Leadership Profile : Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines is among the largest airlines, which operate in the low-cost segment, globally. Its head office is located in the Texan city of Dallas. It commenced operations in mid-1967. Its competitive business strategy is highly regarded in the airline industry. Several leading airlines, including Ryanair and EasyJet, follow the strategy (Lauer, 2010).

Notably, the industry is typified by a markedly competitive market. Over time, more and more airlines have become privately held according to Gittell (2003). Some airlines have international operations. Others operate nationally. Others operate regionally. While some fly passengers, others fly cargo, or goods, principally.

The Southwest Airlines’ present leadership structure is function-based. It consists of three, distinct layers: upper management layer, middle management layer, and lower management layer (Gittell, 2003). The structure is appropriate for the airline since it elementarily focuses on a single service, air transport. The structure comprises of specialized, functional elements, or units, which ultimately report to a lone authority, the airline’s CEO (Lauer, 2010).  Each of the specialized units handles a specific facet of the service provided by the airline.

The researcher settled for Southwest Airline since it has been a principal motivation to other airlines, especially those in the low-cost segment. As noted earlier, its competitive business strategy is highly regarded in the airline industry (Lauer, 2010). As well, the researcher settled for the airline since its pays marked attention to the efficacy of its organizational configuration.


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