Case | HBS Case Collection | May 2003

Sun Hydraulics: Leading in Tough Times (A) (Abridged)

by Linda A. Hill and Jennifer Suesse


Sun Hydraulics, 32-year-old global hydraulics engineering and manufacturing company headquartered in Sarasota, Florida; confronts tough choices due to the economic downturn in 2001. The company leadership debates how to maintain profitability and reduce labor costs without destroying the company's innovative culture, which is based on horizontal management and has no defined corporate hierarchy. This case includes an overview of the company's history, from its founding in 1970 to its IPO in 1997, and asks students to step into the shoes of Allen Carlson, Sun's president and CEO, to recommend specific cost-cutting actions.

Keywords: Organizational Culture; Mission and Purpose; Financial Crisis; Crisis Management; Manufacturing Industry; Florida;


Hill, Linda A., and Jennifer Suesse. "Sun Hydraulics: Leading in Tough Times (A) (Abridged)." Harvard Business School Case 403-139, May 2003.