Southwest Airlines
by Chris Lauer
May 2010, 190pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-0-313-37863-8
$50, £38, 42€, A72
eBook Available: 978-0-313-37864-5
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

A shining exception in a perpetually troubled industry, Southwest Airlines has made a profit every year for 38 years straight, without laying off employees. Southwest changed the way people in the United States travel by offering a low-fare, no-frills alternative to the high-cost airlines that once dominated the industry. How have they made it work?

Using the words of its own people, this intriguing book provides an in-depth look at the incredibly successful airline that changed the rules of the game with a no-frills business model and innovative corporate culture.

Southwest Airlines turns in-depth interviews with the company’s leaders, managers, employees, and passengers into a powerful case study of this highly successful, game-changing business. Ranging from the early days of the company to the present, the book covers the history of the airline and its founders, while also detailing the unique corporate culture that attracts employees and passengers alike.

Throughout its history, Southwest has championed a culture that puts employees first, creating a productive workforce by hiring for “attitude before aptitude” (because skills can be taught) and allowing employees to be themselves at work. The founders’ philosophies of “servant leadership” and a “fun-LUVing” attitude continue to attract employees and influence the company’s daily work today. In detailing the airline’s inner workings in the words of its own people, this book shows other companies how they can emulate Southwest’s powerful business model and strategies, as well as its hiring practices and corporate culture.


  • Includes interviews with passengers, employees, managers, and a Southwest Airlines executive
  • Presents photos of people and places at Southwest Airlines
Chris Lauer is a freelance writer and the editor-in-chief at Lauer Editorial Services (, a company he started in 2006. His published works include Praeger's Breaking Free: How to Quit Your Job and Start Your Own Business and The Management Gurus: Lessons from the Best Management Books of All Time.


"Lauer, a freelance writer and editor, draws from interviews with leaders, managers, employees, and passengers of Southwest Airlines to provide a discussion of the company from its early days to the present, as well as its unique corporate culture that puts employees first. He also describes the company as a role model for other organizations, its customer service, leadership, people-friendly attitude, and corporate, hiring and training, and employee practices."—Reference & Research Book News, August 1, 2010

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Google. Toyota. Harley-Davidson. Apple. These companies and the others in the Corporations That Changed the World Series all have one thing in common: They changed the way we live, and even the way we think. And each has been an industry pathfinder that enabled many other companies to succeed.

Each book in the series:
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  • Provides timelines for context, trivia for fun, case studies for learning, and executive biographies for interest and profit

Corporations That Changed the World: Perfect for students doing research projects, budding moguls who'd like to follow in the footsteps of Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, entrepreneurs looking for insights or secrets of success, managers searching for profitable strategies, and anyone who wants the scoop on companies that create products they can't live without.
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