Harold Geneen: Data-driven Charismatic Organization
Harold Geneen was a successful business leader that transformed an ailing business, ITT, into a Data-driven Charismatic Organization. Under his leadership it grew and grew.
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The Nature of Organizations
This video is part of course module number 6.1.5
Program 6: Managing within Organizations
Course 1: The Nature of Organizations
Section 5: Masters of Organizations
Other videos in this section include:
🎬 Max Weber: The Father of Organizational Theory https://youtu.be/dAsiS_ignIQ
🎬 Chester Barnard: Organizations as Networks of People https://youtu.be/UVi5iI6N8UM
🎬 Edgar Schein: The Master of Organizational Culture https://youtu.be/TMqTN4fGb1k
🎬 Charles Handy: Philosopher of Organizations https://youtu.be/kCkXc-hPsbg
🎬 Kim Cameron: Positive Organizational Scholarship https://youtu.be/N2QxvQ5t2Lo
Harold B Geneen was not a theorist of organizations. Rather he was an instinctive manager and the ultimate practitioner of Drucker’s Management by Objectives.
Geneen took Weber’s concept of an organization as a machine and made it work. Under Geneen, the machine’s oil was a constant flow of data and information. Its controlling parts were the senior managers, whom the personnel department monitored with forensic diligence. Planning, analysis, and control were at the forefront of the way the ITT organization operated.
Harold Geneen also grew the organization through a series of increasingly ambitious acquisitions. By 1970, ITT consisted of over 400 separate companies. This was the acme of the organization as an ecosystem. But it was one that was under a tight central control. ITT became the epitome of a rigidly hierarchical bureaucracy.
Of course, Geneen was also aware that much business got done outside of the formal hierarchy:
‘Every company has two organizational structures. The formal one is written in the charts; the other is the everyday relationships of the men and women in the organization.’
But, when Geneen stepped down in 1979, the house of cards rapidly collapsed. For all its apparent rational-legal bureaucratic appearance, ITT had been entirely dependent on the energy and drive of its leading executive. There is more than one form of charismatic leadership. And Geneen remorseless drive and analytical rigor were hard to replicate. Few executives could keep up with him, much less emulate his workaholic pressure.
Harold Geneen led via two primary principles:
– driving his senior team hard, and
– the primacy of data
To what extent do you see each of these principles at work in your organization? (2 MC CPD Points)
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