KeyChanges in Apple’s Management Style from Inception to the CurrentDay
SteveJobs and Steve Wozniak decided to form Apple Inc. in 1976 to fulfilltheir vision to change how people viewed computers. Job and Wozniak’sidea was to make computers user-friendly by creating them smallenough for people to have them at homes or offices (Kane, 2014). Thefirst company failed, but Apple II revolutionized the computerindustry through the introduction of the first color graphics. In1980, Apple went public with its sales increasing to $117 million.Although Jobs had initially left the company, he came back in 2000 asthe new CEO until he resigned 2011, and Tim Cook took over (Kane,2014). The company continues to grow, and the success is attributedto the management style, which has enabled Apple to pass through alltypes of economic storms and fluctuations. However, there has been achange in management style since the company’s formation to thecurrent date.
Theformer CEOs such as Steve Jobs used autocratic management style whileTim Cook’s style is mostly democratic (Kane, 2014). The company isusing a more organized management structure, which emphasizes oncooperation among employees before making any decisions.Additionally, the previous management style involved activeparticipation in developing the company’s products, but this hassignificantly reduced under the current leadership. For example, thecurrent CEO is less involved in the details of product manufacturingand instead delegates those duties to the members of the executivecabinet (Kane, 2014).
Furthermore,the previous management was looking to innovate continuously unlikethe current leadership, which mainly chooses to focus on the productsthat are already performing well in the market (Kane, 2014). Forexample, the current Apple Watch is a development of the iPhonerather than producing an entirely new and innovative product.Nonetheless, the company is properly managed under Cook’sleadership since he pays greater focus on fosteringbusiness-employees relationships and improving the existing products.The new management inspires the employees through an open-door policyand highlights the importance of transparency and teamwork, which isbound to enhance creativity (Kane, 2014).
SeniorManagement`s Role in Preparing the Organization for Its Most RecentChange
Thesenior management should prepare the employees for the recent changesin management style. Sometimes, employees will resist change, but inthe case of Apple, there were barely any resistances to thetransformations brought in by the new management (Lashinsky, 2012).Nevertheless, there were concerns about the sustainability of thecompany’s innovative culture, which was closely related to themanagement style used by the former CEO. On the contrary, Appleexcels due to its innovative products thus, it does not have tofollow one approach since no one set approach will contribute to thecompany’s success. Therefore, the employees understood this, andthey were open to changes (Lashinsky, 2012).
Moreover,the change was seamless since the new style made the company moresocially aware by working to improve the conditions in overseasfactories (Lashinsky, 2012). The management ensured that the newchanges would enhance collaboration between teams in different levelsof the organization. On the other hand, the senior management alwaysinforms the employees of all expected changes in the organization.This strategy has promoted a sense of trust among employees whoembrace the changes. Besides, Apple employees are open to adjustmentssince they want the company to succeed, which is more important thanany personal agendas (Lashinsky, 2012).
AppleManagement`s Decision on Its Use of Vendors and Spokespersons
Apple’smanagement uses the CEO as the representative to announce majorchanges or the launch of new products. The CEO delivers all theimportant news regarding the company’s progress and products at apress conference (O`Grady, 2009). Conversely, the news with lesssignificance is conveyed through a press released by the company. Thestrategy ensures that there is less confusion by showing that thereis only one strong figure in the company who is supposed to deliverall the important news.
Onthe other hand, Apple has numerous vendors and suppliers since it hasoutsourced its manufacturing activities. Apple is deeply committed toensuring that all their suppliers are treated with respect anddignity they deserve. The company works collaboratively to improvethe working conditions, protect human rights, push for higher livingstandards, and provide educational opportunities for the employeesworking for their vendors. Additionally, the company speaks on behalfof the vendors in case of any issues to make sure that there are noconflicting press releases, which may hurt the company’s reputation(O`Grady, 2009).
InnovativeIdea That Could Have a Positive Impact on the Employees and Customers
Thenagain, Apple has been a success in the market, but recently it hasencountered stiff competition from other technology firms. Therefore,the company needs to develop an innovative idea that will have apositive impact on both the employees and customers. Since itsformation, Apple has always been secretive on its operations byensuring that public does not learn about its core businessstrategies (Lashinsky, 2012). Even within the organization, the workatmosphere promotes secrecy among colleagues. The company should usea new innovative idea that will lower the secrecy levels within theorganization. The high level of confidentiality is to enable theemployees to work more enthusiastically and carefully. However, thiscreates a possibility of having different employees work on the sameidea since the customer needs are almost similar. For example, themarket is emphasizing on the production of phones that are slimmerwith more features. Therefore, every technology firm is includingthese requirements in their products to ensure customerssatisfaction. As such, it is possible to find two employees workingon the same idea to incorporate these features and still produce highquality and unique products. In such a situation, it will result in awaste of resources and time as well as employees lacking motivationonce their work goes unnoticed (Lashinsky, 2012).
Hence,it is possible to make sure employees are not working on similarideas if the organizational culture encourages them to share theirthoughts with the colleagues. Thus, Apple will provide betterproducts by combining different ideas using the employees’ diverseskills and knowledge. Besides, allowing collaborative workenvironment will also affect the relationship between the company andcustomers. Although the company can continue safeguarding itsoperational and manufacturing secrets, it will be possible to divulgesome information that may have a positive effect on the consumers’purchasing decision (Lashinsky, 2012).
Thebest approach in implementing the new innovative idea would be firstto eliminate the current stringent measure that ensures employeeskeep their work secret even from their colleagues. The currentorganizational culture emphasizes on punishment such as firing whenan employee shares information about their projects even with theircolleagues if they are not part of the project. Subsequently, thesenior management should be more open about various operations in thecompany. They should also encourage the employees to share ideas andwork together to come up with better products. However, sharinginformation should only be limited within the organization. Thus,measures should be enacted to ensure that employees do not sharevital information with non-essential people outside the organizationsince other firms might use this information to gain a competitiveadvantage (Lashinsky, 2012).
Apple’sAbility to Adapt to the Changing Needs of Customers and MarketEnvironment
Applehas an ability to adapt to changing needs of the consumers and themarket environment. The market is moving towards more innovativedesigns for the laptops and phones due to the changing and diversecustomer needs (O`Grady, 2009). Accordingly, Apple products aredesigned with user experience being a priority including very minuteand subtle changes, which are always in line with the changingcustomer needs and market environment. Then, as the users adapt tothe new product, Apple slowly introduces the users to a standardsystem that works across all devices and meets the customer needs.For example, Apple devices do not have extensive user manuals sincethe operating system and applications are intuitive that thecustomers can use without encountering much difficulties. Besides,Apple displays the product by highlighting the features that thecustomers are looking for without engaging too much on the technicaljargon (O`Grady, 2009). Certainly, the technical information isavailable for those who need it, but it is presented in a way thatmakes the consumer want to learn more rather than dismissing it.
Thenagain, communication is one of the most significant and dominantactivities in an organization. Apple management realizes that therelationship within the organization with employees and those thatexist with external forces such as suppliers and customers are onlypossible with open communication. When enacting change in theorganization or on its products, the management always communicatesthe expected changes to all the employees, which makes the transitioneasier. Therefore, Apple uses open communication to build trust amongthe employees and consumers (O`Grady, 2009).
Applehas remained one of the most recognized technology companies in theworld due to its innovation and commitment to excellence and quality.However, the organization has experienced transformations in itsmanagement style due to the change in the Chief Executive Officersover the past five years. The new CEO significantly differs fromprevious management since he uses a democratic leadership, unlike thepreviously used autocratic style. The new management style provedbeneficial since it promotes collaboration among employees.Therefore, as long as it supports the organizational goals, theemployees support the changes. Apple also has an ability to adapt tochanging customer needs by creating innovating products, which arealways an improvement of the products already in the market.Furthermore, the products are always easy to use with fewertechnicalities and always fit into the customers’ requirements.Nonetheless, the company needs to promote more collaboration to allowemployees to share their ideas and possibly work together to enhancemore creativity. It will develop more loyalty from the customerssince the organization will be communicating crucial information thatmay influence the buyers’ decision.
Kane,Y. I. (2014). HauntedEmpire: Apple after Steve Jobs.New York: HarperCollins Publishers.
Lashinsky,A. (2012). InsideApple: How America`s most admired-and secretive-company really works.New York: Business Plus.
O`Grady,J. D. (2009). AppleInc.Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press.