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GENERAL ELECTRIC: THE CONDITIONS OF SUCCESS

GENERAL ELECTRIC: THE CONDITIONS OF SUCCESS,Julie Froud,Sukhdev Johal,Adam Leaver,Karel Williams

GENERAL ELECTRIC: THE CONDITIONS OF SUCCESS   (Citations: 1)
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GE and its long serving CEO, Jack Welch, were icons of success through the 1990s. The company's 20 year unbroken record of earnings increases justified Welch's status as the most admired chief executive of his time. This quite exceptional success is usually attributed to some combination of Welch's leadership and GE's internal culture and organisation. Welch himself encouraged such views with his narrative and performative defence of GE which was not a conglomerate because its diverse operations were unified by initiatives such as 'Work- Out' and 'Six Sigma'. These initiatives were generally presented in business books and the media as transferable techniques which could produce success elsewhere. Against this, we argue that GE's success can more plausibly be attributed to an undisclosed business model which combines two complementary businesses: GE's industrial businesses generate high ROCE, low sales growth and a perfect credit rating which is used by a rapidly expanding financial business, GE Capital, which generates high sales growth and low ROCE. The implication is that Welch is a Machiavellian figure who understood how to work in different registers on the performative explanation and the corroborating numbers.
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