those stakeholders. This in turn may cause the demise of the organization over periods of time. Those actions place more risk on organizational trust with key constituents.
Organizational culture and Organizational behavior
Many times the corporate culture actually supports unethical behavior of employees because it increases profits and thus their individual compensation. When this happens the entire organization is put at risk of being either charged with breaking laws or the business actually being forced to close due to those ethical violations. One clear way of staying clear of ethical violation is to create a corporate culture that reinforces right and moral behavior. Many times the corporate culture actually supports unethical behavior of employees because it increases profits and thus their individual compensation. When this happens the entire organization is put at risk of being either charged with breaking laws or the business actually being forced to close due to those ethical violations. One clear way of staying clear of ethical violation is to create a corporate culture that reinforces right and moral behavior.
Hoyt, Price, and Poatsy (2013) suggested that unethical leaders have little regard for the rest of the organization and are concerned mainly with their own interests. The leaders of Southwest Airlines have established a culture where all the stakeholders can work together. This was not done overnight or in a day or two. It was done with a continuous involvement of different stakeholders in the society. In recent years, Human Resource Management function has emerged as a critical function for Southwest Airlines. The company has used a decentralized approach where in the individual leaders of different departments are free to take their own decision. The culture of Southwest Airlines is unique to the company and it has helped the organization to grow and develop.
Profitability is a fluid state for an organization and changes often. Jaramillo, Bande, and Varela (2015) extrapolate that when leaders behave ethically they influence the organization positively. It is reasonable to conclude that when leaders use their authority to create an ethical climate they also produce an ethical culture in their organization. To support this conclusion, Kottke and Pelletier (2013) made the discovery that even the perceptions of ethical behavior by leaders instill confidence in their employees. It would be correct to say that the ethical behavior is at the core of the organizational culture of Southwest Airlines.
The above paper discusses the case of Southwest Airlines. With the above discussion, it can be said that Southwest Airlines has been able to manage its internal and external environment in an effective manner. The leaders of Southwest Airlines have played a critical role to establish a culture of ethics, trust and respect. It would be correct to say that all areas of the company need to collaborate in order for any innovation or idea to be successful (Dion, 2012). Each part of the business function is as integral to the success of the company as any other. Each department has to come to the table with the advantages and disadvantages of the idea so that each can be discussed and decisions made. Without this process, risks cannot be seen and worked out for the success of the idea; or to decline the idea. For Southwest Airlines to successfully serve the global community, there needed to be strategic thinking. There needed to be creativity and a participatory approach as well as collaboration in strategic visioning and planning.
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