While an organization’s espoused values, those values an organization may claim to have or uphold, may define a company amongst its competitors, it is the organization’s enacted values, what a company actually does, that shows true value in the eyes of the consumer. For over 120 years, General Electric (GE) has provided services in technology from appliances to water treatment. We will briefly look into the culture and values of GE and see if what they say they value is actually done in the eyes of the public.
How does communication play a role in this company’s organizational culture and does it affect the perception of the company? Can conflict be used to improve the communication within this particular organization? How? These are questions that will be answered throughout this research. The organizational culture of General Electric shows characteristics of being a people-oriented company. As stated by GE concerning their employees “We believe that life at GE leaves you a better person than when you first walked through our doors.
Our culture is all about providing everyone who works here with the opportunities to exercise their responsibility, integrity and creativity while growing themselves, their careers, and our business. ” (General Electric, 2009). The values of the company are based on performance and integrity and it is in those values that GE tries to build and compete during the circumstances of the times. It is through communication and the commitment of the employee that they are able to uphold those values.
The inherit growth of the company would show that the employees’ enacted values are align with the espoused values of the organization. Perception plays a key role in communication within an organizational culture. How an organization communicates and how workers perceive that communication will reflect in that employee’s job performance and in the performance of the company. This can be said then that the misalignment in perception of communication between the espoused values of the organization can affect the enacted values of the employee. A survey
done in the 1980s at General Electric and Hewlett-Packard provides an example that proves the value of communication between managers and employees. The two companies established the connection between communication effectiveness from managers and employee satisfaction levels from questions in an employee satisfaction survey (Whitworth & Riccomini, 2005). The outcome of the survey showed that the better the managers communicated with their staff, the more satisfied the workers were with their job life. Just as positive communication can be effective within a company, conflict in communication can be just as productive.
Conflict in group communication can be productive for an organization if it is appropriately managed. Differences within a group can spark creative and quality decisions that are both satisfying to the members of the group as well as the organization as a whole. Sometimes conflict is added not so much that the conflict can be resolved, but so that the organization can communicate. General Electric might use conflict as a way of encouraging communication. One way of introducing conflict within a group is through diversity training.
This type of training would be good for an organization who is culturally diverse and whose diversity provides a wider range of products and services based on the different cultures of the consumers (Nancherla, 2008). General Electric has participated in diversity training and with success. GE launched aggressive diversity training, run by a former CEO of the company that included employee networks, regular planning forums, formal mentoring, and recruiting at colleges with a large minority population (Nancherla, 2008). As a result of this intense training, the organization saw an increase in minority, gender and non-U.
S. citizen demographics between 2000 and 2005 (Nancherla, 2008). In conclusion, we have seen how the effectiveness in communication within an organization can reflect on the enacted values of its employees in regards to the espoused values of the company. Having a people-oriented culture allows the employees to be creative and make decisions within the company that not only allows them to grow within the organization, but allows the company to expand as well. And finally we see how conflict can be a good resource in allowing the doors of communication to open along with providing a diversity of ideas.
All of these concepts went into making the organizational culture of General Electric. References General Electric. (2009, Sept. 18). Life at GE: Lifestyle, Culture, Benefits, People. Retrieved from http://www. ge. com/careers/life_at_ge Nancherla, A. (2008). TRAINING DOESN’T WORK… Right Now. T+D, 62(11), 52. Retrieved from http://web. ebscohost. com Whitworth, B. , & Riccomini, B. (2005). Unlocking Higher Employee Performance. Communication World, 22(2), 18-22. Retrieved from http://web. ebscohost. com