Managing a Global Team: Greg James at Sun Microsystems, Inc. (A) Harvard Case Solution & Analysis


Sun Micro system is founded in 1982 by three students during a project and the name of the company derived from the university’s name where they studied. The company starts its operations by providing innovative network technology with the range of products and soon it become a famous and Global IT Solution Company by spreading its operations in 43 countries. At the end of year 2007 it has more than 35000 employees with the revenue of 14 billion dollars which provides the Sun Micro system a significant market share in the industry and it’s globally spread operations the company a significant presence in the IT and Network industry.

Problem Identification

Sun Micro system is operating in such a competitive environment where products life cycle have become short, more competitors are in the market with similar and more précised products and services and customers have become more sophisticated demanding high quality and innovative products and services.

Operating in such an environment force the company to reduce the prices due to the large number of competitors and shorter life cycle of the products increase the input cost due to offering the greater number of high quality and innovative products which results in the decrease of profit margin.

In addition to this Sun Micro system faces another loss of 300K dollar in term of compensation and creates the threat of losing an important and major client when the server of Hs Holding went down for two hours and this breakdown in service results in the significant loss of revenue.Greg James the Global Manager of the Sun Micro system conducted a meeting with its global management team in order to identify the reason behind this break down of server.

Need of the Global Team

 With the increase of its business and clients in different countries the nature of the business become complex and operating in a more competitive environment and dealing with the clients from different countries creates the need of local residents in order to perform better and timely services because the expansion of the business in different countries causes problems for US team to deal with the customers effectively due to the difference in time zone.

This wide spread of the operation in different countries and difference in time zone creates the need of global team. Greg James the Global Manager of the company gather a pool of expert people from Asia, Middle East, Europe and US and designed a global team of 45 people.

It is expected that the success of the Sun Micro system depends upon its global team because all the members of the global team are skillful, expert and have extraordinary talent which helps them to run the organizational operations effectively and efficiently.

Present Work Environment

Due to the widespread operations across the globe and with respect to the nature of the business the Sun Micro system has established an Open Work Environment according to the Open Work environment each worker could work from the office, from home or from any other available place. It creates greater flexibility in the organization and also gives tremendous results because it delegates responsibility to each worker, enhance their decision making power and increases employees satisfaction which ultimately produce better results.

According to the nature of the business and its global presence favors the Open Work environment because it is impossible to gather the employees at one place in such organization.

Reasons behind the Problem

In order to identify the reason behind the decrease in profit margin and the server break down of Hs Holding Greg arrange a meeting with his global team. Instead of finding a proper reason behind the server down and of not immediate action taken in order to solve the problem Greg find himself in a distributed work. He finds that there are several reasons behind this crisis. The following are the reasons behind the problem.

Working Environment

The Sun Micro system is operating in a global and competitive environment. In order to cope with the needs of the business it develops an Open Work system which enables the employees to work from their suitable place.

 It creates a greater flexibility but after arranging a meeting with the global network team Greg comes to know that in addition to certain benefits Open Work Environment also has disadvantage and due to this working environment there is a less interaction between the members of global network team among each other either they are belonging to same region or from different region.........................

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