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Copy of Team Bravia - Sony BPE and the Introduction of Business Teams

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Mohamad Amin Zakaria

on 8 April 2014

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Transcript of Copy of Team Bravia - Sony BPE and the Introduction of Business Teams

Team Bravia
Sony BPE and the Introduction of Business Teams
Before the introduction of the Business Teams, Sony BPE encompass of a divisional geographic structure. A divisional geographic structure is a structure whereby the particular divisions of an organization are divided according to the individual requirements of each location in which the company operates (Jones, 2007). Furthermore, it is a more decentralized structure whereby the span of control is increasingly widespread than in the more basic functional structure. This implies that there is increased bottom-up communication, thus, improving relations between functions.
The most ideal organizational structure for Sony to utilize during this phase is the divisional geographic structure. This is because Sony had a continuous and steady expanding global customer base, implying that they had to cater for the particular needs and requirements of that specific geographic (Jones, 2013).
Sony served a variety of customer bases and operated in a number of geographic regions; ergo they are operating with a divisional structure. This is a more decentralized type of operation where each division functions much like its own separate company. This type of operation format offers certain advantages and disadvantages.
Before the Introduction of Business Teams
Under the leadership of Miles Flint in April 1997, business teams were established. The structure of Sony BPE transformed to a matrix structure – a structure where individuals and resources are categorized in two ways concurrently: by function and by project or product (Jones, 2007). Sony BPE was divided into 12 separate business teams that were entirely accountable for its functioning of product groups (Quintane & Mol, 2007). Sony BPE is a flat organization, having minimal hierarchical levels within each function and decentralized authority.
More specifically, Sony BPE is a multi-divisional matrix structure – a structure that allows for more integration between corporate and divisional managers and between divisional managers (Jones, 2007). Sony BPE changed from a central-product focus with country-level profit centers to a European business focus with European profit centers (Quintane & Mol, 2007). European Business Team Heads replaced Product Group Heads at country level with the responsibility of managing a range of product over a region (Quintane & Mol, 2007). Each business team consists of members who are responsible for their own range of products and customers. In addition, they outline their own Pan-European strategy with the objective of accomplishing leadership in the market (Quintane & Mol, 2007). Nonetheless, role and authority relationship is rather vague as team members are given more responsibility than formal authority; compelled to collaborate to complete the task.
After the Introduction of Business Teams
Sony's New Business Structure: Problems and Methods to Overcome
Sony BPE has benefited from having realized that change means seizing every opportunity, even the ones wrought by adversity.
Change is an absolutely critical part of business. The number of important changes taking place in the structure of the world industry will influence the prospects for success of most organizations’ strategies. For instance, Sony, implemented major changes such as shifting from labor-intensive to capital-intensive industry and from multinational to multilocal companies (Ohmae, 1982). In this case, the area of concentration is on Sony BPE before and after the introduction of business teams by highlighting its advantages and disadvantages, difficulties encountered and ways to overcome it during this phase.
An advantage of a divisional structure is that each division can operate as a separate, independent unit without having to rely heavily upon top management of the organization. Divisions typically have their own separate management structure that allows them to make decisions quickly, often without the need for approval from others. Divisions have their own equipment, suppliers and resources, which allows for more independent method of operation.
However, a potential disadvantage of a divisional organizational structure is that it may be more expensive to operate. Since each division operates as a separate entity, it requires its own resources, as sharing resources among divisions may not always be concrete. Hence, resulting in a repetition of resources that might not be present in a more centralized structure. Divisional organizations need to ensure that each division is allocated the specific resources essential for achieving its objectives, whilst finding methods to minimize cost.
Advantages and Disadvantages
An advantage of the matrix structure is that business teams can reduce functional barriers and overcome the problem of subunit coordination. Besides that, communication between functional specialists is more exposed, hence, providing the opportunity for members of business teams from different functions to learn from one another and develop their skills. Sony BPE will also be able to use the skills of its specialized members by reassigning them efficiently and effectively to different business teams where their skill is required.

Conversely, the drawback of this structure is it lacks a control structure, which permits business team members to acquire stable expectations of each other. Furthermore, it lacks a well-defined hierarchy, thus, leading to disagreements between functions and product teams over the utilization of resources. Therefore, it is vital that business teams need to be managed meticulously to preserve their flexibility.
The introduction of business teams triggered resistance within Sony BPE (Quintane & Mol, 2007). To ensure that a smooth transition to the business structure, Sony BPE’s top management altered the organizational culture, aligning it with the behavior of its employees and the new organizational goals (Quintane & Mol, 2007). Sony established a ‘Eurograduate’ program in 1999, where European graduates were recruited for two years to give them business experience, training, mentoring and social entrepreneurship (Sony UK, 2013).
To reduce resistance within the organization, Sony BPE’s employees have to understand – in their heads and hearts – why change is necessary and where the change is taking them. Sony BPE should actively hire and promote only true believers and get-on-with-its in order for change to happen efficiently. Also, keeping resisters in the organization is harmful as they foster an underground resistance and lower the morale of the people who support change. Thus, Sony BPE should ferret out and remove the resisters, even if their performance is satisfactory.
Moreover, Sony BPE encountered emerging competitive threats. Sony BPE should capitalize on obvious opportunities. When a competitor fails, Sony BPE should move in on their customers. When a new technology emerges, Sony BPE should invest in it and create product line extensions.
Sony Group Organizational Chart
About Sony’s ‘Eurograduate Program’. Sony UK. [ONLINE]. Accessed 19 April, 2013 at: http://www.sony.co.uk/hub/european-graduate-programme/2

About Sony Organizational Chart. Sony. [ONLINE]. Accessed 17 April, 2013 at: http://www.sony.net/SonyInfo/CorporateInfo/Data/organization.html

Jones, G.R. (2007). Organizational Theory, Design, and Change. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.

Jones, G.R. (2013). Organizational Theory, Design, and Change (Global ed.). Essex, England: Pearson Education Limited.

Ohmae, K. (1982). The Mind of the Strategist. United States of America: McGraw-Hill, Inc.

Quintane, E. & Mol, J. (2007). ‘Sony BPE and the Introduction of Business Teams. Teaching Case, Department of Management & Marketing, University of Melbourne.
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