This article describes the contrasting systems of coordination and control at American and Southwest Airlines. Contrary to popular belief, the best way to achieve coordination in high velocity settings like the airline industry is not to create a flat organization based on performance measurement and little supervision. Rather it is better to build an organization based on cross-functional accountability to diffuse blame, with adequate supervisory staffing to provide coaching and feedback. Coordination benefits from strengthening this role of supervisors while weakening the role of accountability and performance measurement.
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