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Corporate Strategy Analysis: General Electric Co. Sample

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IntroductionThe General Electric Company ( GE ) is widely regarded as one of the world’s most successful corporations of the twentieth century. This paper aims to critically analyze the corporate scheme of GE during the period from 1981 to show under the leading of two really different but every bit influential CEOs—Jack Welch and Jeff Immelt. The essay is organised in four subdivisions. The first subdivision describes GE’s corporate scheme from 1981 to 2001 with Jack Welch as CEO. followed instantly by a critical analysis of Welch’s strategic attack in the 2nd subdivision.

The 3rd subdivision so describes GE’s corporate scheme from 2001 to show with Jeff Immelt as CEO. followed once more by a critical analysis of Immelt’s strategic attack in subdivision four.

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1. The Jack Welch period ( 1981–2001 )When Jack Welch took up his station as GE’s CEO in 1981 he embarked on a extremist transmutation of GE’s scheme. showing in a new epoch of public presentation direction and internal efficiency.

Welch’s net income counsel aimed for net incomes growing of 1. 5 times to duplicate of the GDP growing rate and his direction doctrine found its articulation in GE’s slogan—Speed. Simplicity. Self-Confidence ( GE 1995 ) . These values would reflect non merely in the organisation’s systems and procedures but besides in GE’s merchandises and services through their simple and extremely functional designs. Welch’s corporate scheme was all about public presentation and efficiency. Throughout his 20 old ages as Chief executive officer. he unrelentingly drove his subsidiaries to the bounds of their abilities. promoting employees at all degrees to encompass ambitious marks and continuously better their public presentation.

Welch was renowned for his usage of constructive struggle as a agency of arousing committednesss from line directors and doing hard determinations. As portion of his attempts. Welch led a sustained onslaught on bureaucratic procedures and in its topographic point he sought to instil a civilization of openness. assurance. leading and originative thought at every degree of the administration. Through his organizational restructure Welch ruthlessly eliminated several beds of direction and shed a big figure of occupations. which earned him the moniker ‘Neutron Jack’ mentioning to the deathly neutron bomb which kills people but leaves edifices standing ( Economist. com 2009 ) . The biggest staff cuts were made in administrative maps and concern determination devising was delegated to line operation directors.

Welch implemented a major restructure of the GE concern portfolio. concentrating on a limited figure of sectors with promising public presentation and growing potency. whilst retaining a reasonably diversified portfolio of concerns. This was achieved through the sale of GE’s less profitable concerns and keeping or acquisition of concerns identified as figure one or figure two in their industry ( Grant 2008. p. 304 ) . The scheme led to several immense divestments and the shifting of accent towards GE’s technology-based concerns and service concerns ( Bock 2001 ) . A series of acquisitions that followed led to the phenomenal growing of GE Capital. which became one of the world’s taking diversified fiscal services companies ( Grant 2008. p. 304 ) . Figure 1 shows GE’s organizational construction and concern portfolio in 2001.

The one-year budget was a cardinal constituent of GE’s bing strategic planning system. Welch moved strategic planning and other administrative maps into the concern units ( Bock 2001 ) . The budget locked line directors into expressed public presentation and cost marks. regardless of alterations in market conditions ( Grant 2008. p. 307 ) . Welch retained the one-year rhythm but introduced two alterations to the system. First. initial fiscal marks were prepared by the controller’s office instead than single line directors. And 2nd. the budgets were allowed to be revised as the competitory conditions alterations ( Grant 2008. p. 307 ) . The complex document-centric composite budgeting procedure was replaced with a much faster and less formal personal procedure based around a simple standardized five-page playbook in which line directors summarised the cardinal strategic issues their concerns faced ( Grant 2008. p. 306 ) .

A cardinal portion of Welch’s corporate scheme was fostering endowment and leading through the deputation of duty and deployment of powerful inducements. He designed a motive strategy which permeated deep into ranks of in-between direction honoring superior public presentation with generous fillips and acknowledgment of endowment. Stock options on the company became were used extensively to associate fiscal wagess to corporate public presentation. with about 22. 000 stock options awarded to GE employees by the terminal of 1995. compared to merely 400 in the early 1980’s ( Grant 2008. p. 308 ) .

In the 2000 one-year study. in the Chairman’s missive. Welch declared that the organisation’s true nucleus competence rests in the ‘global recruiting and nurturing of the world’s best people and the cultivation in them of an insatiate desire to larn. to stretch. and to make things better’ ( GE 2000 ) . GE’s public presentation rating system was celebrated for its ‘rigour and ruthlessness’ ( Grant 2008. p. 308 ) . Each twelvemonth the top 20 per cent were recognised and rewarded for their parts while the bottom 10 per cent performing artists would confront losing their occupations. The in-between 70 per cent would therefore be motivated and encouraged to travel into the top 20 per cent or hazard being left in the bottom 10 per cent.

In add-on to continuously stretching public presentation marks through strategic planning. fiscal control. and human resource direction. Welch introduced periodic corporate enterprises which became known as GE’s Operating System. Approximately every two old ages Welch would implement a new enterprise focused on bettering a peculiar facet of company-wide public presentation. The major enterprises include: Work-Out. Boundaryless Organisation. Globalisation. and Six Sigma. Work-Out was a forum where a cross subdivision of employees from each concern was asked to speak openly about the direction patterns in their portion of the concern without fright of requital. At the terminal of each session the group’s director returned to hear the consequences and recommendations and do a determination as to what farther action may be needed. Boundaryless Administration.

Welch believed that the key to interpreting diverseness into a competitory advantage was the ‘frictionless transportation of best patterns and larning within the administration. and the close partnership dealingss with its suppliers’ ( Grant 2008. p. 310 ) . The Boundaryless Organisation enterprise aimed to film over GE’s internal and external boundaries through information sharing. crossbusiness acquisition and the integrating of cardinal providers into GE’s end-to-end procedures. Globalisation was aimed at working international economic systems of graduated table across GE’s concern portfolio and taking advantage of planetary chances as they arise. During the 1997 Asiatic fiscal crisis GE invested acquired hard-pressed assets in the part in order to leverage off an eventual upturn. This attack had paid off for GE in the yesteryear during the US and European recessions in the 1980’s and the Mexican crisis in the mid 1990’s. leting the company to roll up quality assets at price reduction monetary values. Six Sigma.

The methodological analysis. developed by Motorola. was implemented by GE on an unprecedented graduated table throughout the whole administration. It is a comprehensive quantitative system for specifying. mensurating. analyzing. bettering and commanding every facet of corporate procedures. Among the claimed benefits of the system is its focal point on accomplishing mensurable fiscal consequences from any undertaking to which it is applied. GE’s mark was cut downing defects to 3. 4 per million ( Bock 2001 ) Digitization. This enterprise was introduced in 1999 with the launch of Welch’s destroy-your-business. com plan where line directors were encouraged to visualize how their concern might be ‘crushed by the dotcom juggernaut’ ( Grant 2008. p. 310 ) . Digitization allowed farther betterments in internal procedure and the find of profitable new marketchances. During GE’s twenty old ages with Welch at the helm. GE stockholders systematically benefited from the legendary leading of one of 20th century’s most successful CEOs. Figure 2 shows that in the last three old ages entirely of his assignment as CEO. at the tallness of Welch’s success. GE portion monetary value more than doubled despite the dotcom clang of 2000.

2. Critical analysis of GE’s scheme under CEO Jack Welch ( 1981–2001 ) Corporate degree scheme is about making value by organizing resources across concern units and happening new ways to develop and capitalize on the organisation’s capabilities over a long term skyline. Welch demonstrated his ability to joint and convey his values and vision with singular excitements and lucidity throughout the administration. However. despite its success. this resource-based position was possibly excessively inward looking. the wages system excessively focused on short term single public presentation with non much attending given to making value for clients. Welch focused on developing GE’s cost advantage. As a consequence. GE may hold missed valuable chances to develop new markets or spread out its market portion through merchandise distinction during those early old ages of Welch’s leading as directors and employees focused on internal efficiency and year-to-year public presentation.

Welch’s compulsion with public presentation and velocity translated to impressive fiscal consequences. with net net incomes increasing seven-fold over the 20 old ages while the figure of employees remained more or less changeless ( GE Annual Reports ) . This implies tremendous additions in efficiency and staff public presentation. However. greater velocity and simpleness may hold come at the cost of doing via medias in other countries. such as client service. quality and safety. It would look that the company-wide deployment of Six Sigma was a successful effort to turn to the quality and procedure issues that may hold resulted from Welch’s unrelenting push for velocity and short-run consequences. Core competences provide entree to new markets. add value to the company’s merchandises and are hard to double by rivals ( Prahalad and Hamel 1990 ) recognised that GE’s best plus was its human capital. An of import strategic measure of authorising line direction and employees was the deputation of strategic planning and administrative maps to concern units. However. the uninterrupted force per unit area to execute may hold created new jobs for the administration.

As noted above. some employees may hold been forced to cut corners and take hazards possibly ‘contributing to some of GE’s defense mechanism catching dirts or the Kidder. Peabody & A ; Co. bond-trading strategy of the early 1990s that generated fake profits’ ( Byrne 1998 ) . Further. GE employees were incentivised to vie with their co-workers under the menace of stealing to the bottom 10 per cent and the chance of losing their occupation. This competitory work environment may hold prevented. instead than facilitated. internal acquisition and sharing of cognition capital which Welch was so eager to advance. Corporate scheme can help in the development of a firm’s competitory advantages. Some of GE’s enterprises went a long manner to developing GE’s competitory advantage and extenuating some of the more negative effects of Welch’s ‘carrot-and-stick’ direction manner.

For illustration. the Digitisation enterprise led to the widespread find of new chances non merely in the betterment of internal cognition direction but besides in client service. Further. in combination with the interrupting down of GE’s hierarchy. the Boundaryless Organisation enterprise facilitated the flow of information and assisted larning across the administration by supplying a safe forum for the unfastened look of sentiment. This would hold helped staff get the better of their competitory motivations and assisted cognition transportation. The blurring of boundaries had another of import strategic intent. viz. . the unlocking of synergisms from GE’s’ diversified portfolio of concerns. At a clip when the pudding stone theoretical account was enormously unpopular in the investing community. Welch retained GE’s variegation scheme and clearly demonstrated its benefits. accomplishing significant economic systems of range by sharing cognition. resources and capablenesss common to different concerns.

Prahalad and Hamel ( 1990 ) argue that a corporation should be structured harmonizing to its nucleus competences instead than a portfolio of concern units. Welch’s Boundaryless Organisation was a span between GE’s concern units that helped the administration to capture some of the benefits of its diverse cognition base. One of the most important alterations to GE’s portfolio construction was the outgrowth of GE Capital as one of the world’s most horizontally incorporate diversified fiscal services companies. Unlike its other concerns. GE Capital occupied virtually all sections of the fiscal services market—from consumer finance through forte insurance to equipment direction ( Grant 2008. p. 306 ) . By 2001. GE capital contributed about a half of GE’s entire grosss and was able to leverage off its industrial concerns to run on a narrow capital base while retaining in triple-A evaluation ( Grant 2008. pp. 313– 315 ) . This goes to show the success of GE in unlocking synergisms from a diverse concern portfolio beyond that which could be achieved by a typical diversified pudding stone.

The Globalisation enterprise allowed the administration to work planetary economic systems of graduated table and helped GE capitalise on larning chances across geographical locations. To the extent that cognition from one GE concern or location could be readily applied to another there was ever a possible for synergism additions from the organisation’s planetary variegation. An illustration where this possible translated into touchable benefits was in the transportation and diffusion of a new advanced method for compacting merchandise rhythm times from a New Zealand contraption company throughout GE’s concerns ( Grant 2008. pp. 310-311 ) .

With the deployment of Six Sigma Welch clearly demonstrated his consciousness of the importance of making value for clients and its strategic function for GE. He was quoted as stating. ‘We want to do our quality so particular. so valuable to our clients. so of import to their success. that our merchandises go their lone existent value choice’ ( Bock. W. 2001 ) . This reflects Welch’s desire to lock in GE’s clients into ageless dependance. doing it more hard for them to exchange. Arguably. Welch’s uninterrupted push for version. velocity and excellence—strengths which are the hardest for the competition to imitate—became GE’s most valuable nucleus competences on which the company was able to construct and prolong its competitory advantage.

3. The Jeff Immelt period ( 2001-present )Jeff Immelt’s direction manner is aggressively different from that of his predecessor. His strength is in actuating others by promoting them and associating with them at their degree. instead than intimidating them as Jack Welch would hold. Despite both work forces being every bit effectual. Immelt’s people-friendly regular-guy leading manner has created a really different ambiance at GE and drew congratulations from the ranks of his subsidiaries. In 2001. shortly after Immelt took up his place as GE’s new CEO. a series of events basically changed the corporate landscape. Immelt’s immediate challenge was to pull off the impact of the radioactive dust of the September 11 onslaughts and a subsequent series of high profile corporate dirts ( i. e. Enron. WorldCom ) . These events created important uncertainness and led to a crisis of assurance among investors and fuelled bitterness in the community at big.

In the face of a sliding portion monetary value. Immelt recognised that pull offing GE’s exposure to the concern rhythm would be critical to the organisation’s long term stableness ( Grant 2008. pp. 317-318 ) . He sought to reassure GE stockholders that the occupation of the CEO was non to pull off the portion monetary value but to pull off the company for long-run net income growing. To keep the trust of the community and GE stockholders. Immelt implemented a figure of steps to increase transparence and actively pull off GE’s public relationships with all relevant stakeholders—including clients. providers. authorities and the community at big ( Grant 2008. p. 318 ) . Figure 3 shows GE’s portion monetary value in US dollars the three old ages to August 2003. Figure 3: GE’s portion monetary value ( US $ . three old ages to mid-2003 )

Like his predecessor. Immelt was eager to do a clear differentiation between GE’s alone corporate theoretical account and the widely unpopular diversified pudding stone theoretical account. In his communicating he repeatedly emphasised the function of GE’s common systems. resources. procedures. enterprises and civilization in synthesizing the organisation’s assorted concerns and unlocking echt economic value. With most of the easy efficiency additions already realised through Welch’s extended internal reforms. Immelt reasoned that future net income chances would most likely come from organic growing. In 2002. Immelt committed GE to an organic growing rate of 8 per cent per twelvemonth ( Charan 2006 ) . He identified a figure of emerging planetary trends—the ageing population. the conflicting forces of turning energy demand and concerns over planetary heating. the coming of life sciences and nanotechnology. and new commercial chances in the emerging markets ( Grant 2008. p. 318–319 ) .

Immelt aimed to make value for clients by leveraging GE’s nucleus competencies—particularly in advanced engineering and related services—delivering superior. extremely customised merchandises and services to high-growth markets. In his 2003 missive to stakeholders. Immelt articulated GE’s three strategic jussive moods as: ( 1 ) prolonging its strong concern theoretical account. ( 2 ) beef uping the concern portfolio. and ( 3 ) driving its growing enterprises ( GE 2003 ) . To implement this scheme. GE’s concern portfolio was restructured through a series of acquisitions and divestments around five cardinal growing enterprises: Technical Leadership. Services. Customer Focus. Growth Platforms. and Globalisation ( GE 2003 ) . Figure 4 shows GE’s organizational construction and concern portfolio in 2007. Figure 4: GE’s organizational construction and concern portfolio in 2007

At the bosom of Immelt’s growing scheme GE’s was the development of new Growth Platforms which could be either extensions of the bing concerns or full new commercial countries. nested in GE’s growing engine concerns ( GE 2003 ) . Identifying new Growth Platforms was established as a cardinal strategic challenge for all GE’s concerns and involved analyzing the market to place high-growth sections that offered possible for attractive returns ( Grant 2008. p. 322 ) . Once a new Growth Platform was identified. GE would construct a prima place in those sectors through little strategic acquisitions and the deployment of its fiscal. proficient and managerial resources ( Grant 2008. p. 322 ) . An of import measure towards developing GE’s growing potency has been the launch of the Ecomagination enterprise in response to the turning demand for cleaner. more energy efficient engineerings across a scope of industries including wellness. air power. rail. and energy ( GE Ecomagination Fact Sheet ) .

In explicating his attack. Immelt had come to see engineering as a cardinal driver of GE’s future growing and implemented steps to speed up the diffusion of new engineerings throughout the administration the repositioning of GE in as a proficient leader in the market place ( GE 2007 ) . New engineerings were seen as an indispensable ingredient to successful merchandise invention and quality betterment. GE expanded its research and development capablenesss and supported them adequate fiscal backup. A cardinal challenge in implementing Immelt’s growing scheme was in accommodating GE’s focal point on public presentation with tackling new growing chances. To accomplish this. Immelt established a procedure for indentifying promising undertakings that offered attractive growing potency which were so incubated and protected from the typical budgetary force per unit areas faced by other GE concerns ( Grant 2008. p. 325 ) . Another critical portion of Immelt’s growing scheme has been the execution of the Customer Focus enterprise.

This manifested in the revival of GE’s selling function—most notably through the creative activity of GE’s Commercial Council and the deployment of a whole suite of customer-oriented plans ( Grant 2008. pp. 322-323 ) . An of import result of the client focal point was the organisation’s ability to make new value for the client by roll uping merchandises with support services and uniting merchandises and services across concerns to present extremely customised solutions. This enhanced GE’s capacity to run into customer-specific demands which went good beyond tweaking merchandise characteristics in different markets.

GE bit by bit reduced its representation in certain parts of the fiscal services industry as it continued to shift in the market place around the cardinal subjects Immelt had identified as emerging planetary tendencies. and by 2007 its operating model was centred on four chief concerns: engineering and energy substructure. finance. and media ( GE 2008 ) . Over the old ages. Immelt had developed. refined and formalised his growing scheme in a six-part procedure. shown in Figure 5. underscoring the importance of client value. invention. leading in engineering. gross revenues and selling capablenesss. planetary enlargement to emerging markets. and encouraging growing leading. This procedure now forms the wide footing of all GE’s commercial activities.

4. Critical analysis of GE’s scheme under CEO Jeff Immelt ( 2001-2006 ) An of import measure in developing and explicating a new scheme is a general scan of the organisation’s internal and external environment. In 2001 Immelt demonstrated his sensitiveness to the altering concern clime in the face of a sliding portion monetary value in the wake of the September 11 onslaughts and the Enron and Worldcom corporate dirts. By signalling his committedness to good corporate administration and greater transparence. including the debut of more elaborate fiscal revelation. Immelt was able to pull off the immediate external hazards and assure stockholders of GE’s go oning chances for long term profitableness. He developed and articulated his outward-looking organic growing scheme. Immelt’s growing scheme became the new frontier for the development of GE’s nucleus competences and received strong indorsement from fellow directors and external analysts. Growth schemes can be analysed along the dimensions of merchandises and markets.

Depending on the mix of bing and possible merchandises and markets. four distinguishable schemes are available. Immelt’s organic two growing schemes were merchandise development and market development. executed through a series of divestments and acquisitions in sectors with high growing potency. His strategic focal point was on making distinction advantage through advanced product-service packages and enhanced client focal point. GE’s acquisitions were clearly linked to its nucleus competences. Although GE’s acquisitions were loosely in line with Immelt’s appraisal of the emerging planetary tendencies. the keeping of some of GE’s mature low-growth concerns such as contraptions and illuming merchandises was clearly inconsistent with the overarching growing scheme. Immelt justified this by indicating to their function as hard currency generators which would supply a stable base for the support of GE’s growing businesses—such as commercial finance. health care. energy and substructure.

Resources channelled to the development of assuring growing undertakings finally led to groundbreaking engineerings such as GE Transportation’s Evolution Hybrid Locomotive undertaking in 2007 or GE Energy’s globally most advanced design for a safe atomic power ( GE Ecomagination Fact Sheet. Berzon 2008 ) In context of the planetary fiscal crisis of 2008. GE’s shifting towards engineering and industry has played an of import function in protecting GE’s gross and net incomes base. Having divested $ 150 billion of its insurance assets earlier in the decennary as portion of its engineering refocus. GE had no exposure to securitised investing vehicles ( SIVs ) or collateralised debt duties ( CDOs ) or recognition default barters ( CDS ) . ( GE 2007 and 2008 ) . As a consequence. the company managed to keep its triple-A recognition evaluation. However. its exposure to US commercial existent estate and UK mortgages inflicted indirect harm on GE’s income and fiscal place ( GE 2008 ) . Overall. GE’s concern portfolio was likely good balanced for all phases of the concern rhythm as evidenced by the resiliency of its amalgamate net incomes.

Immelt’s appraisal of emerging planetary tendencies and his strategic way show his apprehension of the external chances and menaces. and internal strengths and failings. Technical leading has proved to be non merely a beginning of GE’s competitory advantage but it is besides an of import barrier to entry. For illustration. GE is the merely USbased company with all the necessary capablenesss to construct a atomic power works. It has besides managed to construct in important shift costs through installed proprietary engineering. In health care. through its R & A ; D capabilities it GE has forged a leading place in advanced wellness scientific disciplines such as molecular imagination. atomic medical specialty and 3D visual image and analysis solutions ( GE Healthcare ) . It besides has one of the most comprehensive portfolios of Smart Grid solutions available in the market. from energy distribution to funding and back uping public-service corporations ( GE Ecomagination Fact Sheet ) . In 2007. GE had $ 150 billion of backlog orders for its merchandises and services ( GE 2007 ) Finally. by roll uping merchandises and services from different parts of the portfolio to present genuinely advanced customised solutions Immelt proved GE’s possible to make value from its diverseness.

In 2003. GE launched its imaginativeness at work trade name run ( GE 2007 ) . GE’s trade name equity increased by $ 10 billion in the five old ages to 2007 and in 2008. GE was named 4th most valuable trade name by BusinessWeek ( GE 2007 and 2008 ) . Further. Immelt clearly demonstrated his ability to put to death his growing scheme and enhance GE’s growing potency. Despite the planetary fiscal crisis of 2008 which impacted badly on GE’s portion monetary values. its fiscal public presentation continued to demo singular resiliency through 2008 ( GE 2008 ) . In these ambitious economic times. the jury is still out on the long term success of Jeff Immelt’s growing scheme for GE. And clip will be the ultimate justice.


Berzon. J. ( 2008 ) Nuclear Growth Galore. Seeking Alpha. Online. 26 February 2008. ( hypertext transfer protocol: //seekingalpha. com/article/66100-ge-nuclear-growth-galore ) Bock. W. ( 2001 ) Measuring Jack Welch. Monday Memo. Online. 10 September 2001. ( hypertext transfer protocol: //www. mondaymemo. net/010910feature. htm ) Prahalad C. K. and Gary Hamel ( 1990 ) The Core Competence of the Corporation. Harvard Business Review. May–June 1990. Byrne. J. A. ( 1998 ) How Jack Welch runs GE: A Close-up Expression at How America’s # 1 Manager Runs GE. Online. 8 June 1998. ( hypertext transfer protocol: //www. businessweek. com/1998/23/b3581001. htm ) Charan. R. ( 2006 ) Sharpening Your Business Acumen. Business+Strategy. eNews. Online. 30 March 2006. ( hypertext transfer protocol: //www. strategy-business. com/enews/enewsarticle/enews033006? pg=3 ) The Economist ( see Economist. com ) Economist. com ( 2009 ) The Jack Welch MBA. Business View. Online. 23 June 2009. ( hypertext transfer protocol: //www. economic expert. com/businessfinance/displayStory. cfm? story_id=13892633 ) General Electric Company ( see GE ) GE ( 1995 ) To Our Share Owners: 1995 Annual Report. Online. ( hypertext transfer protocol: //www. Ge. com/annual95/ibb3a18. htm ) General Electric Company ( see GE ) GE ( 2000 ) To Our Share Owners: 2000 Annual Report. Online. ( hypertext transfer protocol: //www. Ge. com/annual00/letter/page2. hypertext markup language ) General Electric Company ( see GE ) GE Annual Reports ( 2001 ) Annual Reports. Online. Viewed 20 July 2009. ( hypertext transfer protocol: //www. Ge. com/investors/financial_reporting/annual_reports. hypertext markup language ) General Electric Company ( see GE ) GE ( 2003 ) Letter to Stakeholders: GE’s Growth Strategy. 2003 Annual Report. Online. ( hypertext transfer protocol: //www. Ge. com/ar2003/chairman/letter_4. jsp ) General Electric Company ( see GE ) GE ( 2007 ) Letter to Investors: Our Investors. 2007 Annual Report. Online. ( hypertext transfer protocol: //www. Ge. com/ar2007/pdf/ge_ar2007_letter. pdf ) General Electric Company ( see GE ) GE ( 2008 ) Letter to Stockholders: 2008 Annual Report.

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