The name Sony is a combination of two words, Sonnus meaning sonic or related to sound, and Sonny that denotes a young boy. The company officially adopted the name Sonny Corporation in 1958.
- Product offerings
Sony specializes in offering consumer electronic products and gaming systems. The company manufactures many products among them video and digital cameras, Television Sets, Walkman stereos and Semiconductors. This forms the bulk of its revenue. In addition, the company has several entertainment assets such as motion pictures (Sony Digital Production and Sonny Pictures Entertainment), music (Sony Music Entertainment), TV programs (Sonny Pictures Televisions), and DVDs (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) The Company has more than 1,200 distribution and retail outlets across the globe (Nathan & Mifflin, 1999).
- Vision and Mission
Sony is driven by five key principles namely: Curiosity , empathy, integrity, ambition and vision.
Mission: Sony is solely working to create value to its stakeholders, and improve the quality of life for the next generation through its innovations (Nathan & Mifflin, 1999).
Vision Sony must seek new approaches to transform its ability to achieve both sustainable and profitable growth. (Nathan & Mifflin, 1999)
- Workforce profile
Sony current number of workers worldwide is approximately 180,000 as of April of this year. This consists of both skilled and unskilled labor. The skilled include the engineers in the factories, managers in the offices and their secretaries. The unskilled labor consists of support staff. However, all the employees, skilled or not, have to contribute positively towards the company vision and mission statements
Major Sony factories are in Japan, where the company began. However, the company has giant factories across Europe and in the Americas. Sony’s technologies fall into the following categories: OLED Displays, PlayStation, Digital Video Cameras, Audio, Blue Ray Disc Recorder, VAIO (personal computer), and LCD TV Bravia.
- Regulatory Regulations
Sony products and their manufacturing fall under the rules governing the production of electronic goods. Given that the company has interests in the entertainment industry, Sony also follows the rules and regulations governing the Movie and Music Entertainment industry (Nathan & Mifflin, 1999).
- Organizational Structure
Sony has 25 main executives each controlling a certain key segment of the company. Sony has a networked organizational structure. Corporate, strategic decisions come from the group headquarters in Japan. From the headquarters, the company divides into three segments: Electronic Business, Entertainment Business and the Insurance & Finance Business. Mini-segments then arise from these three major segments (Steven 1998).
- Customers and Stakeholders
The largest customer base of Sony comprises of individual home owners. In addition to this, movie and game lovers comprise a significant portion of the customers. Sony has also entered into collaborations with leading companies across the globe; they are suppliers, distributors or key customers.
- Suppliers and Partners
A large portion of Sony suppliers is in the telecommunication and electronics industry. Some of the partners and collaborators are rivals and competitors to Sony. The partners and collaborators aid in manufacturing Sony products and in the production of entertainment products (Steven 1998). The partners also aid in the researching of new customer needs and competitor traits.
- Competitive Position
Although Sony has been in business for more than a century, the company still faces stiff competition from its major rivals both in the electronics and entertainment business segments. Germany’s LG, Panasonic, Sanyo and lately Samsung are the major competitors in the electronics business. Samsung and LG due to their concentration on electronics have been overshadowing Sony in this business. Banks and Insurance companies are also a large rival to Sony Assurance, Sony Life and Sony Bank (Nathan & Mifflin, 1999). Motion Picture companies such as the Twentieth Century, Miramax and Fox, pose a significant threat to Sony’s entertainment Business (Steven 1998).
- Competitive Changes
The major stumbling block to Sony Corporation market competitiveness is the fact that it is in four businesses (electronics, movies, games and business) while its major competitors are only in one line of business. In a bid to improve its competitiveness, the company has been decentralizing all these sections. As such, no business segment is dependent on another. The segments are completely different segments of the same company.
- Comparative Data
The company readily obtains comparative data of its competitors and their business performance. In every business segment, there is a section within the marketing department whose sole aim is to keep tabs with the competitors (Steven 1998). Comparative data for the major competitors and publicly traded companies are readily available since it is mandatory for these companies to release details of their financial performance. The only drawback is that this information is in most cases outdated, given that the rivals release them at the end of the year.
- Strategic Context
Sony Corporation Inc. has a commitment to all its stakeholders. The company understands that it has a responsibility towards the society. Sony ensures that its activities are never harmful and detrimental to both the physical and business environment. The company is also fully committed to the welfare of all its employees globally. However, the company faces many challenges in its quest to achieve its strategic responsibilities. Since the economic meltdown of 2007, the company is still recovering, and has at times struggled to meet its obligations; being forced to cut off thousands of jobs.
- Performance Improvement System
Sony has a commitment to being the best in the market. As such, it invests heavily in ensuring that it gets the best workforce, using thousands of dollars on employee training. Since Sony is in the technology industry, it employs highly innovative employees to ensure that it always comes up with new technologies first (Steven 1998).
Senior leaders at Sony have the task of ensuring that the company is moving forward and never veering off from the set goals and objectives. Senior leaders guide other employees in realizing individual and company goals.
- Values and Vision
Senior leaders collectively set the company values and visions in consultation with departmental heads and experts in the field. The values then flow vertically from the senior leaders to the most junior employee in the organization. Senior leaders inform customers of key decisions through the media. Partners and suppliers get company values and vision directly through the official channels. The actions of the senior leaders are reflective of the core values of Sony (Hamel, 2000).
- Legal and Ethical Behavior
The leaders emphasize the importance of observing both internal and external regulations and ethics. Sony leaders lead by example, first observing the rules, before enforcing their subordinates to follow them. In addition, the leaders have a thorough understanding of various rules and regulations in different countries, which they effectively communicate to the employees.
- Sustainable Organization
The creation of a sustainable organization lies solely on the hands of senior leaders. Sony leaders create a peaceful working environment for the employees by limiting their supervision, basically letting the employee work unless the employee needs the leader. The leaders also stress the need of superb customer service by employing the best salespersons in the market. The organization is continually in a state of learning with both on and off the job training of employees on offer (Tadelis, 2007). Promotion is solely from within the employee ranks to ensure the preservation of organizational culture.
Despite, the presence of leadership levels in the organization, all employees are equal in the organization. Senior management cordially socializes with junior employees to ensure that there is a good rapport between the two (Hamel, 2000). This is in order to enhance a two way communication that is free of fear and animosity. Key decisions are, however, communicated through official channels such as memos, notices and personal letters. Performing employees are constantly rewarded with recognitions such as salary increases, bonuses, promotion and fully paid vacations.
- Focus on Action
Senior management holds frequent meetings with the employees to receive status reports. This happens at least once a week. These meetings give the leaders a chance to identify the progress made, and give corrective action where needed (Hamel, 2000). The leaders always make it clear to the workforce that the focus should always be on the customer.
GOVERNANCE AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
- Governance System
Every manager is personally accountable and answerable on all of his or her decisions. Managers have to write reports of all their actions in the release of their duties. In addition, no manager is autonomous; a manager will always have several managers checking into their operational and fiscal accountability. Transparency in managerial operations is also paramount. No manager can enter into private contracts with stakeholders on behalf of the organization. The audit department is independent of scrutiny from the management (Tadelis, 2007). The company constitution also forces senior managers to give external auditors all the help they need.
- Performance Evaluation
Senior leaders are evaluated on the basis of the results of the departments they head. Compensation is tied directly to performance. On the basis of their compensation, senior leaders take the necessary action to improve their segment performance.
- Legal and Regulatory Behavior
Sony removes from the market any product that impacts the society negatively. The company also stops production of products that are harmful to the environment. Sony also sets aside significant resources to deal with any risks arising from its operations.
- Ethical Behavior
The company has laid down procedures for ensuring that all employees, including senior management observe the existing ethical regulations. Punishments and penalties for defaulting employees are also in force (Tadelis, 2007).
- Societal Wellbeing
Sony is keen not to produce products that are harmful to society. A society focus drives the daily operations of Sony.
- Community Support
Sony understands that it would not be in the market were it not for its customers. As such, Sony is fully dedicated to community improvement and development. Sony invests heavily in education, collaborating with major universities across the globe to enhance education, especially in science and technology. Sony also sponsors community programs in remote areas across the globe such as Africa.