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Alaska Airlines Case Study

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Human Resources
Wordcount: 1142 words Published: 23rd Sep 2019

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 According to Heizer, the objective of a human resource strategy is to manage labor and design jobs in order to effectively and efficiently utilize people.   Alaska Airlines compel their employees and managers to excel, in order to create a friendly and enthusiastic environment for their workers as well as their customers.   Staff empowerment teaches customers that even in difficult situations Alaska Airlines will fix the problem and provide a reasonable solution thus gaining lifelong customers (Alaska Airlines Looks, 2017).  Alaska Airlines rises above its competition because they focus on people (staff, vendors, customers).  The Alaska Airlines Spirit consists of four components: integrity, caring, professionalism, and resourcefulness (Ekstein, 2017).

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 In terms of human resources, Alaska Airlines believes that what makes the company special are its people.   As indicated by Heizer, organizations, like Alaska Airlines, run smoothly with dedicated people.   Further, companies must respect their staff and recognize solid workers.  Alaska Airlines does just that as its focus on people is central to the company’s competitive edge.  Heizer states that mutual commitment means that both management and employee strive to meet common objectives.   Heizer goes on to say that mutual trust is reflected in reasonable, documented employment policies that are honestly and equitably implemented to the satisfaction of both management and employee.  When management hires new employees they seek specific personality traits (enthusiastic about the job and dedicated to their work) that conform to the Alaska Airlines atmosphere (Alaska Airlines Looks, 2017).    Alaska Airlines training is rigorous. Trainees learn customer service techniques, medical health measures, and emergency situation procedures.   The Alaska Spirit, its climate, consists of four components:  integrity, caring, professionalism, and resourcefulness.  Alaska Airlines’ managers work tirelessly thus enabling them to gain respect (Mutzabaugh, 2018).  Employee empowerment enables all employees to autonomously and immediately rectify any customer issues (Ekstein, 2017). Alaska Airlines understands when it comes to problem resolution expedience causes customer loyalty.  The entire Alaska Airlines staff work as a team, this creates a close partnership (Alaska Airlines Looks, 2017).

 Employee empowerment is useful to companies.  When employees take ownership for resolving issues they are less likely to experience the same issue again (Heizer, 2013).  Further, when problems are solved quickly, customers tend to be happier. Alaska Airlines empowers its staff, through rigorous training, to think quickly and problem solve.  Quick thinking and problem-solving allows companies to gain loyal customers.  This also shows that these companies are taking responsibilities for the events that happen within their company whether they can control them or not (Mutzabaugh, 2018).  Heizer writes that many constraints influence job design and the issues of fairness, equity, and ethics are pervasive. Alaska Airlines proves their loyalty to their patrons by sticking with the same ethics and code, that the people are family and the focus of their company.

          Human resource tools assist companies in rising above their competition.  Human resources are often the operations manager’s responsibility.  As such, the operations manager is often in-charge of attaining human resource goals (Heizer, 2013). One purpose of human resources is to construct an atmosphere of obligation and shared reverence coupled with a rational quality of work life.  Companies that devise positions that use employees’ physical and mental capacities are the most successful (Heizer, 2013).  Ultimately, the business’ success relies on its ability to manage its human resources.  Fortunately, numerous tools are available to enhance a company’s training and performance efforts.  In the case of Alaska Airlines, the company can utilize driving decision making down to the lowest possible level, employee empowerment and respect for employees to accomplish this goal.  Alaska Airlines does a good job of combining all three of these strategies through its employee empowerment program (Alaska Airlines Looks, 2017).  The empowerment tool kit provides customer service agents the ability to instantaneously compensation passengers who have experienced some difficulty during their travel (Alaska Airlines Looks, 2017).  This strategy empowers the employee by allowing him/her to unanimously decide if a passenger was inconvenienced and what type of rectification the passenger deserves.  Alaska Airline applies all of Hackman and Odham’s core job characteristics.  These characteristics are job significance, job identity, autonomy, feedback, and skill variety (Ekstein, 2017).  Utilizing these core job characteristics will most likely have a constructive effect on productivity (Heizer, 2013).

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 This case study provides evidence that Alaska Airlines is an ideal company who works with amazing precision in human resources. Alaska Airlines is successful as a company because of the environment that they work diligently on to create and enforce (Mutzabaugh, 2018). They have their customers respect and trust. Alaska Airlines employees work quickly to fix situations to make sure it is always enjoyable and relaxing for everyone (Ekstein, 2017). Finally, Alaska Airlines uses feedback, and skill to have a constructive effect on the productivity and efficiency of the company both behind the scenes and with the customers.


  • “Alaska Airlines Looks to Empower Employees.”  (2017) retrieved from www.smartbrief.com/s/2017/05/alaska-airlines-looks-empower-employees.
  • Ekstein, Nikki. “How Alaska Airlines Became the Best Airline in the U.S.” Bloomberg.com, Bloomberg, 24 May 2017, www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-05-24/how-alaska-airlines-became-the-best-airline-in-the-u-s.
  • Heizer, J. H., & Render, B. (2013). Operations management: Sustainability and supply chain management. Harlow, Essex: Pearson Education Limited.
  • Mutzabaugh, B. (2018). The USA’s No. 1 airline is … Alaska Airlines. Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/flights/todayinthesky/2018/03/06/usas-no-1-airline-alaska-airlines/399484002/


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