Summary of The Southwest Airlines Way

Using the Power of Relationships to Achieve High Performance

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The Southwest Airlines Way book summary
Up, up and away with Southwest, the airline that soars financially by paying attention to its relationships.


9 Overall

9 Applicability

9 Innovation

8 Style


If you’ve wondered what’s behind Southwest Airlines’ uncommon success, wonder no more. Author Jody Hoffer Gittell lays it all out in The Southwest Airlines Way. Gittel, a university professor, explains that at Southwest Airlines, relationship building and collaboration aren’t just given lip service - they’re a condition of employment. This is an excellent case study of the airline and its competitors, wherein Gittell reveals the characteristics that make Southwest shine, traits other airlines have tried hard to emulate. She makes a compelling case for the power of relationships inside, outside and at all levels of the corporate hierarchy. Meticulously researched and offering abundant industry testimonials, this corporate exploration doesn’t feel like yet another marketing book. thinks this excellent exposition is just the ticket for corporate leaders who want to know not just how Southwest did it, but how they can do it too.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What "relational coordination" is; and
  • The ten principles Southwest Airlines uses to turn this concept into a successful business.


The Southwest Way
In an industry characterized by fierce competition and staggering losses, Southwest Airlines has achieved something extraordinary: it has turned a profit every single year of its existence. The company has succeeded not just by going against conventional industry thinking...
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About the Author

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

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    Georgi Tsvetanov 5 years ago
    Very interesting book about how one man dreams came true. Customer service makes Southwest #1 airlines!

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