Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
The Southwest Airlines Way (Business Books) Paperback – May 5, 2005
|New from||Used from|
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From the Back Cover
Management lessons from the world's most profitable airline
"As a former Southwest insider, I often wondered why other organizations couldn't duplicate the business model. Anyone who wants to understand how it works should read this book."
--Libby Sartain, Senior VP of Human Resources, Yahoo
"Professor Gittell has tackled one of the hottest and most important topics in business circles today--why some airlines continually fly high over the economic wreckage of the rest of the industry."
---Thomas Winkelmann, VP-The Americas, Lufthansa German Airlines
"Through extensive research Jody Hoffer Gittell gets to the bottom of what has sustained Southwest Airlines' positive employee relations and high performance through good and bad times."
--Thomas A. Kochan, professor, MIT Sloan School of Management, MIT Global Airline Industry Program
Fortune magazine calls Southwest Airlines "the most successful airline in history." In an industry that regularly loses billions of dollars, Southwest has had 31 consecutive years of profitability. The Southwest Airlines Way reveals the secret to Southwest's remarkable success--high performance relationships--and it creates enormous competitive advantage in motivation, teamwork, and coordination among Southwest employees. Based on Professor Jody Hoffer Gittell's eight years of field research, this book explores Southwest's innovative policies, strategies, and techniques, showing how these methods can be implemented in any organization, and explains how to:
* Lead with credibility and caring * Invest in frontline leaders * Hire and train for relational competence * Use conflicts to build relationships * Encourage mutual respect among employees, managers, unions, and suppliers
About the Author
Dr. Gittell's research explores how coordination by front-line workers contributes to quality and efficiency outcomes in service settings. She has developed a theory of relational coordination, proposing that work is most effectively coordinated through relationships of shared goals, shared knowledge and mutual respect, and demonstrating how organizations can support relational coordination through the design of their work systems.
Gittell received her PhD from the MIT Sloan School of Management, her MA from The New School and her BA from Reed College, and taught for six years at the Harvard Business School before joining the faculty of Brandeis University. She has served as Chair of the Board for Families First Health and Support Center, as MBA Program Director at the Brandeis Heller School, and as Acting Director of the MIT Leadership Center. She currently serves on the boards of Reed College, the Labor and Employment Relations Association and the Endowment for Health. She lives in Portsmouth, New Hampshire with her husband Ross and their daughters Rose and Grace.
Top customer reviews
What's really interesting about this book is that it's a book about a philosophy that happens to be shared and utilized by Southwest. When you read the individual examples of the different areas of focus, you will find that they are not necessarily limited to the airline industry or Southwest in general; rather, they are simply good, solid business techniques that any successful business should use. You may find yourself saying something like "Well, of course.." but then wonder why they don't do that where you work - I sure did.
In the end, if you are interested in understanding why Southwest is so successful, and how any other business can be the same, then read this book. It's first class business reading which will provides rewards for years to come.
1- "How did this remarkable transformation occur? How did Southwest grow from an idiosyncratic Texas airline to an organization that managers all over the world are seeking to emulate? Efficiency...Quality...Controlled Growth Demand for Reliable Low-Fare Travel...Competitive Threats...Success Factors—Leadership, Culture, Strategy, and Coordination."
2- "However, leadership is not confined to the CEO. Leadership is better understood as a process that can take place at any level of an organization.^ Indeed, leadership is needed in today's organizations to motivate, support, and enable employees to work together in support of a set of shared goals."
3- "In their classic book on organizations, James March and Herbert Simon' describe the potentially disintegrative effects when employees in an organization pursue their owm functional goals without reference to the over-arching goals of the larger work process. Shared goals play an especially important role when different functions are involved in delivering the same service."
4- "The three conditions that increase the need for relational coordination—reciprocal interdependence, uncertainty, and time constraints— are increasingly common in the service economy of today. As advanced economies have shifted from a manufacturing to a service focus, work settings that require relational coordination have become increasingly common. Many service operations are characterized by reciprocal interdependence, requiring iterative interactions among service providers rather than the sequential handoffs performed by workers on production lines. Many service operations also have high levels of uncertainty relative to manufacturing due to the difficulty of buffering service operations from the external environment and from differences in customers themselves. Finally, most service settings are highly time-constrained; they are designed to provide a service to customers, real time, simultaneous with the demand, without imposing excessive waiting times on customers."
5- "Not every leader of a successful organization must be charismatic. What successful organizations do need from each of their leaders, however, is credibility— the ability to inspire trust; and caring—the ability to inspire a belief by employees that their leaders care deeply about their well-being."
6- "Leadership is better understood as a process that can take place at any level of the organization."^ Indeed, leadership at the front line can play a critical role in organizational success. Rather than undermining coordination among frontline employees, supervisors play a valuable role in strengthening coordination through day-to-day coaching and counseling."
7- "Increasingly, jobs require not only functional expertise but also relational competence—the ability to interact with others to accomplish common goals. Indeed, people who perform jobs that require high levels of functional expertise also tend to need high levels of relational competence to integrate their work with the work of fellow employees. Organizations like Southwest Airlines that recognize the importance of relational competence, look diligently for employees who have it, then develop it to even higher levels through training, will have a distinct performance advantage over organizations that do not."
8- "Organizations should proactively seek out conflicts rather than allowing them to fester. Then managers should bring the parties together to better understand each other's perspective. If organizations do not identify and resolve cross-functional conflicts, those conflicts will weaken critical relationships of shared goals, shared knowledge, and mutual respect. When managers treat cross-functional conflict as an occasion for learning, they strengthen relationships between employees and boost performance of the work processes in which those employees are engaged."
9- "The energy and learning that employees gain from building strong family and community ties can be brought into the workplace and leveraged to achieve stronger working relationships and better organizational performance. Organizations should therefore be vigilant to ensure that relationships at work do not overwhelm and undermine the family and community relationships that are needed to sustain strong working relationships."
10- "Though information technology can be a facilitator, it is not expected to be an effective substitute. When a job is mediated largely through a computer or a telephone, an important element of social interaction is lost. The loss of social interaction weakens relationships, and weakens critical performance parameters. These limitations on the effective use of information technology exist because coordination is not simply about the transfer of information. Instead, coordination requires the construction of shared meaning in order to facilitate collective action. As we see at Southwest Airlines, boundary spanners can play this role, building relationships of shared goals, shared knowledge, and mutual respect across functional boundaries."
11- "Traditional measurement systems are flawed because they orient employee attention toward functional rather than cross-functional outcomes and because they provide inadequate information for learning.' To orient employees toward cross-functional outcomes and to provide more useful feedback about what to do, cross-functional performance measures should be used to supplement traditional functional measurement systems."
12- "We have seen in this chapter the importance of flexible jobs for building strong relationships and high performance."
13- "At Southwest Airlines, respectful relationships between company management and the unions chosen by frontline employees appear to set the tone for respectful relationships throughout the company.As Southwest's leaders pointed out on several occasions, however, positive labor/management relations are not achieved once and for all. Rather they have to be reproduced every day."
14- "Southwest's partnership approach is radically different from the traditional approach to supplier relations. In the old model, organizations were independent parties who transacted with each other at arm's-length through formal contracts, keeping information close to the chest. Cooperation occurred only within organizations, while careful arm's-length negotiation with minimal information sharing was the normal mode for dealing with parties external to the organization.^ But when there is more uncertainty in the environment, there is much more that organizations can learn from one another. Because of the benefits of learning, both parties have more to gain than to lose from the sharing of information. Although there may be doubt and mistrust at the outset, "nee the cooperative exploration of ambiguity begins, the returns to the partners from further joint discoveries are so great that it pays to keep cooperating." Ultimately, this ability to partner is an acquired skill like any other, and one with potentially significant effects on organizational success".
When it comes to employee reviews, they value learning over accountability. They are always trying to improve their employees as opposed to punishing or grading them. In a day when test scores are used to judge teachers, I hope we can learn from that one.Analysts have scratched their heads wondering how Southwest--the most highly unionized airline in the US airline industry--keeps making money in good and bad times. This book will reveal their secret of valuing their employees as much as possible. Southwest employees for the most part enjoy working for the company because they get respect and treated well. As a result, staff give all of themselves to the work, and when employees bring 100% to work, they kill competition that has people bringing 60 to 70% of themselves and not doing their best work.
Oh yeah, and your bags will fly free. It is nice to know someone is trying to be different.
Most recent customer reviews
Create something with goals that are simple and written down. Reflect back your dreams in your own way as a company.