Apropos the report “Wall Street darling, management guru who remade GE, dies at 84” (March 3), Jack Welch would also be remembered for his contribution to the field of human resource management. The performance appraisal system (2X2 Matrix) introduced by him (which rates employees on the basis of achieving corporate goals while adhering to the value system of the companies) made ethical grounding more important than outstanding performance. While an employee high in value but poor in performance would be retained and trained, the one with high performance but low in value would have to leave. He gave a push to the 360-degree feedback system by using it along with a Six Sigma quality programme to increase GE’s shareholder value and employed it to fire the bottom 10 per cent low-performing employees each year, thus reducing manpower by a third. He made this forced distribution of employee performance (from outstanding to poor) in spite of murmurs of protest in and outside the organisation.
In GE he experimented with his concept of “boundaryless organisation” aiming to do away with internal functional silos and external barriers between the company and its customers and suppliers. For this “he initiated what became known as the GE Work-Out process — a series of structured and facilitated forums, bringing people together across levels, functions, and geographies to solve problems and make decisions in real time”. He was an advocate of proper succession planning and said that finding a capable successor would be his top most priority during his tenure.
Y G Chouksey, Pune
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