The Case in this course is an ongoing exercise, meaning that we will be taking an intensive look at one company over the course of our five modules. This session, we will be conducting a strategic analysis of Southwest Airlines. In order to be best prepared and perform well on the case assignments, you should complete the Background Information readings and the SLP before writing the Case.
Most companies have something that resembles a vision, mission, set of values, and or stated goals/objectives that define who the company is and how the company plans to do business. However, organizations may not always label these statements properly – calling a vision a mission, or calling their values a set of beliefs. Sometimes, they do not have a mission at all, operating instead on a set of goals.
Hammonds, K. (2007). Michael Porter’s Big ideas, Fast Company, 44, Retrieved on August 15, 2011 from: http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/44/porter.html
In this assignment, you will be critically evaluating the vision, values, mission statement, and goals/objectives of Southwest Airlines.
Keys to the Assignment
After studying the background materials and completing the SLP, you are in an excellent position to evaluate a company’s published mission, vision, values, and objectives/goals. This case asks you to begin your strategic analysis of Southwest Airlines by evaluating the company’s mission, vision, values and goals. To do this, follow the following procedure:
? Step 1: Visit the official company website of Southwest Airlines, and identify the company?s vision, mission, values, and goals. (Hint: You’ll need to do some exploring and a certain amount of speculation! Just underneath the caption “About Southwest,” click the “Investor Relations” link). Be sure to look closely at the most recent Annual Reports, located in the “Investors Toolkit” section.
? Step 2: Critically evaluate these elements. Use the criteria in the background materials as well as the readings for the SLP to support your assessment of the quality of the vision, mission, values and goals.
? Step 3: Determine which (if any) of the elements consider the goals and needs of specific stakeholder groups. Write down any examples.
? Step 4: Consider what changes are needed to improve the vision and mission statements, statement of values, and statement of objectives/goals.
? Step 5: In a 4-5 page paper, identify the company’s mission, vision, values and goals.
o Keep in mind that this may not be how the company labels these elements ? use your knowledge of such statements to identify them.
o Critically evaluate these elements, including consideration of how these elements do or do not account for stakeholder’s interests.
o Suggest any changes that would strengthen these elements and bring them more into line with what the background readings suggest.
? Step 6: Using proper APA style, prepare your report with proper documentation of sources, both in-text citations and a complete reference list.
? Step 7: Consider the Case as a formal business report that you are developing for the Board of Directors and CEO as Southwest Airline’s consultant. This is a professional document. Follow the format below:
o Executive summary: a synopsis of the main points, conclusions and recommendations made in the longer report. If you have never written an executive summary before, or would like a refresher, check this website: http://www.highendfinance.com/CommercialLoans/Docs/07-4%20ES%20Guidelines.doc
o Introduction: State the main purpose of the paper (thesis statement), what you hope to accomplish, and how you will go about doing it.
o Main Body: The “meat” of the paper. Emphasize analysis, not just description. Delineate separate topics or sections with appropriate use of headings. NOTE: You must use section headings in all papers.
o Conclusion: Summarize your paper in the light of your thesis statement.
Your paper will be evaluated on the following seven (7) points:
? Precision – Does the paper address the question(s) or task(s)?
? Breadth – Is the full breadth of the subject, i.e., all the keys to the assignment, addressed?
? Depth – Does the paper address all elements of the topic in sufficient depth? Does it include and apply the background readings and other background resources? Are they included as references?
? Critical thinking – Are the concepts of the module applied accurately, logically, and relevantly?
? Organization – Is the paper organized in a coherent and systematic manner? Are section headings included in all papers greater than 2 pages?
? Clarity – Is the writing clear and the concepts articulated properly? Are paraphrasing and synthesis of concepts the primary means of response to the questions, or are thoughts conveyed through excessive use of quotations?
? Referencing (citations and references) – Does the paper use citations and quotation marks where appropriate? Are all references listed in the bibliography used and referred to via citation?
Tips and Suggestions
Please note the following tips and suggestions:
? Business school case-study assignments are meant to offer practice opportunities for future business people who are earning their MBA degrees. Consider yourself a consultant hired by the company to make these critical assessments. There are no right or wrong answers to the Case question, so long as your position is well-defended.
? Study the theoretical concepts provided you in the Background Materials section of the module, and identify main strategy concepts.
? Analyze the mission statement (etc.) according to the criteria presented in the background materials given you. Be very critical and do not let yourself be influenced by a company’s “spin.”
? Do not hesitate to criticize the current statements. In many instances, you may not be able to find information on the company’s website. Many companies do not get this right!
? Include a cover page and reference page, in addition to the 4-5 pages of analysis described above.
? Include section headings for all papers greater than 2 pages (essentially, this means that you need to do so in all papers in this course!).
? Cite AND reference all sources that you use in your work, including those that you do not quote but paraphrase. This means include citations and quotation marks for direct quotes of more than 5 words, and citations for that information which you have “borrowed” or paraphrased from other sources.
? Follow TUI Guidelines for Well-Written Papers.
? Submit your analysis to CourseNet by the end of this module.
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