Business Case Studies, HRM / Organizational behaviour Case Study, Southwest Airlines,Generating Competitive Advantage through Human Resources Management

print page
Tell A Friend

Case Categories

Share |

HRM / Organizational behaviour Case Study

Case Title:

Southwest Airlines: Generating Competitive Advantage through Human Resources Management

Publication Year : 2004

Authors: Saxena G, Ganesan S

Industry: Transportation


Case Code: HRM0001

Teaching Note: Available

Structured Assignment: Available

Buy This Case StudyOR

Texas-based Southwest Airlines was considered the most successful airline company in the US. While the entire US airline industry was reeling under heavy losses following the September 2001 terrorist attacks, Southwest was successful in posting modest profits. Moreover, when the major carriers started laying off thousands of employees, Southwest kept recruiting. Many credited this competitive edge of the company to its founder Herb Kelleher, who had instilled a unique culture of 'fun at workplace'. He strongly believed that a happy workforce was a productive workforce and hence put his employees ahead of even the customers.

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To discuss the following issues
  • Southwest's faith in human resources (HR) as a means for competitive advantage
  • The concept of HR branding for one to be an employer of choice
  • The importance of organisational culture in shaping HR practices
  • Southwest's empowerment and individuality processes
  • If having fun at work was a great motivator, why is that we have not heard many such success stories at higher levels
  • Compare and contrast Southwest's management style with that of other companies such as SAS Airlines, Semco, People Express, etc.

Keywords : Southwest Airlines, People management, Herb Kelleher, Corporate culture, Southwest spirit, HRM Case Study, Competitive advantage through people, Southwest's recruitment policy, Training, Graveyard video, Spirit weaver


  • Introduction
  • Background note
  • The southwest spirit
  • Competitive advantage through people
  • Recruitment
  • The positive effect

Recently Bought Case Studies

    Recently Bought Case Studies

    Executive Interviews

  • David ConklinDavid Conklin

    David Conklin, is a professor at the Richard Ivey School of Business
    Speaks on Government and Business
  • Lord Meghnad DesaiLord Meghnad Desai

    Lord Meghnad Desai, is an Indian-born British economist and Labor politician
    Speaks on Government and Business
  • Vijay GovindarajanVijay Govindarajan

    Vijay Govindarajan, is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading experts on strategy and innovation
    Speaks on Reverse Innovation
  • View All Executive Interviews»

Contact us: IBS Case Development Centre (IBSCDC), IFHE Campus, Donthanapally, Sankarapally Road, Hyderabad-501203, Telangana, INDIA.
Mob: +91- 9640901313,

©2020-2025 IBS Case Development Centre. All rights reserved. | Careers | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Disclosure | Site Map xml sitemap