Case Study - Sun Microsystem Essay


This case focuses on the tenacity of Sun Microsystems and the way the company has positioned itself in the computer industry. Sun was founded in 1982 to exploit the market niche of high-end workstations. Initially, the company did not compete with conventional PCs because the conventional PC makers appealed to a different market. However, over time PCs have acquired more computing power, putting them in more direct competition with workstations.

The case focuses on how Sun has maintained its leadership position despite the challenges of increased competition and hefty R&D expenditures. A key part of Sun’s success has been the savvy of its CEO, Scott McMealy. The case also focuses on Sun’s progressive human resource management practices. It also points out that in the twenty-first century, it began to recognize that its future would need to be in web services; however it was late in recognizing that need.

QUESTIONS A). Discuss the definition of “High Performance Organizations”

From the above case study, we could discuss the definition into few meanings such as:

1 – Fully Structure; Every department in Sun Microsystems have made their own research so that they would come out with a good procedure, contingency plan, schedule, efficiency on the step of work that they need to do, safety awareness and etc.

2 – Strong Human Development; Before they pursue with any product and services, they already interviewed the focal person that have the expertise in human development practice on how to manage a company based on human resource management of the workers – Leadership; Every high performance organizations must have a very good leadership skill to guide all their workers in performing a high standard quality of work. For example, what is the different between a boss and a leader? Answer:- When you submitted a work project to your boss, he will returned to you with a comment to do corrections on the wrong or unsatisfied answers but a leader will returned back to you with the comments plus all the guidance and step on how to make it better or excellent. B) Is there anything you would add or delete? Yes, we (our group) want to share on how Sun Microsystems achieved their success in their eras.

This is based on a true story from one of the entrepreneur from the Information Technology (IT) sector that have been awarded a contract to supply PCs from the Malaysian Government in early 90s era. Example: Let say the total price of the PC that need to supply was RM 3Millions, unfortunately the contract holder can’t effort to pay that amount, Sun (supplier) will give all the PCs that need to supply without any upfront payment after a documentation deal have been made with the contract holder and only will receive the payment after the contract holder get it from the client (Malaysian Government).

In this situation we can assume Sun have no fear to risk their payment / product upfront to get this good business from the contract holder. The method of this payment is named “Back to Back”. C) Analyze Sun Microsystems based on the key characteristics of HPOs.

1 – They have a good CEO, Scott McMealy (Strong Leadership); People / worker will do their work to the fullest commitment because they respect their leader.

2 – Practice Progressive Human Resource Development; People / worker will do heir job perfectly because Sun Microsystems applied a win-win situation for all their workers by practicing Progressive Human Resource Development (taking care of their workers welfare) D) McNealey has positioned Sun as a rival of Bill Gates’ Microsoft. How could that have contributed to the effectiveness of Sun?

From the above case study we (our group) could assume that McNealey have taken a lot of awareness in contributing the effectiveness of Sun Microsystems such as:- – Reach Out; Building network both internally and externally that can be called upon for support. 2 – Take Initiative; Being proactive outside of own job scope, identify and seize opportunity for self and organization 3 – Be a Learner; Having learners’ mindset, identify and capture learning opportunities in various situation 4 – Develop People; Motivate others to harness their potential Thank you.


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