How generalizable are GE’s management development policies and practices? How transferable are they across cultures, across industries, and companies?
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The policies and practices in any organization play a pivotal role in its development. GE has grown to be one of the most admired global corporations all over the world. This achievement is attributed to its policies and practices that have been adopted and improved over time by various key managers (CEOs) running the company at different eras over the century. Some of these key leaders are Thomas Edison (founder), Borsch, and Jeff Immelt. The policies and structures adopted are cut out from the company’s leadership system and can be applied across cultures, industries, and companies. GE’s policies and structures include continuous improvement, meritocracy, focus strategy, and ‘marrying’ new employees to GE culture.
The extent to which policies and practices can be generalized is dependent on the circumstances, environment, and situation of laws, geographical areas, and regulations within a state. Though they cannot be adopted in every company or industry in every part of the world, the generalizability of the policies and practices of GE is immense. For instance, GE is focused on the growth and development of its human resource through a step by step strategy (Bartlett & Mclean, 2006). This can be adopted by companies around the world to strengthen their human resource with the skills needed in their corporations.
Transferability across companies, cultures, and industries:
GE took upon itself to polishing its employees to fit and help grow the company. Recruits are fresh from college and they are trained while taking into account the present and future requirements of the company. This strategy may not be employed by most companies as they mostly do external hiring of manpower. Thus, this principle cannot be adopted in such companies.
Culture varies in different parts of the world and within companies. For the transferability of GE’s policies and structures to exist, the company has to possess less or the same culture as GE. Thus, it’s not in all continents or companies that these policies can be adopted, for instance, the culture regarding type and need for manpower is different in Europe compared to that of Asia. This makes transferability difficult due to values, behavior, and culture which make human behavior different in different countries in similar situations.
What was most critical in GE’s ability to appoint Jeff Immelt as CEO of one of the World’s most complex companies at the age of 44?
GE’s modern management practice has sprouted from the culture of choosing its leaders from within following its ranks. This is based on one of its followed policies of meritocracy, which is, appointing leaders based on their performance which is measured both quantitatively and qualitatively. Following this, Jeff Immelt was appointed CEO of GE at the age of 44. It was the then executive in charge of recruiting MBA, Dennis Dammerman (Bartlett &Mclean, 2006) who singled out Jeff’s leadership traits. It has been the culture of GE to develop management talent among its employees which have seen other companies outsourcing managers for GE. Jeff joined GE at the age of 25 years after completing his MBA.
After Jeff’s inauguration to the company, he was led through a commercial leadership track for growth which included working in different GE businesses. He first built his leadership skills at GE when he was appointed sales manager for GE plastics (Dallas). His exceptional performance and outstanding leadership at this post saw him appointed to attend the Executive Development Course (EDC).
He was well versed and cultured to the policies, values, and culture at GE. He also noted that networking was key in any organization and over the years exposure to the different working environments in different places within GE provided opportunities for developing talent and imparting relevant experience in the company. With the necessity to appoint a new CEO after Jack Welch, Jeff qualified as the candidate for the position by possessing the experience and leadership traits required.
Bartlett, C.A., & Mclean, A.N. (2006). GE’s talent machine: The making of a CEO, Boston: Harvard Business School.