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Apple Corporation’s Organizational Culture Research Paper


Introduction

Apple Inc is an American corporation that produces electronics, software, and many other online solutions. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded this company in 1976 as a small company specializing in software products. This company has experienced massive growth over the years to become one of the leading electronic companies in the global market. Its dedicated team of managers, strategists, and employees saw its brand ranked the best in the world in the year 2010 and 2011. The sales volume at this firm has been very impressive, especially because of its unique capacity to bring new innovative products to the market. The management of this firm has been keen on tapping special skills of its employees to the advantage of the entire firm. In this study, the researcher seeks to analyze the structure, culture, leadership, human nature, decision-making, and employees’ goals and objectives.

Organizational Structure and Control

According to Lüsted (2012), organizational structure defines the manner in which an organization is governed. At Apple Inc, the organizational structure is designed into three levels of top management unit. The figure below helps in defining the organizational structure at Apple Inc.

Apple’s Organizational Structure
Figure 1: Apple’s Organizational Structure. Source (O’Grady, 2009)

At the top management level of this firm is the board of directors who are responsible for all the strategic decision making processes. The chairperson and all other board members except three officers hold non-executive positions in this board. This means that other than their role as the board members, they do not hold any other executive position in this firm. However, they play an important role in policy formulation and approving major decisions that may have serious impacts on the firm. The other three board members who hold executive positions are the chief executive officer, chief operating officer, and the chief financial officers. These board members have specific executive roles to play besides sitting in the board as directors. The chief executive officer is the executive head of the firm that heads the firm in its quest to achieve strategic objectives.

Below these top executives are the departmental heads. They include the head of marketing department, head of the logistics unit, head of production department, head of the insurance unit, and the chief accountant. These departmental heads work very closely with the three top executives to ensure that the policies of the organization are implemented as per the desires of the shareholders of the company. Under the departmental heads are operational managers who are responsible for specific tasks within various departments in the organization. As mentioned before, Apple Inc is a multinational corporation that has successfully penetrated the global market. In order to ensure that its operations at the global market run smoothly, the top management has created regional heads under the office of the chief operating officer. These regional heads are located in various continental headquarters of this firm in Europe, Asia-Pacific, South America, and Africa. They work under the directives of the head of marketing department, but are answerable to the chief operating officer. These regional heads are responsible for the appointment and supervision of all the activities of representatives of Apple Inc in various countries under their jurisdiction. The junior most officers at this firm are the employees in various departments who do not hold any managerial positions at the firm.

Organizational Culture at Apple Inc

Organizational culture is one of the most important aspects of organization that the management of Apple Inc has been keen on defining. According to Lüsted (2012), employees form a very important aspect of a given firm. Sometimes it may be challenging to find a way of making them reason from the same perspective, especially for a firm that is operating in a global market such as Apple Inc. Organizational culture helps in defining the behavioral pattern of all the stakeholders within the firm. Every employee is able to determine what he or she should do and what should be avoided when handling various tasks within an organization. This way, the management unit is able to predict the possible cause of action that a given stakeholder will take when addressing various duties.

At Apple Inc, organizational culture is deeply rooted in the firm’s values and beliefs. One of the most important values of this customer is to maintain integrity in all its operations. This value has been instilled in all the stakeholders that it has become a cultural practice in this firm. Maintaining the integrity at this firm does not only involve avoiding bribery but also any other negative practices that are meant to give the firm undue advantage in the market over others.

In its value statement, Apple commits to deliver high quality products that meet the needs of customers in a unique manner. This value statement has defined the behavioral pattern of the employees not only at the production centers, but also in the entire production chain. According to Bach (2007), Steve Jobs created a belief among the employees of this firm that they can be perfectionists if they gave it a serious thought. This belief has had serious impacts on the behavioral pattern of the employees, especially those in the production unit. They are always keen on using their skills to develop unique products that they know will meet the demands of the diversified clients. It is out of this concerted effort of the employees that has made Apple Inc be classified as the most innovative firm in the world for three consecutive years (Lüsted, 2012). Cultural tolerance has been an important practice at this firm. Apple Inc employs people from varied cultural backgrounds. In most of the cases, these employees find themselves working within the same setting, making it necessary for them to integrate in order to achieve a common goal. The management has been keen on championing programs that are meant to enhance cultural tolerance and integration at the workplace. These values have worked closely to create a unique culture at this firm where employees work without any close supervision, and diversity is looked at as strength, not a source of rift within the firm. These forces have played a major role in enhancing the position of this firm as one of the top electronic companies in the global market.

Leadership

According to Lüsted (2012), leadership is one of the most important factors that define the success of a firm in any given organization. Apple achieved its success because of the leadership skills exhibited by its top management unit, specifically Steve Jobs. According to Gillam (2012), it is almost impossible to talk about Apple Inc without talking about the leadership qualities of Steve Jobs. It is important to analyze history of this firm briefly in order to understand the role of leadership. When this firm was established in 1976, Steve Jobs and his co-founders embarked on a serious program to expand the production capacity of Apple Inc. Although the three agreed to share the top management role, it was apparent that Steve Jobs was in control of the firm at this early stage. His management skills enabled the firm to expand rapidly. After a few years, it grew into a large company that had to be run by a board of directors. In 1985, a new chief executive was brought in to help in taking this firm to the next level. Mr. John Sculley was hired as the chief executive because of his wealth of knowledge in this industry.

However, his management strategies created confrontations between the new chief executive and Steve Jobs. At this time, Jobs was the head of production unit. The differences between these two executives became irreconcilable, and when the board of directors came in to address the issue, Jobs was demoted from his post as the head of operations of this firm. These developments forced Jobs to resign from this firm, opting to run his own firm. The era that followed the departure of Steve Jobs was very disastrous for this firm. The leadership under Mr. John Sculley failed to provide a lasting solution to some of the problems that the firm was facing in its expansion program. Mr. Sculley failed to come up with an effective strategy of integrating all the stakeholders and addressing their interests in the best manner possible. He did not stay at the head of this firm for long before he was replaced. Apple Inc realized the real success in the market after the return of Steve Jobs as the chief executive officer in 2007.

As Zylla-Woellner (2013) notes, Jobs was a visionary leader. Under his tenure at this firm, Apple had a flexible leadership structure that was keen to be the driver of change. The management encouraged the employees to be innovative in all their areas of work in order to improve their efficiency and productivity. Tim Cook, who replaced Steve Jobs at the helm of this firm, inherited this leadership structure.

Human Nature and Motivation

Understanding human nature and motivation is one of the best ways through which a firm can achieve success in the market. According to Lüsted (2012), Apple Inc is one of the best employers in the United States because of its employee management strategies. In order to achieve success through employees, a firm needs a system that would allow it to maintain their levels of motivation in order to boost their performance. Having a team of motivated employees eliminate the need for constant supervision because workers will be self-driven towards achieving an overall success for their employer. Apple uses two main strategies to motivate its employees. The first strategy is the material benefits that employees earn based on their performance on a yearly basis. According to Zylla-Woellner (2013), Apple is running programs where every year, employees with exceptional performance are selected from various departments are then given financial rewards for their effort. The program has been a motivating factor to the employees because they know that their effort will always be noticed.

The firm also uses other non-monetary strategies to maintain the employees’ motivation. Before his retirement as the chief executive officer of Apple Inc, Jobs introduced a system where employees are promoted based on their performance. Other than academic qualifications, an individual’s performance in the market played a major role in his or her career development at the firm. The firm has also been using an integrated communication system to enhance free flow of information from the employees to the management and back. This has created an environment where issues affecting individual employees are addressed as soon as they occur. It has played a major role in boosting the morale of the employees.

Decision Making and Strategy Formulation

Decision making process remains one of the most vital management processes in any organization. Like many other organizations, Apple Inc has been using new technologies such as Decision Support System (DSS) to guide the management when making important decisions (Lashinsky, 2012). However, Tim Cook introduced a new system of making decisions that is based on the views of all the stakeholders, especially the employees of the organization. In this system, every sub-department is expected to make decisions that will enhance their operational activities. The decision each sub-department comes up with must be based on the views of individual employees within that unit. The head of sub-department will then draw a report explaining some of the best alternatives to solving a given problem. The report from all the sub-department will be submitted to the head of that department will sit with his panel in order to evaluate the options that each sub-department has given. The head of the department will then compile a report, explaining why a given approach of solving problem was chosen among the alternatives provided. This report will then be presented to the top management unit that will then be expected to make decisions based on the facts presented before them.

Strategy formulation at this firm is always based on the systematic approach that has been defined above when making decisions. The management has always emphasized on the importance of using the information from the junior employees when formulating its strategies. These junior employees are always on the ground, and therefore, they understand the reality in the field. This makes it necessary to involve them in the strategy formulation process in order to come up with practical approaches of addressing different tasks at this firm.

Employees’ Goals and Objectives

It is vital for the management to understand the employees’ goals and objectives in order to find a way of aligning them with the objectives of the organization. The management of Apple Inc has not performed well in this area of management. Although the firm has effective systems that are meant to enhance employee motivation in the firm, there is yet to be a strategy used by this firm to define the employees’ goals and objectives. This means that Apple is yet to find the best strategy of aligning these personal goals to the overall goals of the firm

Conclusion

Apple Inc is one of the most successful firms in the current global society. The success of this firm can be attributed to its effective management structure and a team of dedicated employees. Steve Jobs played a major role in enabling the firm to attain its current glorious position in the electronic market.

References

Bach, B. (2007). Implications of enabling technologies for Apple Inc: Cybermarketing & enabling technologies. München: GRIN Verlag GmbH.

Gillam, S. (2012). Steve Jobs: Apple icon. Minneapolic, MN: ABDO Pub. Co.

Lashinsky, A. (2012). Inside Apple: How America’s Most Admired–and Secretive–Company Really Works. New York: Grand Central Publishing.

Lüsted, M. A. (2012). Apple: The company and its visionary founder, Steve Jobs. Minneapolis, MN: ABDO Pub.

O’Grady, J. D. (2009). Apple Inc. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press.

Zylla-Woellner, J. (2013). Business Analysis of Apple Inc. New Jersey: John Wiley.

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IvyPanda. (2020, June 22). Apple Corporation's Organizational Culture. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/apple-corporations-organizational-culture/

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"Apple Corporation's Organizational Culture." IvyPanda, 22 June 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/apple-corporations-organizational-culture/.

1. IvyPanda. "Apple Corporation's Organizational Culture." June 22, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/apple-corporations-organizational-culture/.


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IvyPanda. "Apple Corporation's Organizational Culture." June 22, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/apple-corporations-organizational-culture/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Apple Corporation's Organizational Culture." June 22, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/apple-corporations-organizational-culture/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Apple Corporation's Organizational Culture'. 22 June.

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