The Southwest Airlines Way: Using the Power of Relationships to Achieve High Performance Front Cover

The Southwest Airlines Way: Using the Power of Relationships to Achieve High Performance


“The Southwest Airlines Way is by far the most comprehensive and insightful analysis of the success of this remarkable company. The book has scores of suggestions useful to managers in any industry on how to face competitive challenges.”–Jeffrey Pfeffer, Professor, Graduate School of Business, Stanford University and Author of The Human Equation

“Through extensive research Jody Hoffer Gittell gets to the bottom of what has sustained Southwest Airline’s positive employee relations and high performance through good and bad times. Shareholders, employees, and customers would all benefit if companies would learn from this rich story and adapt the lessons to their particular settings.”–Thomas A. Kochan, Professor, MIT Sloan School of Management, MIT Global Airline Industry Program

In an industry that regularly loses billions of dollars, Southwest Airlines has an unbroken string of 31 consecutive years of profitability. How do they do it? In The Southwest Airlines Way, you’ll learn the key to Southwest’s success–high performance relationships based on shared goals, shared knowledge, and mutual respect among all levels of management, employees, and suppliers.

This in-depth profile, based on eight years of field research on the airline industry, reveals 10 practices that Southwest Airlines uses to build high performance relationships, and how they can be implemented in any organization–with dramatic results. You’ll learn how to implement Southwest-style management practices while learning from the successes and failures of American, United, Continental, and other airlines as they have struggled to adopt Southwest’s practices.

Why is Southwest Airlines valued higher than all other major U.S. passenger air carriers combined?

How, in the wake of September 11, could Southwest keep all of its employees working and continue its unblemished record of growth and profitability as other airlines laid off thousands, begged Congress for money, and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection?

Can the now-legendary “Southwest effect” be applied successfully in other industries?

In The Southwest Airlines Way, you’ll find the answers to these questions and more.

The Southwest Airlines Way explores the policies, strategies, and techniques that have led to Southwest’s success and explains how these proven methods can be put to work in any organization. It explains how American, Continental, United, and other airlines have tried to imitate Southwest–and why they have failed. Based on Professor Jody Hoffer Gittell’s eight years of field research in the airline industry, this book unveils the secret ingredient–high performance relationships–that has enabled Southwest to sustain a steady 10 to 15 percent rate of growth throughout its 32-year history while turning a profit in every year but its first.

Gittell explains why Southwest relies so heavily on high performance relationships–shared goals, shared knowledge, and mutual respect among employees, managers, unions, and suppliers. She analyzes how the company uses high performance relationships to create the enormous competitive advantage Southwest has in motivation, teamwork, and coordination among employees.

You’ll also learn how to foster powerful cooperative relationships among your company’s employees. Gittell reveals 10 practices that Southwest employs to create and nurture high performance relationships. You’ll learn how to:

Lead with credibility and caring
Invest in frontline leaders
Hire and train for relational competence
Use conflicts to build relationships
Make unions your partners, not your adversaries
Build relationships with your suppliers
And more

For managers looking to increase productivity and profitability, encourage teamwork among employees, and build a fiercely loyal, dedicated, and innovative workforce, here is one way to go–The Southwest Airlines Way.
–This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author

Jody Hoffer Gittell, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of management at Brandeis University and faculty member of the MIT Global Airline Industry program. Her research and teaching focus on human resource and service operations management, and she frequently presents her results to managers, researchers, and policymakers.

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