Business leaders have a responsibility to maintain ethical standards in their organizations. Ethics define what is good and bad according to given standards. On the other hand, leadership refers to the ability to influence others to achieve goals and objectives.
It is also important to mention that leaders have a responsibility to encourage their followers to adhere to ethical standards to avoid conflicts with internal and external stakeholders of an organization (Henn, p.14).
In this paper, the author discusses the biography of Steve Jobs, how he responsibly used power and his effectiveness in relation to ethics. Lastly, the actions of Steve Jobs which were controversial to his leadership in Apple Inc. have been discussed.
Biography of Steve Jobs
Until few days to his death, Steve Jobs served as the president of Apple Inc. He was born in 1995, and his parents gave him up for adoption. After adoption, his father helped in the development of his skills in constructing electronics. When Steve enrolled in high school, he would spend free time in nurturing his skills in electronics at Hewlett-Packard.
It is while at HP that Steve Jobs met Steve Wozniak, who later became a business partner. After graduating in high school, Steve Jobs joined Reed College, located in Portland. He later dropped his college studies after six months, and attended creative arts classes for 28 months. These classes provided him with knowledge about calligraphy and typography (Biography, p.1).
In 1976, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak founded Apple Computers. They developed the company from a garage to an international company by coming up with innovative products. Apple Computers developed small, cheap, and accessible computers compared to other products in the market. However, Steve Jobs resigned as the CEO of the company in 1985, after he was phased out by directors of the company.
Afterwards, he started NeXT, Inc., and invested a lot of money to develop the company until it penetrated the international market. Steve Jobs returned to Apple Inc. in 1997, and was elected president of the company. He sold NeXT Inc. to Apple Inc. At Apple Inc., he developed the company through his excellent leadership skills, and the company produced the most innovative products in the world.
The latest innovations of the company include iTunes, Macbook Air, and iPhone among others. In 2003, Steve Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He never disclosed the information about his illness publicly because he feared that shareholders would withdraw from the company. Steve Jobs was succumbed to pancreatic cancer on October 5, 2011 (Biography, p.1).
Analysis of how responsibly Steve Jobs used power
As the president of the company, Steve Jobs used power responsibly. He developed leadership among the employees of the company. In addition, he encouraged employees to establish team work programs within the organization. Leadership and teamwork provided good environment for employees to develop their skills. The company developed innovative products after Steve Jobs established team work programs.
As the manager of Apple Inc., Steve Jobs interacted with other employees freely and was able to identify their needs. This was a strategy he used to identify any problems that his subordinates were facing. It is through this strategy that he was able to identify any sources of conflicts. This helped in resolving conflicts within the organization before they affected the performance of the company (Henn, p.14).
Apple has had few conflicts with other companies. Nevertheless, Steve Jobs never established strategies which would cause conflicts with other companies in the market. It is only under normal competitive rivalry within the computer industry where we can some aspects of conflicts.
However, this is normal in any competitive market. Steve Jobs never misused the power of the company as a market leader to get rid of other competitors in the industry (Henn, p.14).
Steve Jobs also used his power at the company to promote corporate social responsibility. He developed research centers to develop strategies of manufacturing environment-friendly products.
Steve Jobs was sensitive about the increasing criticisms about the eco-friendliness of Apple products. To solve this problem, he encouraged his employees to develop products which had no harm to the environment (Henn, p. 13).
Analysis of Steve Jobs’ effectiveness in relation to his ethics
Steve Jobs was effective in his leadership career. Through his excellent leadership skills, Apple developed products which were competitive in the international markets. The company developed innovative products which dominated the global markets. The application of technology at Apple was effective because the company developed the nest products in the market.
The company developed market research about consumer needs in the market. This helped in developing innovative products which matched the needs of consumers. As such, the company was able to achieve high consumer loyalty for its products globally. It is from this background that it can be argued that Steve Jobs was ethical in ensuring that consumers were satisfied (Henn, p.1).
Since his birth, Steve Jobs had developed skills of working with people to achieve results. It is observed that he worked with his father at the garage, and this offered a lot of exposure in developing businesses. His father instilled in him, a sense of entrepreneurship. After learning that he could do better in business than in academics, Steve Jobs established a business partnership with Steve Wozniak.
The two partners established Apple Computers and developed the company to achieve its global marketing objectives. Steve Jobs parted ways with Wozniak, but returned to Apple Inc., to rejuvenate the performance of the company. From this scenario, we can see that Steve Jobs was effective in working with other people to achieve results.
His leadership skills were effective because Apple was able to develop competitive products during his time. This experience also shows that Steve was effective in implementing ethics in human resources management. Employees of the company were satisfied with his leadership, and that is why they never went on strike. Therefore, Steve Jobs was effective in maintaining ethical standards in all aspects of the company (Henn, p.14).
Actions of Steve Jobs that were controversial to his leadership in his company
The leadership of Steve Jobs has been controversial, especially details regarding his illness. The directors of the company provided false information about his disease. The communication process failed to meet the regulations of SEC concerning “full and fair disclosure” of information by public companies.
Steve Jobs was alleged to suffer from nutritional imbalance whereas it was a fact that liver transplant was done to support his health. It is a legal requirement that public companies should provide full disclosure of material information.
The miscommunication negatively affected the reputation of the company. The employees, customers, and other stakeholders of the company have been affected by the miscommunication provided by the company (Kahney, p. 1).
Leadership is an important aspect in maintaining ethical standards in an organization. It is evident that Steve Jobs is a leader who achieved a lot of credit for promoting the performance of Apple Inc. through the adoption of ethical standards in developing innovative technologies. Irrespective of the stiff competition in the market, Steve Jobs developed innovative products which placed the company in a competitive position.
The biography of Steve Jobs shows that he was dedicated to improve ethics in leadership. This was achieved by encouraging teamwork and adoption of technologies in all activities of the organization. Steve Jobs was effective in implementing ethical standards in internal and external environments of Apple Inc.
However, Steve Jobs failed in his leadership activities when he miscommunicated about his health status. This was against SEC requirements of full disclosure by public companies. His actions negatively affected all stakeholders of the company.
Biography, Steve Jobs. Biography.com, 2011. Retrieved 03 Nov 2011 from: https://www.biography.com/business-figure/steve-jobs
Henn, Stephen, K. Business Ethics: A Case Study Approach. New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, 2009.
Kahney, Leander. Apple Broke the Law By Lying About Steve Jobs Health. 2009. https://www.cultofmac.com/12082/apple-broke-the-law-by-lying-about-steve-jobs-health/