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The Boeing Company: Management, Organizational Culture, and Leadership

General Management

The Boeing Company is an aerospace corporation headquartered in Chicago, USA. The organization is renowned for producing commercial airliners, defense, space, and security systems, and an after-sales support provider (“General Information”). As a result, the company has broad international experience, representation in more than 150 countries worldwide, and market leadership for quite some time. Boeing’s success is driven by a tradition of leadership and a focus on innovation in today’s most promising scientific fields. Consequently, the talent and capabilities of employees are the company’s priority, and management of the structure and activities on which the constant growth of the giant company depends.

Boeing is distinguished by the high diversification of both production and other activities of the company, which makes it challenging to fit a comprehensive profile of the company into one industry. In this regard, the organization uses a matrix structure, which will be described in detail below. A broad board also needs to meet the requirements of broad-based leadership, which must cover up-to-date skills in strategy building, conflict management, team building, effective communication, and forward-thinking decision-making. In this regard, a high level of diversification is observed both in the company’s line of products and services and in the main board of directors.

The company has five main divisions globally: Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, Boeing Capital Corporation, Shared Services Group, and Boeing Engineering, Operations & Technology. The first two of those listed are industrial and create products for civilian and military needs, respectively. The remaining three are engaged in financial and infrastructural support of the company’s projects and the development of innovative technologies and products (“General Information”). To sustain growth effectively, a company needs a vision, a strategy, and clearly defined goals set by management. The general management of the company as a whole is described below.

Due to the fact that the company employs more than one hundred thousand employees, there are many management positions. The diversity of organizational profiles leads to a variety of management roles. At the head of the entire company is a president who oversees the strategic direction of the headquarters in Chicago, determining the direction of the company’s development and making fundamental decisions. The CEO has experience in security issues, but the company has an executive council composed primarily of vice presidents for every industry and every major issue. More focus is on supply chain, security, logistics, human resource management, communications, finance, and technology. For each of these areas of activity, the council is represented by one or even two vice presidents, among whom there is also a council for the further strategic and successful development of the company, still subordinate to the president. Taking into account the international representation of Boeing, the position of Vice President of Boeing International is separately allocated. Non-executive corporate leaders are committed to supporting the company’s environmental and social responsibility, business transformation, and integration across operations. The sales team concentrates on the Commercial Aircraft division, including VPs for Quality, Supply Chain, Marketing, and Engineering. As a result, Boeing has more than eighty people in its leadership, where each has a clearly defined role and area of ​​work.

As a result, the company forms a unique work environment that is underpinned by the company’s success over the years. Management meets critical requirements to support innovative strategic thinking to keep Boeing at the top of the market; and productively manages the company’s resources for which three separate parts of the corporation have been established – finance, infrastructure, and consulting. The control of day-to-day operations takes place at the highest level, which can be judged by a whole security council, on which the company’s reputation depends directly.

Organizational Structure

Boeing is a complex and large corporation with a vast number of employees and many business processes around the world. As a result, the organizational structure must meet all the requirements of the company in order to maintain a high pace and quality of work to maintain the reputation of a leader in the market aviation and space industries. A wide range of manufactured products must be marketed and sold to other organizations worldwide in a socially and environmentally responsible manner. Boeing’s focus on innovation creates a vast field for the latest developments, the process of which also requires competent management and a multitude of specialists. In order to meet all of the above conditions, the company’s organizational structure has a high horizontal and vertical differentiation.

As noted above, the boards of directors delegated to each for their industry are controlled by the CEO or president. The separation of the boards of directors contributes to the company’s vertical differentiation, producing an in-depth search for new ideas, technologies, and solutions in their particular industry. Boeing’s horizontal differentiation is due to the company’s comprehensive and varied profile and the active part of the corporation aimed at developing innovative products and solutions. The board of directors is followed by local executives and managers concentrated in various regions where the main capacities of the company are represented. Finally, the staff also includes many engineers, instructors, mechanics, pilots, and many others involved in every department of the company.

High differentiation horizontally and vertically, as a rule, are pointers to the matrix management structure within the company. The adaptive type of such structures is characterized by flexibility, a practically complete reduction in bureaucratic reporting, and an orientation towards the operational implementation of complex projects (Kishore et al. 10). Given the severe responsibility of the company’s operations and production, the matrix management structure may allow for multiple safety checks, compliance with regulations and laws, which is why positions on these issues are represented in each department on the board of directors (“Executive Biographies”). The ability to integrate various company activities within ongoing projects and good communication between leaders are the strengths of the matrix management structure, which, together with equal division of responsibilities, accelerated technical improvement of production, and personal responsibility of the leaders, creates an ideal structure for space companies (Kishore et al. 34). The matrix structure is distinguished by its efficiency over long distances and large projects, which is an undoubted advantage for Boeing since even the production of one civilian aircraft is quite large-scale. As a possible disadvantage of this approach, partial duplication of functions is explained by the importance and seriousness of the company’s activities, where each additional check will never be superfluous. Boeing is responsible for the safety of human lives, national defense, and other large-scale issues that cannot be tolerated.

However, the functional structure of a company is diverse enough to classify companies as a whole under certain types of organizational structure classification. The departments responsible for HR and various legal activities, monitoring compliance with regulations and laws, are both general and local for each region where the company and its products are represented. Organizational components specific to the matrix structure, such as analytical strategy and development in a turbulent environment, are not so characteristic of Boeing. The development environment is very diverse and focused on innovation in every company’s business process, and the strategy is not fast-paced. In addition, the matrix structure allows the exchange of experience between different departments, which has only contributed to the company’s growth for more than a century.

Past and Current Leadership

Efficiency and leadership traditions are entirely consistent with the defensive strategy of the company’s leading status in the market. High product differentiation does not lead to many secondary departments in a company: HR standards for recruitment are the same for both military and civil aviation (Englehardt et al. 4). The current management of the company, for the most part, took office in 2020 or so; before that, the president and his council held their positions for an average of five to ten years. Such a frequent change suggests that the rapid nature of technology development constantly requires new solutions, in which, sometimes, it is necessary to move away from conservatism and traditions. Preserving traditions, which are also crucial for the company, implies maintaining leadership positions in the market, maintaining quality at a high level, and completely excluding possible disasters, from which the company’s reputation often suffers. Although both commercial and finance executives are relatively recent, their appointments were most often preceded by decades of experience at Boeing, some of them decades (“Executive Biographies”). In this regard, the company constantly maintains a balance of traditions and experience, and fresh ideas in the organization’s management and structure.

Works Cited

Englehardt, Elaine, et al. “Leadership, engineering and ethical clashes at Boeing.” Science and Engineering Ethics, vol. 27, no. 1, 2021: pp. 1-17.

“Executive Biographies.” Boeing.

“General Information.” Boeing.

Kishore, Nishaan, et al. “The Roles of Functional Managers and Project Managers in a Matrix Organization.” 2019 IEEE International Conference on Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management (IEEM). IEEE, 2019, pp. 1-55.

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