Strategic and Ethical Management Tactics: Gulfstream Aviation
Gulfstream Aviation produces flagship products for private, corporate, government and military clientele locally and globally. The well-known company eagerly touts its rigorous products. Part of its impressive reputation reflects key management strategies, particularly with regard to strategic management and ethics in management. Transnational or global corporations face unique challenges with respect to ethics and strategy in management.
Organizations operating in several countries including Gulfstream Aviation must incorporate diversity in heterogeneity into the organization in a manner that supports alignment of organizational goals and objectives with those of employees. To retain competitive advantage in an increasingly competitive marketplace, Gulfstream successfully adopts various ethical and strategic management techniques that include supporting and hiring of a diverse workforce, creating work life balance, providing empowering opportunities and annual evaluations for employees and supporting global and local humanitarian and community efforts. These ideas are explored in greater detail below.
Strategic Management Techniques
Ultimately an organizations success lies in its ability to successfully adopt strategic management techniques, apply and sustain them to the organization over time. Drejer (2002) suggests that ultimately the purpose of strategic management is to "secure competitive advantage of the organization" (p. 47). Gulfstream has definitely succeeded in creating competitive management, in part because of the many strategic management techniques currently sustainable within the organization. In addition the company consistently works to provide continual improvement measures to ensure that employees and managers alike adopt an attitude that encourages long-term knowledge sharing and change when necessary to support growth and development, whether among employees or within the organization. This strategy is evident in the companies hiring practices, employment policies and procedures, which support diversity, involvement, training and advancement opportunities.
Strategic management at Gulfstream operates on many levels. This includes employee development and human resource management. McWilliams, Van Fleet & Wright (2001) note that in a world of global competition, it is vital that international organizations create sustainable competitive advantage through strategic management of human resources. Human resources should be considered the lifeline of any organization. In fact in a global environment, employees provide the knowledge necessary for corporations to rise above the competition. Knowledge sharing becomes a critical success factor in organizations like Gulfstream. Human resources management plays a key role in supporting knowledge sharing and encouraging employees and teams of workers to unite and share accountability and information. This practice is also evident in Gulfstream's mission and values to the public and employees.
In addition, McWilliams, Van Fleet & Wright point out that the key to successful competition within a global marketplace such as that in which Gulfstream operates is "effective deployment and use of human resources" (p, 1). This includes providing employees with a diverse work environment that takes into consideration ethnic and cultural orientations while at the same time remaining cohesive (McWilliams, Van Fleet & Wright, 2001). Effective deployment also requires that employees are trained adequately to work in the positions they are assigned, and individuals with the right skills are appointed the right job responsibilities. These practices are evident in Gulfstream's stringent hiring policies and practices that ensure employees that are qualified but also trained in the organization's culture and belief system are welcomed into the Gulfstream community.
Strategic management techniques adopted successfully by Gulfstream also include creating a work environment that motivates employees to achieve, feel empowered and advance on a personal and professional value (McWilliams, Van Fleet & Wright, 2001). One way a company can do this is by creating work life balance programs that emphasize not only the importance of the workplace but also the importance of individuals in the workplace and their contributions (Drejer, 2002). Gulfstream is one of many corporations that pride itself in offering employees a supportive and friendly work environment. The company also supports work life balance, evidenced through the family wellness program. Other features managers have incorporated into company practices include on site conveniences such as medical facilities, a company store, ATM's and even cafeteria facilities for employees to eat at. Most companies offer few if any of these features, again a testament to the organizations successful techniques and management practices.
Employee recognition and reward programs are a key strategic management tactic within any organization. Recognition and reward programs also often fall into the realm of strategic human resources management (Drejer, 2002). Programs like this are but one way to help employees remain motivated and sustain productivity in the long-term. Gulfstream rewards employees in part through a PRIDE program that recognizes employees who make exceptional efforts in the workplace. Employees are also encouraged to take part in a referral program that rewards employees who recommend qualified candidates for challenging positions.
Management strategy doesn't stop with employees at Gulfstream, yet another reason the company is so successful. The organization supports humanitarian efforts by regularly contributing to surrounding communities. Their goals include "enriching the lives of employees, families and neighbors" by encouraging positive relationships between employees and community members (Gulfstream, 2005). Humanitarian efforts are common in globally competitive companies including GE, which is another well-known company that regularly contributes to community efforts. Building lasting relationships with the community is another key strategic management concept that helps build competitive advantage (Drejer, 2002). When a community supports an organization the organization is much more likely to succeed in the long-term and sustain empowering practices.
Strategic management techniques also include creating an environment that is of value to customers (Drejer, 2002). Customers must be willing to pay for what an organization has to offer. This means an organization must fulfill a customers basic needs and expectations and also provide customers with some potential future benefit (Drejer, 2002). Gulfstreams commitment to its customers is evident in their value-based community service practices and competence-based strategies.
Lastly strategic management techniques vital to an international organizations success include taking advantage of ethnic diversity and "cultural synergy" (McWilliams, Van Fleet & Wright, 2001). Organizations have to create a global environment that values and employees a culturally diverse group of people from varying labor pools. This in turn creates an environment with greater potential for flexible decision making and improved decision "quality" (McWilliams, Van Fleet & Wright, 2001). Diversity by nature requires that managers are capable of applying their skills in multiple locations with diverse pools of labor. While this presents some challenges to organizations, ultimately such practices result in better practices and help align diverse workforce initiatives with the firm's goals and objectives.
Ethical Management Strategy
For any organization to succeed it must also adopt ethical work practices. Ethical work practices must in fact be embedded into daily operational tactics and strategic management strategies. An organization that doesn't adopt ethical practices will lose any competitive advantage acquired using strategic techniques alone. Brown & Stilwell (2005) note that competent managers must make choices to promote an ethical work environment; the authors also note that common ethical values are those strategies, techniques and values within an organization that are "applicable and knowable to all regardless of gender, race, age, religion and include trustworthiness, respect, responsibility and citizenship" (p. 22). Clearly Gulfstream supports many of these ethical values, evident in their hiring and recruitment practices, promotional techniques and ongoing commitment to the community and humanitarian efforts.
Gulfstream prides itself on its commitment to supporting a diverse work environment. Part of equity in the workplace includes adopting ethical and fair work policies that offer all candidates equal advancement and employment opportunities. Gulfstream employees individuals from multiple countries and is considered a leader in outreach programs that reach out to the community.
Brown & Stilwell (2005) point out that ethical management techniques include performance measures which should be a "key focus" for any profession or industry (22). Performance management according to the authors "IS ethical management" because it ensures that managers hold themselves and the company as well as employees accountable for their actions not only in the organization but also to the community (Brown & Stilwell, 22).
Objective evaluation is a critical component of an ethical performance management system. Objective evaluation and performance critique can be sustained only through frequent analysis, monitoring and sharing of knowledge regarding participant's performance on the job (Brown & Stilwell, 2005). Clearly Gulfstream has adopted many of the techniques of ethical performance management that include holding employees and managers responsible for their actions and decisions that affect the organizations internal and external customers. Frequent evaluations also enable continuous improvement and goal setting for employees and managers alike.
Recruiting is also handled in an ethical manner. The recruitment team currently adopts the corporate diversity initiative thus making equity within the workplace an integral part of day-to-day operations. To further enhance the organizations diversity the company currently partners with multiple diversity agencies including the Society of Women Engineers, Women in Aviation, Hispanic MBA and more (Gulfstream 2005).
Bonczek & Menzel (1994) note that organizations have a responsible to enhance "ethical awareness" within an organization by "providing systems that support employees in doing the right things" (p. 13). The right 'things' may include creating a diverse workforce,…