Stanford Case: Southwest Airlines

Using Human Resources for a Competitive Advantage (A,B)

My dad is a retired airline pilot who flew for Braniff, Reno Air and American.  I’ve heard about Southwest my whole life.  In fact, when he worked for American, we still always flew Southwest.  It was convenient, friendly, easy, and usually the cheapest.  I don’t even look at other airlines when I’m booking flights.  I go straight to their website and get a ticket.  While reading the study on SWA it all seemed obvious to me.  Southwest is fun.  The study isn’t surprising and now I’m just extremely impressed with their upper management.  The idea that people and their attractive personalities are advantages towards ‘getting’ to work there is remarkable.  The family theme is inspiring and the people resources department is unique.  The human resources departments that I’ve seen are dull and employed by a mean and boring person who probably has upwards of a dozen cats at home.  The same person that appreciates their cats more than people in general while they eat lunch in the cafeteria by themselves.  I love the plan that includes taking care of your employees and letting them take care of the customers.  I would think that most people want to enjoy their jobs and feel close to the company.  Southwest has that.  Great study and a great company.

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