Michael Dell - The Man Behind DELL

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Case Details:

Case Code : LDEN004
Case Length : 10 Pages
Period : 1984-2001
Pub Date : 2002
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : Dell Computers
Industry : Computers
Countries : USA

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Michael - The Leader

In 1993, DELL faced a cash crunch, because of which it had to cancel its plans to make an initial public offering. It also posted its first (and only) quarterly loss in its history. Michael realized that the company had been growing 'too quickly,' at a pace much faster than the market According to company sources, 'The new order of the business was liquidity, profitability and growth - in that order. 'Instead of wasting time in denying that company had a problem or trying to explain it away, Michael decided to get outside help and appointed consultants Bain & Company. Soon, a set of metrics was developed to determine which business units were succeeding and which weren't. Groups identified as 'not performing well' were examined closely.

If they could be improved, they were informed how they could do so; and if they could not be improved, they were closed down to cut losses. A new framework, which was all about assigning responsibility and accountability to managers, was set in the company...

Leading Dell into the Future

Though Michael had a huge fan following amongst business entrepreneurs and industry observers, he had a fair amount of critics as well. Many interviewers found Michael to be an extremely private person who, unlike many famous business leaders, never spoke much about his private life nor his daily and monthly routines. Analysts commented that this prevented people from understanding and learning from his leadership skills. More importantly, Michael was criticized for being a major reason for the lack of innovation in the PC industry...


Exhibit I: Dell - Milestones
Exhibit II: Organizational Culture at Dell


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