GE managers must learn to exhibit aggressive patience - managers lead by spending time and asking questions of participants who do and do not attend workshops, that we share and celebrate success. Objectively, GE has great success in implementing Work-Out process during times of strong economic performance. Also, GE knows how to manage the life cycle of a business idea: put it in place, exploit it, and then abandon it. (Tomasko, 2002)
Base on the above-mentioned findings, the favorable factors in contributing the success of Work-Out process to be summarized as follows: well preparation through building leadership and hiring external facilitators, communicating with clarity, commitment of senior staff, open-minded of senior staff, effectiveness in reducing staff anxiety and strong leadership culture. The ultimate cementation of Work-Out as a cultural principle involves the engagement of the combined intellectual, behavioral and organizational agenda of an organization.
Possible Negative Consequences of Work-out Process GE's Work-Out process making an organization pass along with "one of the biggest planned efforts to alter people's behavior since Mao's Cultural Revolution" (Tichy, 1993) Inevitably there are antagonists - people who hold tightly to the old ways. The struggle to change involves thousands of people. They all must deal with grief and deep feelings of loss as the old ways they know disappear. Additionally, the organizational factors making employee feel stress. Under GE Work-Out process, the new design of the individual's job like autonomy, task variety, and degree of automation may exert anxiety and stress on employees.
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Work-Out process fostered the idea of 'boundaryless learning organization" throughout GE. The change in organization structure making employee experienced stress. The act of delayering may reduce the "sphere of influence" of senior staffs. They will have psychological effect of stress and negative consequences are aroused in terms of depression and decrease in job satisfaction. (Robbins, 2005)
Welch exerts high pressure on senior staff; he said that "You can't grow long-term, if you can't eat short-term. Anybody can manage short. Anybody can manage long. Balancing those two things is what management is". (Ulrich, Kerr & Ashkenas, 2002) So the job of leadership is to deliver both short-term profits and long-term organizational strength. The psychological contract between employees and organization face great challenge.
GE is a showcase for successful organizational change. In the process of applying Work-Out process, one lesson should be clear: Work-Out is a process, not just an event. (Schaninger, Harris & Niebuhr, 2000). It is believed that hiring skilled external facilitators is not enough to guarantee the process. Human capital in GE is the key determinant for the success as the talent can generating and securing to foster a culture emphasizing employee participation in problem solving and accountability for its implementation.
Crainer, S. (1999). Business the Jack Welch Way: Ten Secrets of the World's Greatest Turnaround King, American Management Association.
Kleiner, A. (2003). GE's Next Workout. Strategy & Business, Issue 33, pp1-5.
Locke, E. A. (2002). "The Leader As Integrator: The Case of Jack Welch at General Electric". In Neider & Schriesheim (Editors), Leadership, pp1-22. Information Age Publishing Inc.
Lowe, J. (1998). Jack Welch Speaks: Wisdom from the world's greatest business leader, John Wiley, New York http://www.rathstrong.com
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