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The Sony Corporation: A Case Study In Transnational Media Management

9965 words - 40 pages

The Sony Corporation: A Case Study in Transnational Media Management
by Richard A. Gershon, Western Michigan University, U.S.A.
and Tsutomu Kanayama, Sophia University, Japan

The transnational corporation is a nationally based company with overseas operations in two or more countries. What distinguishes the transnational media corporation (TNMC) from other types of TNCs, is that the principle product being sold is information and entertainment. The following paper is a case study analysis of the Sony Corporation; a leading TNMC in the production and sale of consumer electronics, music and film entertainment and videogame technology. There are two main parts to this study. Part I. ...view middle of the document...

1 This forms the basis for the case study approach as well as supplying subtlety and depth to those portions of the study having to do with strategic planning and new product development. The significance of this research lies in its revelations concerning the complex changes facing a company that was once historically Japanese in its origins but is becoming increasingly transnational in scope and operations.

Abstract The following paper is a case study analysis of the Sony Corporation; a leading transnational media corporation in the production and sale of consumer electronics, music and film entertainment and videogame technology. There are two main parts to this study. Part I. examines the history and development of the Sony Corporation. This paper argues that the business strategies and corporate culture of a company are often a direct reflection of the person (or persons) who were responsible for developing the organization and its business mission. Part II. examines the Sony Corporation from the standpoint of business strategy. Special attention is given to the subject of organizational culture and strategic decision-making. A second argument of this paper is that while Sony is a transnational media corporation, the organization is decidedly Japanese in its business values. The significance of this research lies in its revelations concerning the complex changes facing a company that was once historically Japanese in its origins but is becoming increasingly transnational in scope and operations.

Richard A. Gershon ( is Professor and co-founder of the Telecommunications Management program at Western Michigan University where he teaches courses in Telecommunications Management, Law and Policy and Communication Technology. Dr. Gershon is the author of Telecommunications Management: Industry Structures and Planning Strategies (2001) and The Transnational Media Corporation: Global Messages and Free Market Competition, winner of the 1998 book of the year by the U.S. National Cable Television Museum.

Tsutomu Kanayama (
is an Associate Professor in the Department of Journalism (Faculty of Humanities) at Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan. Dr. Kanayama was the recipient of the Hoso Bunka Foundation award in 2000 for his research in on-line sports media management in the United States.

© 2002 – JMM – The International Journal on Media Management – Vol. 4 – No. 2 : (105 – 117)


Historical Overview
The Sony Corporation was founded by Masaru Ibuka in the aftermath of Japan’s defeat during WWII. In September 1945, Ibuka left the countryside, where he had sought refuge from the bombings, and returned to the war-torn capital of Tokyo to begin a new business. Shortly thereafter, Ibuka established the Tokyo Tsushin Kenkyujo (or Tokyo Telecommunications Research Institute). At the time, the f ledgling company was nothing more than a ... narrow switchboard...

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