Sony And General Motors

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorUniversity, Master's February 2008

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Abstract This paper is about two executives, Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. and Akio Morita, who managed by exception in rather unusual circumstances. At a time when many managers in conventional organizations were moving toward traditional forms of managing, here were two managers who proceeded the other way - precisely because their business environment was so unstable. Indeed, many "experts" on management have attempted to isolate distinctive practices that presumably accounted for Sloan and Morita's remarkable success. The often-unstated implications of such analyses suggest, therefore, that we would do well to broaden our views of management and of risk.

Introduction This paper is about the management styles and philosophies of two executives, Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. of General Motors and Akio Morita of Sony, who managed by exception in rather unusual circumstances.

We begin with the presumption that we know what managers do, but are less clear on the ways in which they do it.

In order to integrate these behaviors into a comprehensive framework, a model of managerial roles (as delineated by Henry Mintzberg) was chosen. These ten roles, as shown in Figure 1, form an integrated whole - a gestalt.

At the starting point sits the manager, defined as "that person formally in charge of an organizational unit." And from this formal authority and status come the three groups of managerial activities - those that are concerned primarily with interpersonal relationships, those that deal primarily with the transfer of information, and those that essentially involve decision-making. These activities lead to ten roles in the gestalt - three interpersonal roles, three informational roles, and four decisional roles.

Figurehead: Symbolic head; obliged to perform a number of routine duties of a legal or social nature.

Leader: Responsible for the motivation and activation of subordinates; responsible for staffing, training, and associated duties.