Jeffrey R. Immelt is an ethical leader which fits the quote,”…. leaders are not responsible for making other people ethical. Rather they are responsible for enabling their organizations to be aware of ethical meaning and reflect on it as a core part of the organization. ” Immelt is the ninth chairman of General Electric a post he holds till now since September 7, 2001 after his predecessor Jack Welch. Immelt is also nominated, not once but three time by Barron’s as “World’s Best CEO”.
Furthermore, after Immelt is placed in the chief executive officer’s position General Electric has won several names by respected business magazines in the world- “America’s Most Admired Company” in a poll conducted by Fortune magazine and one of "The World's Most Respected Companies" in polls by Barron's and the Financial Times. Other than that, Jeffrey Immelt is also listed in the chair of President Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. Not to mention, he is also one of the members from The Business Council.
(GeneralElectric. com) Jeffrey Immelt was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio on February 19th, 1956. His father was a middle manager for General Electric Aircraft Engines Division and without a doubt, that is where Jeffrey Immelt was first influenced to be today’s world class leader. In his younger days, Immelt’s parents emphasized a good education. "[My parents] believed that a good education was the great social equalizer, something that stays with you your whole like and that allows anyone to live their dreams" said Immelt.
When attending his tertiary education, Dartmouth College, Immelt showed his leadership traits when he became the president of his fraternity, Phi Delta Alpha, and captain of the football team all while maintaining an excellent academic record. (Magee 2009) After achieving his MBA, Immelt immediately started off with GE as a internal sales consultant in Connecticut and within a year’s time, he was able to build a reputation of himself within the division. Later on, he was promoted as a district sales manager of Dallas, Texas- it was this move that began his journey up the corporate ladder to his today’s position.
From a district sales manager he slowly worked his way up to GE appliances in 1989, where he had to faced with the recall of millions of refrigerators due to faulty compressors. That is the time where he first showed his leadership and managerial skills, earning respects from workers during that difficult time, giving a motivational speech at the factory standing on a forklift. Leaving with success, he then moved to the Plastics Division but failed to meet financial goals, nevertheless he still helped GE to grow before changing to the GE Medical System (GEM) divisions as the president in 1997.
Under his guidance and supervision, Immelt had successfully transformed GEM into one of the world’s most leading and successful medical-imaging companies. Immelt helped lead GEM's revolutionary mammogram technologies into mainstream medical care and brought the world's fastest CAT-scan machine to the marketplace. By the 2000, after the official retirement of former GE president, Jack Welch, GE announced Jeffrey Immelt as CEO on November 27th, 2000 as a result of recognition from both internal and external of the company.
His position as the CEO of GE definitely spells power, especially when services and products of the company are found worldwide and causes impact to individuals globally. Therefore, the personal characteristics of Immelt as the CEO becomes crucial to the success of the corporation. His every move, speech, or writing will affect every employee and stakeholder he faces. One of the value he possesses is vision in the sense of making sure that every employee, and stakeholder in the company knows exactly what the organization is doing and why it is following the course of action it is doing.
The second most important value Immelt possesses is his ability to master the business model. He understands that the company reaches out to more than one hundred countries and has a massive group of people working under each of them, thus as an ethical CEO, he encourages and makes sure that every subsidiary and employee reaches self actualization and realizes their goals and mission of the company as well. In order to reach six sigma or full efficiency of zero percent defect in all of the countries and all of the employee within, Immelt shows another value which he possesses, the ability to mobilize resources, particularly humans.
Immelt believes that with the recognition of risks, concise, communication and strong energy only can he benefit from globalization. With that in hand, Immelt has accountability and prioritization of business goals in a way that aligns the corporation with global sustainability ones. Finally, Immelt strives to be honest, trustworthy and transparent to establish relationships with individuals all over the world. (Sites. google. com/mngmt396jeffimmelt, 2011). Ethical leadership can be defined in different ways. And also the definitions may include internal personality of leadership, which are values, traits and behaviours.
Furthermore, ethical leadership can describe the features of motives and behaviour (Yukl, 2010). Ethical leadership is the leaders who have the good behaviour and performance and the right morals. Moreover, ethical leaders manage and organize performance, morals, and points of view into the culture of companies (Freeman and Steward, 2006). The 3 distinct characteristic which Immelt possesses are empowerment of people to lead, perseverance, and integrity. When he took place as the CEO, Immelt kept managers in division for a longer period of time and giving them more decision making power.
This is actually to allow managers to feel the consequences of their decisions whether good or bad. Thus, as time goes by, these managers would be much more experienced and independent. As for perseverance, when Immelt first fought pressure to sell off divisions of GE and focus on core products, saying that each one of GE's companies was a part of a collective whole. Immelt helped keep GE afloat during scandals and financial crises in a post-9/11 America, giving him a difficult first year as CEO. Despite the hardships, Immelt continued to grow the GE brand and revolutionize the internal structure of the company.
Last but not least, is integrity, which is directly from the above paragraph’s characteristic of honest, trustworthy, and transparent. Because of these set of values that he transmits, the whole company becomes renowned to have these values, and the company is able to maintain the reputation it has had for decades, and continues to be admire around the world. Immelt, however, stresses to all stakeholders, and employees, that learning has to be maintained as a foundational philosophy throughout one’s career and life (Sites. google. com, 2011).
When he first took position as the CEO of GE, he had large shoes to fill in. General Electric has an infamous records of criminal, civil, political and ethical transgressions typically the environment. One of the most highlighted cases from GE was the PCB contamination of the Hudson River and the Housatonic River. While his predecessor, Jack Welch fought against the America's Environmental Protection Agency over the cleanup of the Hudson and Housatonic Rivers, Immelt has positioned GE to be a leader in pollution control and natural-resource management.
In order to solve the crisis, Immelt spearheaded the formation of the U. S. Climate Action Partnership, a consortium of companies and NGOs that earlier this year asked the Bush Administration to take action against the build-up of greenhouse gases, Immelt has paved the way for hundreds of other business leaders to commit themselves to finding climate-change solutions. “Ecomagination” is the new term Immelt created in his effort to encourage a much “greener” “pollution free” technologies and innovations to the world.
GE’s range of innovation ranges from high — efficiency locomotives and jet engines, wind turbines, solar power and water-purification systems, and a range of cleaner coal technologies. This strategy allows the company to aim and recognize profits by providing solutions to problems like climate change, water availability, air pollution and chemical exposures. Immelt believes that GE's eco-leadership will position it for success in a range of high-growth and high-margin markets. "Green is green," he declares (Time.
com, 2007). Currently it has more than 60 ecomagination-certified products in its portfolio, spanning the entire range of GE’s businesses. For example, take its greener, more fuel-efficient aircraft engines that lighten the customer’s budget and boost GE’s sales because of their environmentally friendly label or its ‘ecomagination-certified’ American credit card, the GE Money product that uses a certain amount of paid interest to finance green initiatives (Schafer, M. , 2004).
Another dilemma Immelt faced to go against the pressure of stakeholders wanting to sell off certain divisions of GE and to focus more on core products, but Immelt wanted to keep because each one of GE's companies was a part of a collective whole. As a CEO in his first year, it was certainly a hard time for him as it was a also a year of global financial crisis and the incident of 911, the terrorist bombing of America’s World Trade Centre incident. Despite the hardship, he kept strong and continued to grow the brand and revolutionize the internal structure of the company.
Plus, he also revived GE’s old Schenectady lab in New York and renamed it the Global Research Centre. It will serve as a facility for scientists to experiment with everything from nanotechnology to hydrogen power. His intention was to further branch out GE’s holdings and also to come up with a multi-media division that includes cable- television channels. In this period of time, Immelt focused more on using innovations and technology for the better cause, diversifying management within in the company, and bringing out products which are closer and much more accurate to cater the end consumer’s needs.
Jeffrey Immelt ranks 9th out of 100 most influential people in business ethic. He has leaded GE into a stage where ethics is a norm and a righteous thing to practise. Over the years, with Immelt’s guidance, consistently leads the way in various facets of business ethics, including sharing best practices with industry peers and participating in global ethics events (Ethisphere. com, 2009). Clearly this has proven that Immelt’s influence has successfully made an impact and rooted down his vision into the company’s vision and mission and direction gaining massive success through “Ecomagination” campaign.
Ethical leadership is a very important issue in today’s organization because in an organization, any decision made by the leader will not only must it benefit themselves but also they must think how the other people will be affected (Stansbury 33). For example, when Immelt decided that he would pursuit the his dreams of making profit out of eco-friendly products, it was highly disagreed by the top management but still he went on with it because most of the employees in the corporation agrees with the plan of saving the environment.
He took count of everybody’s opinion and not only his own. Integrity is a crucial characteristic when being an ethical leader, one must be honest, transparent and truthful in order to stimulate a sense of leader trustworthiness. When trustworthiness is build-up in the hearts of followers, then only will the vision be shared among them, sharing a common goal in their heart. Most of the time, ethical leaders are people oriented, this is because they are always fully aware of impacts that follows after their decisions to others.
Furthermore, leaders would do their best in assisting followers to gain and achieve self actualization. Giving them goals to be competence to reach self- sufficient by giving them more autonomy and encouragements. References Blogs. reuters. com (2011) Analysis & Opinion | Reuters. [online] Available at: http://blogs. reuters. com/trnewsmaker/2011/10/14/jeffrey-immelt-and-the-reinvention-of-ge/ [Accessed: 16 Oct 2012]. Ethisphere. com (2009) 2010? s 100 Most Influential People In Business Ethics | Ethisphere™ Institute. [online]