There are numerous various organizations in the modern world that differ in how they structure and operate their businesses. Some of those organizations tend to revolve their actions around priorities that they have set to become leaders in the eyes of their customers. Such an example is Southwest Airlines, a low-cost carrier with more than fifty-six thousand employees (“About Southwest”, n.d.). The company’s priorities are set within its mission and vision, which need to be examined to determine if the company lives according to its standards and how those standards affect its success.
First, one should look at the history of an organization to understand the basis of its mission and vision. Established in 1967, Southwest Airlines is now one of the most famous low-cost carriers around the globe (Rotondo, Corsi, & Giovanelli, 2019). At first, the company aimed to connect three main cities in Texas but then has spread its services across the US and in the world (Rotondo et al., 2019). Since its foundation, Southwest Airlines’ purpose has been to connect people “to what’s important” by providing them with “friendly, reliable, low-cost air travel” (“About Southwest”, n.d., para. 6). The company has been evolving for years as it put significant value into social sustainability and social policies, ensuring high-quality service by providing care for both the customers and the employees (Rotondo et al., 2019). For example, it has policies concerning harassment, discrimination, and equal employment opportunities to create and maintain an environment where the employees would feel safe and comfortable performing at their best (“About Southwest”, n.d.). Southwest Airlines has come a long way to develop a basis for its mission and vision statements in regard to its services.
An organization’s mission and vision reflect its goals and values in operating its business. Southwest Airlines has developed its statements in relation to its purpose of providing friendly and reliable travel (Rotondo et al., 2019). The company’s mission is “dedication to the highest quality of customer service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and company spirit” (as cited in Rotondo et al., 2019, p. 811). Southwest Airlines’ vision states that the company strives to be “the world’s most loved, most efficient, and most profitable airline” (“About Southwest”, n.d., para. 7). Southwest Airlines’ mission and vision show that the organization aspires to achieve success by providing quality service to its customers so that they would choose this company over others.
Following that, it is important for the mission and vision of an organization to be congruent to ensure that the business operates in harmony towards its goals. Southwest Airlines’ congruency of its mission and vision can be seen by looking at the company’s latest achievements in providing service to its clients. To connect the qualities from the mission to aspirations from the vision, one can mention that Southwest Airlines has recently ranked in the first place in Customer Satisfaction per the US Department of Transportation (“About Southwest”, n.d.). Moreover, the organization won five TripAdvisor traveler’s choice awards in 2019 (“About Southwest”, n.d.). The company also provided financial support for those affected by COVID-19, showing that it cares for other people and operates efficiently enough to donate a significant amount of money from its profit (“About Southwest”, n.d.). Furthermore, the organization intends to open an additional 13 airports to serve more people (“About Southwest”, n.d.). Southwest Airlines’ mission and vision can be evaluated as highly congruent as the company is able to offer its services to a lot of customers while increasing its efficiency and caring for others in hard times.
The prosperity of an organization to a certain extent depends on whether it lives its mission. To accomplish its mission, Southwest Airlines puts its customers and employees first by hiring people from various backgrounds and applying their individual experiences to provide unique service to each client (“About Southwest”, n.d.). For example, the organization has a Diversity Council that consists of diverse employees across the nation to promote appreciation of various backgrounds and experiences (“About Southwest”, n.d.). Although the company reduced its operations in 2020 due to COVID-19, it has successfully launched Southwest Promise program to ensure its customers’ and employees’ health and well-being (“About Southwest”, n.d.). Moreover, to enhance the company spirit mentioned in the mission, Southwest Airlines constantly invests in fuel efficiency improvements, reproduces leather seat covers, and reduces emissions of CO2e (“About Southwest”, n.d.). With that being said, Southwest Airlines can be considered one of the organizations that live their mission.
The sustainable innovation of Southwest Airlines can serve as evidence to justify that the organization lives according to its mission. The company’s sustainable innovation in the XXI century can be divided into three stages, with the first one characterized by the great regression of 2008 (Rotondo et al., 2019). At that time, to ensure that the clients receive high-quality service, the company focused on servant leadership style to improve customer experience on the ground and in the sky (Rotondo et al., 2019). A rapid recovery marked the next stage due to social initiatives as the employees were asked to concentrate on their “Warrior Spirits,” “Servant’s Hearts,” and “Fun-LUVing Attitudes” (as cited in Rotondo et al., 2019). The last stage was characterized by growing performance as the employees were treated as members of a family, and the customers were considered guests surrounded by warmth and friendliness (Rotondo et al., 2019). Southwest Airlines managed to overcome the crisis by focusing on collaboration with employees and customers, thus showing that the company lives its mission.
Mission and vision statements are important in setting a tone within an organization. Southwest Airlines’ tone can be defined as “tone at the top” characterized by the management equally connected to people inside and outside the company (Midanek, 2018). Tone at the top requires leaders to openly communicate their values so there would be no suspicion from others (Midanek, 2018). Those values for Southwest Airlines are formed based on the company’s mission and vision and can be found on its webpage. The values reflect how each employee is expected to behave on a daily basis, how employees should interact with the customers, and how the company should work towards success (“About Southwest”, n.d.). Southwest Airlines sets the tone within its mission based on values such as integrity, pride, and teamwork (“About Southwest”, n.d.). In addition, values such as honesty, discipline, and efficiency set the tone within the company’s vision (“About Southwest”, n.d.). Overall, the tone of Southwest Airlines is evident in its statements based on the values that each employee is expected to adapt to their work, setting a certain environment within the organization.
Following that, it is important to set a tone within an organization for the employees to operate as one team. The tone builds the sense of trust within a company and correlates with ethics programs and processes (Midanek, 2018). The tone within Southwest Airlines expresses trust, which is evident as, in recent years, the company ranked within tops in nominations such as Top-Rated Workplaces and Top 100 Internship Program (“About Southwest”, n.d.). Moreover, the tone puts value in the company’s vision as the vision shapes the image towards which it aspires, and the tone helps to reach that image. The tone is connected to the recruiting process that should understand and express company values, as well as orientation and training that are expected to reinforce those values (Midanek, 2018). Southwest Airlines implements its values into every process that is involved in maintaining its tone at the top and obtaining its vision. For example, the company’s teamwork value promotes inclusiveness, and its discipline value summons to be safe and focused (“About Southwest”, n.d.). Setting a tone within an organization helps the employees and the processes to operate towards its vision.
To summarize, Southwest Airlines’ mission and vision statements show the company’s priority in providing the highest quality service to the customers while following standards based on its values. Those values set the tone within the organization affecting how employees and the process operate towards success. Specific examples regarding the use of vision, mission, and tone can be seen by looking at the development of Southwest Airlines’ in the XXI century through three stages of growth. The company’s vision describes its desired future image, while the mission defines objectives and approaches towards that image. The tone within the organization is connected to mission and vision and correlates with company values affecting the processes involved in obtaining success.
About Southwest. (n.d.). Web.
Midanek, D. H. (2018). The governance revolution: What every board member needs to know, now. Boston, MA: De Gruyter.
Rotondo, F., Corsi, K., & Giovanelli, L. (2019). The social side of sustainable business models: An explorative analysis of the low-cost airline industry. Journal of Cleaner Production, 225, 806-819.