Corporate Governance at WestJet Corporation

Executive Summary

The balance of pursuing market opportunities and at the same time maintain accountability and ethical integrity has been a great challenge to most organizations. Effective governance involves systems, processes, and control that promote ethics, and values, accountability, risk communication, and managerial coordination within an organization.  Every business is expected to behave responsibly and be accountable for their actions and practices. In most cases, the ethical values and social expectations crush with the overall goal of the organizations which is to make a profit for their shareholders (Cragg, Wesley & Dirk 3). Today, manifest failures of corporate governance and business ethics in the global financial crisis has increased the need for a better ethical framework (Foerster, Stephen & Brian 20). The pressure by the shareholders as they push business towards generating higher profit makes the employees to sometimes work against moral expectations. The managers running those businesses are forced to make decisions that benefit the company by generating higher profit rather than the society and the environment where they live and operate.

The report will analyze the issue with today’s corporations specifically on the aviation and their ethical violations. The report will focus on WestJet corporation which has been making a high profit and offering excellent services and at the same time remain ethical in its operation. In the analysis and examination of WestJet, the group has used WestJet websites, academic journals and articles, business magazines and personal experiences. The report will be based on the arguments that WestJet is an ethical corporation which has shown consistent clean track records for several years. Despite the high competition in the airlines’ industry, WestJet values the society and environment hence operates under ethical guidelines that oversee conservation of environment contributing towards CSR and other social and moral issues (“Corporate Governance 1). Since its formation in 1996, WestJet Airlines, a Canadian airline has been guided by ethics which has made it remain second largest Canadian air carrier. The Board of Directors of WestJet ensures stewardship and governance of the Corporation by acting per company’s mandate, the Articles, By-laws and the Corporation’s Code of Business Conduct (“Corporate Culture at WestJet 1). Despite the risk involved and high competition in the airline industry, West Jet corporate governance ensure they work at the best interest of Corporation and its shareholders and at the same time maintain ethics and integrity.

Based on the WestJet Code of Business Conduct, the company holds itself responsible and accountable at all levels. WestJet competitive advantage is not gained by unethical practices like reducing fees, corruption or false advertisements; rather it is earned by ensuring they provide excellent services through following ethical procedures outlined by the company. The corporation’s code of conducts describes the behavior exhibited by the shareholders to uphold ethical standards and Act that align to values and fundamental principles. WestJet does not follow unethical footsteps of rival airlines like the United Airlines who are corrupt and reduce fee below the regular price to win over the customers. WestJet competitive advantage lies in its ethical practices outlined in the company’s code of conduct followed by every employee and upholding the social values, ethics and conserving the environment.

The results show that WestJet has managed to uphold ethical corporate governance seen through the company’s positive culture, proper payments of the employees and sharing profit with the employees, excellent customer service and having a strong social corporate responsibility.  West Jet company should continue with its ethical business practice which has contributed to its positive image worldwide.

Research Findings

Airlines are among the highest earning companies worldwide. Statistics show that commercial airlines generate revenue of approximately 855 billion dollars. In 2017, the global aviation industry created 754 dollars, and the growth is rising with over 5% every year due to interconnectedness (Marie, Isabelle Dostaler & John 344). Based on the information gathered from journals, article, business magazines, and experiences. West Jet uphold ethical corporate governance across its performance. There are many cases of ethical dilemma revealed in the airline industries due to high competition and expansion. As social issues continue becoming sensitive in the aviation industry, most airlines are striving to improve their corporate governance (Roy, Marie, Isabelle Dostaler & John 22). The airlines are putting efforts to maximize interest and at the same time remain ethical in their performance. Conservation of environment is one of the areas that the industry is trying to improve seen through their first target, “to continue to improve fleet fuel efficiency by 1.5% per year until 2020” (Roy et al. 24). West Jet has been in operation for many years and has undergone many changes and development, but it still sticks to being ethical in all its operation.

According to the findings, West Jet has a positive culture that promotes its corporate governance. West Jet encourages a culture of participation and commitments and empowers employees who thus live happily. The corporation observes human rights by giving employees a good, safe and happy working environment with reasonable payments. Excellent employee treatments are revealed through their customer services which are unique and satisfying (“Corporate Culture at WestJet” 1). At WestJet, every employee is viewed as a shareholder who works towards the success of the company by following the set code of conducts and ethics. The initial finding shows that West Jet has registered a positive image in the eyes of the public. Research from the journals, articles, and magazines shows the positive perception of the public on the corporation. According to Barmak (1), the reputation of WestJet has ranked among the homegrown companies ahead of companies like IBM and Apple. West Jet is the leading aviation industry in terms of corporate and authenticity. John Miziolek, president of Toronto’s Reset Branding, was impressed by the services offered by the company specifically friendly customer services, the heightened emotions, and positive word-of-mouth to smoothen the experience of air travel.  During the 2018 summer holiday, I experienced the fantastic customer services offered by WestJet as I travelled for the Canadian Summer Musical festival. The employees were very friendly and welcoming, and they worked as a team through the flight. I spoke to two air hostesses, and they acknowledged that the company pays them well and grants them leaves, promotions and share profit every year. Also, the two confirmed that it is mandatory for every shareholder to follow the Code of Business Conduct set by the corporation.

Based on corporate social responsibility, West Jet is among the leading participants of CSR in the aviation industry. According to the West Jet CSR report of 2013 and 2014, the company is committed to conserving the environment and boosting social performance. Report from Global Reporting Initiative shows that that West Jet registers high in following the ten initiatives based on social, environmental and economic performance. According to the report, West Jet is among the leading corporations with the best customer services shown by their culture of care and top employment. The green Initiative of WestJet oversees commitments to environmental sustainability (“WestJet Issues Fourth Corporate Social Responsibility Report” 1). The program recognizes sites selection, manage water and energy efficiency and protect the atmosphere.  West Jet is highly committed towards community services and empowerments. The company has established program s that focus on the health of children, sports and community festivals. The West Jets Car for Kids Community is a program that that supports charities that address the health and wellness of the children. The other program is The West Jet Fun in festival Series that sponsors more than 54 festivals across Canada. I witnessed the contribution of WestJet during my visit to Canada to attend the Canadian Summer Music Festival. WestJet contributed more than 60% of the project and organization. Therefore, the findings prove that West Jets is an ethical company as seen through the practice of corporate governance.



Works Cited

“Corporate Culture at Westjet|Human Resource And Organization Behavior|Case Study|Case Studies.” Icmrindia.Org,

“Corporate Governance | Westjet.Com | Westjet.” Westjet.Com, 2019,

“Westjet Issues Fourth Corporate Social Responsibility Report”. Westjet.Mediaroom.Com, 2015,

Barmak, Sarah. “Westjet’s Service Makes It So Loved, It Beats Out Apple.” Canadian Business – Your Source For Business News, 2013,

Cragg, Wesley, and Dirk Matten. “Ethics, corporations, and governance.” Journal of business ethics 102.1 (2011): 1-4.

Foerster, Stephen R., and Brian C. Huen. “Does corporate governance matter to Canadian investors?.” Canadian Investment Review 17.3 (2004): 19-23.

Roy, Marie-Josée, Isabelle Dostaler, and John Fiset. “11 Governance and environmental performance.” The Global Commercial Aviation Industry (2015): 344.