General Electric: Imagination at Work
Dee Ann Clark, Michele Harbin-Williams, Sudha Sunkara
University of Phoenix
Human Relations and Organizational Behavior
October 19, 2005
When one thinks of General Electric (GE) they envision a well diversified, elite, global corporation. GE employs more than 300,000 people worldwide and serves customers in 160 countries. GE's culture is well defined by its mission, vision and values. This company has become recognized for its unparallel training and career development as well as for its significant organizational processes. These practices have enabled GE to provide the utmost quality while maintaining their aggressive commitment to leadership development across the world.
When one hears the name General Electric, most think of Jack Welch, former CEO of GE. He became GE's youngest Chairman and CEO in 1981, which resulted in some dramatic changes over the next five years. Welch was successful in streamlining GE; acquiring new business segments, and made the company more competitive. He motivated the managers of the businesses to become more productive than ever. He eliminated layers of management, laid off over 100,000 employees, and shut down factories. He was nicknamed "Neutron Jack" due to his ability to act like a neutron bomb that kills people but leaves the buildings intact. The results of Jack's reign delivered extraordinary growth, increasing the market value of GE from $12 billion in 1981 to about $500 billion when he stepped down 20 years later in 2000 (Koteinikov, 2005).
GE says they do not have any mission statement per se, instead GE is more focused on their business objectives and operating philosophy. The business objectives are to build a portfolio of strong businesses, create processes that generate cash, and capability to achieve organic revenue growth. GE believes consistent focus on these imperatives, backed by strong execution, which is the key to excellent long-term performance (GE, 2004). Operating philosophy is to run the business with intensity, low cost, generate excess cash and train the employees doing their job as business. GE has an informal operating philosophy where any employee can deliver his or her thoughts, which will be listened to and valued. At GE the vision is "we bring good things to life".
The four bold values that are part of GE are imagine, solve, build and lead. Imagine is wisdom of opportunity that allows for a freedom beyond mere invention (GE, 2005). Imagine dares to be something superior (GE, 2005). At GE, imagine is an invitation to dream and do things that one does not know what one could do (GE, 2005). For GE, the immense question has a simple answer; GE exists to solve problems for their customers, their communities and their societies and for themselves (GE, 2005). Where GE is headed is a reflection in many ways where they have already been (GE, 2005). GE defines build as not a destination but as a quest. Quests that make them grow every part of their business (GE, 2005). To build is to look for future and achieve goals ahead. Lead is a call to action that engages GE's unceasing curiosity, passion, and drive to be first in everything that they do (GE, 2005). GE's culture mainly focuses on integrity, values, and diversity. Integrity is the core of every relationship that they have around the world (GE, 2005). GE's employees are proud of its strong commitment and worldwide reputation for integrity (GE, 2005). According to GE integrity is not only abiding by the law, it is the core of everything they do (GE, 2005). GE values are based on unyielding integrity, commitment to performance, and thirst for change (GE, 2005). GE believes that diversity is important for company's future to have a contemporary workforce that is more diverse, more global and has more areas of personal productivity and flexibility, so that people can have more choices and perform them at the same time...
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