Human resources are the most important assets of any organization. However, most organizations continue to arrange their people in organizational structure that inhibit and limit their employee's participation. Many organizations have tried to move away from a traditional rigid organizational structure to a more flexible one, but the results were not as expected (Attaran and Nguyen 1999). Today, human resource managers do not have the luxury of operating and performing in a stable, predictable environment as external changes are affecting all organizations and their human resource management activities (Zeffane, 1994, Watson and D"Annunzio-Green, 1996). In this highly competitive economic context employees and the way they are managed acquire greater importance because many other sources of competitive success are less powerful. But to achieve competitive advantages through people involves changing in the way of thinking about employment relationships (De Saa-Perez and Garcia-Falcon, 2002). The future success depends not only on changes in the structure but more important on changes in the whole culture of the organization, incorporating the changes in the internal and external factors. .
This case study is on Northwest Airlines, company in the airline industry, which needs to be transformed into a more responsive, customer-driven service organization capable of competing in the new era. Northwest was behind leading companies in the airline industry considering technological capabilities and people skills that were being honed by major competitors.
Primary aim of Northwest Airlines is to change the organizational culture to a more customer responsive and people oriented culture, to build a new sense of esprit, pride in the corporation, to design programs that will alter the processes that are antithesis of the desired changes. The major human resources macro problem in the company is changing organizational culture.