The Southwest Airlines Way : Using the Power of Relationships to Achieve High Performance. Jody Hoffer Gittell. McGraw-Hill.

The Southwest Airlines Way : Using the Power of Relationships to Achieve High Performance Book Cover The Southwest Airlines Way : Using the Power of Relationships to Achieve High Performance
Jody Hoffer Gittell
December 19, 2002

Why is Southwest Airlines valued higher than all other major U.S. passenger air carriers combined? How, in the wake of September 11, could Southwest keep all of its employees working and continue its unblemished record of growth and profitability as other airlines laid off thousands, begged Congress for money, and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection? Can the now-legendary “Southwest effect” be applied successfully in other industries, in The Southwest Airlines Way, you’ll find the answers to these questions and more.

The Southwest Airlines Way explores the policies, strategies, and techniques that have led to Southwest’s success and explains how these proven methods can be put to work in any organization. It explains how American, Continental, United, and other airlines have tried to imitate Southwest – and why they have failed. Based on Professor Jody Hoffer Gittell’s eight years of field research in the airline industry, this book unveils the secret ingredient – high-performance relationships – that has enabled Southwest to sustain a steady 10 to 15 percent rate of growth throughout its 32-year history while turning a profit in every year but its first.

Gittell explains why Southwest relies so heavily on high-performance relationships – shared goals, shared knowledge, and mutual respect among employees, managers, unions, and suppliers. She analyzes how the company uses high-performance relationships to create the enormous competitive advantage Southwest has in motivation, teamwork, and coordination among employees.

You’ll also learn how to foster powerful cooperative relationships among your company’s employees. Gittell reveals 10 practices that Southwest employs to create and nurture high-performance relationships. You’ll learn how to:

  • Lead with credibility and caring
  • Invest in front-line leaders
  • Hire and train for relational confidence
  • Use conflicts to build relationships
  • Make unions your partners, not your adversaries
  • Build relationships with your suppliers
  • And more

For managers looking to increase productivity and profitability, encourage teamwork among employees, and build a fiercely loyal, dedicated, and innovative workforce, here is one way to go – The Southwest Airlines Way.

Jody Hoffer Gittell, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of management at Brandeis University and faculty member of the MIT Global Airline Industry program. Her research and teaching focus on human resource and service operations management, and she frequently presents her results to managers, researchers, and policymakers.