Apple Inc Culture Has Both Advantages And Disadvantages Business Essay
Apple Inc, a multinational company delivers high standard computer products, communication products, and entertainment product such as Mac Computers, Iphones, Ipads and Ipods. The American company was developed and formed in Cupertino, California in the year 1976. The company was incorporated in 1977 as Apple Computer, Inc. The company started as computer manufacturer, and over the years the company grew rapidly was soon more than a computer manufacturer. The high standard operating system Mac OS made them unique among the competitors from the same industry. At the moment Apple, Inc is one among the top rated in the fortune companies and is well established as a PC, Mobile phone, and software developers and distributors worldwide.
The company was formed in the year of 1976 the incorporation took place in the year of 1977; also the first computer was introduced in the year of 1977. The founders of Apple Inc (founded as Apple Computer Inc) are Steven Paul Jobs, Stephen Gary Wozniak, and Ronald Gerald Wayne. But Wayne has left Apple before the incorporation, the real twist in its growth and development was with the entry of Mike Markkula who was the former marketing manager at Intel Corporation. Markkula offered a financial support for Apple Computer Inc. He had invested $ 250, 000 and some expertise for expanding Apple’s business.
At first, they manufactured a computer without key boards and monitors, the computers even sold without a case. The first computer is named as Apple I.
Following Apple I the company had launched Apple II which covers all the drawbacks of Apple I. Apple II had added advantages over its predecessor, including a colour display and a cassette storage drive. The introduction of Apple II was a great success and it enhanced $ 1 million annual sales.
By the year 1979 Apple launched Apple II+ computers which came out with better memory and features that Apple II.
During the 1980’s Apple introduced their Apple III computers. The launch was a big failure. The analysts stated that the PC had launched without sufficient tests, as a result many of the units turned out to be defective.
Following that Apple continued to remain innovative in product development. One of their greatest innovations was their Ipods which is able to store and play music files with the help of their own Itune software. The unique design and ultra portability made the product favorite for all kinds of customers.
Following that they have introduced their first mobile phone, which was there entry in to the booming mobile phone’s industry. The mobile phone is top rated for their unique features, and enormous designs. It was great success in the smart phones category. With all their high standard products and innovations the company had remained top rated even in the recession. According to the second quarter report Apple Inc, the 2010 second quarter revenues raised up to $ 13.5 billion, the second quarter revenue of 2009 reported as $ 9.08 billion. Also the profit margin raised from $ 39.9 % to $ 41. 7 %, Mac PCs shows 33 % unit growth and Ipones shows 131 % unit growth compared to the previous quarter. Whereas, Ipods shows 1 % decline in unit growth, the major portion of the revenue is contributed by Iphones.
According to Mullins, (2005), Organizational behavior as the study and understanding of individual and group behavior, and patterns of structure in order to help improve organizational performance and effectiveness, (Mullins, 2005, p.26)
Organizational culture is complex and multi-faceted. Culture is intangible and varies from organization to organization. Many authors came up with relevant theories regarding these subjects. It can be defined in simple terms as the way things are done in an organization.
Mullins, 2005 stated that according to Handy there are 4 main ways that organizational culture can be classified, they are as follows:
Organization in this category tend to have minimal rules and regulations, also it is largely dependant on a central character. The decisions are made by this central character or a central group. The focus group of Apple Inc have proved to be best at what they are doing so far. Though this type of culture is adopted by small enterprises, Apple Inc have adopted this due to the fact that they emphasise on delivering quality over anything else.
The organization in this category, tend to have a bureaucratic way of organizational culture. It very much sticks to the rules and regulations of the company. In this culture, organizations tend to work as the strong ‘pillars’, where individual values have less importance, whereas the positions play important roles. In Apple Inc, there involved a level of secracy as individual opinions were not acepted at all points and there were flaws in communication as well. While looked upon from a human resource view, this proved to have affected the product development at various stages. Where as, when looked upon from a product development prospective, this proved to be a more challenging and more demanding quality of significant importance. In most cases the pillars are controlled by the role, also roles and job descriptions are more important than individual performance.
In this culture, organizations are more concerned about the objective and tasks. It does not pay much importance to HR rules and regulations as this culture is more tasks oriented. Expertise and individual performance are more valued than the positions and roles. The communication tends to be both ways and the employees are free to express their ideas and suggestions at Apple Inc. Also decision making is not relied on information from a single source and the employees take part in expressing their opinion or the managers gathered ideas from the co-workers.
But reports at Apple Inc show that this culture can be difficult to achieve economies of scales. In today’s fast moving digital world, many companies including Apple Inc adopted this style of operation. In olden days this has been seen in the aeronautic engineering, but now-a-day’s some of the multinational IT companies are adopting this style, because they are keen about their organisational goals and tasks.
Individuals are the key factors for this concepts, this culture is normally seen in animal protection organizations.
According to Mullins, (2005) Geert Hofstede also identified four dimensions to organizational culture and work place differences. They are as follows:
In this culture there is high level of disparity. According to Hofstede this culture is totally dependent on the management; in this concept subordinates should obey the superiors. Communication tends to flow from top to down. It is seen in military operations, at the moment organisations are trying to reduce power distance and putting their maximum efforts to bring equality in organizations. Apple had this within the management and this was a factor that affected the overall performance to a certain extend.
As Hofstede linked the national culture and organizational culture, uncertainty avoidance refers to the unexpected situations or unusual situations that a society or the employees of an organization feels that they are going to face. Apple Inc had this problem as there was a level of secrecy maintained among the employees. They themselves were not aware of what was happening around them.
Individualism refers to the individuals being capable of looking after themselves. At Apple Inc, the context of organizational behavior is applicable to some parts of the organization that the employees are self driven. They are highly committed to what they do pertaining to work and were not able to take care of themselves.
It refers to the gender difference in organizational behavior, in some society the women’s value is not differed from men’s but in some society it differs women has less value that the men. Automatically it affect the organizational behavior, if an organization provide the same positions for men and women, it may bring internal conflict in that particular organization.
“Leadership is not about the leader, it is about how he builds the confidence of everyone else. Leaders are responsible for both the big structures that sever as the cornerstone of confidence, and the human touches that shape a positive emotional climate to inspire and motivate people. Leaders delivering confidence by espousing high standards in their messages, exemplifying these standards in the conduct they model and establishing formal mechanism to provide a structure for acting on those standards”. (Mullins J. L, 2007, p.362)
A diagrammatic representation of leadership
Use Authority by Manager
Area of freedom for subordinates
Manager makes decisions and announce it
Managers permits subordinates to function within defined limits
Managers presents problems, gets suggestions and make decisions
Manager presents ideas and invites questions
Managers presents tentative decisions to change subject
Manager “sells” decision
Managers define limits, and asks group to make decision
(Mullins J. L, 2007, p.362)
What is good at Apple, Inc?
Innovative and task driven culture
Apple Inc is totally focused on innovation, in another word they always tries make superior and unique products to gain competitive advantages. For this purpose they are very keen to choose the best work force available. Hard work and commitment is the main quality that the company seek from it employees. There is a common saying that there is always more work to do than the employees. A relaxed and informal atmosphere is created in the working campus, many researches proved that the employees at Apple Inc is relaxed and at the same time highly committed to tasks given by the company. The company is always taking keen interest to entertain their employees after the working hours. As discussed, the company is recognized as innovator therefore it always prefers workaholic people. In one way the company is adopting Handy’s task oriented organizational culture, in this culture Handy described that organizations are less formal and highly task oriented.
It is agreed that Apple Inc is adopting an innovative and task driven culture, but at the same time they have very strong work ethics and very strict deadlines. The best example for this there working hour, an employee is working 60 to 70 hours per week. The employees believe that apple is not just for making money.
The innovations helped the company gain market reputation, at the same time it helps the employee to learn more things every day. That is one of the main things that employees are seeking for, especially in software and computer related fields. The technology is changing day by day, and Apple Inc is always trying to innovate something which can surprise the world. It helps the employees even after they left the organization, the world knows that the employees coming out from Apple will be highly committed, task driven and hard working, also they can contribute expertise in to other business in which they are selected for.
According to Hofstede, in this culture employees are capable or expected look after themselves. Apple Inc is allowing their employees to work themselves. The employees must run their own shows. Because of that the company is always seeking for the best talents, also the guidance are given occasionally, as a result the employees are becoming self confident and self motivated, and they clearly focused and showing high commitment to the tasks. Also they always ready to take more responsibilities. There is common belief in the employees’ mind that Apple Inc is always seeing for accomplishment rather than the relationship building. Individual has the opportunities to prove their ability and get the reward. The opportunity to grow is wide open in Apple Inc. As it is highly focused on the innovation and their keen interest to launch something new and inspiring allow the employees make the days creating and challenging. It is widely accepted by the employees at Apple Inc is that every day that they can learn and they can experience something new. Therefore the individual opportunities to grow and learn is more compared to any other multinational firms, also the employees are capable to their own tasks without any guidance.
Diversity and Cross - functionality
Apple Inc is a multinational which is always looking for the best talents and committed work force, therefore from all the parts of world talented people are appointed. Employees are most often used to work with multinational workforce. It is also allowing the employees to learn different culture and working styles. According many studies conducted, it has been realized that employees are often find cross functional activities to perform the accomplishment of the company’s objectives or organizational goals.
Apple Inc. took all the necessary steps to promote diversity among its work force and also there always make sure a non – homogeneous workforce. Furthermore they have set up partnerships with various of organizations. Apple Inc has a partnership with National Black MBAs, National society of Hispanics MBAs and the society of Women Engineers. These Kind of organization promote diversity and allow the employees mix with diverse work force. Apple Inc believes that the diversity in work force is one of the important tasks to execute a successful corporate culture
Managers are asked to do different tasks other than their working area. Many of the multinational firms are adopted cross functional activities in order make their employees multitask oriented and to broaden up their abilities. Many mangers in Apple Inc, stated that they have often asked to cross functional activities which are out of their working area. For instance according to case study, an input manager commented that he is involved in many of the cross functional activities, one day he may asked to involve in industrial design, another day he may asked to involve in the product design and software engineering. These kind of cross functionality will make the employees to work and enhance knowledge in different fields, also they may not be stick in position they will always be creative and active. At the same time the organization will allocate a smooth operation in regards human resource management, it may not stuck if one or more employees are off or on holidays, someone can easily cover up the situations.
Bonus and Benefits
The benefits in Apple Inc are differs from locations to locations and it is also depends on the employment status. The company has taken number of steps to make the employees feel good about the benefits offered by the company. The companies benefit programs starts with the insurance coverage schemes, also they initiated Flexible spending accounts, employees stock purchase program, 401 saving and investment plan, product discounts for the staffs, on site fitness programs also they offered the opportunities to work in big projects where extra bonu is offered.
As discussed the bonus and benefits somewhat depends on the performance, in the year 1995 Apple Inc has designed and implemented a program called Apple Fellow Program. The main aim of the program is to identify the best performer and from which employee the company has received extra ordinary contribution. The Fellow program winners used to be the leader and they can guide other for company’s progress activities. In return the company offered the Flexi benefit program to its staffs. Also the studies and researches shows that Apple Inc had given free Iphones to its staffs after the unique mobile phone has launched in the industry.
Opportunities and Job Securities
Career opportunities are very wide in Apple Inc, as it recognized as an innovator the employee are having wide range of opportunities to prove their caliber and can build their career on a performance wise. Also Apple Inc conducting many internship programs which allow the employees to gain the thorough knowledge in different fields. The employees working with Apple Inc is coming out with a great confidence. According to Maslow’s pyramid after basic need of human it very essential that employees feel job security. In case of Apple Inc it is not only a job security, in Apple Inc’s words the company is not providing employment security but it is providing employability security. The people coming out from Apple Inc is highly demanded, employers are happy offer opportunities for this candidates. Employers worldwide are well aware that these candidates have a wide range experience and they can cope up with any organizational culture. They expect a strong contribution from these candidates.
Unique Corporate Culture
The organizational culture at Apple is highly focused on the jobs and innovation, may CEQ’s came and made some changes in the culture, but over the time the ultimate corporate culture is totally focused on innovation and the jobs done. They are enjoying an informal culture at the same time they have employed very strong deadlines and making the employees to have clear focus on the objectives.
The founder Jobs did contributed the best of to make this Unique culture possible for this company. Many of other multinational firms are adopting this kind of organizational culture. The difference between these companies and Apple Inc is that the other companies will be more flexible and they might lose the focus and they won’t be strict on the deadline like Apple Inc. On the other hand Apple Inc is maintaining the informal culture and task oriented culture but at the same time they are very much focused on the objectives and tasks and they have very strong deadline with no compromise.
The corporate culture of Apple Inc, is making the employees or it is encouraging the employees to make something “Insanely Great” and the CEO Jobs said to be the founder of this culture. As discussed earlier many CEO’s came and altered the organizational corporate culture, but at the end of the day Jobs came and restructured the culture, after he has come back he realized that the company is lacking their original culture which was at time he was the CEO. Experts opinioned and stated the result of this change is Imac.
What is bad at Apples, Inc
Lack of transparency of information
Apple Inc is recognized as an innovator and the products they are offering to the market is unique and high standard. There is secret behavior has maintained from the beginning of the business. In a way it is acceptable that company is mainly focused on Innovations therefore a secrecy in information is necessary, but may reports shows that the secrecy somehow making trouble for smooth operation of the company. Their tight control over the information caused many troubles; even it had led an employee to commit suicide in China. Though they have not affected by the recession, considering future growth of the company transparency of information is necessary. Transparency of information helps the investors as well as the stake holders. Many of the multinational companies showing keen interest in making the information available to the public, but at Apple Inc secrecy is there part of the corporate culture.
Reports show that the many of the product launches are surprising the staffs, because it is kept secret, only the product developer and the senior management are aware of the product. But thinking globally many great ideas and suggestions can come out from the internal staffs, especially from the marketing team, because they are the have the clear picture of market needs and wants. Even the managers used to make wrong information product even during the meetings.
There are assumptions many times that Apple Inc’s corporate culture moved to dysfunctional. There are cases reported that many talented people they left the company because they could not adjust and adopt the unique culture of the company. According to the case study vice president is enjoying a greater power in the company. Analysts pointed out that the company has less feeling towards relationship with the employees but they strictly focused on the jobs. An incident reported that vice president hired people and assigned a pay scale twice than the senior employees working the firm.
Unfair Promotions and compensations
There are many cases that reports unfairness in promotion and analysts say that the employees are treated unfairly. This is mainly because of their unique corporate culture, as discussed earlier personal values have less important in Apple Inc they prefer jobs and innovations but at the same time they are creating a relaxed atmosphere for their employees. Also report says that only top executives are compensated and appreciated for jobs done. The employees claiming that even if they come out with new product, they don’t get enough appreciation. Also the promotions are given depends on the interest of the managers. There are comments from employees that they are not given enough opportunities grow their career.
Long Working Hours
Apple Inc is always preferred hard working people in another word they prefer workaholic people who does not care about the working hours. An average working hours per week in Apple Inc is 60 to 70, which is more than the normal companies working hours. As we can see this will affect employees family life. The job is also bit stressed and the employees must be creative and enthusiastic all the time. For instance if an employee is working in the product development department for 60 to 70 hours per week continuously they might get over stressed, the particular department needs full concentration all the time he or she is working. There case that former employee sued Apple Inc for violating the labor law California, he complained that he used to work 7 days every six weeks. The company is also aware of that, there are cases after working these kinds of long hours the employees were in therapy.
Highly Depending on Leadership
Apple Inc is highly depending on the leadership, The CEO Jobs has very much influence on the corporate structure of Apple Inc. Analysts sees that without Job Apple will nothing other than a normal software company. Also analysts stated that the company will be struggling without Jobs. Looking into the theoretical side one can see that Job the CEO of playing both democratic and autocratic styles of leadership. In a way he is making an informal atmosphere and creative opportunities for his employees at the same time the company is very strict on the tasks and deadlines like a military camp. The information are very secret and the will not tolerate any leakage of the company information. The always kept a secret behavior.
Many of the issues have been discussed, it has been realized that Apple Inc as multinational company has a unique at the same very challenging corporate culture. Many supporters have wrote and many companies are trying to adopt this culture, also many studies shows some of the major draw backs of Apple Inc’s corporate culture. The study realized that the culture has both advantages and disadvantages, the capacity of innovating unique and high standard products the company attract more talented people in to their business, the younger generation will love to work with as they can learn something every day also they can expose themselves. On the other hand there are some major draw backs, they have no transparency of information also they have long working hours compared to another companies. With some changes the corporate culture of Apple Inc can be the best in the world.
There are major issues that the company can change, they are as follows:
The information can be more transparent, the investor and stake holder are always seeking transparent information. Also it can help to improve product quality and can get tremendous ideas and suggestions from the co workers. Transparency of information will help the company to know better the needs and wants of the market.
The long working hours can be changed, maximum of 40 hours working hours will help the employee to relax, a relaxed mind can produce greater idea than a stressed and week mind.
Having multiple senior executives will allow the company to continue their activities, eve if one senior executive left the organisation.
All the employee should be treated same, equality is another great fact for the success of an organization, more talented people will be attracted to organisation. Job appreciation will encourage the employees to work more committed and task oriented.
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