Comparing Southwest Airlines and Koch Industries Organizational Culture

Organizational Culture

A collection of policies, values, attitudes, and beliefs that constitutes everything an organization does is known an organizational culture. Even though some of these values and policies may directly be observable, it may be difficult to identify those measures that assist an organization to manage its culture effectively (Bauer and Erdogan, 2011). According to Bauer and Erdogan (2011), there are seven different dimensions of organizational culture profile and they include, innovative, aggressive, outcome-oriented, stable, people-oriented, team-oriented, and detail-oriented cultures. This paper analyzes the organizational cultures of Southwest Airlines and Koch Industries based in the above dimensions of organizational culture profiles. The paper also describes the cultural challenges that may arise from the purchase of Southwest Airlines by Koch Industries, as well as actions that may be taken to overcome such challenges.

According to Klein (2011), organizations should always create cultures that will enable them to achieve success. Southwest Airlines, one of the best air travel companies in the United States, encourages deep respect for both employees and stakeholders for the common interest of the organization. The company has a team-oriented culture in which practices and principles that encourage collaboration among employees are implemented. Companies with a team-oriented culture emphasize on cooperation among workers (Bauer and Erdogan, 2011). Southwest Airlines strives to maintain its team-oriented culture through extensive employee training to make all of its workers capable of providing the necessary support to one another (Klein, 2011).

Additionally, South West Airlines ensures that all its employees work as a team as it ensures team’s success through skill intact skill development. At Southwest Airlines, workers are allowed to participate in daily meetings that take place in the morning and in the afternoon (Klein, 2011). During these meetings, the workers find time to interact and collaborate with one another, identify the main sources of the problems affecting them, and determine the best actions that can be taken to solve these problems. Southwest Airlines believes that the best way in which it can maintain its team-oriented culture is by recruiting highly competent employees. For his reason, the company uses a selection system where it only hires team players and turns away applicants who do not fit into its team-oriented culture (Klein, 2011).

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Furthermore, Southwest Airlines motivates its workers through rewards and by providing them with better services to ensure that employees remain satisfies and committed. As Bauer and Erdogan (2011), emphasizes, team-oriented organizations encourage positive relationships between managers and employees. At Southwest Airlines, all employees have positive relationships with their managers. The team-oriented culture at Southwest Airlines demonstrates that the company strongly encourages socialization and humor which make the company a ‘fun’ place to work (Bird, 2011).

Koch Industries is known for its good performance which is largely associated with its detail-oriented culture. According to Bauer and Erdogan (2011), companies with detail-oriented culture lay much emphasis on precision and pay great attention to detail. Detail-oriented culture gives organizations a competitive advantage in the market because it assists them to differentiate themselves from competitors. Basically, detail-oriented companies focus on those activities that will enable them to perform well n the market (Whatley, 2013). Koch Industries keeps records of all customer requests and strive to produce the exact items that clients have requested for. The company seeks to provide better services that will keep customers returning to the company.

The Arkansa Teacher Retirement System’s executive director, George Hopkins, describes Koch Industries as a company which is very detail-oriented and that leaves nothing for granted. He also states that Koch Industries ensures that is answers all questions addressed by customers which enables it to make huge returns. According to Dissecting the Kochtopus (2014), by paying a clear attention to detail, a company manages to attract many customers and even ensures their repeat visits. Koch’s detail-oriented culture assists the company to focus on market-based management which emphasizes on revenue growth and performance (Whatley, 2013).

Organizational culture plays a very important role during mergers and acquisitions because the hiring company must be able to understand the culture of the company it intends to purchase (Klein, 2011). In addition, the acquiring company must identify the potential challenges that are likely to emerge from the merger as well as the actions that can be taken to overcome such challenges. Suppose Koch Industries decides to purchase Southwest Airlines, the two companies will face numerous challenges associated with human resource practices due to the differences in their cultures. Koch Industries will need employees who are detail-oriented while workers from Southwest Airlines will want to work in an organization that encourages teamwork and that motivates its workers.

One of the biggest challenges that Koch Industries may face with the merger is the problem of redundant positions as some job positions at Southwest Airlines may be unnecessary for the merger. The best action that the two companies can take to avoid conflicts from occurring among their employees is sitting together and agreeing on how employees of Southwest Airlines will be absorbed into Koch’s system. This will ensure that no employee of Southwest Airlines is left without any roles to perform following the merger (Gomez-Mejia, Balkin and Cardy, 2007).

According to Klein (2011), companies must always hire workers who fit with the culture of the organization and who are willing to perform those activities that will enable the company to advance. Another challenge that may emerge if Koch Industries decides to purchase Southwest Airlines is that, Southwest Airlines employees may have difficulties fitting into the culture of Koch Industries. This is because employees from Southwest Airlines may not receive the training and advancement opportunities from Koch Industries being that they are used to this culture at their organization. In order to overcome this challenge, Koch Industries must make the necessary adjustments and provide options for training and motivating workers and for encouraging employees from both companies to work as a team. Additionally, Koch Industries must be ready to involve Southwest Airlines workers in decision-making through daily meetings (Gomez-Mejia, Balkin and Cardy, 2007).

If Koch Industries decides to purchase Southwest Airlines, it will also face the challenge of making employees from Southwest Airlines remain detail-oriented. Since workers from Southwest Airlines are used to working in an environment where they are allowed to have ‘fun’ they will find it difficult to fit in a new environment where they will be required to pay attention to precision and detail. In order to overcome this challenge, Koch Industries need to conduct a fresh assessment of Southwest Airlines to determine whether they pay attention to detail. In order to achieve this, Koch Industries need to craft interview questions that will enable it to hire the best candidates. The company should use the questions to conduct a comprehensive interview to ensure that it hires employees who match its culture (Gomez-Mejia, Balkin and Cardy, 2007).

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