General Electric Change Management Case Study 

General Electric is a world-leading multinational conglomerate that has implemented changes over the years. The need for upgrading culture and limited financial growth made it necessary for GE to launch various strategies to rejuvenate the company’s growth. Today, we’ll discuss General Electric change management case study; the company’s historical background, strategies implemented, and the impact and result of the change management.

General Electric’s main products and services are as follows;

  • Wind turbines
  • Software
  • Finances
  • Energy
  • Electrical distribution
  • Aircraft Engines

Some of the main subsidiaries and business divisions of General Electric are as follows;

  • Research GE
  • Renewable Energy GE
  • Power GE
  • Digital GE
  • Capital GE
  • Aviation GE
  • Additive GE

Historical Background of General Electric 

  • 1892 – JP Morgan, Thomas Edison, and Charles A. Coffin were the founders of GE, and the company came into existence as a result of a merger on 15 April 1892
  • 1911 – GE acquired the NELA (National Electric Lamp Association) into the company’s lighting business
  • 1919 – Owen D. Young laid the foundation of RCA (Radio Corporation of America) after acquiring Marconi Wireless Telegraphy Company of America
  • 1927 – Ernst Alexanderson of GE successfully performed the TV broadcasting reception
  • 1941 – US Army Air Corps chose GE to develop the jet engine for the nation during the War; later GE Aviation became the world’s largest airline engine manufacturer
  • 1950s – GE was the first business organization to own a computer, and the company was the main user of computers outside the US government. It pushed the company to enter the computer manufacturing area
  • 1965 – GE expanded its business into cable after the introduction of Cablevision Corporation and the company kept on purchasing more TV stations to reach the limit of the FCC
  • 1970 – The company decided to exit computer production and sold its computer unit to Honeywell
  • 1980s – Consumers started boycotting GE’s refrigerators, bulbs, and other products because of the company’s involvement in the nuclear energy projects
  • 1997 – GE laid the foundation of GE Capital International Services
  • 2007 – GE bought Vetco Gray for 1.9 billion dollars and Smith Aerospace for 4.8 billion dollars
  • 2015 – The company decided to sell off its banking service portfolio to the Blackstone Group and Wells Fargo worth 26.5 billion dollars
  • 2022 – Approximately 172,000 employees are working for the company to manage its worldwide operations; the company’s total assets are worth 187.8 billion dollars

A very brief historical record of GE shows that the company has gone through a series of transformational phases. It allowed the company to diversify its business operations into various fields in order to maintain the company’s leadership position in the market.

Challenges General Electric Is Facing 

Some of the main challenges and issues GE faced in the General Electric change management case study are as follows;

The Succession of Leadership Issues

GE has a very long history of grooming leaders inside the organization, promoting them to leadership positions, and making successful transitions. But the company has been facing the challenge of leadership succession since 2010. For instance, Jeff Immelt resigned from the CEO position in 2017; John Flannery was replaced as his successor, and then H. Lawrence Culp Jr.

Short-term leaders and their quick replacements create an environment of instability and uncertainty inside the organization. It highlights the company’s dire need for talent development and succession planning.

Rigid Culture

GE had a longstanding reputation for following a highly centralized hierarchical structure and it focuses on control and efficiency. It demanded the company change its culture and structure that would focus on the following;

  • Customer focused
  • Promoting the culture of agile, innovation, and creativity
  • Keep changing relevant to the business landscape
  • The transition from a controlling culture toward risk-taking and collaboration
  • Moving towards continuous improvement

Depreciating Finances

GE faced the main issue of declining finances. It is no doubt GE has a strong history of financial growth, company’s profitability and income is decreasing since 2010. Some of the key reasons for the declining financial growth are;

  • The imbalance between debt-equity ration
  • High competition in some areas of the market
  • Low demand for GE’s products and services

It makes it necessary for the company to bring revolutionary changes to its operation. In order to achieve operational efficiency, GE should take the following steps;

  • Improving cash flow
  • Selling non-core businesses
  • Focus on operational efficiency
  • Simplifying the processes

Change Management Strategies GE Executed

Some of the key strategies and practices GE implemented in the General Electric change management case study are as follows;

Talent Development & Succession Planning

In order to deal with the leadership succession challenge; GE realized the need of improving the succession planning and talent development process. It requires the company to recognize potential employees and improve the company’s employee retention and recruitment strategies. Some of the key steps the company took are as follows;

  • Leadership development opportunities
  • Career development plans
  • Talent acquisition and development programs

It helped the company to make sure that the company has strong leadership in the long term by creating a talent pipeline that would fill the leadership position.

Cultural Transformation

When it comes to developing a culture towards customer-focused, agile, and innovative; GE realized the significance of leadership development programs to adopt the latest values. It allowed the company to focus on the following;

  • Leadership planning
  • New leadership development programs
  • Improving the exit programs

These programs equipped GE’s leadership to take risks, promote collaboration, and drive a culture of innovation and creativity. Most importantly, the company created a diverse and supportive culture.

Operational Efficiency & Simplification

GE realized the need for operational efficiency, continuous improvement, and simplification of various processes. It allowed the company to focus on standardization and make a commitment to achieve efficiency in various areas of the company. Some of the key steps the company took are as follows;

  • Amplify competitiveness in the market
  • Improving quality
  • Decreasing production cost
  • Launching new procedures and processes
  • Embracing digital technology
  • Lean principles

Reorganizing Business Divisions

In order to deal with the financial crisis, GE launched reorganization programs by taking the following steps;

  • Selling off non-core businesses
  • Consolidation and unifying
  • Restructuring organizational processes

It helped the company to focus on its core business areas and avoid distractions in order to amplify operational excellence. The company diversified its business into separate divisions; they have the autonomy to manage their operations. Those divisions are as follows;

  • Renewable energy
  • Power
  • Aviation

Impact of General Electric Change Management Strategy Implementation 

After successfully implementing the change management strategies, the impact and result in the General Electric change management case study are as follows;

Financial Growth

GE achieved financial growth by reorganizing the company’s structure and chain of command and changing the company’s focus on core areas. It results in the form of more cash flow, stronger earnings, and GE reporting.

Operational Efficiency

Achieving operational efficiency allowed the company to decrease production costs, streamline various processes, and promote a culture of employee engagement. Operational efficiency resulted in the form of the following;

  • Employee engagement and satisfaction
  • Innovative and collaborative work environment

Cultural Transformation

Successful implementation of talent development, succession planning, and leadership development programs allowed the company to transform its culture. It helped GE to earn the trust and confidence of stakeholders and employees and increase the company’s reputation. However, launching customer-focused strategies and establishing strong leadership allowed the company to strengthen its market leadership position.

Conclusion: General Electric Change Management Case Study 

After an in-depth study of General Electric change management case study; we have realized that GE has a long history of implementing successful changes. If you are learning about GE change management programs, then you should keep in mind the abovementioned strategies, challenges, and history of changes.

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