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General

Electric
analysis
Lorenzo Gorga student number 15406827
CaseanalysisfortheassignmentofthemoduleSTRM043 CompetitiveStrategyandInnovation
Year2015
CourseERASMUS

1 GeneralElectricanalysis

Index
Executivesummary...........................................................................................................................................2
1. IQuestion..................................................................................................................................................3
1.1. Resources...........................................................................................................................................3
1.2. Capabilities........................................................................................................................................4
1.3. CoreCompetences............................................................................................................................6
1.4. Effectiveness......................................................................................................................................6
2. IIQuestion.................................................................................................................................................8
2.1. Strategicoptions................................................................................................................................8
2.2. Strategymonitoring.........................................................................................................................10
3. IIIQuestion..............................................................................................................................................11
3.1. WelchVSImmelt.............................................................................................................................11
3.2. VUCAsbestmanager......................................................................................................................11
Referencelist...................................................................................................................................................12
Bibliography.....................................................................................................................................................13



Executivesummary 2

Executive summary
Thefirstchapterisbasedoninternalanalysis(resourcesandcapabilities),theuseofHamelandPrahalad
testandVRINmodelhelpstofindthecorecompetencesofGE(Humanresources,Financialstrength,Brand,
Globalpresence,Technology&Innovation,Customerservice&integratedsolutions),whichgive
competitiveadvantagetothecompany;itisthenexplainedtheireffectivenessconsideringtheirfittingwith
theexternalenvironment,bothmicroandmacro,studiedwithPortersFiveForcesandPESTLEmodel,using
aSWOTanalysis.
ThesecondchapterisbasedonarenewedexternalanalysistoupdatetheSWOTanalysis,considering
latterupdatesandnewconsiderationssuchasCSRtodiscussstrategicoptionswiththehelpofsome
academictoolsuchastheBCGMatrixortheAnsoffchart.Theoutlinedtacticiscontinuingthefocuson
corecompetenceexceptforthefinancialstrength,inwhichisforeseenastrongdivestmentfromGE
Capital.Thiscouldbeplacedinthegeneralstrategyofdiversification,withbothdevelopmentofnew
markets,throughglobalpresence,andnewproductsthroughinnovation,thistwoimportantaspectsare
thenmonitoredwithmodelssuchasRummeltsanalysisandBalancedScorecard.
ThelastchapterrecapitulatethedifferencesbetweenWelchandImmelt,consideringalsoFourActions
FrameworkandGrantsNewManagementStyle,andthenproposesImmeltasthemostsuitablemanager
fortheVUCAworld.
3 GeneralElectricanalysis

1. I Question
1.1.Resources
Toidentifycorecompetencesisrequiredaninternalanalysis,thefirstpointofthatistheidentificationof
keyresources,whatthecompanyhave(Pryce,2015).Theresourcesofacompanycouldbedividedin
differentcategories,pursuanttoGrantthosearetangibleresources,whicharesubdividedinfinancialand
physicalresources,intangibleresources,subdividedintechnologyandreputation,andhumanresources
(Pryce,2015).
Startingfromtheintangibleresources,GEsfinancialstrengthishuge,indeedoneofthebusinessesisGE
Capital,aworldleadingfinancialservicecompany,whichgeneratedhalfofthetotalGEsrevenuesof2001
andwhichcouldgivesupporttotheotherbusinessofGE(Bucifal,2009).GECapitalwasdeveloped
incrediblyunderJackWelch(19812001),whotookadvantageoftheeconomicgrowthofthelate20th
century(Grant,2012).
Regardingphysicalresourcesitispossibletoconsiderthelocationofofficesallovertheworld,hisglobal
presence(Bucifal,2009).Recently,undertheguidanceofJeffImmelt,whichstartedfrom2001,eventhe
headquarterswererepositioned,forexamplehealthcareintheUKandXraydepartmentinChina,butitis
alsoimportanttoconsiderthelargernumberofforeignemployees(Grant,2012).Thisopenuppossibilities
ofdifferentcollaborations,liketheworksfortheBeijingOlympicgames,orthepartnershipwithMubadala
(theinvestingarmofAbuDhabi),orthedirectcollaborationwithgovernmentsinwhatiscalledthe
CompanytoCountrystrategy(Grant,2012).AnotherinterestingconsequenceofGEsglobalpresenceisthe
possibilityofreverseinnovation,thatisthecapacitytodevelopproductsforemergingmarketsandthen
bringingthembacktooldeconomiessuchasUS,ashappenedwithsomecheaphealthcaredevices(Grant,
2012).
TechnologyresourcesareoneofthemostimportantofGEsinceitsfoundation,whichwasbornfrom
Edisonspatentexploitation,itisthereforeveryimportantinGEcultureandhistory(Grant,2012).Welch
amplifiedthiswithacquisitionoftechnologybasedcompanyanddevelopingatechnicalleadership(among
thefewnuclearpowerbuilders,advancedhealthscience,smartgrids)(Bucifal,2009).Butgreatresults
wereachievedbyImmelt,hisstrategicviewwasbasedontechnologyandinnovation,therefore6%ofthe
revenueswereinvestedinR&Dwithafocusonfew,bigandlongtermprojects(Grant,2012).Some
initiativessupportedit,suchastheimaginationbreakthroughsandecomaginationandbroughta
leadershipinmolecularimaginganddiagnostic,nanotechnology,energyconversion,advancedpropulsion
andsustainableenergy(Grant,2012).
ReputationisagreatresourceofGE,whichcouldrelyonagoodbrandimagebasedonexcellenceand
innovation,highcustomervalue,evenmeasuredwithnumericsystem,andcustomerretention,givenalso
byintegratedservices(especiallyunderImmelt)(Grant,2012).
Finallyanotherfundamentalresource,thehumancapital.GEisatalentmachine,withamanagement
developmentcentre(inwhichImmeltwasmoulded)andacorporateuniversity(Grant,2012).Welch,who
wasfocusedonperformanceandinternalefficiency,broughttothelimitshisemployeesusinganinternal
environmentofconstructiveconflictinwhicheveryyearthebest20%wererewardedandtheworst10%
fired(Bucifal,2009).Hesupportedthedevelopmentwithdelegation,incentivesandstockoptions(which
linkedthesingularrewardwiththecompanyperformance)(Bucifal,2009).Immeltoptedforamore
friendlyleadershipstylebeingmotivationalandinspirationalandrelatingwiththeemployeesattheirlevel
(Bucifal,2009).Hefoundthegrowthtraitsforamanager:externalfocus,imaginationandcreativity,
decisivenessandclearthinkingability,inclusivenessanddeepdomainexpertise(Grant,2012).The
expertisewasrequiredforacrossbusinessesintegration,thereforewasrequiredtogivepeoplemoretime
ineachjobandthenagoodacareerplanning(Grant,2012).
IQuestion 4

1.2.Capabilities
Afteridentifyingtheresourcesisrequiredtoconsiderthecapabilities,howthecompanymanagesthese
resources(Pryce,2015).
Themanagementstructureofsuchabiganddiversifiedcompanyisclearlycomplex,oneoftheWelch
objectivewascreatingamoredirectandresponsivecompany,todosoitwasrequiredtomodifiedthat
structure(Grant,2012).Heattackedthebureaucracy,eliminatinglayersofmanagement,delegatingpower
directlytoCEOofbusinessunits(Bucifal,2009)andorganisingthecompanyinmoresmallerdivisions
(Grant,2012).


Figure1:GEsOrganizationalStructure,2001(Grant,2012).

Ontheotherhand,Immeltmainobjectivewascreatingacrossbusinesscompanytoofferhighlyintegrated
servicestocustomers,thereforehehadtochangeagainthatstructure,reducingthenumberofsectorsand
givingtodivisionsabroaderbase(Grant,2012).Theheadquarters,frombeingsupportersandsupervisors
underWelch,becamethepromotersofdifferentinitiativesinsidetheunitsandwereseenaspartners
causingablurringdistinctionandamorecomplexcoordination(Grant,2012).


Figure2:GeneralElectricOrganizationalChart,February2012(Grant,2012).
5 GeneralElectricanalysis

Alsotheportfoliowasmodified,frombeingfocussedonalimitednumberofpromisingsectors(butstill
retainingdiversifiedpossibilities)underWelch(Bucifal,2009),tobeingextremelyfocussedontwocore
businesses:infrastructuresandspecialtyfinancialservicesunderImmelt(Grant,2012).Immeltpromoted
theextensionofexistingbusinessesandtheexploitationofnewcommercialareasthroughseveralfocused
acquisitions,theretainingoflowgrowthbusinessesascashgenerators(applianceandlighting)(Bucifal,
2009),butalsosomeimportantdivestmentssuchasplastic(forthegrowingpetroleumprice)andfinancial
services(from2004,beforethenextfinancialcrisis)(Grant,2012).
Boththelasttwomanagersdevelopeddifferentinitiativestoendorsetheirvision,WelchcreatedWorkout
toletcrosssectionemployeesdiscussaboutmanagement,BoundarylessOrganisationtopromotethe
sharingofinformationthroughthewholecompany,Globalisationtoexploittheopportunitiesof
internationaleconomies,SixSigmatogiveanumericalmethodologytoevaluatealmosteverything
(performances,targets,costumersatisfactions)andDigitalisationtoexploitthepossibilitiesgivenby
internet(Bucifal,2009).ImmeltaddedImaginationBreakthroughtoindividuatepromisingbusinesses,
incubatethemandprotectthem(Grant,2012),Ecomaginationtofindresponsetocleanandefficient
energy,CostumerFocustorevitalisemarketing,createcustomerorientedprograms,developbundling
productcombinedwithservicesacrossbusinesses(Bucifal,2009).
Customerfocus&integratedsolutionsafterImmeltcouldbeconsideredasaveryimportantcapability,
himselfwasdevotedinspendingtimewithcustomers,buildrelationshipsandworkontheirproblems
(Grant,2012).Customerswereabigpartofhisstrategyandthereforealsocustomisedandintegrated
solutions,todosohehadtoinvestinmarketing,hiringmoresalespeople,engineersanddesignersandto
expandservicessuchastechnical,financial,trainingandgeneralsupport(Grant,2012).
Immeltalsointroducethesixpartsgrowthprocesstoclearlycommunicatehisvisionthroughthewhole
company(Grant,2012).


Figure3:GeneralElectric'ssixpartgrowthprocess(Grant,2012).
IQuestion 6

1.3.Core Competences
Aftertheanalysisitispossibletounderstandwhicharethecorecompetences,thatarethelinkedsetof
skills,activitiesandresourcesthat,together,delivercostumervalueanddifferentiatefromcompetitors
(Johnson,etal.,2014)providingacompetitiveadvantageandnotonlyoperationaleffectiveness(Porter,
1996).
Thesehavebeeninboldtypeintheprevioustext,andtheyarenowrecapitulated:
Humanresources;
Financialstrength;
Brand;
Globalpresence;
Technology&Innovation;
Customerservice&integratedsolutions.
AlltogethertheypasstheHamelandPrahaladtest,firstlytheygiveaccesstomarkets,actuallytomany
internationalmarketsandindifferentgrowingbusinesses(Grant,2012);secondlytheygeneratecustomer
benefits,thebrandiswellconsidered(alsoconsideringWelchambitionofbeingfirstorsecondinevery
business)andqualityisrecognised(evenwithnumericalevaluation)(Bucifal,2009),finallyitishardto
imitate,thehumanresourcesdevelopedinternally,thefinancialpowerandtheadvancedtechnologyare
almostimpossibletobeimitated(Bucifal,2009).
AsimilarresultcouldbeachievedusingtheVRINmodeltoassessifcorecompetencesareValuable,Rare,
InimitableandNonsubstitutable.

1.4.Effectiveness
ThecorecompetenceseffectivenessisclearconsideringthatGEisoneofthemostsuccessfulcompanyon
theworld,andthatcouldbeexplainedbecausetheinternalenvironment,withinthecompany,wasalways
tryingtofitinthebestwaywiththeexternalenvironment,bothmicro(thedifferentindustries)bothmacro
(thewiderbusinessenvironment).ItwouldbeclearthefittingusingtheSWOTmodel,considering
Strengths,Weaknesses,OpportunitiesandThreats.Opportunitiesandthreadscouldbemoreeasilyfound
studyingtheexternalenvironmentusingacademicmodelssuchasthePortersfiveforces(Potential
entrants,Suppliers,Buyers,SubstitutesandFirmrivalryaddingDigitalisation,Globalisationand
Deregulation)andthePESTLEmodel(Pryce,2015).
Theexternalenvironmentiswidelychangedfromthe80sofWelchtillthefirst2000sofImmelt,butGE
wasalwayscapabletoadaptandtotakeadvantageofopportunities.Welchlivedamacroeconomyof
optimism,confidenceandgrowththisgaveopportunitiesindifferentgrowingindustriesandbrandnew
businessescreatedbydigitalisationandwithnewmarkets(Bucifal,2009).ThankstoGEscorecompetences
hecaughttheseopportunitiesfocusingontheeconomicgrowthofthecompany,acquiringnewbusinesses
whichwerefirstorsecondintheirindustry,maintainingatechnologybasedculturebutexploitingalso
otherindustriessuchasentertainmentandfinance(Bucifal,2009).Welchstrategyanywaywasnotfree
fromweaknesses,forfirsthisemployeesweresomuchunderpressuretoexposedangerouslythecompany
torisksandscandals,thenhisfocusonefficiencyandperformancecompromiseotheraspectssuchas
customerservices,quality,safetyandpreventaneasyinternalcommunication,conditionsthatImmelt
triedtoimprove(Bucifal,2009).
Immeltsenvironmentwasmuchmorecomplex,volatileandfullofthreatssuchasthe11/9andthe
corporatescandalswhichcreateasituationofuncertaintyandacrisisofconfidenceamonginvestorsand
resentmentinthecommunity(Bucifal,2009).FurthermoreGEhadtofacetheglobalfinancialcrisisof2008
andthepetroleumpricegrowth(Grant,2012).Neverthelessheindividuatesomeglobaltrends:ageing
population,energydemand,globalwarming,bioscienceandnanotechnology,emergingmarkets(Grant,
7 GeneralElectricanalysis

2012).Immeltsstrategybasedoncorecompetencesliketechnology,innovation,customercareandglobal
presencewasperfecttofindopportunitiesinthisenvironmentsuchasdemandofcleanenergyandenergy
efficiency,healthcareandentertainmentforoldpeople,countryinfrastructure,emergingmarketsand
responsetoglobalissuesuchasglobalwarming,waterscarcityandconservation(Grant,2012).However
therearesomeweaknessesinhisapproach,tocreateacrossbusinesscompanyduringthefinancialcrisis
thereisabigriskofcontagion(problemsinanybusinessaffecttheothers),therearecoordination
problemsduetoacomplexstructureinwhichisdifficulttointegrateservicesbecauseofalimited
understandingofthedifferentbusinessunitsbytheemployeesandareluctanceinsharingcustomers
(Grant,2012).


IIQuestion 8

2. II Question
2.1.Strategic options
Toevaluatethepossiblestrategicoptionsitisimportanttoconsiderhowtheyfitamonginternaland
externalenvironment(Pryce,2015).Thereforeitisrequiredtoevaluateifthecorecompetences
individuatedarestillimportantinthemostrecentworld,addingthenewthreatsandopportunitiestothe
SWOTanalysisdonepreviously.
HumanresourcesareahistoricGEsresourceanditsHRmanagementisacorecompetenceofhighvalue
whichisprobablyatthebaseofGEsuccess(Grant,2012),itisimportantinthishighlyvolatileenvironment
tomaintainloyalandtrustfulemployeesanddevelopthemwithinthecompany,mostlyifGEwillbringon
thestrategyofcrossbusinesscustomerservicesintegrationbecauseoftheneedofmoretimespentby
peopleineachdistrict(Grant,2012).AweaknessofImmeltmanagementisthecomplexadministration,it
isthereforefundamentaltherecentwartobureaucracy,centralisingtheworldwidebackofficefunctionsin
fewlocations,whichmoreovercouldcutcosts(TheEconomist,2014).DigitalisationandSiliconValleyhigh
techindustrygiveanewideaofmanagement,agile,capableoflaunchaproduct,getcostumerfeedbacks
andimprovetheproductveryquickly;thisistriedtobeimitatedbyrecentinitiativeslikeFastWorks(The
Economist,2014).
Thebrandandthereputationisclearlyagoodcorecompetenceineveryenvironment,butinthesetimeof
strongrequestofCorporateSocialResponsibility(CSR)andsustainabledevelopmentitisalsomore
important(Pryce,2015).GEseffortingainingagoodenvironmentfriendlyimageallovertheworldis
evidenteveninthemostrecentstrategicchoicessuchastheacquisitionofAlstom,aFrenchengineering
groupspecialisedingreenenergylikewindturbines.Anothertacticisfindingaresponsetoglobalissue
suchaspovertyanddiseases,anexampleisthedevelopmentofanaffordabletestingkitforMalaria
(Murray,2015).
Thepreviousexamplesareusefulalsotoconfirmthenecessityofglobalpresenceandtheopportunities
createdbythisthroughpartnershipandcollaborationwithwholecountries.Aclearexampleisthe
possibilitytomoveeasilyentirebusinesstorespondtothefastchangingconditionoftheexternal
environment,ashappenedaboutConnecticut,fromwhichGEisthinkingabouttomovebecauseoftax
changes(Pramuk,2015).Emergingmarketcanbeexploitedwithcollaborationwithcountrygovernments
foundinglongtermpartnershipsthatwillgivegreatcompetitiveadvantageinthefutureasitishappening
inAfricaandChina(TheEconomist,2014).Havingawidegeographicaldistributionbythewaycouldalsobe
aprotectionfromfinancialcrisis(Barron,2011).
Technologyandinnovationarebothveryimportantbecausetheyarethewaytofindnewopportunities,to
developnewproductsfortheoldmarketsandtopenetratenewmarketstoimplementadiversification
strategy,whichcouldbeclarifiedusinganAnsoffmatrix(Ansoff,1988),andtoanswerglobalissues
empoweringthebrand(Pryce,2015).AnexampleisthecollaborationwithStatoiltolaunchanR&D
partnershiptoworkonenergyefficiencyandreductionofgreenhousegasemissions(Crooks,2015).
Thereforeitisconsistenttoproceedinfocusedinnovatinginvestmentsuchasceramicmaterialforextreme
temperatureorsuperstrongcompositematerials(TheEconomist,2014).Digitalisationcouldbean
enormousopportunity,GEisworkingtodeveloptheindustrialinternet,theconnectionofmachineriesina
digitalnetwork(TheEconomist,2014).
Thecustomerservicesandintegratedsolutionsarestillvaluableandusefultolockcustomers.Ontheother
handdividingthecompanyanddistributethemequallycouldproduceagreatamountofmoneyfor
shareholders,thereforetherealstrategicvalueofthiscorecompetencecouldbearguedinthefuture
(Barron,2011).Nevertheless,thehistoryofacompanyistotakeingreatconsiderationfortheevaluation
ofastrategy(Rumelt,1993);therefore,consideringtheeffortspentforthemandthenewsolutionsinHR
9 GeneralElectricanalysis

managementandcorporatestructure,probablyitismoreconvenienttocontinueimplementingthiscore
competence.
Finallythemostcriticalcorecompetence,thefinancialstrength,particularlyinthebusinessunitofGE
Capital.Nowadaysagoodretirement,especiallyfromadangerousbusinesslikefinance,isseenevenmore
positivelythanagrowthfrominvestors,thereforeitisalmostforcedasortofdivestmentfromGEfinancial
arm(Jenkins,2015).UsingtheBCGmatrix,GECapitalresultsthedogofthecompanyhavinglowshareand
lowgrowth,thenthiscouldbeareasonforastrategicretirementfromthebusiness,butthiscouldbeslow
orfast(Barron,2011).Themarketassessmenttorevenuesgeneratedbyanindustrialcompanyaremuch
morehighthanthosefromafinancialone,thenitiscleartheenthusiasmshownbystakeholderswhen
Immelt,afteryearsofslowdivestmentfromthefinancialservicesdecidedtogiveastrongshifting
premisingtoreducecontributionofGECapitalfromthe60%precrisisto10%(Jenkins,2015).

AllthisconsiderationsshowthatthedirectioninwhichismovingGEisconsistentandadequatetothe
externalenvironment,thereforethechosenstrategyseemstobeeffective.Ingeneralitiscleara
diversificationstrategybasedindevelopmentofnewproductsandpenetrationofnewmarketsandan
investment/divestmenttactictodevelopaportfoliostrategyconsistentwithImmeltvision.


IIQuestion 10

2.2.Strategy monitoring
Probablyoneofthestrategiesthatshouldbemonitoredthemost,consideringtheVolatile,Uncertain,
ComplexandAmbiguous(VUCA)environmentandtherisksrelated,isthepenetration/creationofnew
marketsinemergingcountries,suchasAsia.Toevaluateit,itispossibletouseRumeltfourfundamental
principles(Rumelt,1993).
FirstofthemisConsistency,createnewmarketsiscompletelyconsistentwiththeideaofhavinga
competitiveadvantageinglobalpresenceanddevelopadiversificationstrategy,furthermoreitcouldbe
implementedineverybusinessunitatthesametimewithoutmanagementdisarray(Rumelt,1993).
Consonanceisthefittingwithexternalenvironmentanditisclearlyincludedconsideringthefast
globalisationofmodernworld(Rumelt,1993).
AccordingtoRumelt(1993),strategyshouldprovideacompetitiveAdvantage,andglobalpresencegivesa
greatamountofopportunities,fromexploitationofeconomiestotappingoptimallocationforresources
andactivities(Gupta&Govindarajan,2001).
FinallyFeasibility,whichisclearconsideringthepastsuccessesofGE,theabilityinHRmanagement,
thereforeitwouldnotovertaxavailableresourcesneithercreateunsolvableproblems(Rumelt,1993).

AnadditionalacademicmodelforstrategyevaluationistheKaplanandRossBalancedScorecard(Kaplan&
Norton,1993).Anexampleofhowitcouldbeusedisshownbelow,itcouldbeinterestingusingitfor
anotherimportantstrategytobemonitoredwhichisthefocusontechnologyandinnovation.


11 GeneralElectricanalysis

3. III Question
3.1.Welch VS Immelt
ImmeltsandWelchsstrategiesaredifferentinseveralaspectsandmostofthemhavealreadybeen
explainedinthepreviousparagraphs,thereforenowitisenoughtorecapitalisedthem.

Welch Immelt
Guidance Immediateprofit Longtermgrowth
Businessofinterest Finance Infrastructure
Markets US,EU Emergingcountries
Focus Performance&efficiency Innovation
(insight) (outsight)
CSR PartofDNA
Managementstyle Pushingtolimits Friendly
Structure Delayering,moreunits Crosssections,lessunits
Aimofacquisitions Diversification Consistency
(being1or2ineverybusiness) (techandinnovation)
Stakeholdersofinterest Shareholders Customers
Mainrisks Scandals,toomuchpressureon Contagion
employees Coordinationproblems
Missingopportunities
Generalsourceof Costleadership Differentiation
advantage

ImmeltsvisionisbasedonWelchsworkandthedirectionisalwaysthegrowthofthecompany,obviously
withdifferentstrategiesbecauseofthechangingenvironment.Itispossibletounitethetwokindof
leadershipinthesameFourActionsFramework,whileWelchseemstobemorefocussesonReducingand
Eliminating;Immelt,becauseofthegoodimplementationintheseambitsbyhispredecessor,shiftedthe
effortsinCreatingandRaising(Pryce,2015).ThisgivecontinuitytothepathofGEand,therefore,more
consistencytoImmeltsstrategywhichseemstobeperfectlysettledbetweenGEspastandthefuture
aimed.

3.2.VUCAs best manager


Immeltsleadershiphadreorientedthefocusfromshareholdertostakeholder,withalongtermvisionand
sustainability.Thefocusoninnovationandtheabilitytounderstandglobaltrendsbringnewopportunities.
Heistryingtosimplifythestructureandraisetheinternalcollaborationandcoordination.Hisleadership
reflecttheGrantsNewModelofLeadership,thankstoabilityinbuildconfidence,enthusiasm,cooperation,
formnetworks,useinformation.AllthesearereasonforImmelttobeconsideredaverysuitablemanager
intheVUCAworld(Pryce,2015).


Referencelist 12

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