top of page
  • Writer's pictureStudentGuiders

Atlantic Airlines Culture Analysis Paper

Atlantic Airlines

Cultures play an invasive role in shaping human interactions and thinking. The way in which global cultures differ and are similar to each other is requisite for creating an enhanced level of agreement. It is, therefore paramount for the elements of culture to be harmonized so that people can avoid conflicts and work in collusion to achieve common objectives. Communities are shaped by these differences in cultures as pertaining to the coexistence of members and different groups within the society. Probably, cultures become more pronounced when viewed through the prisms of workplaces and organizations. There, cultural perspectives and worldviews are demonstrable in the possibility of creating communication. In fact, the feasibility of building valuable communication between workers is dependent on how well the company has moved to either negate or incorporate their cultural differences at the workplace. It is, hence, requisite for the analysis of different cultures and worldviews is conducted so that specific organizations can be able to understand how to best create the enabling environment in the professional workplaces. This paper is concerned with performing such an analysis with specific focus on the practices at United Airlines. An examination of the company’s practices exposes stark weaknesses in its corporate culture. Data from the company’s website paint a different – and understandably convenient – picture. With the aid of the experiences of customers and employees, this paper provides valuable lessons which, if implemented, could help the firm in making a complete turnaround in organizational culture. These recommendations are also included in this research.


How culture affects organizations and workplaces

Naturally, global communities have unique starting points and identities which subsequently determine their respective perceptions of issues (Dixon, 2006). Western cultures are naturally oriented towards being more explicit and more expressive. This is evident in the way of conducting business in the organizations and workplaces. On the other hand, oriental and African cultures are aligned towards being social and hospitable. These diverse aspects affect how people relate within the workplace. Consequently, elements of culture and worldviews are the fine items which determine the extent to which employees can cooperate for intersecting objectives and goals. The underlying policy and practices at organizations are also significantly shaped by cultural perspectives. The culture of the corporate body or organization will determine how the constituent parts – people and stakeholders – perceive things and behave (Dixon, 2006; Gini, 2000). To effectively harmonize culture, it is paramount for the elements of culture to be well understood and bolstered so that the longer-term goals of the organization can be understood.

Elements of culture

Culture is generally comprised of; symbols, language, norms, values, and artifacts. All these elements constitute a person or a group of people regarding their view of the world and how they relate with each other. Symbols and language are the enhancements which determine the potential for building social interactions through effective communication. In the United States, language and symbols are distinguished and unique for at least national levels of such interactions. However, corporate bodies which operate internationally have had to adapt for the purpose of incorporating foreign cultural symbols and language. This has been necessary for the purpose of ensuring that foreign national are integrate in the framework of these organizations as stakeholders – customers, partners, or employees. On the other hands, norms relate to the behavioral tendencies which have been commonly subscribed to by people. For instance, cultural practices in the East tend to favor marriage and unions more than those from the West. African cultures tend to favor sociability more than any other global culture. Norms subsequently determine the cultural values associated with a people.

Major values are the ones which set apart different cultures. They determine how people behave, interact, and treat each other. Fundamentally, cultural values shape the objectives of a person and their efforts in life. In the United States, there are three fundamental cultural values. Individualism has been touted to drive the American culture. It is the belief that one has to work to primarily provide personal happiness. It is therefore evident that Americans are comfortable with making efforts to ensure maximum personal happiness (as opposed to helping others as well). In different parts of the world, such as Africa and Asia, individualism is not only discouraged but also condemned (Bellah, Madsen, Sullivan, Swidler, and Tipton, 1985). Secondly, the United States favors competition. The society is subtly designed to nurture and encourage competition with individuals being compelled to make their best efforts. This is also evident in the workplace as individual employees are motivated to be more productive than their colleagues. Thirdly, the American culture is based on the commitment to work ethic (Gini, 2000). Even the standard society has grown to associate economic status with this value. Regardless of the means of enforcing it, commitment to work ethic is synonymous with the United States.

Artifacts represent the material wealth which is used to stand for the beliefs of a society. In the world over, these accessories are not only diverse but also unique. One of the most fundamental representation of artifacts is the means of moving heavy loads over land, for instance. While the wheel is one of the most important inventions by man, most global communities still favor the use of human bearers for this purpose (Bellah, Madsen, Sullivan, Swidler, & Tipton, 1985). Due to the modern technological advancements, the wireless culture has taken root in most of the human societies. It is evident that the modern humanity is primarily and profoundly embedded in this core cultural artifact.

Organizational culture

Research findings and data collection

To be able to effectively understand the culture of the organization, company website and news items are used to conduct research and collect data. For the purpose of relevance, the information used for this task is wholly associated with United Airlines, the specific organization whose corporate culture is under analysis. The process of collecting data is based on the possibility of using artifacts, values, and underlying assumptions to examine the organizational culture. Statements and policies from the website are measured against the reviews from blogs and news items to check for honesty and accuracy. Also, the culture of the organization is also examined against the overall American national culture to see whether there is agreement.

Analyzing organizational culture

United Airlines has come under scrutiny over the past several years. The company takes pride in the claims of being operationally effective. The firm clearly and unambiguously alleges that its practices are designed to provide timely flights at lower prices with minimal inconveniencies to passengers. However, the available information and reviews have continued to indicate that this has hardly been achieved. In one of the most regrettable cases, the world was up in arms against allegations by a passenger with the explanation that the plane had been overbooked (Majlegaard, 2019). The narrative showed several weaknesses in the culture of the organization. One of the questions was why the physician had to be forcibly expelled from the board. It was, after all, his right to complain as he was not responsible for the mistake. Secondly, it was not evident why it was the specific passenger who had to be expelled from the flight. Also, the most regrettable aspect of the experience was that the company’s own employees had been on board and could have been the reason why the physician was expelled from the plane. To make matters even worse, there have been other allegations that such events are common at the firm – a couple of teenagers found the same fate as the physician only a few months later (LSA Global, 2020). It therefore fed fodder to the claims that the company has been formed from the spine of the company instead of finding alternative means of operating. Even statistical data has continued to paint the company in an unfavorable light.

One of the most glaring failure of United Airlines has been too much fine print. LSA Global (2020) found that the company has been run through the practice of using too much policy. While rules are vital for streamlining behavior and decision making, the case of United Airlines teeters on overindulgence. The company leadership has been responsible for the failure in this core cultural artifact. First, the practices of the leaders have led to a culture in which employees are compelled to refer to rules and regulations to justify their actions (LSA Global, 2020). This becomes a problem when the said actions are inappropriate to any external stakeholder or the general public. Majlegaard (2019) found that the expulsion of the hapless passengers is almost always done while citing the need to subscribe to rigid regulations by the company. This then shows that the company’s organizational culture is based on the wrong artifacts. Underlying assumptions are also glaringly weak at the company. Fundamentally, the company has continued to encourage employees to accept the status quo without questioning. They are also encouraged to do things as traditionally done at the firm (LSA Global, 2020). This has killed innovation as new ideas are dismissed. The need to conform and ‘fit in’ is also a failed assumption related to the organizational culture. LSA Global (2020) found that United’s employees have been forced to fake this type of conformity even when they lack it. These events show that the culture of the organization is based on unsuitable artifacts and underlying assumptions.

One of the lacking values in the culture of the organization has been employee’s discretion. LSA Global (2020) reiterates that United Airlines has denied workers the chance to make decisions without rigidly conforming to rules and policy. Apparently, this has forced them to subscribe to practices and actions which they may not necessarily agree with. Probably, the expulsion of passengers from flights has been enhanced by this systemic failure (Majlegaard, 2019). Without the discretion to make decisions, the company employees are forced to blindly keep to the value of commitment to the work ethic. This has again been nurtured by the existence of too much fine print at the company (LSA Global, 2020). As a result, there have been numerous controversies associated with the company and which even threaten its agenda in the ultra-competitive industry.

The last failure in the organizational culture has been misaligned performance metrics. The company, as mentioned, yearns for the capacity to attain operational efficiency. This has been associated with the ability to provide timely flights at low costs. However, surveys and interviews with customers have been shown to imply that the company is not popular for these reasons (LSA Global, 2020). LSA Global (2020) accuses the company of focusing on the ability to lower costs without considering the wellbeing of the customer. This misalignment has caused the company to forego a vital aspect of its corporate responsibility towards the customer. Its focus is inappropriately oriented towards the urge to maximize profits without due considerations of the customer.


To reiterate, culture is one of the most important elements affecting relationships involving human beings. Artifacts, values, norms, and underlying assumptions are some of the most pivotal elements in this regard. However, United Airlines has failed to harmonize these elements to be capable of caring for its customers. Instead of focusing on the happiness of the employees and the satisfaction of customers, the company has prioritize the ability to maximize profits by cutting costs. Unless the company modifies and bolsters its corporate cultures, allegations of being harsh towards customers may not yet end in the short run.


Bellah, R. N., Madsen, R., Sullivan, W. M., Swidler, A., & Tipton, S. M. (1985). Habits of the heart: Individualism and commitment in American life. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Dixon, J. C. (2006). The ties that bind and those that don’t: Toward reconciling group threat and contact theories of prejudice. Social Forces, 84, 2179–2204.

Gini, A. (2000). My job, my self: Work and the creation of the modern individual. New York, NY: Routledge.

LSA Global (2020). Harmful corporate culture – brought to you by United Airlines. Retrieved from:

Majlegaard, F. (Aug 5, 2019). United Airlines corporate culture – a patient to be examined. Retrieved from:

Recent Posts

See All

When infusing pantoprazole, use a separate IV line, a pump, and an in-line filter. A brown wrapper and frequent vital signs are not needed. A client has gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The pro

Your paragraph text(10).png
bottom of page