Case: GE’s Two-Decade Transformation: Jack Welch’s Leadership



The case study about the leadership of Welch’s leadership has a profound amount of information about the role a leader can play to take an organization towards success (Jick & Maury, 2011). The modern business environment is really challenging as compared to that of a few decades back. Innovative techniques are rapidly introduced in business processes. An adaptation to these techniques is highly dependent on the leadership of an organization. If the decision to adopt to new changes is made on timely basis, the results may be disastrous for an organization.

Welch had to face different challenges as a leader at GE. He adopted different strategies to overcome these challenges. He tried his best to focus on creating value for GE. Welch had undoubtedly a great impact on the success of GE’s overall progress. The aim of this paper is to discuss the tenure of Welch at GE from different angles. I have divided this paper according to the requirements put forward by the course instructor.

Main Issues

Welch’s predecessor, Reg Jones was a person of a great character. He had left a legacy at GE and Welch had to face the challenge at the beginning of his career at GE to match up to the legacy of Reg Jones. We can say that Welch had to be as competent as Reg Jones was from the first day at his office as all other employees were looking up to him.

Welch had to make a decision of deciding a team that would help him transform his vision to reality at GE. Success is considered to be a product of team efforts in a family as well in an organization that cane see as an extended family (Gable & Sharp, 2016). Welch also had to convince the new team to adopt to the abrupt changes that Welch had in his mind.

The other issue that Welch had to face on an immediate level was the fact that US economy was in a recession phase. This meant that the sales of different businesses were not reaching the expected levels.


There were some problems that Welch had to address. First was the presence of aggressive competitors in the market. Welch was faced to form aggressive strategies to deal with the competitors but the market situation was not favoring aggressive strategies as it was in turmoil at that time. There existed a great uncertainty in the market.

Analysis of Issues

Welch was able to address all the issues with a great success. He was able to rise rapidly up and beyond the stature of his predecessor. He was not hesitant to take tough decisions that could be difficult to take for even a tougher CEO. He gave an opportunity to the individual employees to build their capacity and find ways to be an important part of the organization.

Critics did criticized the steps taken by Welch to develop leadership skills in the employees during a state of market uncertainty but Welch proved them wrong. Effective decision making by Welch enable the organization to flourish and made the employees valuable assets for the organization. Welch also took the company into new sectors that contributed to the value of GE. Welch was able to implement a change process which made the company become from a local company to a global one. Especially the introduction of E-business at GE played an important role in making it an important global player with supplying their products to much more consumers in the international arena. E-commerce is an important factor in the success of any business (Celik & Kaygusuz, 2015) according to recent researches. Welch was able to anticipate this fact during his time as a CEO at GE.

Areas Needing Improvements

Well there are not much areas that I would suggest need improvement in accordance to the case study. The one thing that I have observed from the case study is that Welch has not always been open about his aims from the changes that he is trying to implement. I believe that he could have better communicated his aims and objectives to the larger audience which could have helped him have lesser criticism than he actually had from some critics.


Jack Welch had the courage to try changes that seemed odd at that time but paid off really great. This has a lesson for everyone to learn. We must be open to changes in our personal and professional lives. Innovation comes from thinking beyond what is considered as usual in a given time. Welch was a creative person who trusted the capabilities of his subordinates. He helped others succeed and hence succeeded himself. Welch applied strategic leadership at GE. He was able to leave a legacy just like his predecessor. I believe that the performance of Welch at GE has left a great literature for the coming leaders to study and follow. What I personally learn from him is the ability to think out of box and not only believe in yourself but also believe on the team and help them understand your vision. 


Celik, A., & Kaygusuz, I. (2015, April). The Role of Electronic Leadership in Crisis          Management Practices of National Companies: A Research into Virtual, E-Commerce,    Industrial Businesses and Public Sector. In The Third International Conference on      Digital Enterprise and Information Systems (DEIS2015) (p. 87).

Gable, S., & Sharp, E. (2016). Parenting: success requires a team effort.

Jick, T.D. and Maury, P. (2011). Managing Change: Cases and Concepts, 3rd Edition. New          York, NY: McGraw-Hill Companies.