George Fisher: The First Outsider Ever To Become CEO Of Kodak
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This case study aims at describing the role of George Fisher is the first outsider ever to become CEO of Kodak in 1993 in making the company successful. It further includes his management skills, his agendas and his work methods. His marketing plan, the innovation he has brought, the way Kodak has changed its culture. It identifies different managerial roles played by Fisher. It also discusses the efforts he has made. Fisher's all over contribution made the company successful.
Identify and explain Fisher's activities according to the four functions of management; planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. (20 marks)
Planning is specifying goals to be achieved and deciding, in advance, the appropriate actions needed to achieve those goals.
In turning around Kodak, Fisher has identified areas that Kodak is suffering in namely declining earnings, slow growth, heavy debt and a demoralized workforce. From here, Fisher planned a strategy to overcome the trouble faced by Kodak. Here, Fisher has identified the problems to be overcome which will be his goals. In addition, Fisher also gave a vision of the company to be a global digital imaging leader. Fisher also spent time to study, understand and analyze every part of Kodak's business. He looked into the process of photo finishing, competitor's product, Kodak's dysfunctional culture, non-performing business, market expansion, the rigid bureaucracy and performance reward.
Fisher then set out objectives and performance target for departments by having all the information available and analyzed. For instance, to change the dysfunctional culture, he set tough goals and let his managers decide how best to achieve them. Fisher explored on available alternatives to current process to increase Kodak's performance.
Organizing is based on arranging the activities of an enterprise in such a way that they systematically contribute to the goals of that enterprise.
Fisher prepared to meet his planning objective by first organizing and changing the dysfunctional culture. Knowing on the importance and potential of digital imaging, he set up a new digital division composed of various digital resources that has been spread throughout the company. He has also hired an executive from Digital Equipment Corporation to lead it.
Leading is motivating workers enthusiasm to accomplish a target, by setting short and long term goals and to be able to deliver these goals to them.
As a leader, Fisher has made himself more accessible than Kodak's CEOs of the recent past to help break through the rigid bureaucracy and convey his message throughout the organization
He frequently visits the offices of researchers and has daily contact with employees to obtain information. Fisher talks with employees in the cafeteria where he has breakfast every morning. This gives him the ability to provide direction to individuals as well as within teams, departments, and divisions. He invites employees to send him email messages and usually answers them within a day. He does not behave as the top level person but as a lower level person and males himself accessible. In this way, Fisher will then gain more trust in his employees which will, in turn, give the employees more motivation to follow in their leaders footsteps. Compensation systems are being adjusted to reward those who are showing a good performance.
Control is the process of monitoring activities to ensure that they are being accomplished as planned and corrected without significant deviations.
Fisher often puts up a slide with a single word: accountability in meetings, Fisher has set up realistic goals and expects his managers to cope up with them. He tracks their progress in meeting their goals and checks to see whether they are meeting the right criterion.
Which of Mintzberg's managerial roles are most significant in Fisher's activities? (10 marks)
Fisher is playing three types of roles:
Fisher fosters a proper work atmosphere and motivates and develops subordinates. He has constant daily contact with employees by using all available communication tools. This gives him the ability to provide direction to individuals as well as within teams, departments, and divisions. He encourages employees to send him email messages to ask him questions and he usually answers them within a day. Fisher also holds meeting with them in order to guide his employees.
In the role of the liaison, Fisher develops and maintains a network of external contacts to gather information. He has kept the work relationships with the outsider to help out carry his tasks. It has networks of relationships with companies like International Business Machines (IBM), Microsoft and Sprint. The company has several trade agreements with these companies.
Fisher gathers internal and external information relevant to the organization. He tends to seek information from many sources about issues that can affect Kodak Company. These issues include declining earnings, slow growth, heavy debt and a demoralized workforce. When he became the CEO of the company, these issues were prevailing and affecting the company to a great extent.
Fisher believes in innovations and taking risks. He designs and initiates change in the organization. From photographic imaging, he plans to deal in digital imaging. He believes in replacing old techniques and adopting the new ones.
Fisher deals with unexpected events and operational breakdowns when he took over Kodak. He has taken up the right decisions when the company was in horrible condition. Heavy loans, less net income, non motivated employees. These were the difficulties being faced by Kodak. Fisher tried to solve all these problems by prioritizing them and then resolving them.
Fisher controls and authorizes the use of organizational resources. He has hired an executive from Digital Equipment Corporation to be the unit head of the new digital division, which comprises different digital resources.
Do you consider Fisher as an effective manager or an effective leader? (10 marks)
As being the Chief Executive officer of Kodak, he is considered as an effective manager. Fisher has all three types of essential managerial skills.
Fisher has the ability to apply expertise and perform a special task with proficiency. He knows the value of photographic business in the forthcoming years. He is well aware of the fact that this industry will flourish a lot in the coming years. He conducts an 18 hours study to see how to develop a better version of the technology. He is using his technical skills to beat the company's competitors. He considers the company's expansion in international markets as well, from a marketer point of view. He spends his time daily in studying each segment of the Kodak business.
Fisher can work well in cooperation with other people. He does not behave like a top person. He keeps himself updated about the latest issues and concerns. He likes to build a relationship with his employees and juniors. He motivates them by giving excellent performers rewards. He encourages their suggestions and has maintained a decentralized culture at the company. He holds meetings with them to guide his employees.
Fisher also has the ability to think analytically and achieve integrative problem solving. Fisher has a long term goal of changing the photographic technology to a digital one. He wants his company to be a world class performer in digital imaging. He has set certain goals and expects his managers to achieve them. His plans also include taking the company out of trouble. Fisher is concerned with such issues as the CEO's are not that much concerned with. His efforts will bear in the fruit in the future. But it might take a long time.
Total words: 1237 words
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