We have come full circle to the days of local businesses, but geography has been eliminated as a barrier to communication. Companies are now expected to contribute to their local economy and culture. Whatever a company does at home will be broadcast to the world, positive or negative. Wal-Mart is highly criticized for its low wages, even though the company admits it does not expect to retain entry level employees. However, the company's support in its local communities wherever the stores are found counter the bad publicity about wages. In fact, Wal-Mart is a good example of several of the tenets listed here, especially that of agility. It has changed its management architecture, so that local managers have the local power to make the individual outlets good citizens of their communities.
So Jack Welch's simple rules for management need to be modified. Even the CEO who followed him has done this. Jack began his role as leader of G.E. In tough economic times, when businesses were struggling to survive in a time of recession and inflation. This required a tough CEO who could do what was necessary to streamline the company and optimize its profit line. However, the global climate is changing from international "dog eat dog" to one of global mutual exploitation. We really are a global village and the changes predicted by Functionalists, in sociology and international relations, are very real. Capitalism has some very good things going for it, but isolated capitalism which takes and gives nothing back is passe. With the advent of globalization, companies not only have to be good local citizens, but they have to be good global citizens.
Following the functionalist view, international governments and businesses have combined to create a global economy which is changing the way business is done. Populations with large pools of labor are courting hard currency and willing to be exploited in exchange. Business, as a result, has more power than ever before, but also more responsibility. Where a company builds a factory, say in India, China or the Philippines, it is expected to provide more than just wages to the foreign workers. The company is not just there to make money, but it also represents the homeland, and with Internet technology, the people at home can see how they are represented.
The Fortune article made many excellent points, and they are stimulating echoes from business academics and theorists around the globe. The article mentions Peter Drucker, who has even a longer tenure than Welch as a business guru. Welch steered G.E. For twenty years, but Drucker has steered international business for more than forty years. He is often called the "father of modern management," a title which accrues from his many publications on management. The precepts he iterates are so timeless that they are reprinted. Drucker was one of the early social commentators who took a functionalist view. He foresaw that neither capitalism nor socialism had it all right, but that business had to strike a balance between to two within their organizations. Making money is important, but taking care on the way is just as important.
Drucker focused on how national states failed to blend the factors of continuity and change, a theme he would later apply to the business institution. In The Future of Industrial Man his focus was on what he found to be the two essential requirements for a functioning society: (1) recognition of the large autonomous corporation as society's representative social institution and (2) the need for corporate management to justify its legitimacy as an organ of government. In close connection with this requirement for establishing legitimacy, he addressed the theme of corporate responsibility for providing the status and function of the worker." (Flaherty, John E. 1999)
Drucker's work has always been based in reality, as functionalists tend to be. He also writes in a very accessible style, making him widely read. He grounded his theories in the functionalist approach of "use what works," and based his writing on what he observed in the real world. He was one of the first to recognize the organic connection among the various elements of business: workers, managers, suppliers, government and customers. All of these elements have strong influence on the others, and all must be considered in every business decision. It is probable that Drucker's career developed naturally as he moved through his own development and self education. This gives his work an extra quality of veracity, since it was not written for support of tenure, nor support of a management career, but in response to what he learned as an objective researcher.
Peter Ferdinand Drucker was born in 1909 in Vienna and graduated from University of Frankfurt where he obtained a Doctorate in Public and International Law in 1931. After the Nazis took over he emigrated in 1933 to England, where he worked until emigrating to the U.S. In 1939. Since then he has taught, researched and written, building a substantial body of respected work in the field of management. "Throughout his long career he has shown interests as diverse as journalism, art appreciation, mountaineering, reading -- and drawing inspiration from -- the works of Jane Austen, and, of course, management teaching, writing and consultancy. With more than 33 books published over seven decades (and translated into at least 30 languages) Drucker is, by common consent, the founding father of modern management studies." (Thompson, Phillip M. 2004) His work covers the whole range of subjects effecting business and management and even his early work is still relevant, because he grounds his work in the basics, and not on anything faddish or attached to any one personality or corporation. His works include:
The future of industrial man: a conservative approach
London: Heinemann, 1943
The practice of management
London: Heinemann, 1955
The concept of the corporation
New York: New American Library, 1964
Technology, management and society
London: Heinemann, 1970
Management: tasks, responsibilities, practices
New York: Harper and Row, 1973
Managing in turbulent times
London: Heinemann, 1980
The changing world of the executive
London: Heinemann, 1982
Innovation and entrepreneurship: practice and principles
London: Heinemann, 1985
Managing for results: economic tasks and risk taking decisions
London: Heinemann, 1964
The effective executive
London: Heinemann, 1967
The end of economic man
New York: Haprer and Row, 1969
Managing the non-profit organization: practices and principles
Oxford: Butterworth Heinemann, 1990
Managing for the future: the 1990s and beyond Oxford: Butterworth Heinemann, 1992
Managing in a time of great change
Oxford: Butterworth Heinemann, 1995
The frontiers of management: where tomorrow's decisions are being made today
London: Heinemann, 1986
Burkhardt, John C. And Overton, Betty J. 1999.; Applied Developmental Science, Vol. 3,
Business Mexico; 7/1/2005.Want to win? Some practical advice from Jack Welch.(Biography)