The components of organizational culture of any company, although carting a unified message, can be dispersed over many small details and aspects, all of which carry a part of such culture. One of the aspects that can reflect the organizational culture is it cost accounting practices. In that regard, this paper analyzes the organizational culture of the company Southwest Airlines, taking the context of cost accounting as an indication of such culture, based on the company’s homepage and the annual report for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2008.
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As stated on their profile, the main feature of the company can be seen through the provision of low-fare flights, where low-fare is the key word for the company’s success. In that regard, the reflection of such approach in the organizational culture of the company can be seen through the simple word transparency. The company presents itself as an open company, with nothing to hide neither from the customer nor form the investor. Looking at the company’s report, such culture can be seen through the provision of all the fluctuations in related factors, which subsequently where reflected in the company’s earnings and their price forming policy. In that regard, reviewing the Enron scandal, it can be stated that transparency and honesty in representing the financial data represent the overall approach the company takes toward its culture.
The role cost accounting plays in the formation of such culture can be seen through providing all the details of the financial statement, specifying the details of each income point to an excessive extent. On the one hand, the company complies to the accounting standards set, and cooperates with any external audit procedures, and on the other hand, helps the investors in the decision making process, where detailed financial statement of the company can surpass any other source of information in providing a complete picture of the company, its strategy, mission statement and values.
Another important element in company’s organizational culture is its incline toward certainty. The company explicitly distinguishes between any statements representing actual facts and forward-looking statements, toward which the company’s position directly acknowledges the risk associated with relating such statements to the actual results. Accordingly, does not take any actions toward misleading the potential customer, investors or partners, and in that regard, such small details can make the difference, and also accurately reflects the company’s organizational culture.
The impact of cost accountants on the culture can be seen through reflecting the company’s goals and objectives with factors such as the aforementioned, i.e. honesty, transparency and certainty, in the processes and documents, through which the company communicates with its external environment. In that regard, providing incomplete or dishonest information will disrupt the unified message the company is delivering, which in turn might be reflected in other aspects of the culture, relationship with employees, customers, investors and etc.
It can be concluded that the organizational culture of a company can be reflected through such aspects as financial statements and financial reports, in which cost accounting and cost accountants play a major role. According to the example of the Southwest Airlines Company, the organizational culture of which was found to be based on transparency, honesty and certainty toward their customers, partners and investors, the information on such aspects of their culture was found through the cost accounting reflection of such culture. Thus, it can be stated that cost accounting has a great impact on the company’s organizational culture.
Southwest Airlines (2009). Southwest Airlines Co. Annual Report. Southwest.com. Web.
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Southwest Airlines (2009). Southwest Airlines Investors Relations. Web.