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Company Research Paper: Apple Computer, Inc Essay


Abstract

The management of human resource in organizations is a significant influence to the performance that the organizations display. The paper focuses on Apple Computers, Inc. and assesses the human resource practices, the management styles, communication, ethical and social responsibility, and the approach to diversity and globalization.

The results indicate that the organization has had significant success in the establishment of basic human resource principles, and the employees are happy at the organization.

The management style in the organization has also contributed to the positive attitude and satisfaction of employees at the workplace.

Company Research Paper: Apple Computer, Inc

Introduction

The management of human resource in organizations is crucial for the success of any business. In fact, successful organizations view their employees as the most valuable asset. In the current global economic outlook, organizations are using a number of strategies to ensure that they stay ahead in terms of competition.

Information technology is one of these strategies. Its frequent use by almost all organizations on the global front has led to the development of the information age.

Companies in the information technology industry have become some of the largest in the current age, with such companies running some of the largest global brands. Since the invention and use of the first computer, a multibillion-computer industry has been created.

One of the largest computer companies in the industry is the Apple Computer, Inc. that has had significant success in the industry since it started. The company makes billions of dollars in profit and revenue each year. It has featured in the Fortune 500 list severally.

The organizational structure and ideals that the company has established over the past century have placed it among the best technology firms in the world. This paper looks at a brief history of the organization, the human relations operations, its management styles, and communication conflict and credence.

It also examines the application of ethical and social responsibility and the organization’s approach to diversity and globalization. Finally, the paper provides a conclusion on the discussed issues.

Background

Apple Computer, Inc. was first incorporated in 1997 to establish the current organization that is known world-over (Savage, 2013). The company made the first computer in 1976. However, this machine did not perform as well as the second one, which was launched in 1980.

Steven Jobs and Steven Wozniak who were the co-founders of the business watched as the organization grew to a very viable one. It was primarily traded as a public company in 1980 when the initial public offer (IPO) took place (Savage, 2013).

The company established itself after the IPO. Nevertheless, that decade was initially marked with competition from a number of companies producing cheap personal computers. The company also faced the failure of only the third Apple computer that it had made.

The problems compounded and necessitated a change in the management (Savage, 2013). The market in which the company established itself is the PC market. However, there was stiff competition in this market in 1983 with the entry of IBM (Savage, 2013).

The company pioneered in the use of the mouse to drive the computers, with the first machine of this kind being produced in 1984 in the company (Cusumano, 2010).

By 1990, the PC market was flooded with cheap products in the industry, with Apple launching PowerMac (Cusumano, 2010). There were a series of problems in the company especially in the 90s, with an example being the loss of over $60 billion in the period between 1995 and 1996 (Cusumano, 2010).

However, the second part of this decade was a bit better, with the return of Steven Jobs as the CEO to spur the company to productivity. The company made agreements with other companies such as Microsoft, with the acquisition of other companies such as Power School (Savage, 2013).

According to Cusumano, alliances and collaboration with companies such as Erickson and Sun Microsystems were useful in the positioning of the organization into the current position and size (2010). The other measure that Apple utilized to find its foothold in the PC market was the acquisition of other related companies that were not necessarily in the PC market although offering complementary products.

Examples of these organizations that Apple bought include Emagic, Prismo Graphics, Zayante, and Silicon Grail, with most of the acquisitions taking place in 2002 (Cusumano, 2010). The company also acquired the assets of a number of other companies in the industry, thus propelling it to success through the increase in the asset base.

An example of the firms that sold their assets to Apple includes the privately owned ‘Nothing Real Company’ that was involved in the digital image creation market (Moren, 2013).

According to Moren (2013), one of the products that Apple has been known for over the last decade is the iTunes, which the company launched in 2003 for music enthusiasts to download albums and singles. The company also introduced a portable digital music player that came to be popular with the young generation that is dominated by music fans.

Some of the other collaborations that have seen the company rise to the present glory include its alliance with Intel to use its microprocessors in the Macintosh computers, with other collaborations such as Acura, Volkswagen, Audi, and Honda allowing a platform for Apple products to be positioned in the motor vehicles (Moren, 2013).

Partnership with phone companies has also provided a platform for the iTunes service that is provided by the company. The company has continued on its expansion and provision of products that are suited to the needs of its customers.

An analysis of the factors that led to the success of this organization is important to provide a strategy that other similar organizations should follow to be successful.

Human Relations Operations

Several authors have described the human resource department at Apple as being a significant part of its operations. The company has adopted the policy of having employees the most precious asset, as exhibited in the way the organization, especially the management, treats its workforce.

Most of Apple’s employees are software developers and engineers, with this group being among the most highly trained and experienced in its respective fields.

Based on the high competition in the industry and demand for technical knowhow, the organization holds these employees dear, with a number of incentives being awarded to encourage their stay (Lashinsky, & Burke, 2009).

The company offers free meals to employees. Among the most influential of the employees was Steven Jobs who was the CEO for a long time (Lashinsky, & Burke, 2009). Jobs introduced the use of computers in all operations of the Apple Company, thus eliminating the use of typewriters and paperwork.

The employees are also described as being highly motivated and satisfied with their jobs at the company. They do not frequently experience stress out of the ordinary work at the company. The motivators that the company provides to its employees include the presence of rewards for those that participate in experimenting and creativity (Lashinsky, & Burke, 2009).

The management values innovation and its application in the organization, with employees being encouraged to participate in innovation and risk-taking (Lashinsky, & Burke, 2009).

Employees are also encouraged to stay in the organization because of the existing organizational culture that allows them to participate in decision-making at the organization. The workload at the company and its branches is also reasonable.

Employees are only entrusted with work that they can manage (Lashinsky, & Burke, 2009). However, Apple upholds secrecy in its operations, with the employees being frequently involved in the protection of information regarding Apple’s operations (Lashinsky, & Burke, 2009).

Management Style

The management style practiced at Apple has been constantly shifting with evident changes in chief executives over the years. One of the most successful CEOs at Apple was Steven Jobs. His management style was discussed throughout the world.

At the time Steven Jobs took over the operations of Apple as the CEO, the company was underperforming, with the products not being suited for the market and failing to satisfy the demands in the market.

The organization was also facing stiff competition that threatened to affect its productivity (Karlgaard, 2012). Within a year at the helm of this organization, Jobs managed to turn round these negative developments, thus enabling Apple to regain its former glory.

The management style that Jobs used to put the company back on track has been the subject of many studies. During his tenure, the organization managed to get into partnerships with a number of other organizations. Every product that the company developed and introduced into the market was a hit with consumers (Karlgaard, 2012).

Job managed to motivate his employees through rewards, thus managing to reduce their turnover rate. Tim Cook who took over after Jobs faced the challenge of matching up to his predecessor. Immediately he took over as the CEO, he set the ball rolling to ensure that the organization remained viable (Karlgaard, 2012).

The CEO has frequently been described as tough. Unlike his predecessor, his management style involved more of delegation of authority (Karlgaard, 2012). Tim Cook is also described as being tough to employees, with some other observers describing him as methodical (Karlgaard, 2012).

He is said to set high standards for employees and other managers. In meetings, this strategy is known to affect the outcome of any subject under discussion. Employees were divided in terms of the style of management that was observed with the entry of Tim Cook at the leadership of Apple (Karlgaard, 2012).

According to Karlgaard, some of the employees were happy and satisfied with the management style displayed at the organization, with others describing this king of management as tough and unnecessary (2012).

Few of the employees were able to talk about the management style at the organization based on the secrecy that was practiced as a form of organizational culture.

However, currently, most of the employees who have left the company to pursue other interests state that the management style practiced at Apple was satisfactory and that any employee would be comfortable working in the company (Karlgaard, 2012).

Most of the employees were also satisfied with the management style in the organization as a whole, with many of them opting to stay in the organization based on this strategy. Therefore, the management style is sufficient for any employee based on the little complaints from the organization.

Communication Conflict and Credence

Communication is one of the most important aspects of any leader and organizational culture in the organization. At the Apple Compute Company, communication is a key element in the organization since it forms the basis of the industry in which it operates. Apple uses several methods to communicate to its employees.

These methods are applied at the various levels of the organization. For instance, at the highest organizational level, managers report directly to the CEO. The management style that Job left in the organization is mostly being followed. This means that the people reporting to the CEO are almost a hundred (Karlgaard, 2012).

The organization’s management holds regular meetings to strategize and communicate the company’s intentions to the concerned individuals. Another way in which the company communicates to employees and the management is through the advanced network connection within the organization.

This means that managers can talk to any of the employees at any time of day (Tan, 2013). However, communication is vertical and horizontal. In the communication between employees, the basic avenues are utilized. However, where communication issues are official, use of the official documents and notice boards is made.

Conflicts and disputes arise in the organization just as it is witnessed in any other organization. The company has a special way of dealing with these issues. The use of disciplinary measures against employees is applied in the organization, with those liable to punishment being punished according to the laid down organizational rules.

Some of the most common issues in the organization include the sharing of information between individuals in the organization and other individuals outside the organization in contravention to the code of secrecy (Tan, 2013).

Examples of measures that the organization takes include subjection to a disciplinary committee, sacking, and fines (Tan, 2013). However, the company builds trust with its employees through the promotion participation of employees in major decision-making processes.

There are wide consultations within the organization before development of new products. This plan makes employees feel important to the organization, hence building on their trust in the institution (Lashinsky, & Burke, 2009). The communication strategies in this organization are successful and useful as a template for a similar organization.

Ethical and Social Responsibility

Apple has built its reputation as one of the leading firms with respects to ethics at the workplace and in its operation world over. According to Lashinsky and Burke (2009), the work ethics at Apple dictate that employees should exhibit the right conduct at all times.

Apple also has a legacy of maintaining and demonstrating integrity in its operations. This strategy has been a key factor in the establishment of a large market base. The main principles that the company follows with regard to integrity include compliance, honesty, confidentiality, and respect (Karlgaard, 2012).

To ensure that all employees follow these principles, the organization has created a code of conduct that all employees in the organization and subsidiaries in the world should follow.

The company’s website has a detailed description of the policies that dictate the corporate governance besides advising customers on the procedures to follow while reporting issues such as questionable conduct by its employees (Tan, 2013).

A business conduct helpline is also functional. Customers and other individuals can call to report any issues of misconduct. Since some of the components of the company’s products are produced in parts of the world with cheap labor, the factories may not be adherent to the international policies.

To ensure that the organization’s policies are not interfered with, Apple makes these companies and factories producing the components sign the “Supplier Code of Conduct” (Tan, 2013). According to Tan (2013), factories that do not adhere to the codes may have their contracts terminated.

The company also participated in social responsibility. In the last decade, it participated in the planting of millions of trees in areas that have had significant deforestation (Tan, 2013). Apple has also sponsored a number of individuals in the societies in which it works for higher education as well as other levels of education (Tan, 2013).

Diversity and Globalization

Apple is a well-diversified company that majors in the production of various electronic goods. The company initially started with the production of PCs for family use. It participated in the PC market for a long period. However, the last few decades have seen the company diversify its operations, with adoption of other services and products that are not related to their original computer business.

Examples of diversification in the company include the iTunes platform that allows users to buy and download music, the iPad, the iPhone line of Smartphones, the portable MP3 players, and other products that the company has engaged in their development (Tan, 2013).

The company has also embraced globalization. It is among the top global brands. Apple’s products and services can be found at any corner of the world.

The main markets for its products are in Europe and the United States, with other markets also recording considerable growth over the last few years. Apple Computer Company also has offices in over 20 countries. The factories that make the components for the various products are spread all over the world.

Recent Development

A recent development in the organization that has occurred in the past year is the launch of the TV application that the company plans to launch in the near future (Apple Inc. SWOT Analysis, 2013).

Most of the customers and clients of the organization welcomed the developments, with of them most willing to purchase it once it was fully developed. The company also released the iPhone 4 series. This invention generated interest from the traditional as well as the new customers that were anxious to try out the new technology.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the maintenance of an appropriate organizational culture is important in the profitability of organizations. The policies applied in the human resource management and the types of management exercised are discussed as being important in the success of organizations.

Apple is one of the companies that had humble beginnings. However, with effective human resource management policies and management styles, the organization has encountered profitability and growth. Some of the other issues discussed include the diversity and globalization methods used in the organization together with developments over the past year.

The company has applied ethics in its operations. It is evident that it uses appropriate methods in solving conflicts in the workforce. Employees are also satisfied with the management practices at the organization. The above measures may explain the company’s positive performance on the global front.

Reference List

Apple Inc. SWOT Analysis. (2013). Apple, Inc. SWOT Analysis. London: Routlege.

Cusumano, A. (2010). Technology Strategy and Management Platforms and Services: Understanding the Resurgence of Apple. Communications of the ACM, 53(10), 22-24.

Karlgaard, R. (2012). Apple without Jobs first trillion-dollar company? Forbes, 190(8), 34.

Lashinsky, A., & Burke, D. (2009). The Decade of Steve. Fortune International, 160(9), 7-10.

Moren, D. (2013). Apple Goes on an Acquisition Spree. Macworld, 30(11), 20.

Savage, N. (2013). More than a Mouse. Communications of the ACM, 56(11), 15-16.

Tan, J. (2013). A strategic analysis of Apple Computer Inc. & recommendations for the future direction. (Company overview). Management Science and Engineering, 1(2), 94.

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