Governance Channels and Organizational Design at General Electric: 1950–2001

William P. Ocasio, John Joseph

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This study advances an attention-based view of corporate strategy and explores its implications for organizational design. We examine the governance of resource allocation in a multi-business organization through the firm’s network of decision-making and communication channels. Using both primary and secondary sources, we analyze the changes in the decision-making channels at General Electric (GE) over a 51-year period across four CEO regimes: Ralph J. Cordiner, Fred J. Borch, Reginald H. Jones and John F. Welch. We identify four distinct channel functions: reporting, staff, control and agenda management. Through our analysis, we find that strategy does not emerge from any unitary, bounded process but from the pattern that emerges from a network of tightly and loosely coupled channels operating simultaneously.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationOrganization Design
Subtitle of host publicationThe evolving state-of-the-art
EditorsRichard M. Burton, Dorthe Døjbak Håkonsson, Bo Eriksen, Charles C. Snow
ISBN (Print)978-0-387-34172-9
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameInformation and Organization Design Series


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