A Brief Description of an Organization
In 1984, Apple Computers, Inc. shocked the world with its Super Bowl Commercial, which ended with the words: “On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like ‘1984’” (Mac History, 2012). Later, the company shocked the world again by fulfilling that promise and introducing the Macintosh.
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Although the majority of people at that time did not even know how a computer looked like or how it could be used, due to a simple design and relatively uncomplicated mechanisms, people accepted the innovation. Moreover, it turned the world upside down.
Apple’s evolution started in 1976 with Steve Jobs, Ronald Wayne, and Steve Wozniak, hanging out in Jobs’ parents’ garage. Instead of creating a rock band (which other trios would possibly do in those circumstances) they made their Apple I (Richardson & Terrell, 2008). Later, Ronald Wayne sold his part of newly created Apple, and Steve Wozniak left Apple as well, what made Steve Jobs the only leader.
During the years of its existence, Apple Company has experienced many ups and downs. Still, it remains one of the richest and the most valuable organizations in the world. In addition to its computers, the company has also introduced the iBook, iPad, iPod, iTunes, which is the media player software, and does not plan to stop there.
Factors Affecting the Performance of the Firm
Even the most powerful organizations have to do something to remain such. Apple Inc. is not an exception. This company operates in the electronics industry, which means that the competition is so intense there that Apple has to consolidate its status constantly and once in a while prove that it is better than others. Consequently, there are several factors that can affect Apple’s performance if it ignores the need to do this.
The pace of innovation and high expectations that people have
As Boone and Kurtz (2012) state, the private enterprise system is regulated by “the invisible hand of competition” (p. 8). Indeed, it is. Competition is what drives the whole system, and the electronics industry Apple operates in does not make things any easier. Since the twentieth century, when the industry appeared, it has been one of the most attractive fields for both talented employees and consumers and received a lot of public attention (Piao & Kleiner, 2015).
Admittedly, Apple has won an excellent reputation due to its unique products. However, because of its exceptional performance in the past, Apple Company has to meet extremely high expectations people have, and that is not an easy thing to do. The task becomes even more difficult in view of the strengths of Apple’s competitors, such as Microsoft, Google or Samsung (Piao & Kleiner, 2015). In comparison with those, Apple evidently has several disadvantages, like higher prices or complicity of its products.
Leadership is another challenge that Apple faces. After Steve Jobs had died, a lot of people began to wonder if the organization could survive it. Still, it did. Evidently, Tim Cook, who is Job’s successor, is not an innovative person.
He is much more of a manager. Due to all of those people brought to Apple by Steve, Tim now has an extremely strong and innovative team, but he has to keep that team together demonstrating excellent leadership skills. Being a successor of Steve Jobs, Cook has extremely high expectations to meet, just as the organization itself.
Finally, the last factor that influences the organization’s performance is the price of its products. Apple’s prices are noticeably higher if compared with what the company’s competitors set. Consumers, in its turn, always try to establish a healthy balance between what they want and what they can afford, which makes price one of the main factors driving demand (Boone & Kurtz, 2012, p. 66).
Consequently, a lot of people just can not afford Apple’s products, even though they would definitely buy those if the prices were lower. In other words, the orientation on middle and upper classes is a tough strategy, considering that the majority of consumers are people from lower classes.
Summing up all of this, I would say that the most critical factors out of three mentioned above are the pace of innovation and high prices for Apple products. Even though Tim Cook does not have the same traits as Jobs, he has managed to lead the company quite well so far. Besides, the change of CEO is only a temporary problem while two remaining issues pose constant challenges for Apple Inc.
Business Actions to be Taken
The first factor crucial to the organizational performance requires Apple to set the focus on innovation. During previous several years, the organization has coped with this task quite well. As a prime example, the launch of the iPod should be mentioned. Although the corporation is associated with computers in the first place, its music devices and tools are what have made it “a pop-culture phenomenon” and have given it a new life (McCorvey, 2014, p. 23).
The introduction of iPad was a turning point for the company as well, even though it happened in times of Tim Cook, not Steve. To enhance innovation, Apple should focus on the diverse workforce and collaborative work of its employees. As Boone and Kurtz (2012) state, collaboration contributes to innovation much more than individuals working alone (p. 19).
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As for the leadership issues, Apple should focus on the positive differences between Steve Jobs and Tim Cook. That is not a secret that Steve was a tough person to work with and work for. As Tetzeli (2015) writes in his article about Jobs, “Wunderkind. Jerk. Innovator. Tyrant. (All of the above.)” (p. 72).
As the CEO, Steve cared about the product, about innovation, about the talented team of workers. However, his way of leading the company was not very people-oriented. Tim Cook’s approach, in its turn, is all about leadership, collaboration, and teamwork. Besides, social responsibilities are better with Tim Cook as well. For instance, Tim promotes charity and donates millions of dollars to charity, what has never been done in times of Jobs.
Finally, as for its price policy, Apple should improve its products quality, according to customers’ desires, if it is not going to lower its prices. For instance, McCorvey (2014) states that Apple Company needs Beats since even though it gets a huge part of its revenue due to its music devices and tools, “iTunes has gotten stale” (p. 23).
Additionally, as Lashinsky (2014) writes, Apple products have become too complicated: “The company promises a frustration-free experience. Today’s reality doesn’t match up” (p. 73). From the very beginning, the organization promoted its products as simple and user-friendly. Evidently, it should come back to that. Finally, the corporation should explore new product lines, which also will compensate high prices in terms of Apple’s revenue.
Boone, L. E., & Kurtz, D. L. (2012). Contemporary Business (15th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Lashinsky, A. (2014). Apple’s Newest Product: Complexity. Fortune, 4, 73-77.
Mac History. (2012, February 1). 1984 Apple’s Macintosh Commercial (HD) [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtvjbmoDx-I&feature=youtu.be
McCorvey, J. J. (2014). Why Apple Needs Beats. FastCompany, 9, 23-26.
Piao, M., & Kleiner, B. (2015). Excellence in the Electronics Industry: The Comparison of the Organizational Culture among Apple Inc., Samsung Electronics and Google Inc. Conflict Resolution & Negotiation Journal, 1, 1-14.
Richardson, A., & Terrell, E. (2008). Apple Computer, Inc.: Company History. Retrieved from https://www.loc.gov/rr/business/businesshistory/April/apple.html
Tetzeli, R. (2015). The Real Legacy of Steve Jobs. FastCompany, 4, 71-76.