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Case study - Essay Example

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Before the financial crisis of 2008, GE was a $157 billion a year conglomerate, however, after the recession, GE’s market cap got hit and became half of what it was before. General Electric has been one of the oldest empires and has followed exemplary ways to train its people…
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General Electric: An Analysis into the Human Resource Strategies and Policies General Electric: An Analysis into the Human Resource Strategies and Policies.
Insert First Name, Last Name
Insert Your Institution’s Name
General Electric: An Analysis into the Human Resource Strategies and Policies 1
Introduction and Background:
Before the financial crisis of 2008, GE was a $157 billion a year conglomerate, however, after the recession, GE’s market cap got hit and became half of what it was before. General Electric has been one of the oldest empires and has followed exemplary ways to train its people. It is considered as the leader in training its employees as it invests huge amounts, ranging up to $1 billion a year. However, as of April 2008 the downfall of GE’s share has caused a great furor in the industry as the human resource policies of GE have been questioned. Moreover, it is a popular belief amongst experts from the industry that GE should bring change – change in people handling and change in the approach to work at GE. The million dollar question then arises: What is GE doing wrong despite such huge training investments and what area does it need to concentrate on to improve the current working attitude of its people. These questions can only be answered by exploring the approach that GE’s CEO Mr. Jeffrey R. Immelt has adopted to deal with his employees.
Answer: 1
G.E has a centralized organizational structure. The article mentions that executive recruiter Peter Crist says companies that once poached GE talent now look beyond it to alternatives such as Danaher (DHR), United Technologies (UTX), and even Tyco (TYC), which are viewed as "decentralized, sophisticated, and young."
It is clear from the above statement that the difference between these firms and GE is that the other firms believe in a decentralized organizational structure while GE preaches a centralized system.
Answer: 2
Jeff Immelt practices a democratic style of leadership and the leadership theory that he follows is a traits theory. The quote that best supports the approach says: ‘within GE, the talk is about the new traits leaders will need to thrive, a subject thats reviewed every five years. "We are working on 21st century attributes," explains Chief Learning Officer Susan Peters.’
General Electric: An Analysis into the Human Resource Strategies and Policies 2
The above quote shows that human traits are given more importance and Immelt strongly believes that there are some common traits shared by all leaders and that these can be learnt at the Crotonville Management Center. Moreover, the dinner weekends that Immelt organizes and the focus that he has started to give to his employees also support that he practices a democratic form of leadership.
Answer: 3
Programmed decisions are routine decisions; they are practiced repeatedly and follow a set structure while, non programmed decisions are more like experiments where the outcome is not known.
Immelt seems to be making both programmed and non programmed decisions as on one side he is only following the old and timed practices of GE’s human resource management, but on the other side he is experimenting with his new ideas of bonding with his employees. Instead of bringing out a change in how employees are trained he believes that what GE has been doing is in the best interest of its workers which shows that he supports programmed decision making, however, with the experiment of decentralization in India, Immelt has taken a non-programmed decision. The statement ‘Thus his openness to reversing the rule that GE employees cant serve on boards’ from the article shows how willing he is to try new methods of employee involvement. Another statement that says ‘While by GE standards Immelt may be morphing into a change agent, hes not talking about blowing up cherished traditions’ implies that Immelt is not totally going towards non programmed decision making and chooses to follow a middle path.
Answer: 4
Google’s approach to leadership is different from GE’s leadership because Google’s strategy toward leadership is that there should be an accurate balance between specialist and generalist type of people. According to Google, some workers should be very good in specific areas while others should be creative and can have an out of the box thinking to counter any problems they face at the spur of the moment. On the other hand, GE believes that there are certain attributes and traits that make up a leader and workers can be trained to achieve these qualities. While
General Electric: An Analysis into the Human Resource Strategies and Policies 3
Google encourages on the job training methods, i.e. workers learn skills as they practice what they do, GE believes to export its workers to a lab like formal environment in Crotonville for training purposes. Moreover, Google believes in hiring the best and setting them free, while, GE believes in developing the best through huge training investments.
The article clearly states “having the right balance of generalists and specialists is important” … some leaders excel technically, and some stand out because they’re innovative, creative thinkers. What you need is a portfolio of people with widely varying skill sets” which implies that Google cherishes diversity and cashes upon it, while, GE tries to conform all its employees into a certain ideal model of a worker.

General Electric: Looking into the Human Resource Policies and Style of Leadership
General Electric: Looking into the Human Resource Policies and Style of Leadership
Insert First Name, Last Name
Insert Your Institution’s Name
General Electric: Looking into the Human Resource Policies and Style of Leadership 1
Introduction to General Electric
General Electric is one of the oldest and biggest corporations in the world. It has been one of the leading firms when it comes to training and human capital investments as it spends around $1 billion annually on developing its human resource. GE was huge conglomerate with $157 billion per annum earnings before it got hit by the recession in April 2008. Much thought has gone into how GE should be managed and how its CEO Jeffrey Immelt should lead his workforce.
Answer: 1
General Electric has a centralized organizational structure and this is evident in the comparisons that are made in the article between other firms and GE. It practices a top to down command system and Immelt is at the centre of all decisions. The example from the article that best supports this view is ‘Thus, too, an experiment with decentralizing operations in India so that employees there report to a country chief instead of to headquarters’. This quote proves that decentralizing in India was an experiment which GE is not used to. There are several other quotes in the first half of the article that compare employees from GE and other companies such as Danahar and it is found that employees from companies outside GE are more decentralized and creative suggesting that GE is surely a centralized firm.
Answer: 2
Jeffery Immelt follows a democratic leadership style as he is more interactive with his peers and employees. The article opens by describing how Immelt has been trying to create a rapport with his colleagues, trying to look into their weaknesses and strengths so that they can feel a part of the company. The quote that best describes his democratic style towards his employees is ‘Thus his openness to reversing the rule that GE employees cant serve on boards. "I want to make sure our leaders have every opportunity to get different inputs so we dont become too insular’. Moreover, the leadership theory followed by Immelt is a traits approach as GE focuses more on attributes of a good leader. The statement that best supports this view is "One of the interesting things in having done this is that you discover—and Im not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing—that there really is a GE type. People have different backgrounds, but there is a type of
General Electric: Looking into the Human Resource Policies and Style of Leadership 2
person who tends to do best in the company." The hallmarks, in his words: overachiever, working-class roots, resilience, the ability to be challenged and to learn, a tendency to be self-reflective, and a desire to grow.’ The statement shows that Immelt firmly believes that any leader has to have the above mentioned qualities to be a ‘GE type’ which means that he is a believer of the traits theory of leadership.
Answer: 3
Programmed decisions are those that are systematic, repetitive and routine and non programmed decisions are the ones that are made at the spur of the moment keeping the needs of the situation in mind. Immelt has experimented with a few changes in General Electric which shows that he has made a few non programmed decisions, however, the broad decision making is strictly programmed as he has followed the traditional methods of training and performance at GE.
The article states “They have a 20th century model for a 21st century world," describing GE’s setup as based on programmed and routine decisions. However, in some other places the article also supports how Immelt is trying to practice out of the box things and the quote that best explains it is ‘He wants to experiment with new approaches, accelerate the evolution of GEs processes, and make sure his team has the right tools to "look around corners."’
Answer: 4
GE believes in trait focus rather than allowing the workers to have a generalized approach toward different things. GE gauges the performance of the workers on five set traits and enhances them through rigorous training, as the article states: “GE measures people on five "growth traits"—external focus, clear thinking, imagination, inclusiveness, and expertise—that are broad enough to allow for wide interpretation. The current push is meant to enhance those traits with more contemporary thinking”. This supports the argument that GE doesn’t believe in diversification as much as Google does.
General Electric: Looking into the Human Resource Policies and Style of Leadership 3
Google’s approach, on the other hand, is very different from GE. It believes in employing the best people and then allowing them to think creatively and solve the problems through innovation and new ideas rather than training them and restricting them to a set approach as stated by the Director of Talent Management Judy Gilbert, "Let’s hire fantastic people, bring them in, and set them free."
GE invests huge amounts on training but doesn’t instigate ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking unlike Google. This is the main reason why experts express concern over GE’s old school methods. Read More
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