Inside Dyson Case Study Questions

Dyson is a private company that engages in the development, design, and manufacture of high-performance appliances for different uses. Products from the company are used in many sectors but the company is well known in the manufacture of vacuum cleaners. Coupled with the production of high quality products and private ownership, the Dyson registers supernormal profits from the sale of its products. The Global network and international presence of the company enables it to enjoy substantive market shares in most of competitive markets such as the USA, UK, and China. The success of Dyson can be attributed to unique and strong strategic capabilities that enhance its competitive advantage. The strategic capabilities of Dyson can be analyzed through an evaluation of its value chain, dynamic capabilities, core competencies, and unique resources (Ferguson, 2009).

Strategic Capabilities

Dyson Technology Innovation and R&D

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Dyson’s foundation is built on a distinctive engineering design and innovation with enormous investments in Research and Development. Dyson technology entails engineering and re-engineering of prototypes through the process of thinking, testing, breaking, and questioning (making-breaking-making-breaking-and-making) until the engineering ideas are transformed into creative products. Dyson’s engineers are willing to ‘take the road less travelled’ even if it looks less sensible in order to transform innovative ideas into products. Patents protect the majority of products from the company and hence, the company has an upper hand in utilizing its resources. A clear example of patented technology is the Ball Technology, which facilitates steering thereby improving maneuverability and the Root Cyclone technology that is powerful in separating dust from the air.

Global Networks

Dyson operates in more than 45 countries in the world including competitive markets such as Japan, USA, and China. The transfer of manufacturing operations to low cost regions such as Malaysia and Nanjing in China enables the company to minimize its cost margins while at the same time increasing the company’s profit generating capabilities and hiring capabilities (Ellram, and Feitzinger, 2007; Michael, Ireland, & Hoskisson, 2010). This strategic capability enables it compete with rival firms located in high-cost regions such as the UK and US.

Iconic Leadership and Secrecy

Undeniably, Dyson owes its success to Sir James Dyson, who has an influential figure throughout the inception of the company to its current success story. Majority of company-wide decisions and innovations have been based on his creativity and vision. The company’s brand is tied to his image and it has remained a central brand in promotional activities. Furthermore, Sir James Dyson finances majority of engineering designs and collaborations for the company. Other than providing iconic leadership, Sir James Dyson has been very influential in maintaining the highest secrecy levels on operational matters and the company’s success stories.

Distribution Channel, premium products, and value chain

Dyson has one of the best online retail stores, which is responsible for most of distribution functions for the company. Customers are also willing to pay premium prices for products from the company. Additionally, the location of manufacturing facilities is not critical in reducing costs but also in locating the testing facility near to the suppliers. This enhances UK’s value chain and as well, it increases the potential competitive advantage for the company. This strategic capability is competent in theory for it provides resource and customer value and practical in the sense that it leads to increased revenues and reduced costs.

SWOT Analysis

Examinations of discrete operational activities of Dyson shows that they are critical in contributing to customer benefit and company revenue. The strengths and opportunities of the company include patent technologies, private ownership, high levels of success secrecy, global presence, and value chain, growing emerging markets, the Dyson brand, and rarity of strategic capabilities. The weaknesses and threats are less pronounced other than the threats associated with private ownership, expiry of patent technologies, increased government intervention, and dependency on Sir James Dyson.


Although the management at Dyson has put in place stringent measures to ensure the maintenance of top-level secrecy with regard to the company’s success and operational activities, instances exist whereby competitors can imitate the strategic capabilities of the company. However, the company will most likely continue to outshine its competitors owing to the nature of its value chain, the rarity of its capabilities, and non-substitutability of its capabilities. These factors are responsible for the increasing sustainable competitive advantage for the company (Kaplan, and Norton, 2004). The instances where the capabilities can be imitated include the expiry of patented Ball and other technologies, which will give the competitors the right to use the technologies in their products (Porter, & Cunningham, 2004). The death of Sir James Dyson might lead to lack of iconic leadership and revelation of the company’s success secrets. The advancement in technology might also lead to the discovery of more powerful technologies than those used by Dyson and as well, the competitors might increase their investments in research and development.

Threshold capabilities

I believe that Dyson technology, engineering design equipment, Innovation, and product supplies, appropriate personnel, and development hold the future for Dyson. Increased investment in research and technology will lead to the development of new product technologies that can be patented and grant the company a competitive advantage over its rivals. Equally important is the location of manufacturing operations in low cost regions of the Asia. The increasing labor costs in the UK and US might lead to increased manufacturing costs for the competitors thereby placing the company at an ideal competitive position.

Sir James Dyson

Sir James Dyson has provided the foundation and iconic leadership for the company since its inception. From leading engineering innovations to acting as a representative image in majority of promotional activities for the company, Sir James Dyson is, undeniably, the pillar for Dyson. Majority of company-wide decisions and innovations have been based on his creativity and vision. His demise or departure spells doom for the company because of his influential figure and the ability to provide future directions. The company is more likely to lose its innovative nature and competitive advantage should he die or sell the company. Equally important is Sir Dyson’s ability to maintain success secrets of the company. This has been a crucial factor in preventing the imitability and rarity of Dyson’s strategic capabilities. His departure might lead to the revelation of these secrets to the competitors.

Managing Change at Faslane Case Study Questions

The examination and analysis of managing change at Faslane reveals that there are several changes being pursued at Faslane both involving people, systems, and the organization. Changes involving the organization include re-engineering, leadership changes, structural change, fundamental and incremental organizational changes, and strategic changes. System related changes include the process-oriented change, continuous improvement changes, and benchmarking. Lastly, changes involving the people include personal changes, culture change, and customer-centered changes.

Organizational changes such as re-engineering, strategic changes, leadership changes, and fundamental and incremental organizational changes can be evidenced at Faslane in a number of ways. Leadership change started with the handing over of management responsibilities from the Ministry of Defense and Royal Navy to John Howie and Craig Lockhart. The management team was also slashed from 250 to nearly half that number. Fundamental and incremental changes are evident from the MOD’s desire to reduce costs and improve operational effectiveness of the naval bases and the setting of performance targets. Strategic changes were evident from all levels within the organization right from the decision making process, the management structure to introduction of performance scorecards, and the definition of management responsibilities (Bareil, Savoie, and Meunier, 2007). Re-engineering is evident all over the case study owing to the major structural changes undertaken at Faslane in addition to the implementation of other numerous operational changes aimed at the improvement of service quality, productivity, and customer relationships. Simply put, changes involving the organization can be summarized as growth, transformational, and radical changes (Ventris, 2009).

Changes involving the people entailed influencing the behaviors and attitudes of workers to bring efficiency and improved performance. Majority of such changes occurred because of other changes within the organization. For instance, the process of reviewing change was reduced from 14 days to 2 days and workers within the organization were forced to automatically provided responses within 2 days. Cultural changes involved the alteration of worker’s behavioral patterns with increased sensitivity to pertinent issues within the organization. Similarly, customer centeredness was also allocated higher priority within the organization to ensure that service delivery to the navy was not compromised at the expense of other factors within the organization (Sirkin, Keenan, and Jackson, 2005).

System changes entailed the process-oriented change, continuous improvement changes, and benchmarking. Largely, system changes were aimed at cost reduction and improvement of operational effectiveness of the naval bases and management. Partnership agreements were signed among industrial firms to facilitate the efficient and quality service delivery, and as well promote saving without necessarily having to compromise service delivery. Performance scorecards were introduced to promote the measurement of output from all leaders and attain transparency within the management. Benchmarking was also critical in ensuring that Faslane was heading into the right direction and this was enhanced through the review of continuous improvement processes.

John Howie and Craig Lockhart change styles

John Howie was involved in most restructuring processes within the organization including focus on customer relationships, change in management responsibilities, cost reduction, and reorganization of procedural processes within the organization. John Howie was much more concerned with systems within the organization and structural processes that determined the working criteria within the organization. During his tenure, Faslane managed to beat majority of its targets if not overcoming them. Of great importance were the cost saving, service improvement, improved communication, and change in workers attitudes and behaviors.

On the other hand, Craig Lockhart succeeded John Howie but with a different management style. He was less concerned with structural processes but rather performance improvement and customer relationships. For instance, he was concerned with business planning and measuring business performance where the entire workforce was aligned around the realization of common objectives. Additionally, Craig Lockhart believed in teams and implemented measures that ensured that customers and workers were heavily involved in decision-making processes within the organization. Customer-centeredness and customer collaborations comprised a large portion of Craig’s leadership and management. Eventually, he not only managed to improve relationships at the Faslane but also made it the home base for the entire submarines in the UK.

Levers of Change

Change levers concerning the management of change can be considered in terms of the context of change and type of change. Examples of levers that are utilized at Faslane include changing operational processes, challenging the factors taken for granted, changing organizational routines, understanding the importance of political processes, and surfacing (Cameron, & Green, 2009; Hayes, 2007). These factors explains the reasons as to why change agents needed to adopt different change management styles based on different contexts and as well, in paying attention to the interests of different groups (Carnall, 2007). Both leaders, John Howie and Craig Lockhart adopted different change management styles to obtain the desired organizational goals and objectives in part due to the presented context and the interests of customers and the organization.