Technology and innovation are the two of trademarks of Boeing. The Boeing Company is always on the forefront of technology and remains a successful business today. Boeing is in an industry that thrives on new technology, and those that innovate and use new technology first and fastest wins. The history of Boeing Company began with William Boeing in Seattle Washington (Boeing, 2011). The first biplane was a twin float seaplane designed and made by William Boeing and George Conrad Westervelt at Boeing??™s boathouse. This was the start of a 96-year love affair with technology and aviation.
Although most think of Boeing as an aviation company, the company is also a computer information company. In 1970 Boeing formed an independent firm called Boeing Computer Services (BCS) (Boeing, 2011). This company was an innovative result of Boeing needing new income and using the company??™s new knowledge in a different way. ???Within three years, BCS had six sales offices to market five commercial computer products — including BCS/Mainstream, a time-sharing computer service used by 148 government and commercial customers??? (Boeing, 2011). Upper management staff used planning to implement this innovative approach of using technology to help Boeing receive much needed revenue to survive a slow period in passenger plane sales.
Boeing is still at the forefront of technology. One example is a new composite for fuselages instead of the standard aluminum (Wallace, 2005). Another example is the recent development of X-15 Waverider that combines the efforts of Boeing and Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne. ???This past May it completed the longest hypersonic combustion (scramjet) powered flight in aviation history, reaching a speed of about Mach five, or five times the speed of sound. Officials from Boeing from both companies say the future applications are beyond exciting. They range from high speed military operations, commercial flights and improved access to space. Engineers envision cross-country flights from Los Angeles to New York in a mere 45 minutes. This will eventually create an easier, cheaper, and faster method of carrying payloads to and from the space station??? (Fox News, 2010). This shows that Boeing is still on the forefront of technology to develop more impressive aircraft in the future.
Technology is one of the most important aspects of the Aerospace Industry. Boeing??™s competitor, Airbus, is ???announcing on their website that they now have signed the largest jet order in aviation history.??? (Airbus 2011) Therefore, management within Boeing needs to be current with today??™s innovations and future technology for future planning of designs. A culture of technology and employees educated with the latest technological trends are vital to ensure continuing leadership for Boeing in the industry. This will ensure that the company will remain at the forefront of technology and remain a strong and vital leader for many years.
To remain competitive in today??™s business market, businesses focus on the resources necessary to meet the demands of globalization. A diverse workforce is a vital business resource to understand the perspective and provide the needs of international customers. According to the online periodical diversitycareers.com (2011), ???Boeing??™s leaders and employees are very much engaged in diversity efforts.??? Boeing commits to providing optimum and quality airline products with its current 158,000 employees in 70 countries to its customers worldwide. According to Boeing (2011), ???Diversity and inclusion are part of Boeings values at the highest level. Having diverse employees, business partners and community relationships is vital to creating advanced aerospace products and services for our diverse customers around the world??? (Boeing: Diversity, para. 1).
A diverse workforce allows Boeing to have a clearer perspective of the needs of specific customers. For example, customers in the new and emerging markets of Asia prefer airline products that have a balance of carrying large capacity of passengers and are also fuel efficient. With its fuel-efficient twin engine and 365 passenger capacity 777-300ER, Boeing received orders from most major airlines in Asia that include Singapore Airlines, ANA of Japan, EVA Air of Taiwan, Japan Airlines, and Air India (Boeing: Boeing Delivers first 777-300ER, para. 9). However, the European markets prefer airplanes that are more environmentally friendly. Virgin Atlantic Airways of England committed to purchasing the newly designed Boeing 787 Dreamliner with fewer carbon emissions. According to Easier Travel (2008) Virgin Atlantic chairperson Sir Richard Branson is quoted as saying, “Virgin Atlantic is totally focused on delivering a cleaner airline in the air and on the ground, and our order today will significantly cut carbon emissions per 787 Dreamliner flight??¦The 787 Dreamliner symbolizes the environmentally-kinder aircraft of the future-cleaner, quieter, lighter and truly the best experience in the air??? (para. 6).
The diversity policy at Boeing described on alteontraining.com (2011) states that ???We value the skills, strengths and perspectives of our diverse team.??? (Boeing: About Us: Diversity Policy, para. 1). Diverse employees allow innovated ideas to flow. Employees from and in different regions of the world contribute a clear perspective on the preferences of their local market. Boeing management understands that the company provides products that are significant and necessary in the new global economy. The management team uses the planning function of management by focusing on how to stay competitive. To stay competitive, Boeing starts with understanding its international customers and delivering products that those customers want to purchase. The management staff at Boeing organizes and leads by promoting a company culture that allows its employees to contribute in the decision-making process of designing and manufacturing airline products to meet and exceed international customer expectations.
However, whereas middle and lower level management team are well represented in terms of race, the upper management team maintains a traditional roster of white males. Boeing upper management must comply with its own policy of diversity. Leadership is after all about setting examples. Therefore, the upper management at Boeing needs to challenge itself by allowing individuals of different backgrounds who are just as competent to be a part of their team.
Boeing Company??™s challenges over the last 10 years were because of proven lapses in business and personal ethics from many of their upper-level managers and strategic planners. Boeing suffered many serious hits in their defense and space business because of many unethical decisions, some less publicized than others.
Boeing??™s stated company vision included honesty and ethical behavior even though some of the actions exhibited within the company did not. Boeing??™s leadership needed to create a plan that places these traits at the forefront. Part of planning includes creating scenario development to help forecast the effects of the new program. Their first plan was to educate employees instead of looking at the overall company culture that condoned unethical behavior. Boeing human resources department made an effort to educate their employees on the ethics of managing contracts and doing business with the government. Change in behavior internally was marginal. Boeing employees wanted ethical and logical restructuring. According to the website Glassdoor.com (2011), management was accused of inflexibility and did not hold up new programs that introduced changes to the current system of management. If changes were going to happen, leadership needed to create a monitoring process that would secure the wanted outcome of their actions. In April 2006, Jim McNerney, President and Chairperson for Boeing, spoke in front of the 2006 Ethics and Compliance Conference. In his speech, McNerney acknowledged the ???very public mistakes??? made by his company despite the effort they had made to educate and inform employees. His belief is that the ???difference between companies with these problems and without lies in whether the company has character and the culture to ensure that potential ethical failings are stopped before they escalate??? (McNerney, 2006).
Because the initial programs did not show wanted results, Boeing leadership initiated a series of reviews that looked at all their process and audited procedures. The Boeing leadership found that unethical behavior had an undercurrent of acceptability because the company??™s vision was far more results-focused than business-focused. The study concluded that the periodic episodes were not part of a systematic problem but proved a weakness in the structure and culture. The few individuals who had decided to ignore policies were a product of certain cultural weaknesses and era. The employees who suspected a problem, including leadership, chose to look the other way even though something ???didn??™t feel right.??? Employees feared retaliation or being labeled a ???whistle blower???. The pressure from higher management to win contracts resulted in ends justifying the means. (McNerney, 2006).
Boeing decided to change course. In 2003 the Office of Internal Government (OIG) was created and reported directly to the CEO and board of directors. The decision was to make three changes to the company values which were to realign the company, vision, and to ensure employees used the same guidelines. Management goals were to open up the culture to promote changes and enforce ethical compliance through leadership. The different management levels would be responsible for ensuring ethical behavior in all their processes (Boeing Corporation, n.d.).
Change is slow. They created a very in-depth code of conduct guideline for ethical business behavior and an additional section for finance. Leadership is educating the managers on the re-written company values that incorporated integrity with a supportive culture. All employees must sign and abide by the Boeing Code of Conduct. The employees must understand the code, ask questions, seek guidance, report suspected violations, and express concerns regarding compliance with this policy and the related procedures (Boeing Corporation, n.d.).
Boeing has always been cross-culture oriented because it was a good business decision.
Boeing Company has gone through many changes in their leadership-style and the methods used to motivate and inspire their employees. Stop gaps that were missing in prior years have been put into place. Communication between levels of management has improved with the understanding that, as leaders, managers must be the role models for these processes. Fundamental change in Boeing management is acknowledging that there are many aspects that combine to become the central part of the whole system of training, developing, evaluating, and promoting individuals.
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