James Dyson: The Engineer Entrepreneur

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Case Details:

Case Code : LDEN054
Case Length : 21 Pages
Period : 2000-2007
Pub Date : 2008
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : Dyson Appliances Ltd.
Industry : Electricals & Electronics
Countries : UK; Europe: 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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UK's Greatest Entrepreneur? Contd...

With sales of over 514.7 million5 and a presence in 45 countries worldwide as of 2007, DAL had emerged as the market leader in the vacuum cleaner market, cornering a 46 percent market share in the UK market and 32 percent in the US market.6

Analysts noted that Dyson's journey from launching a Ballbarrow7 in the 1970s to building one of the most successful multinational brands in the 2000s had been anything but easy. There were plenty of challenging moments that punctuated his career, be it in the initial struggles to get funding for his venture or the patent litigation involving a major rival, which came much later.

Leadership and Entrepreneurship Case Studies | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Leadership and Entrepreneurship, Case Studies

Despite all the problems, Dyson managed to build DAL into a market leader in a highly competitive industry.

As of 2006, he was also the 746th richest person in the world, with a net worth of about US$1 billion.8

According to some analysts, Dyson was probably the greatest entrepreneur that the UK had ever produced. Some felt that Dyson was a perfect example of an artisan entrepreneur - an entrepreneur who is a serial inventor and is good at spotting and satisfying demand for practical consumer products. Just as was the case with Dyson, it takes years for such entrepreneurs to achieve a commercial breakthrough, but once they do, they become the toast of the nation...

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5]  James Hall, "Dyson Bags Dividend of 30m," www.telegraph.co.uk, December 11, 2007.

6] "Vacuum Inventor Cleans up in the Cash Stakes," www.city-and-guilds.co.uk, 2007.

7] The Ballbarrow invented in 1977, was one of Dyson's earliest inventions. In 1977, he received a 'Building Design Innovation Award' for this invention.

8] Hannah Clark, "James Dyson Cleans Up," www.forbes.com, August 1, 2006.


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