Jack Welch, the legendary CEO of GE was considered one of the giants of management thinking in the 20th century. Yet as the new century has worn on, his ideas have seemed ill-suited to sustainable transformations. The Boston based conglomerate’s transformation took place over eight long years and a lot of those have not carried out during the leadership of Jeffrey Immelt. Broadly four kinds of interventions exist. The first is the Commanding intervention from Welch’s school of thought. It is authoritarian, with the top management expecting compliance rather than consensus from those reporting to them. The pace is quick which works best with downsizing or divestment. The next type is Engineering, where the pace is slower and evokes a complete redesign of the work processes. Like commanding, here too quantitative measures are held at a premium, but trust needs to be built in among the subordinates. The third variety is the Teaching intervention. Here, a transformation is effected on the beliefs held in the organization. The timeline here is longer. Corporate training sessions are needed where external consultants, psychoanalysts and coaches gradually wean away the traits held unnecessary. The last one is the Socializing intervention. This is a continuous ongoing transformation, done bottom-up typically by influential employees. Stability is sought rather than an instant change. “Neutron Jack” as Welch was popularly known as definitely used the first approach. While flaws were later detected, they were extremely successful in the short to medium term.


Uploaded Date:14 December 2017

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