Management Hall of Fame
Most Respected Management Gurus

Akio Morita
Sony Inc: Innovation as Global Enterprise (1921-1999)

  • "All you need is the best product in the world, the most efficient production in the world, and global marketing." (Akio Morita)

Key Work

  • Akio Morita graduated from Osaka Imperial University in 1944.
  • Trained as a physicist, Morita was an officer in the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II.
  • Electrical engineer, with virtually no experience, co-founded a small company TTK (Tokyo Tshushin Kyogu) with a prototype for a rice cooker.
  • Traveled to United States to license transistor technology.
  • Developed World's first all-transistor television then grew into the Sony electronics
  • After the war, on May 7, 1946, Morita and Ibuka founded Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo K.K (Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation, the forerunner to Sony) with about 20 employees and initial capital of ¥190, 000. Ibuka was 38 years old, Morita 25. Morita's family invested in Sony during the early period and was the largest shareholder.
  • In 1949, the company developed magnetic recording tape and in 1950, sold the first tape recorder in Japan. In 1957, it produced a pocket-sized radio (the first to be full-transistorized) and a year later renamed itself Sony (sonus is Latin for sound, and Sonny-boys is Japanese slang for "whiz kids"). In 1960 it produced the first transistor television in the world.
  • In 1961, Sony Corporation of America was the first Japanese company to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
  • Produced "Walkman", best seller, making music portable
  • Produced its first CD players.
  • In 1989, Sony bought Columbia Pictures. Sony enters Hollywood, music production and  global media
  • On November 25, 1994, Morita announced his resignation as Sony chairman, after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage.

Sony gave the world today's most innovative electronic technologies, from the portable transistor radio to the Sony Playstation. Like few others, it was Akio Morita's  innovation and globalization agenda that made Japan one of the leading industrial countries.

See also

Lesson: It takes few leading men to transform a war torn economy into a world leading economic power

Books & References:

  • Akio Morita, with Edwin M. Reingold and Mitsuko Shimomura. Made in Japan: Akio Morita and Sony. New York: Dutton, 1989.
  • Akio Morita (Co-Author) and Shintaro Ishihara. The Japan That Can Say No (Simon & Schuster, 1991
  • Nathan, John. Sony : The Private Life. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 2001.
  • Made in Japan Akio Morita and Sony
    by Akio Morita; Edwin M Reingold; Mitsuko Shimomura
  • Preparing Tomorrow's Business Leaders Today. by Peter F Drucker; New York University. Graduate School of Business Administration.
    Language:   Publisher: Englewood Cliffs, N.J., Prentice-Hall [1969]
  • Destinies Shared: U.S.-Japanese Relations by Paul Gordon Lauren; Raymond Finlay Wylie Publisher: Boulder : Westview Press, 1989.
  • The Book of Management Wisdom: Classic Writings by Legendary Managers
    by Peter Krass Publisher: New York ; Chichester : Wiley.

Additional Resources:


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