Akio Morita - The Man Who Made Sony

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Case Details:

Case Code : LDEN005
Case Length : 12 Pages
Period : 1921-1994
Pub Date : 2002
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Sony
Industry : Consumer Electronics
Countries : Japan

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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"Morita, a brilliant marketer, transformed Sony into an international presence. In the process, he matured into an irresistibly charismatic advocate of Japan's business interests."

- John Nathan in 1999.

"Morita was instrumental in leading Sony in the areas of marketing, globalization, finance and human resources. Morita also spearheaded Sony's entry into the software business and he contributed to the overall management of the company."

- www.sony.com.


In 1994, Akio Morita (Morita), the co-founder of Sony Corporation (Sony), resigned from the post of the Chairman, following a paralytic stroke. Morita had spent almost half a century with the company, during which he positioned Sony as the world's most successful consumer electronics company. Acknowledging his contributions, an analyst remarked, "He had personally played a leading role in transforming Japan's economy from post-World War II shambles to a superior player in the global marketplace."

In 2002, Sony was ranked 37 on the Fortune 500 global list, with revenues of $60.61 billion. Under Morita's leadership, Sony continuously innovated new products and technologies.

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The company also adopted innovative marketing strategies and introduced many new products like compact discs, digital audiotapes, mini discs, PlayStations, DVDs, MPS Memory sticks, etc.

Sony became a product leader and was also considered one of the most creative and innovative companies in the world. Morita was credited with the creation of Sony's most popular innovation - 'Sony Walkman' - the portable tape recorder.

He was also credited with many other innovative products. By blending the western style of management with the Japanese style, Morita was able to provide considerable competitive advantage to Sony.

Morita was an excellent marketer, who emphasized the need for brand building of Sony's products.

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