Larry Ellison - The Source of Oracle's Wisdom

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Case Details:

Case Code : LDEN019
Case Length : 14 Pages
Period : 1976-2001
Pub Date : 2002
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Oracle Corporation
Industry : Computers and information Technology 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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Excerpts Contd...

Ellison's Leadership Style

According to analysts, Ellison was a self-motivated, determined leader, who transformed a start-up into a multi-billion dollar company in a fiercely competitive industry. They felt that Ellison possessed many of the attributes of a true leader - leadership, drive, imagination and the attitude to win. Describing Ellison, BusinessWeek said, "He has spent years transforming himself from a causeless rebel to a driven, disciplined warrior - a self-styled New Age samurai."

Praising Ellison's visionary thinking and flawless business judgment, The Wall Street Journal commented, "At Oracle Corp., not many people get to tell CEO Lawrence Ellison where to get off..... Ellison is a mercurial, headline-grabbing visionary."

Describing Ellison's leadership qualities, Florence Stone said, "Depending on who you're talking to, Ellison is an arrogant promoter who borrows heavily from the ideas of others or a visionary leader who knows how to turn a neglected idea into a stunning market success...

The Other Side of Ellison

Critics alleged that right from the inception of Oracle, Ellison aimed at generating rapid sales growth, sometimes at the expense of product quality. In the process, Oracle had developed a notorious reputation for selling 'vaporware' products, which promised much but delivered little.

According to media reports, there were several instances when Ellison confused the company's customers. Ellison claimed that 'Oracle' had a syntactic optimizer37 while INGRES and others had a semantic optimizer...


Exhibit I: Oracle's Financial Performance
Exhibit II: Oracle's Prime Competitors
Exhibit III: A Note on Relational Database Management Systems

37]  An optimizer helps in searching database information from a number of related database queries.

38]  Referential integrity enables a company to hold back its inventory if required, even on an order already placed by a customer for delivery..


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