Sample Technology Research Paper on Why Kodak Failed


             The renowned American farm Kodak was started by George Eastman in 1884 in Rochester.  The firm has been in existence for more than hundred years. The company dominated photography for more than one hundred years (Goldfine & Kenneth 223). The history of Kodak is a classic tragedy of a very successful firm that later failed due to its inability to adapt to a new technology. Eastman was able to improve the camera films. He made small cheap cameras that were now accessible to many amateur photographers. Photography was no longer a preserve of professionalisms in studios (Lucas & Jie 52). Kodak is a company that focuses on imaging. The Kodak has for a very long time offered direct and thorough scrutinized firms which provide immediate and comprehensive with other enterprises that provide commercial films, client product market. Electronic displays, packaging, commercial print, and graphic arts. Kodak, an Eastman Kodak firm, is a United States company that is known for its filming and photography. According to the recent world-class research and development capabilities, solutions on portfolios innovation, and brands which are highly trusted, Kodak is helping its clients to sustain their businesses and also improve their living standards.

Issues Facing the Company

             Initially, the company was able to connect well with their market it produced products that were linked to customers (Jensby 78). The company had a sound marketing strategy with the dominance of the market it was able to lower prices of cameras; this increased the sale of other product like films. The firm advertising campaigns inspired customers to buy their products. Kodak appealed to women who were supposed to preserve important family events for example family gathering and vacations to do business with them. The primary objective of the firm was to create wealth and maximizing the returns. The so-called Kodak moments were preserved by fashionable women. All these factors translated to Kodak dominance in the photography industry. In 1975, a Kodak electrical engineer invented the first digital camera. He tried to persuade the management to invest more revenue in its research and development, but to no avail. On the other hand, the Kodak began when other players like Sony and Fuji introduced cheaper digital products in the market.

            The Kodak management ignored the changes in the digital technology. They thought that digital technology was a direct substitute for film based photography. They regarded digital technology as a temporary event. digital cameras became very popular; they were sold in retail shops next to other electrical appliances. Sony and other forms like Fuji and Canon were now associated with the new technology-Kodak were only associated with the old traditional film photography (Dillon 197). The company has for the last 135 years been using the firm’s logo concerning franchise. The company is anticipated to file a loss. The international company, Kodak, is falling from what is well known in Layman’s language as grace. This means that the enterprise has been operating on profit but of late it is running on massive losses. Kodak is popularly known for creating a mass market on amateur photography which enabled home videos and movies to be operational internationally. For the past few years, surviving has not been a walk in the park for Kodak. The company, which has been in existence for more than 120 years, is now know being buried. According to research, Kodak had employed more than 50,000 workers but currently it has less than 19,000 employees. It’s evident that hundreds of millions are being lost every year and it is now being anticipated that the company will close in the next few years or rather be declared bankrupt. The men replaced women as the primary customers. The nature of the market had changed with the advent of the new technology. Images were now viewed on camera, P.C. or mobile phones. There was no need to preserve pictures-no more photo albums.

Failed Business Strategy

            Kodak’s business strategy was flawed right from the beginning after the introduction of digital technology. The enterprise failed to embrace the technological change that was required for the sake of its survival. Ironically Kodak invented the first digital camera in 1975.But these did not invest in research in digital technology and its applications which they could have developed into profitable products (Mui). They held to their old traditional organization methods and beliefs. The failure has been blamed on the management because of failing to invest in research and development particularly in the policies that concern technology.Kodak now diversified into other industries when they lost the market to their rivals. They entered in pharmaceutical copiers and computers hardware. These new ventures were not profitable. Sony with aggressive and efficient marketing strategy introduced a filmless digital camera in 1981 and soon captured the market.

            But Kodak with abundant resources and talented experts failed to make a breakthrough in the new industry (Lucas & Jie 50). The management thought the digital camera was risky. The funds they could spend on it could affect the sale of its traditional products-cameras and hard films. Thus, Kodak lost the digital revolution due to fear to adapt to new changes. The Kodak employees (residents of Rochester) did not want to move to other places.The management of Kodak did not adequately define and communicate their vision to employees. The culture of innovation was not promoted.The leadership failed to archive integration of external and internal knowledge. They could have integrated the knowledge from their firm and those of their rivals by investing in a subsidiary industry in Silicon Valley. Kodak could have diversified in a small digital company. With managers and experts who were digital literate. Kodak’s success led to complacency. This, in turn, made CEOs hesitate to take risks in unpredictable lines of technology (Jensby 78). There was also the lack of continuity of leadership. The short tenure of CEOs adversely affected the growth of the digital industry. Finances were not well managed. Kodak gave its employees large packages which worsened the financial status of the firm. Kodak, formally known as East Kodak Company has a large and exciting story to tell that originates from 1880. The company’s long and broadening path will be filmed first thus taking the first discovery of OLED displays.

Kodak Management Myopia

The Kodak’s management styles were myopic; it was shortsighted and inward looking. The managers lacked imagination or vision. The emphasis was on their products and services but not the needs and wants of their customers. Kodak’s engineer invented the digital camera but the company failed to invest in it although it had spent billions to develop a broad range of digital cameras (Goldfine & Kenneth 221). Kodak put aside their innovation diversifying into other business. Japanese firms like Sony and Fuji took the advantage by manufacturing high-quality digital cameras. Kodak could not keep up with its competitors in photography. The resections in U.S.A. resulted to reduced income. The firm amused massive debts thereby closing plants, labs and sacked many employees. Kodak now headed to bankruptcy. Kodak did not understand their customers’ needs. Digital was the new business. It was no longer a substitute or an alternative. Pictures were now telling stories in various types of social media. Kodak management followed their conservative, traditional cultures. They were complacent to the extent that they feared changes. They tried to combine new and old technology to prolong their regular (camera) technology. Kodak’s entry into digital technology was not efficient. They manufactured smaller (cheaper) cameras, digitally coded films and photo CDs. This attempt to combine digital and traditional technology failed dismally. The demand for their products decreased.

            Nor did Kodak understand their competitors. These companies had better managers who were more innovative and were ready to take risks. They are not held to habit; the traditional Kodak technology based on the product. They were focused on quality and customer satisfaction (Kotter). The Kodak management was not flexible enough to adapt to the unpredictable digital technology. The management did not appreciate the limitation in their technology. To succeed, they could have answered the following questions: what, when and by whom images or pictures had to be captured. This research could have led to innovation of new or improved digital products.

Kodak competitors for example Sony had better marketing strategies; aggressive advertising campaigns and better networks. Kodak could have taken their market advantage, a famous brand, and a global network.

What Kodak’s Strategy Should Have Done to Survive

            Change is inevitable, and the firm should have employed the necessary steps in ensuring that all matters concerning change are addressed. One of the reasons of Kodak’s failure was the inability to adapt to change (Dillon 197). Kodak’s innovated digital camera but it did not improve it. Other rivals took advantage and expanded to the detriment of Kodak. Kodak could have established a small subsidiary firm dealing with digital products. This should have been run independently from the mother company. The management of the business failed to reason in one voice on how to go about the company that has for a very long time been doing good but it’s now anticipated to fail. Kodak should have used its superior technology and talent expertise to develop its digital technology; it should have focused on customer satisfaction rather than on the products i.e. film (Goldfine & Kenneth 212). Kodak should have studied the market and the policies on research and development; understand opportunities strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats and change according to customer needs and wants. The company failed to embrace technology as it emerged since in 1990 when digital technology didn’t have many players in the field. Kodak should have concentrated in the single opportunity to focus on digital cameras which were not that expensive according to their time, and I am sure they could have attained success instead of the path to failure they are now following. The company could have also embraced the use of Smartphones which are currently being used for photographing thus making the menace of the firm to be more severe.

            The enterprise failed to research on methods of dealing with the rivals (Mui). The firm has been in existence for many years. Thus, they could have known the existing and potential rivals to secure their share in the market. When Kodak was experiencing financial problems, it had enormous resources tied up in search and operations. They could have put these resources together to fight the competition of Asian competitors (Lucas & Jie 53). Kodak should have responded quickly after making smart decisions. Having been a pioneer in digital technology, Kodak should have embraced innovation continuously. They should have studied customer needs and wants. This could have led to new techniques. they should have learned from their mistakes. Kodak leadership should have encouraged the entrepreneurial spirit in their workforce-talented personal like the engineer who invented digital cameras, and other managers should have been invited and given monetary awards. In fact, all workers should have been urged to give ideas freely. The leader should have used participatory and democratic style so that decisions would be accepted positively.

             Kodak should have invested in younger disruptive companies. These new small businesses adapt quickly to market conditions (Kotter). Run by proprietors or partners who are more motivated to increase profit margin. There were such businesses in Silicon Valley.  Kodak should have employed young, dynamic leaders; talented young employees bring with them fresh ideas and innovations. They were also likely to take and accept risky undertakings.

 Kodak should have learned from their failures. Old cultural beliefs should have been discarded and lessons learned which are beneficial to the firm (Goldfine & Kenneth 220). Kodak should have invested in R&D-research and development. This helps the business to make informed, smart decisions using data and knowledge from within the company or out –sourced from consultants or universities. This information could include the following: Product design and development; Products; market research regards profitable; Customer needs; demand and wants; Income and expenditure; Budget estimates; Data from stakeholders and others


            Kodak failure can solely be blamed on the management of the multination national firm which is now deemed to fail. Kodak failure was due to many reasons (Dillon 197). Eastman’s innovation –the camera was well received especially by women of fashion. The firm expanded with retail outlets dotted all over the world (Jensby 78). Kodak’s growth was phenomenal. Ironically their innovation-digital camera became their curse. Kodak failed to recognize changes in the market. Foreign firms like Sony and Fuji joined digital technology. Kodak lost its dominance in photography and could not survive in the digital technology. Kodak leadership played a significant role in the death of the firm. The leadership style was autocratic and bureaucratic. Workers were not motivated and were fired without notice.

            The client’s needs and wants were ignored. The firm used a management style that was myopic; shortsighted without vision (Mui). The company revenue nosedived. They diversified but to no avail. With little profit and a massive debt Kodak made a declaration of bankruptcy in 2012.The large firm was now on its knees humbled by many foreign rivals. Kodak gives us valuable lessons concerning business management and growth of the enterprise. We realize that competition in this world is fierce.  We should be learners always; even learn from the mistakes we make. As business leaders, we should be human; treat workers with humility and embrace diversity in our interpersonal relationships. The company failed to pursue its initial goal of pursuing the objective of wealth creation and maximization of profits.

Work Cited

Dillon, Sara. “Fuji-Kodak, the WTO, and the Death of Domestic Political Constituencies.” Minn. J. Global Trade 8 (1999): 197.

Goldfine, David AJ, and Kenneth M. Vorrasi. “The fall of the Kodak aftermarket doctrine: Dying a slow death in the lower courts.” Antitrust Law Journal 72.1 (2004): 209-231.

Jensby Larsen, Allan. “Service Commodities.” (2016): 78.

Kotter, John. “Barriers to change: The real reason behind the Kodak downfall.” Forbes, May 2 (2012).

Lucas, Henry C., and Jie Mein Goh. “Disruptive technology: How Kodak missed the digital photography revolution.” The Journal of Strategic Information Systems 18.1 (2009): 46-55.

Mui, Chunka. “How Kodak failed http://www. forbes. com/sites/chunkamui/2012/01/18/how-kodak-failed.” (2012).