Apple’s Management and Leadership Apple’s Management and Leadership Apples management and leadership have taken the small company in Silicon Valley and transformed it into a multinational conglomerate. From the time of its inception, Apple’s innovation has delivered the personal computer, the Graphical User Interface, the world’s most popular portable music devices and favorite cellular phone. The creation of these products only illustrates part of the success of Apple’s management; the other would be the successful integration into the lifestyle of cultures around the world.
Apple has molded the face of personal computing at a global level with its strong and visionary leadership, ability to remain innovative, and its ability to maximize globalization will remain a dominant force organizationally. This paper will investigate Apple’s management and leadership, their responsibility in creating and maintaining a healthy organizational culture, the effect of globalization and management across borders and will recommend two strategies to maintain their healthy organizational culture. Management and Leadership
Friends Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak established Apple Computer Incorporated in 1976 in California’s famous Silicon Valley (Apple Bios, 2010). The company initially made custom circuit boards for people who wanted to build their own computers. Between Jobs marketing genius and Wozniak’s technical expertise the two realized the potential of the computer and with a little work they created a whole new market; personal computers (Schneider, 2010). Though the beginnings were fairly humble with only $1300 for startup (Funding Universe, 2010) which would soon change.
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In 1977 the Apple II Personal Computer launched, grossing 2. 7 Million its first year and growing to over $200 million in three years (About. com, 2010). Apple has since revolutionized the world with its personal computing products and creative marketing. Apple’s management has been as innovative in the growth of this global organization as their products have been. A quick glance would leave one to think this Apple is ripe, but the company has only recently started to bloom. Expanding into European and Asian markets in 2003 they have made a steady climb every year, but still have claimed only ive percent of the Windows PC market (Yarrow & Angelova, 2010). To examine the leadership of Apple is to look to its original marketing director, Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs was the visionary force at Apple, determining the company’s vision and orchestrating its implementation. He lured executives as John Sculley away from Pepsico (Costello, 2010) and raised funding from former Intel Marketing Director Mike Markkulla Junior (Wikipedia, 2010). The team entered 1984 with a revolutionary new line, the Macintosh. The Macintosh was the first computer to use a graphic user interface.
When the company initially launched the Macintosh, it rolled out with a commercial based on George Orwell’s novel 1984 with Apple representing the heroic rebel struggling for freedom (Costello, 2010). The captor was widely recognized as IBM’s business based computer and in the commercial the new Macintosh was destroying the IBM world. Directed by Ridley Scott the commercial cost nearly 1. 5 million, and only aired once in 1983 on a small unknown station to make it eligible for film awards, but news and talk shows replayed it everywhere (Bellis, 2010).
Unfortunately, the Macintosh was not well equipped with programs for the business side of the market and though the GUI interface was well received, the company slumped, high tensions between Sculley and Jobs increased, which ultimately lead to a board decision 1985 to give Sculley control of the company, Jobs quite (Schneider, 2010). This proved to be a bad move for Apple’s board of directors, they were left with management but lacked Jobs visionary leadership.
This management continued to perform the daily task, making small improvements, they struggled to hold to its small market share as well as its internal talent and managed to do so only because of its small but loyal following. Though Jobs was no longer at Apple in a management position, he retained his seat on the board and had continued to work on an advanced operating system; this new system would become Apples biggest advance in their operating system since the GUI. This software platform would become the new OSX platform and pave the way for Jobs return to Apple in December 1996 (Schneider, 2010).
In early 1997 the effects of Jobs leadership were already being felt at Apple as Jobs announced that Apple would start to sell their computers online, and within one week of its launch it was the third largest e-commerce site on the Internet (Schneider, 2010). Inspired by the success Apples board of directors decided to give Jobs the reigns as CEO. The decision to bring Jobs back to Apple and to make him CEO has proven in large to be Apples keys to success. Jobs technical knowledge and innovative thinking have pushed Apple ahead in product development and brought to market the iMac, the iPod, and the iPhone.
Jobs understanding of the importance of design and aesthetics have also been felt by Apple and the global market. He has driven the development of functional and elegant products and this leadership has earned Apple and its products a devoted following. Creating a Healthy Organizational Culture In 1984 Bill Gates had caught a glimpse of Apples first GUI product called Lisa, immediately realizing the potential he reworked Microsoft Windows and pitched the platform to IBM (Bellis, 2010). This action quickly developed into threats of a lawsuit between Apple and Microsoft over infringement of copyright, patent, and trade secrets.
Knowing that they had overstepped their bounds, Microsoft quickly proposed a license agreement that would allow Microsoft to use similar structures such as tiled windows, a mouse pointer and drop down menus, Apple agreed (Bellis, 2010). In 1987 Microsoft released Windows 2. 0, having the look and feel of a Mac. Apple took Microsoft to court for 170 infringements of copyrights, patents and trade secrets. The court ruled that the license agreement given to Microsoft granted the legal right to develop and market the Mac drop down menus, the floating windows and the mouse point and click environment.
Furthermore they ruled in favor of Microsoft on all 170 infringements (Bellis, 2010). This judgment helped surrender Apples technological lead in the computer industry, cost the company potential revenues and forced layoffs. No doubt these events affected the corporate culture at Apple, to this day the company is very secretive of any development the organization works on and takes its secrecy so seriously that employees are timid to give out any information on the company at all.
Some authors voice their frustration claiming that employees back out of interviews, refuse to give any detailed information and even refuse to give their name for fear that the company will discover them and take action (Morrison, 2010). Despite this supposed fear, the employees understand the potential consequences financially if product information is leaked; this understanding develops trust in Jobs leadership and with the company’s success in every market it enters reinforces this trust.
Apple’s corporate catch phrase is “Think Differently” (Apple, 2010) and the company has proven to do so by ignoring trends and market research analysis, and triumphantly resisting pressure from other large corporate conglomerates while continuing to increase profitability and bring revolutionary products to market. In his younger years before Apple Steve Jobs had taken a trip to India and returned with his head shaved, wearing traditional Indian clothing and claiming he was a Buddhist (Wikipedia, 2010).
This is perhaps one of the biggest influences in Steve Jobs life personally, and though he does not continue to wear the traditional Indian clothing, the Zen influence of meditation and intuition, and minimalism are still very visible in his leadership and the culture at Apple. Additionally Jobs has kept Apples creative talent in an incubator of sorts, deep inside the campus catering to their comfort and privacy (Morrison, 2010). Apples leadership has also brought attention to detail to the forefront, spending tremendous amounts on perfecting minor details in products before they are released.
The creative talent at Apple are highly protected and hidden deep with the camp Globalization and Management Across Borders The effect of Globalization on Apple has been tremendously positive. In 2003 the company started expanding into European and Asian markets with products and Apple stores and has experienced growth exceeding 500% (Yarow & Angelove, 2010). Despite this rapid growth CEO Steve Jobs and only a small handful of his top executives see new products in completed form, the rest of the organization develops small parts of the products they built in different locations amidst Apples sprawling global campus (Morrison, 2010).
This organization continues to hold its vertical structure with the majority of the important decisions coming from Jobs and his small group of senior executives. Apple continues to maintain its vertical structure in an effort to protect its product development and globalization have to add to its ability to remain secretive in this process. Strategies to Maintain a Healthy Organizational Culture Apple has undoubtedly changed all of our lives with its computers, iPods and iPhones, and with its current leadership has managed to create an organization that does indeed “Think Differently” (Apple, 2010).
The task becomes maintaining this innovative corporate attitude to ensure the companies future success. It is clear that most of the success that Apple has experienced because of its innovative leadership and preserving its leadership is one strategy for maintaining its healthy organizational culture. It’s inevitable that age if nothing else will weaken the current leadership. With this in mind, where as the organization and its leadership are strong, plans to train or recruit future leaders, which are aligned with Apples unique culture, should be developed.
These plans should account for Apples maverick attitude and future goals. A second strategy for maintaining this successful culture is to plan strategically. Apple’s products have had profound effects on their prospective markets, decimating its competition; however competitors will watch and learn and begin to implement Apples strategies to compete in emerging markets making strategic planning much more important. Typical strategic planning ranges from three to seven years out and is handled by senior management (Bateman & Snell, 2009, p. 141).
This type of planning will take into account foreseeable obstacles that the company may face and provide enough time to respond effectively. Apples history of bucking trends and ignoring fads can still be maintained, and even some low performing products may be endured if the proper strategic planning has been done. Conclusion Apple’s corporate catch phrase “Think Differently” (Apple, 2010) and their ability to do so is shown in their innovation and marketing. Their innovation, creativity and corporate secrecy all play a part in maintaining their unique culture and will ensure they remain a dominant force globally (Morrison, 2010).
Their strong and visionary leadership has changed computing, as we in our lifetime have known it with inventions like the Graphical User Interface, the iPod, and the iPhone. Apple has demonstrated the positive effects globalization and management across borders has had on the company by its move into European Asian markets. These markets have seen enormous growth and still possess plenty of potential for growth. By retaining their innovative leadership as opposed to corporate management and plan strategically they will ensure their place as one of the most uccessful and innovative companies in human history. References Apple (2010). Bios. Retrieved April 15, 2010 on the Apple website: http://www. apple. com/pr/bios/jobs. html Bellis (2010). Inventors of the Modern Computer. Retrieved April 15, 2010 from the About. com website: http://inventors. about. com/library/weekly/aa051599. htm Morrison (2010). How to Innovate Like Apple. Retrieved April 16, 2010 from the BNET website: http://www. bnet. com/2403-13501_23-330240. html Schneider, Laura (2010) Tech Careers. Retrieved April 15, 2010, from the About. om website: http://jobsearchtech. about. com/od/historyoftechindustry/a/SteveJobs. htm Thomas, S. , Bateman, S. , & Snell, S. (2009). Management (8th ed. ). New York, New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin. Wikipedia (2010). Steve Jobs. Retrieved April 15, 2010, from the Wikipedia website: http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Steve_Jobs Yarrow & Angelova (2010). Chart of the Day: Apple’s Retail Strategy is Paying Off. Retrieved April 15, 2010, from the Business Insider website: http://www. businessinsider. com/chart-of-the-day-apple-stores-vs-mac-market-share-2010-3
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