Discussion Board #4

Applying the Concepts(50 points) 
For a number of years, Scott McNealy has been Sun Microsystems leader and champion. Mr. McNealy carried the company through the wild 1990s and made profits for shareholders. Sun produced products that the industry wanted and needed and McNealys presence and vision kept Sun on the correct path. What happened to derail the Sun Express? Instead of listening to those who preached conservatism as the dot.com bubble burst in the early 2000s, McNealy conducted business as usual and with this approach made a big and costly mistake. Sun stock went from a high of $64 in 2000 to roughly $4 today. McNealys leadership styleoptimism, daring, humor, and even outrageousnessthat served Sun so well in the 1990s do not seem to be what Sun needs in the more cost-conscious 2000s. Friends have pleaded with McNealy to back off of his old approach a notch or two, but have failed to sway him. Is there any way out for Sun and Scott McNealy?

Do an online search of Sun Microsystems current status (or see www.sun.com) and review Suns history.  Write two paragraphs reviewing management practices that have helped and hurt Sun in the past few years. [10 points]
Review TWO current periodicals to determine views on Mr. McNealys leadership style and managerial decisions at Sun. Summarize your findings with at least two paragraphs. [20 points]

NOTE FROM YOUR INSTRUCTOR: Students will find an abundant amount of material on the Internet and in current periodicals about Sun and Scott McNealy. The difficulties will also be reported. An excellent source is A CEOs Last Stand by Jim Kerstetter and Peter Burrows in BusinessWeek, July 26, 2004, on pages 6470. Students can also see a Q&A with Scott McNealy by going to www.businessweek.com/magazine/extra.htm. (These interviews are normally carried for some time on the magazines website.) Students should also appreciate the rich history of Scott McNealy and his leadership of Sun. This activity is a good study of how a senior executive can have difficulties in retaining power when economic and managerial decisions become difficult.

Assuming that you were hired as a consultant to the Sun board of directors, write a brief (at least two paragraphs) describing what should be done with the Sun management team. Make it clear whether the management team should be changed or whether economic and technological circumstances have caused the problems at Sun, meaning the current management team can still lead Sun to success. [10 points]
Additional information: 

Please make sure that to number your answers. (I will deduct up to 30 points for answers that are not numbered.). 
Read some of your classmates responses on the discussion board.  Select two of your classmates responses that are interesting to you and post a reply to each classmate. This part of the assignment is worth 10 points (5 points for each reply).

Discussion Board Instructions
Your first post should be available by Wednesday.  Once several classmates post their responses, select two posts that are of interest to you. Then, comment on your classmates answers about any strong points or flaws in his or her answers.
Beyond the parameters above, you may show your own self-expression, initiative, and creativity to the content and style of your answers. Please do not attach a document with your answers.  You will NOT receive credit for documents attached to your discussion board post.
DISCUSSION BOARD INSTRUCTIONS: Post one (1) original response to ALL of the QUESTIONS noted above AND at least two (2) replies to a classmates post in this discussion forum by the Syllabus deadline for this assignment (Each reply should be at least of one paragraph with 4 sentences).
A total of three (3) posts (as defined above) are required to receive credit for this discussion. DO NOT START A NEW THREADALWAYS REPLY ONLY TO ME OR A CLASSMATES POST. Set your browser to Show All, Threaded to help in figuring out what is and is not starting a new thread. Formulate and post your original response BEFORE reading anyone elses post(s). After posting your original response, read all other posts and reply to one or more of them. Remember that this is a public forumYOU CANNOT RETRACT (take back) a Discussion Post.