Describe the organizational culture of Southwest Airlines the best you can using the characteristics of organizational culture discussed in Rao (2010) and Piccolo and Bardes (2011).

Southwest Airlines and Koch Industries are both known for their distinctive organizational cultures, and both have been highly successful and profitable companies.  Southwest Airlines is known as a “fun” place to work where socialization and humor in the workplace are strongly encouraged.  Koch Industries, on the other hand, has a culture defined by the principles of “market-based management” where performance and revenue growth is emphasized.

Do some background reading on the cultures behind Southwest Airlines and Koch Industries.  While doing your research, keep strongly in mind the characteristics of organizational cultures discussed in the background materials such as team-oriented, people-oriented, outcome-oriented, etc.  Here are some articles to get you started on your research that will give you some background about the cultures at these two organizations: 

Klein, D. (2011). Creating cultures that lead to success: Lincoln Electric, Southwest Airlines, and SAS Institute.  Organizational Dynamics 41(1), 35-39 [Available in Science Direct.  Note: you only have to read the middle portion of the article concerning Southwest Airlines and not the whole article]

Bird, A. (Mar. 13, 2011). Southwest: Corporate culture combines work, play. The Post and Courier. [Proquest]

Whatley, H. (2013). Principles and dimensions of market-based management. Independent Journal of Management & Production, 4(1), 126-135. [Proquest]

Dissecting the Kochtopus. (Jun. 7, 2014). The Economist, 411, 76. [Proquest]

When you are finished with your research, write a four to five page paper addressing the following issues:

  1. Describe the organizational culture of Southwest Airlines the best you can using the characteristics of organizational culture discussed in Rao (2010) and  Piccolo and Bardes (2011).  These include  but are not limited to detail-oriented, team-oriented, innovative, aggressive, outcome-oriented, and people-oriented.  Be specific as you can regarding which characteristics of organizational culture that you read about in the background materials apply to Southwest and which ones do not.
  2. Describe the organizational culture of Koch Industries the best you can using the characteristics of organizational culture discussed in Rao (2010) and  Piccolo and Bardes (2011).
  3. Now suppose Koch Industries decided to purchase Southwest Airlines.  Compare and contrast the two cultures, and explain what kind of challenges do you think they would face in merging the two cultures.  Also, explain what steps you think would need to be taken in order to prevent culture clashes between the two organizations. Use concepts from Rao (2010) or  Piccolo and Bardes (2011) as part of your recommendations on steps to take to avoid culture clashes.

Assignment Expectations

  • Answer the assignment questions directly
  • Stay focused on the precise assignment questions, don’t go off on tangents or devote a lot of space to summarizing general background materials
  • Make sure to use reliable and credible sources as your references. Articles published in established newspapers or business journals/magazines are preferred.  If you find articles on the internet, make sure it is from a credible source.
  • Reference your sources of information with both a bibliography and in-text citations. See the Student Guide to Writing a High-Quality Academic Paper, including pages 13-14 on in-text citations. Another resource is the “Writing Style Guide”, which is found under “My Resources” in the TLC portal.

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