Sony Corporation’s organizational culture puts customer satisfaction at the core. A firm’s corporate culture determines the habits, values and traditions inculcated in human resources. Sony’s organizational culture affects corporate employees, as well as the employees in the company’s subsidiaries in the electronics, gaming, entertainment and financial services industries. Thus, cultural characteristics are significant in establishing a unified organization toward influencing the direction of human resource development and performance. Through its organizational culture, Sony maximizes its workers’ effectiveness in satisfying customers’ preferences and expectations.
In applying its organizational culture, Sony Corporation trains and maintains its human resources to satisfy customers. Sony’s success is partly due to the effectiveness of the characteristics of this corporate culture in connecting the company with its target customers.
Features of Sony’s Organizational Culture
Sony states that its organizational culture is synonymous to customer satisfaction, as highlighted in its Customer Satisfaction Campaign known as CS21. This emphasis on customer satisfaction shows the company’s efforts in understanding and addressing what customers need or want. Considering three factors (customer’s viewpoint, voice of customer, and customer’s expectation), the following characteristics are the pillars of Sony’s organizational culture:
- Reliable (customer’s viewpoint & customer’s expectation)
- Credible (customer’s viewpoint & voice of customer)
- Cordial (voice of customer & customer’s expectation)
Reliable. The reliability of employees is a cultural characteristic that enables Sony Corporation to consider customers’ viewpoints and address customers’ expectations. This feature of the organizational culture increases customer satisfaction by ensuring that employees are capable of addressing customers’ needs and inquiries about the company’s products. For example, Sony’s product design and development processes for the PlayStation are mainly based on customers’ perspectives and expectations in gaming. In this way, the corporate culture helps match the company’s output to market demand.
Credible. This feature of Sony’s organizational culture is based on knowledge and skills necessary to satisfy customers. Customers’ viewpoint and the voice of customers are factors that compel the company to ensure credibility in its human resources. For example, based on customers’ perspectives and feedback, Sony develops training programs to improve standards and procedures. HR training and development programs reinforce the corporate culture through a credible workforce.
Cordial. Cordiality meets concerns at the intersection of two factors: the voice of customers and customers’ expectations. This characteristic of Sony Corporation’s organizational culture facilitates warm and friendly relations between employees and customers. Higher customer satisfaction is a result of this cultural feature. For example, personnel’s cordiality makes customers feel welcome at Sony Stores, thereby increasing the probability of sales. Thus, Sony’s corporate culture is a way to retain customers in the electronics, gaming, entertainment and financial services markets.
Sony’s Organizational Culture: Advantages & Disadvantages
An advantage of Sony’s organizational culture is that its emphasis on customer satisfaction leads to higher customer retention. Satisfied customers are more likely to purchase from the company again. Another advantage is that the organizational culture has a positive impact on Sony’s employees. For example, the characteristics (reliability, credibility and cordiality) are exercised not just toward customers, but also between employees. This cultural condition improves employee morale and organizational effectiveness.
Sony Corporation’s organizational culture has the disadvantage of limited focus on innovation. Even though the company is innovative and its cultural considerations focus on what customers want, there is a lack of institutionalized support for innovation through the corporate culture. In this regard, a recommendation is to implement adjustments to add focus on innovative behavior among Sony’s employees. For example, the company can add a feature that encourages employees to develop innovative ideas to satisfy customers’ specific demands. In this way, the organizational culture would facilitate product development to support Sony’s generic and intensive growth strategies. The addition of innovation as a cultural characteristic also helps fulfill Sony’s mission statement and vision statement.
- Alvesson, M., & Sveningsson, S. (2015). Changing organizational culture: Cultural change work in progress. Routledge.
- Guiso, L., Sapienza, P., & Zingales, L. (2015). The value of corporate culture. Journal of Financial Economics, 117(1), 60-76.
- Hartnell, C. A., Kinicki, A. J., Lambert, L. S., Fugate, M., & Doyle Corner, P. (2016). Do similarities or differences between CEO leadership and organizational culture have a more positive effect on firm performance? A test of competing predictions. Journal of Applied Psychology, 101(6), 846.
- Huhtala, M., Tolvanen, A., Mauno, S., & Feldt, T. (2015). The associations between ethical organizational culture, burnout, and engagement: A multilevel study. Journal of Business and Psychology, 30(2), 399-414.
- Levin, A. (2014). The Most Important Lessons You can Learn from the Sony Hack. Forbes.
- Sony Corporation Form 20-F.