Assignment About Sony Company Structure

The research methodology includes the description about the research approach along with methods of collecting the data (Rassenfosse, Jensen and Webster 2011). The research collects the data about the innovative as the core strategy for building brand name of the company and for attracting the customers (Rassenfosse, Jensen and Webster 2011). The research uses quantitative research methods for collecting the data (Sadanori 1999). This research will conduct the survey questionnaire through the quantitative approach (Rassenfosse, Jensen and Webster 2011). Quantitative approach is suitable in this research as it helps in collecting the in-depth information, and search for perspective and experience of the customers, which they had after purchasing Sony products and services (Kotler 1999).

The Survey through questionnaire will be used under the primary data collection method (Rassenfosse, Jensen and Webster 2011). These methods will help in understanding the views of the customers towards Sony products and will also check their satisfaction level (Hague 2002). The sampling strategy incorporated for choosing the participants will be random sampling. Through random sampling strategy, every the customers will be listed and will be randomly selected without any particular criteria (Kotler and Keller 2006). In the secondary data collection method, data will be collected through academic journals and books for understanding the views of the authors about the innovative strategy of the Sony Corporation in attracting the customers and for building brand name in global market (Rassenfosse, Jensen and Webster 2011).

Literature Review

Innovation is viewed as the obvious strategy, and there are many companies who have adopted this strategy for building their brand name and giving customer satisfaction with new features in their products (Levitt 1969). Innovation is the common strategy, which helps in fulfilling the demands of the customers and helps the company in building their position in the local and international markets (Feldman and Florida 1994). Innovation is not about introducing new products in the market, rather it involves introducing new products, technological advancement or line extension of the products in order to advance and strengthen the company’s Unique Value proposition (Chesbrough and Rosenbloom 2002). In the present marketplace the demands has increased for attaining the perfect timing as well as flawless execution of the products through implementing the new strategies in the market (Rassenfosse, Jensen and Webster 2011).

Rubio (2012) discusses that consumers always want to know that you are prepared when they are, which means the timing of the company should be perfectly synchronic with the demands of the audiences (Rubio 2012). The Lawler (2012) mentions that, companies should never launch any new products, or service or either packaging if the brand audiences are not ready for it, or either companies should never execute the needs for achieving the sustainable success (Lawler, 2012). Its noted that short cuts are considered as moving slowly towards death in the market, in which consumers expects from the brands to deliver before their commitment to purchase (Rassenfosse, Jensen and Webster 2011). Therefore, once the reputation of the company is established for achieving the excellence in the market, the efforts of innovation become the strategy of public relations, which tries to pre-sell the consumers before the launch of any new product event of the company (Rassenfosse, Jensen and Webster 2011).



There are many examples of companies, who have focus on product innovation and made it their brand expansion strategy for achieving success in both local and global market (Rassenfosse, Jensen and Webster 2011). One such company is Sony Corporation, whose main strength lies in their ability for producing the products of innovative quality (Rassenfosse, Jensen and Webster 2011). The innovations made in the Sony products have become the mainstream culture of the company (Rassenfosse, Jensen and Webster 2011). Sony offers international quality brands for their customers, as its main concern or focus is on high quality, convenient and uniqueness of the product (Rassenfosse, Jensen and Webster 2011). It is noted that mainstream culture of the company has embraced the innovation in Sony’s products (Rassenfosse, Jensen and Webster 2011). Presently, Sony products are globally recognized and the company has developed its strategy for attaining core strategic benefits, which is innovation (Rassenfosse, Jensen and Webster 2011). Through the virtue of the core strategic benefits, the company has adopted the international strategy through supplying the innovative quality items in many global countries (Rassenfosse, Jensen and Webster 2011). The innovative products offered by Sony are Walkman with personal stereo headphones, play stations, Video camera, DVD players, along with Trinitron televisions (Rassenfosse, Jensen and Webster 2011). All these products of Sony are well recognized all over the world, including Europe, Japan, US, and in various Asian markets (Rassenfosse, Jensen and Webster 2011).


Timeline is the significant aspect of the entire research study, as it’s important for the researchers to successfully complete their research work on time with the help of available resources, in order to meet the objectives of the research (Rassenfosse, Jensen and Webster 2011). Timeline is also explained as the guideline for completing every task in the research. Below table will explain the timeframe for every activity in the research.

                            Research Activities

                           Time Required

Research Proposal

1 Week

Introduction and Literature Review

1 Week

Field Research

3 Weeks

Research Methodology (Survey Analysis)

1 Weeks


2 Week

Conclusion & Recommendations, and Submission of Report

1 Week

The resources used for completing the research will be both non-literary and literary resources that will include websites, academic journals, and books in order to address and monitor the assistance in the set timeframe of nine weeks.

Task 2: Field Research

Research Universe

Research is considered as the organized investigation on the specific topic and in this research product innovative strategy of Sony is discussed that helps the company in building brand name, expanding its market and attracting the customers (Nonaka and Takeuchi 1995). In this research, research investigation will be done through the collected facts and figures (Rassenfosse, Jensen and Webster 2011). This section is the important segment, which helps in exploring the evidences collected and relates to the topic (Nonaka and Takeuchi 1995). This section not only explains about the research approach, rather it also discuss about analyzing the research rationale, tools of data collection and data reporting approaches (Nonaka and Takeuchi 1995). Research sampling and methods are applied in this study for examining the primary data (Rassenfosse, Jensen and Webster 2011).


For collecting and analyzing the data, the survey questionnaire will include 10 questions that will be asked from 100 customers for the purpose of analyzing the views of the customers and members of research and development team at Sony. In the survey questionnaire research and development team will be asked 5 questions in order to understand the innovation role in boosting the image of the company in the market. In order to interpret the collected data through the survey method, pie charts will be used. The survey question will include multiple options for the respondents.

Research approach

Research approach offers the reliability to the research study (Rassenfosse, Jensen and Webster 2011). This research will include the investigation research methods in order to assemble the data related to the customer’s views on Sony innovative features in their products and services (Nonaka and Takeuchi 1995). The research includes the quantitative research method for describing and expressing the research study (Nonaka and Takeuchi 1995). Two set of questionnaire is made in this research, first is for the customers and the other one is for the research and development team, as both perspectives will be collected and analyzed (Rassenfosse, Jensen and Webster 2011).

Data collection method

The most important aspect of the research methodology is the research methods, which are helpful in collecting data through various sources. In this research primary and secondary methods of data collection are selected (Nonaka and Takeuchi 1995). Primary data is the first hand data, which will be collected through the survey questionnaire method by forming the questionnaire that includes 10 questions to be asked from customers, who purchase Sony products and 5 members of the research and development team at Sony, in order to understand the innovative strategy of the company for building brand name and imparting customer satisfaction (Nonaka and Takeuchi 1995).

The survey method is selected as it can be used as it’s the practical method for collecting the different types of information, and this is one of the most popular method for gathering data that too at the low cost (Nonaka and Takeuchi 1995). Through the secondary data collection methods, views of various scholars will be collected through academic journal articles, websites and books (Nonaka and Takeuchi 1995).


Section 1: Customers

  1. Do you know about Sony products?



Can’t Say

  1. Which all products you are aware about Sony?



Cyber Shot





Sony Ericsson

  1. Which product you are interested in buying or interested to buy?



Cyber Shot





Sony Ericsson

  1. Mention the factors that influence you to purchase Sony’s products?

Brand name


Product innovative features




  1. When you prefer to purchase Sony products?


Sales offers

Launch of new products


  1. Do you prefer Sony’s products above other companies products?



Can’t Say

  1. Which features you like most in Sony’s products?




Innovative features




  1. Are you satisfied with the product and services of Sony?



Can’t Say

  1. Do you think product innovation has increase demand for Sony’s products?



Can’t Say

  1. Do you prefer innovative features over the price of Sony’s products?



Can’t Say

Section 2: Research and Development Team

  1. How innovation success is measured at Sony?

Customer Satisfaction

Increase in revenue

Cost minimization through innovation

Success of new products

  1. What all barriers come while doing innovation?

Remuneration not connected with innovation

Lack of coordination in company

Lengthy time of product development

Difficulty in commercializing the right idea

Ineffective marketing and communication

  1. What are the priorities of Sony to achieve competitive advantage?

Sony Corporation Executive Summary

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Sony Corporation Executive Summary

Sony's current financial difficulties are tied into its corporate culture which
were stated over 30 years ago. With such a large
multinational corporation, greater planning and more use of
strategies should be pursued. Sony could start with the
implementation of a new mission statement, with profit and
benefits of the company tied more closely to everyday
operations. Internally, the four forces, the management, the
designers, the production and the marketing should achieve
better communication and cooperation. Alliance and
cooperation between competitors should also be actively
sort after in order to create standards in new fields. Sony
should aim at being the leader instead of being the
maverick. As for cost cutting, Sony should seriously
consider setting up operations in other Asian countries in
order to take advantage of the cheap labour and the
budding markets. Finally, diversification, instead of pursuing
the fast changing and easily imitated consumer goods
market, Sony should use its technological know-how for
high-end business and office equipment. With SWOT
analysis and Porter's competitive forces model, we can
view that the market is much more competitive with less
profit margins and lead-time for product innovation. The
conclusion is that change is needed in Sony. However,even
with strategirial and structure change, the Sony spirit of
innovation should remain intact because that is what made
Sony grow and would make it stay strong. Introduction
The first thing that comes to peoples minds of the company
and products of Sony is its
high-technology-filled-with-gadgets electronic goods and
innovation. It was also this innovation that make Sony the
greatest company that started in post-war Japan. Sony has
used its innovation in building markets out of thin air,
created a multibillion, multinational electronic empire with
products such as the transistor radio, the Trinitron, the
Walk-in and the VTR. that changed everyday household
lives forever. However, this consumer targeted quest for
excellence and constant innovation instead of targeting
mainly at profit also has a lot to do with current crisis Sony
is facing - sales and profits are down or are slowing down,
capital investment cost and R&D are climbing, competitors
are moving in with copycats, the battle between VHS and
Beta and the search for a smash hit product such as the
Trinitron or the Walk-in. This volatility and emphasis (or
gambling) on new products instead of concentrating on
profit and loss statements have always been a part of Sony
since its beginning days. For each successful product (i.e.
transistor radio and Trinitron), R&D cost often ran so high
that the they pushed the firm to the verge of bankruptcy.
This can also be seen through the eyes of the investor in
which although sales have increased tremendously

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Sony Corporation         Executive Summary         Forces Model         Thin Air         Mission Statement         Corporate Culture         Cooperation        

throughout the past twenty years, the stock price has
remained relatively low. History and Culture The current
Sony corporation has a unique culture which is firmly
rooted in her history especially in relationship to her two
founders, Masaru Ibuka and Akio Morita. Ibuka and
Morita were both dedicated electrical engineers and
geniuses above their business talents. Both gave insights
and visions in what the company should make and how it
should be made. Ibuka, especially, gave constant advice
and suggestions to the engineers involved in projects from
the earlier on transistor radios to Walkmans. This created
the umbrella strategy in which Sony operates under where
the top management, especially Ibuka, Morita and now
Norio Ohga gave the general direction in which the lower
engineers actively learned, developed and improved on the
vision/idea. Therefore, although there is a planned direction,
the actual product development through launching is
emergent with great flexibility. Although the research and
development section of Sony differs greatly from other
companies with its great flexibility, Sony, in its essence is
still a traditional Japanese company in many ways. There is
life-time employment, with strong norms and values which
in turn create strategies through their actions. Status is given
(the crystal award) instead of bonuses (not significant
amount) for superior achievement. There is also the strong
seniority system such as the mentor and apprentice
relationship that is typical of a Japanese firm. All this can be
classified as the cultural school in which strategy formation
is of collective behaviour. Collective vision and stress on
human resource, which is typical of many Japanese, can be
clearly seen in the mission statement "Management
Policies". Weaknesses and Threats Referring to Exhibit 1,
sales has slowed down considerably since the beginning of
the 80s. In the domestic market, sales actually decreased
by 7.22%. The overseas market expanded both in real
terms and relative to total sales, but slowed down to
around 10% a year. This can be seen as the vacuum period
between one hit product, the Walkman, and its succession.
As mentioned by Ibuka, business is conducted in a ten year
cycle. However, in the eighties, the product might still take
a few years to develop, but the time reaping the results and
profits might be much less. As seen in the VTR example,
both the VHS and Beta were developed by Sony.
However, in a short time, Matsushita could come up with a
competitive product based on Sony's technology.
Therefore, it is fair to say that other electronic firms would
be able to copy Sony's technology in a much shorter time
while offering more competitive prices. The margin for
technology advancement is therefore diminishing.
Associated with innovation is the capital expenditure cost
and return on investment ratio. As seen from Exhibit 1,
capital expenditure has risen dramatically, especially in
1981, due to the automation of plants. However, the return
on investment has decreased. Spending around 10% of
sales on capital investment is by all company standards an
extremely high figure. The question is that does this high
rate of investment represent corresponding growth in
profitability? As mentioned above, the diminishing returns
from product innovation is apparent. However, the internal
dimension also poses as much of a problem. With its great
freedom, research and development are divided into small
teams which are free to pursue their interest with little
reference to "how it will fit into a market, what the product
can do, how well it will function or how it could be used by
customers." Secret projects without management knowing
about them until "secret reports" are submitted are of
common practice. With this kind of practice, there is lack
of communication between management and R&D and
threat of duplication of resources among the small groups.
There is also a lack of general direction. This would be
especially prominent when Ibuka and Morita, the symbolic
leaders and founders retire. This is because the two in
many ways act as the main guidance and bridge between
management and the engineers. Therefore, there is also a
succession problem. Sony has always been a leader in
technology, creating markets by looking for new markets
where bigger, well-established companies are not a threat.
However, new products such as VTR, the Walk-in and the
Mavica involve both hardware and software. Sony can no
longer just produce superb quality machines and expect
them to sell. The software would also have to be available.
For the Walkman, cassette tapes were well established but
for the Beta system and Mavica, a standard has yet to be
set. For example, the images of Mavica would be held on a
high density magnetic disk but Kodak, 3M and Sony all
have different systems and are not compatible. The Mavica
system also stands alone with little compatibility with
conventional systems and little transitional interfaces. This
leads to the problem of cooperation where Sony is often
the maverick, alone creating markets. With Sony entering
markets such as the VTR with no standards, it might be
beneficial to both Sony and other vendors if they
cooperated instead of competing on conflicting software
that supports the systems. This could also be seen in
Exhibit 2, the Porter competitive forces mode: new entrants
from other Asian countries, other Japanese industry
competitors, substitutes and buyers are all strong and much
stronger than 20 years ago which reinforce the weakness of
Sony acting alone. Last but not least, Sony lacks strategy.
Product development, manufacturing and marketing are all
well established but the firm lacks any formal long term
direction. The original mission statement is also outdated
with its references to W.W.II. Short term strategy is also
lacking and there is little emphasis on profit and
accountability of research and development of products.
The result: a company with strong components but unable
to coordinate in a coherent way in order to achieve
maximum potential. Strengths and Opportunities The
greatest asset of Sony is of its human capital, especially its
engineers which make up the R&D department. Their
constant innovation is crucial for a consumer electronic firm
which specializes in audio-visual equipment and the higher
profit margin, which comes from being the leader of the
pact. Subsidiaries are also well established, such as in the
United States and Europe which give Sony a distinct local
hands-on knowledge of the local market. It also makes
Sony an international corporation, bringing together the
talents and best of strategies of both world to the
organization. Besides the employees, the two founders,
Ibuka and Morita also legends in their fields which they
create vision and sense of direction for the organization.
The also acts as bridges between the employees and the
management. The self promoting system and job rotating
systems creates satisfaction for employees and give them
greater exposure to all aspects of the business. Ideally, this
would produce better products as engineers gain
knowledge on consumer needs while marketing people
engaged in the production and can give their point of view.
The innovative style also stems from the "never copy
others" culture, the generous funding of the R&D and huge
amounts in capital investments. As described by Ibuka,"It
also stems from consumer driven in which technology is
targeted at consumers or business while American
electronic industry are spoiled be military and space
applications." Sony has been ahead in the race of Video
Tape Recorders and digital imaging techniques in Mavica
which both offer tremendous potential of household
penetration and sales. It also has the opportunity to set up
standards and dominate the field. Sony has also acquired
enough technology to increase width by going into the high
technology business fields. With the rise of the Asian
countries, Sony also has the opportunity to make use of
them for markets and for cheap labour. Recommendations
Building of Strategy With the succession of the two
founders at hand, it would be very difficult for the company
to find someone as visionary, as respected and with the
same engineering background to lead the umbrella strategy
company. With Sony as a much international company with
major branches in Europe and the United States and stocks
listed in 23 stock exchanges, the Japanese cultural school
strategy is not sufficient. Becoming a mature company, the
strategy should also change to more profit orientated.
There should also be greater emphasis on market share,
especially in Japan where Sony's market is shrinking.
Strategy should be aimed at greater control and
communication between manager and workers, especially
the engineers in the R&D Department. A more planned
strategy should be adopted, which should outline the
general direction of the company. Diversification One
direction which is possible is concentrating more on
electronic know how in non-consumer business. Currently,
the buyer has much more choosing power and competition
is fierce (Exhibit 2). The competitors are also able to copy
the product in a much shorter time. To create larger profit
margins, Sony should concentrate on the business sector
and industries, supplying high technology equipment and
parts. This would make full use of the R&D Department,
the strongest advantage of Sony without waiting for the
price cutting and technology adaptation to fit the average
consumers needs. This would also make Sony less
dependent on coming up with a steady stream of relatively
short-lived hit products, and able to use its unique talents in
video and semiconductor technology to create its version of
the office of the future. Although the Sony name is often
related to expensive, high-profit end of the market, the
organization should also expand its product range by
offering lower priced, simpler featured products that would
compete head on with other copycats. With the lower
priced line, Sony can also increase its market shares in both
overseas and Japanese markets. Alliance and Cooperation
Sony should try to become a leader instead of a maverick.
The difference is great, the leader, besides a great
innovator, should also be a great coordinator. New
products, which involve both hardware and software such
as the Mavica, should try to achieve industry wide
standards. The standard may not be the best or the one
created by Sony, but Sony, by pioneering in the field first,
would already have a significant head start and the
standards is just a way to ensure stability to allow Sony to
concentrate on product development and improvement.
This is because Sony is not large and strong enough to
acquire and provide both software and hardware for one
product. They also lack the know-how to the creative
software market. Consumers also prefer to have the ability
to choose between competitive equipment. Internally, the
different R&D groups should cooperate more. The product
line should also be made more compatible with one another
which is crucial through the communication between groups
and managers, i.e. no more secret projects. Products
should be made with higher added value and longer life
rather than making frequent model changes. This is also a
shift from a manufacturer-orientated mentality to a
consumer-orientated mentality, which is a way to save
natural resources. The brand-line compatibility also builds
brand loyalty for consumers. In relationship with the other
Japanese consumer electronic firms, a more cooperative
attitude should also be taken. Just like when Japanese took
over the US market through cheap yet quality consumer
goods, other Asian countries such as Taiwan and South
Korea, with their lower labour cost, pose as great
competitors at the lower end of consumer goods.
Therefore, the Japanese firms should cooperate in setting
up standards in high technology areas in order to reap
maximum profits and extend the technological lead-time
over their fellow Asian countries. Cost Cutting Cost cutting
is important because R&D plays an integral part in the
success of Sony and cannot be cut drastically although it
gobbles up 10% of sales. Therefore, the only way to
improve profit margins is to cut cost. Sony currently has
factories in the United States and Japan. Although this is
good for relationship of the firm in a foreign firm and offers
a chance to pay suppliers with local currencies, Sony is not
fully making use of other lower cost areas in the world,
especially Asian countries such as Malaysia, Thailand and
the Philippines etc. By setting up factories in these
countries, Sony can take advantage of their cheap labour
and also get a head start in their budding consumer
markets. As mentioned above, products should be refined
instead of reinvented so that there would be less set up cost
and greater automation could be achieved. Integration of
production, design and marketing In many ways, designing
and developing of a product is separate from the
production and marketing. Although there is job rotation,
the design stage is backed by intuition and experience
rather than market research and analysis. Often, the rational
is that it is the marketing personnel's job to find a market
for a product after it has been developed instead of the
other way round. To cure this phenomenon, R&D should
listen more to what the consumer needs and then innovate
instead of always creating new markets. With great
freedom, the designing team should also take on greater
responsibility in making the product fit to the current
production pattern and marketing aims. They should also
be made more responsible to the profit and lost of the
particular product. Empowering these three separate
groups create conflict, but it also brings these separate
efficient groups together achieving synergy. Implementation
Internally, strategy should be reviewed beginning with
renewing the corporate goals. It should integrate together
both the Japanese work ethic and its western counterparts.
This is possible, because Sony is a multinational
corporation with employees and customers in many
different countries. This involves writing the importance of
profits and its responsibility to shareholders in the
statement. Integration of the company, the designing,
production and marketing should be encouraged, with
increased communication between each groupand the
management acting as liaison and guidance. The
management should be providing the organization with
specific goals and strategies for the short and long term.
These changes are intended to balance business Vs
engineering. Setting up alliances with fellow electronic
manufacturers / competitor is crucial to mutual benefit so
should be pursued as soon as possible. In areas such as the
VTR, Sony has to decide what standard the world is
adapting and make decisions to cut off setbacks. For new
products such as the Mavica, new standards for the
industry should be actively sort after with commitment from
other competitors and conventional producers. This is also
a change in culture for Sony so top management has to
actively push and pursue for this direction. Cost cutting,
with emphasis in making use of lower cost of labour in the
Asian developing countries should then be implemented.
This could also be seen as a long term strategy. The work
force could also be made more flexible. Finally,
diversification, with emphasis on making business supplies a
major part of Sony's business. This is one of the long term
goals in which Sony should thrive to achieve. However, the
end product ratio between consumer and business
products should be constantly reviewed throughout the
process to achieve the optimum mix. Conclusion Although
other electronic firms are taking market share and profits
from Sony by being copycats, the heart of Sony's success,
the innovative spirit and quest of excellence and perfection
cannot be copied. Sony's main task is to integrate its talent
by placing common goals and priority for this increasing
competitive market. Sony also has the potential to innovate
into a company with international operations as well as
culture since it was one of the first Japanese companies to
set up a main branch in the United States. With strategy
and luck, Sony could become a great firm as it was and will

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