Managing Leadership and Influence Forces (Samsung vs Sony)

The article under consideration is titled “Samsung Moving Phone Engineers a Lesson in Speed for Sony”; it was written by Pavel Alpeyev and Grace Huang and was posted in Bloomberg Business Week on November 18, 2014. The article has some quite interesting lessons, both to Sony Corp. and to the readers. Samsung Electronics Co. made a quick decision to move its engineers from the mobile phone division. These engineers were allocated to the push of Internet products. The company made a staggering profit in just a month after making this decision. The operating profit was up to $1.6 billion in just three months since September.

Samsung Electronics Co. showed Sony Corp. the value of making decisions speedily and without wasting precious time. Sony Corp., on the other hand, struggled to stay flexible in the ever-changing market, and it showed slow progress in reviving the phone unit since it bought Ericsson AB’s share. A lesson in fast and effective decision-making is the highlight here. Samsung was able to make a decision and act upon it quickly. In the article, Goyal notes that at Samsung, the decisions of the chairman are always implemented fast.

When a policy or an idea seems to be working even just a little bit, Samsung switches gears and handles it with much aggression and speed, shifting their resources into it to make it work very fast. This method of operating is quite risky, especially if a company shifts resources and people to work on something that initially showed little progress only for it to fail. The losses would be enormous. However, Samsung has shown its willingness to take up risks and has been awarded accordingly. A lesson in risk-taking comes out clearly here; unless managers take the necessary risks required for a company to work, they may not receive returns.

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Aside from the effective decision-making skills employed at Samsung, the leadership strategy seems to have worked for them. Samsung operates on a family-controlled kind of leadership, which has worked for them rather effectively. It is important for every company to find that one leadership strategy that will work best considering the conditions surrounding the company and implement it fully. It is also important not to constantly waver and change the leadership techniques employed in order to establish confidence in the management.

At Samsung, all the profits made since September and the many decisions being made all took place in the absence of its Chairman Lee Kun Hee who has been hospitalized since May. The company has been operating under the leadership of Lee Jae Yong, Chairman Lee’s son. This Internet push was one of Lee’s major initiatives under his leadership. He has continued his father’s trend at good leadership skills. A good lesson here is that the absence of an influential leader should not cause the collapse or slowing down of the company’s progress. It is important to nurture others, especially young talents, within the company in case the current leaders are incapacitated or when they are no longer able to work. This will ensure that the firm will still move on at the same pace as before or at an even higher growth rate. Entrusting the reigns of leadership to others is important for they may do greater things and come up with greater ideas that will take the company ahead in the industry.


Alpeyev, P., & Huang, G. (2014). Samsung moving phone engineers a lesson in speed for Sony. Bloomberg Business Week. Retrieved from Samsung Moving Phone Engineers a Lesson in Speed for Sony

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