Term Paper: Management and Leadership All the Answers

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Management and Leadership

All the answers to the questions pertain to General Electrics during the period when Jack Welch was CEO, from 1981 to 2003.

The roles of the leaders are both in creating and in maintaining a healthy organizational culture. As leaders, they provide a common vision for the company, common objectives and goals, as well as the incipient means by which these can be reached. At the same time, they empower the employees with the freedom to make the right decisions at the right time and with the information they need to do their job well and to be as efficient as possible.

In fact, it is often the case that the company's organizational culture is modeled after the leader and his vision. In the case of General Electrics, for example, Jack Welch personally promoted communication and informality as a mean of reaching an information - based organizational culture and as an instrument in properly disseminating information at all levels of the organization. The result of this was that the employees at all levels were aware of the company's objectives and the proposed actions to reach them, as well as of the management's expectancy in terms of their own performances within the company.

Further more, the leader will also be able to have a perspective approach over the organizational mechanism and decide, at the right time, whether some of the things that have been implemented in terms of organizational culture, will need to be modified along the way or whether that are elements that are not functioning correctly in the organizational culture. Any such problems will be observed and the appropriate proposals will rectify these issues along the way.

2) Jack Welch's example and his experiences with General Electrics are excellent in covering the differences between management and leadership, as Jack Welch, through his actions, was both a manager and a leader. As a leader, Welch provided a common vision to the GE employees, a vision that revolved around his idea of where the company should be. The most important example of Welch as a leader was the fact that he promoted the idea that the company should either be number 1 or number 2 in an industry or, otherwise, not be part of that industry as well. This led to a certain concentration of GE activity on industry sectors where it performed best and produced the best results.

On the other hand, Welch was also a visionary in terms of the methods he used and he provided a vision in specific segments of the organization, such as HR policies. In this area, he believed in letting go the bottom 10% of managers and employees as underperformers, while rewarding the top 20% of the best performers. Additionally, he imposed the Six Sigma quality program to General Electrics with great results during the 1990s.

As a manager, Welch went on to implement the tactical and operational actions that would sustain his leadership vision. In this sense, he had an active role in training sessions and training activities within General Electrics, believing that these were essential in crafting new leaders and improving the overall quality of the employees at GE. He also implemented operational measures at the different GE plants aimed to increase efficiency and productivity in the workplace.

The examples given previously are aimed to emphasize the differences between management and leadership. An effective leader provides a vision, a mission for the company and the overall framework by which the objectives can be reached. He will also be essential in providing incentives for the employees at the right times and coordinate the overall mechanism.

On the other hand, a manager will be tasked with a more operational, in-depth approach in applying the necessary instruments and actions that will take the company towards the leader's proposed vision. This means that he will be coordinating the in-depth mechanism and activity of the organization and will overlook any small detail that will appear along the way.

From many points-of-view, Jack Welch was both a leader and a manager. As a leader, as we have seen, he provided vision in terms of an overall direction for the company and general strategies that the company needed to implement in order to remain competitive on the market. However, he also acted as a manager, taking a primary role in organizational restructuring, in deciding on the plants that would have to be closed down in order to follow on through with the company's cost reduction policies, as well as with the numerous HR applications to which he participated and the guidance he provided in terms of HR management.

3) the role that the organizational managers and leaders play in creating and maintaining a healthy organizational culture is really essential in determining the organizational culture in which the activity and the employees will develop. First of all, the leaders and managers will conceive and implement with the employees the general vision and strategic objectives for the company. They will decide the direction towards which the company will be moving in the next medium and long - term period of time. On the other hand, they will also decide on how they will reach those objectives and on the measures that need to be taken in order to be able to reach them. This will in part also decide on the organizational culture.

Another important role that the manager or leader will play in creating and maintaining the organizational culture is his role as a communicator. This role is in fact a role that has several coordinates. First of all, as a good communicator, the manager/leader will ensure that the company's objectives are clear with all the employees, that everyone knows what he is expected to do and how to best perform. His role as a good communicator will lead to a culture of information that is easily disseminated in the company and within the ranks of the employees. On the other hand, he will also need to encourage communication at all levels, both in terms of horizontal communication and vertical communication. This means that he needs to encourage the transmittal of ideas both from peer-to-peer and from top down in the organizational structure.

Jack Welch's approach as a leader stressed a lot on the aspect of communication as part of the healthy GE organizational culture. He is known for the informal attitude that he promoted in the office and that marked the company's organizational culture. Completely opposite to the previous leaderships at GE, Welch destroyed the original complicated management hierarchy that he had inherited, while promoting at the same time an open door policy that allowed any employee to enter the office of his manager or any upper manager and communicate with him. Such an approach was obviously essential in determining that the ideas in the organization were easy to move around from employee to employee and from employee to management. At the same time, this encouraged a relaxed and informal organizational structure that increased overall efficiency in the workplace.

4) the organization function is important in reaching the goal of creating and maintaining a healthy organizational culture because it sets the framework in which things are to evolve and it creates the set of rules by which the organizational culture will be created. In other words, the organizational function will determine the underlying background of the organization on which the organizational culture will be mapped. Given this explanation, it is clear that a healthy organizational culture will need to be constructed on a healthy organization function in the company and that the manager and leader will need to ensure that the organizational measures he makes will support this culture.

Jack Welch used the organization function to create an organizational culture based on competition and performance, but also on informality and communication. In doing so, he created the framework onto which the GE culture could be mapped.

In terms of planning, this management function provides the manager/leader with the tools by which he can give the employees the means by which objectives can be reached and by which his vision can be met. This is equally important in creating a healthy organizational culture because the employees will be confident on the general direction they need to take and on what is expected of them. This basically creates a culture of information, a culture where every member of the organization is aware of his duties. At GE, Jack Welch combined this with the culture of communication to ensure that information circulated throughout the company and that everybody was aware of the duties they needed to perform.

In terms of leadership, this is probably the most important of the four functions of management in defining a healthy organizational culture. The reason for this is that the manager/leader is responsible for setting and coordinating a vision in terms of the organizational culture as well. A certain expectancy, as proposed by the leader, will model the culture in that company.

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