General Electric Company’s Organizational Change

Subject: Case Studies
Pages: 2
Words: 566
Reading time:
3 min
Study level: Bachelor

Transformations at the General Electric (GE)

Organizational change is an inevitable process that any progressive organization must undergo to cope with new market demands. In the 1990s, GE was among the most valuable corporation in the United States and across the globe under the Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Jack Welch. From 2000 when Jeff Immelt became the Chief Executive Officer, to 2017, the company went through significant transformations triggered by internal and external forces. According to Carr (2020), the transformation at GE during the Immelt era emulated Kurt Lewin’s change model that follows three main steps unfreezing, change, and refreezing. The unfreezing stage involves acceptance and being ready to change. The changing stage consists of implementing the change, while the freezing stage is the final stage that requires the organization to make the changes stick and be permanent. All these allowed the company to easily maneuver through the harsh times that they have been experiencing from 2000 to date.

One of the significant transformations that the GE company went through was restructuring and redefining its core business, influenced mainly by the advancement in technology that stormed the 21st century. The company opened many subsidiaries that saw it missing the grip on its essential purpose in the industry. The management agreed to redefine their core business into industrial businesses and technology. Another transformation was investing in implementing their core industrial function, where they increased investment in research and development to emulate the increasing growth in technology in the manufacturing industry.

External Forces at GE company

External forces in an organization are outside factors that affect an organization’s performance and are always beyond the control of a business or organization. Some of the external forces include political, technological, economic, and sociological, among others. An excellent example of an external force that left GE company scathed was the financial crisis that hit the United States in 2008. The financial crisis made GE’s shares drop to $7 per share at the beginning of 2009 from $59 per share in 2001 when Jeff Immelt took over the company’s leadership (Schien & von Ameln, 2019). This made it difficult for GE to operate effectively due to the reduction of the essential capital for the growth and operations of an organization. The crisis necessitated organizational change at GE to cope with a technological boom that followed the coming of the internet. Jeff Immelt initiated changes that saw the company investing in technology that opened new businesses and restructuring the old ones to conform to the recent advancements.

Reason Why GE is an Open Case

General Electric is still an open case study on organizational change since the company faces internal and external market forces that will require constant change and transformation. According to George Bradt, the fundamental problem facing GE is that the world has changed faster than it can handle (Smith, Skinner, & Read, 2020 ). This implies that more changes and transformations are required for the company to be at bay with market demands affected by the change in technology. One of the recent problems that make GE an open case is its removal from the Dow Jones Industrial index in 2018 after being a member since 1896. In addition, the company is also experiencing the biggest pension deficit of over $28 billion (Meléndez, 2018). With these problems, the world is waiting to see whether they will transform and fix them.


Carr, C. (2020). Sustaining Global Strategies: Lessons from GKN 1759–2019 1. In Global Oligopoly (pp. 251-283). Routledge.

Meléndez, E. (2018). The Economics of PROMESA. Centro Journal, 30(3).

Schein, E. H., & von Ameln, F. (2019). Relationships as a key to change. Ed Schein on the legacy and future of Change Management. Gruppe. Interaktion. Organisation. Zeitschrift für Angewandte Organisationspsychologie (GIO), 50(2), 141-144.

Smith, A. C., Skinner, J., & Read, D. (2020). Philosophies of Organizational Change: Perspectives, Models, and Theories for Managing Change. Edward Elgar Publishing.