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The Southwest Airlines Way

Jody Hoffer Gittell


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"If you look at Southwest Airlines, and I admire what they do, they've been the most successful airline in the industry."

--Gerard Arpey, CEO, American Airlines

"Through extensive research Jody Hoffer Gittell gets to the bottom of what has sustained Southwest Airlines' positive employee relations and high performance through good and bad times."

--Thomas A. Kochan, professor, MIT Sloan School of Management, MIT Global Airline Industry Program

In an industry with losses in the billions, Southwest Airlines has an unbroken string of 31 consecutive years of profitability. The Southwest Airlines Way examines how the company uses high-performance relationships to create enormous competitive advantage in motivation, teamwork, and coordination among employees. It then goes further to show how any company can foster these powerful cooperative relationships and explains how to:

  • Lead with credibility and caring
  • Invest in frontline leaders
  • Hire and train for relational competence
  • Use conflicts to build relationships
  • Make unions its partners, not its adversaries
  • Build relationships with its suppliers

McGraw-Hill Education, 9780071458276, 336pp.

Publication Date: May 5, 2005

About the Author

Jody Hoffer Gittell is an assistant professor of management at Brandeis University and faculty member of the MIT Global Airline Industry Program. She focuses on human resources and operations management, and frequently presents the results of her work to managers, researchers, and policymakers.