What Is The Culture Of Apple


Apple was established when Steve job, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne made their first creation Apple I. The first started with their parent's garage to be their office and finance rose from selling their personal belonging but with the dream of a $500 million turnover in next ten years. Initially they did have financial problems but finally they got venture capital from Mike Markkula. As Apple I wasn't a big hit they had to get Apple II which was a very much like by their customers and helped them to penetrate into the market and thus making their presence be felt. Steve Job , one of the most important person for apple , he always wanted apple to be recognised as the most innovative company and always wanted it to differentiate it from other ,so did he do . Jobs wanted to get computers for common people and wanted "One Person -One Computer". And making the same possible by targeting different segments of the market from businesses to education to home by launching different product lines for everyone . In 1980 apple went public, which was a big hit due to the increasing sales figures of the company and the consumer confidience in apple computers. This could be clearly seen when on the very first day apple share shot up from $22 to $29 . During the Period of John Scully who had become the CEO made some important decisions which helped apple further on . Scully widely targeted the international market as apple had great response from the European markets . It was during this time that apples exports had rose so fast . Then In 1997 when Steve Jobs has returned to the Apple after his resignation from apple in 1885 , the company was in a complete mess. Jobs one of the most important step was making an alliance with mirosoft and would have a cross license for 5years . He then ended all the licence with companies who were making clone using Macintosh. He changed the complete organisational structure which was changed by Scully, he made it a flatter organisation which allowed emmployees quick decision making power and faster growth of the company. In one of the video of steve ,he states that the is going to reduce the product line from 15 to 4 as it would allow the company to specialize in the present products and get the updated versions also very fast.

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The core competence of the corporation

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The critical task for management is to create an organisation capable of infusing products with irritable functionally or, better yet , creating product that customers need but have not yet even imagined.( The core competence of the corporation)

Hamel and Prahalads approach to strategy was one of the most modern strategic processes. Their strategy was mainly based on the upcoming Japanese corporation culture who had specialized in their field forming a core competency and "leverage resources by accelerating the pace of organizational learning and try to attain seemingly impossible goals"( http://hbr.org/2005/07/strategic-intent/ar/1#). The strategy was to set impossible goals which were strategic intent of the company and attain them in the most innovative way and as fast as they can i.e. the core competency. The H& P strategic aspects are the core competency, strategic intent, strategy as stretch and leverage.

Core competency

The core competencies are the core capabilities which are unique to the company which gives them a competitive advantage and a distinctiveness over the competitors and cannot be imitated by others. It is all about What can we do that other companies might find difficult to do? Core competency is all about the values which is different from the competitors and is valued by your consumers. The company has to focus on their core competency and never lose their core competency if they have one. The companies which don't have any core competency or that ability can develop one, the company has to start working on what they need today, to get the future benefits. "The core competency cannot diminish by use .

Hamel and Pralahad refer the corporation to big trees which its main branches as the core products, the smaller branches as the smaller business units. The leaves fruits as the end products of the corporation. The root system is the main division which provide with all the raw material for the nourishing sustain and stability.

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'In the 1990s managers will be judged on their ability to identify, cultivate, and exploit the core competencies that make growth possible - indeed, they'll have to rethink the concept of the corporation itself.' C K Prahalad and G Hamel 1990

Apples core competencies:-

Apples have more than one core competencies. The first and the most important capability of apple is that it is the most innovative of all the companies in which they work. Their team is always working for making new and more unique product which is new and attract the consumers. From the very beginning Steve jobs has always said that he wants apple to be the most innovative company in the industry and has proven the same by launching the products time after time. Like they launched the Apple II which was the first of its kind with a colour display, then is 1984 they launched the Macintosh which was the first user interface with graphic computer. In 2001 they launched the iPod the biggest hit of the portable mp3 market. They sold around 1 million in just 17days. Thus expanding their core product. They launched the ITunes store in 2005 which future helped them and thus showing their innovation. Then in finally in 2007 they showed to the world what they are capable of by getting the Iphone . This was the new core product of apple and thus expanding their range of core products and their markets. The significant thing about the innovation is that it is value by the consumer .Apple also makes sure that it keeps its core competency safe and invests in it to be its core competency and avoid being imitated ,and keeps its central to the organisation. "The source of Apple's momentum is the company's constant self reinvention. While competitors figure out how to play catch up, Apple is already on to its next big thing."

Apple's retail stores are a core competency because 1) they provide an unique buying experience to the consumer, 2) the locations of the stores and their trained personnel are difficult to imitate, 3) the stores sell multiple lines of Apple products including computers, iPods, iPhones, and software.


Strategic intent

Strategic intent is an organisations desire to be international leadership even if they lack assets and resources. Strategic intent is the organisations vision of where it wants to be in the future and gives directions to the organisation. The concept has the following active management process " That include : focusing the organisations attention on the essence of winning ,motivating people by communicating the value of the target, leaving room for individual and team contribution sustain enthusiasm" Strategic intent H&P better resource allocation. "This strategic intent usually incorporates stretch targets, which force companies to compete in innovative ways. In this McKinsey Award-winning article, Hamel and Prahalad describe four techniques that Japanese companies use: building layers of advantage, searching for "loose bricks," changing the terms of engagement, and competing through collaboration"( http://hbr.org/2005/07/strategic-intent/ar/1#). Strategic intent of the organization should be the same to all members of the organization and stable over time. The strategic architecture directs the corporations resources and communications towards the strategic intent. But to achieve this target the company has to plan which is called strategic planning, which is done by the top managers.

When apple was formed it had gone though large amount of financial difficulties. But still had aimed high, of making a turnover of $500 million in next ten years, and were successful. They had made a turnover of $76,714,000 in just first six years after the company was established. When the company was formed apples mission was to bring computers to masses "One person -One computer "and also wanted to be a worlds most innovative company and work at global level. Apple did came out with the wide range of computers which were intended to target different segment of the market from business to the education to personal computers. Apples products were so user friendly and compact that they gained a global recognition immediately. The company then started exporting its products worldwide. It opened its centres in Paris London and a few other counties and also opened a production centre in Europe due to its increasing demand. And also were like by like by the consumer for their innovation. The company always wanted to be the most innovative in the field and thus have proven that by the products launched during the years (talked about the products in the core competencies 1). This has built a consumer confidence and making all the apple products a hit.

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Apple culture

The culture has massive amount of influence, but it is unharnessed and uncontrolled

When it comes to discussing Apple's culture, various phrases are synonymous with Apple and how it operates, including 'innovation', '(obsessive) secrecy', '(ruthless) attention to detail', '(overly) intensive work ethic' and 'casual dress code'.

People's contribution is always recognised by apple

Apple Secrecy as its dominant Value

Apple's culture is very secretive in nature which can be clearly seen from this article in The New York Times "Secrecy at Apple is not just the prevailing communications strategy; it is baked into the corporate culture. Employees working on top-secret projects must pass through a maze of security doors, swiping their badges again and again and finally entering a numeric code to reach their offices, according to one former employee who worked in such areas."( http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/23/technology/23apple.html?_r=4). This aspect of apple is one of the most significant aspects of apples culture. Even some of the apple employees are shocked when apple releases a new product. They use secrecy to their advantage by not letting out their technological advancement and others knows what product they are producing and prevent for getting competition . And the other advantage is that they get "First-mover advantage" and the curiosity which is build up by their "teaser marketing campaign" helps them make huge sales immediately and get a huge return on investment and maintain their market position .This can be clearly be seen in the graph below that at the launch of every product the share prices bounces up.

Culture of Creativity and Innovation

Apple is not just selling technology but its selling an entirely new culture. A culture which differentiates the apple users different from others. This is done by very well by apple till date as stated before in the Question 2 Core competency section innovation. Thus apple has created a whole new outlook of itself; known for its innovation and the innovation with is liked by the people. This has built a consumer confidence in apple and thus helping apple grow .

Apple's culture in relation to organisational structure and decision making

Apple has a very casual culture in the office and the store. The staff is self-motivated due to the positive environment which is created within the company due to the following reasons. The staffs doesn't have any dress code, they don't have any specific working hours and the main this is that they are not always watched by a boss. It was even said that Jobs used to walk around the company barefoot and his dressing says the same about the environment. The structure of apple was changed by Steve Jobs when he returned in 1997. He made the organisation so flat that it's very easy to make quick and speed decisions, thus leading to the speed growth of the Apple. They didn't have to wait for decision to be passed and. This statement by Ellison in times magazine clearly shows the same "Apple is the only life-style brand in the computer industry," Ellison is saying onscreen. "It's the only company people feel passionate about. My company, Oracle, is huge; IBM is huge; Microsoft is huge; but no one has incredible emotions with our companies." Jobs is pleased (http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,986849,00.html)

In store Experience, sales per foot visists

Apple stores are always overstaffed to give customers a quick service and the staff is always around you, you just look around and one of them is available to help you out with the product and don't have to stand in long queues to make a purchase . . The openness of the store is the other aspect with allows the customers to go around the store easily even when it's full. "Mr. Jobs has created a fusion of fashion, brand, industrial design and computing. He has opened a chain of 78 retail stores to showcase Apple's consumer-oriented designs and to surround the company's computers with an array of digital consumer products. The stores themselves have become another billion-dollar business, a feat all the more impressive considering that one of Apple's chief competitors, Gateway, failed with a similar retail strategy during the same period". (http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/25/business/oh-yeah-he-also-sells-computers.html?pagewanted=2&src=pm)

Leadership drives culture

Leadership is one of the attributes which drives culture. After Steve Jobs returned in 1997 the company was in a complete mess. The position of the company at that time nicely explained by Jobs. He said that the company's position at that point was like "The Parable of the Concept Car". In which a car company during the launch of a concept car shows you a cool looking car, which is very attractive. But when the final car is out it's a disaster. This is because the concept car design is rejected by the engineering department and then by the production department and both the department change the design. This is what was happening in apple when he returned. But when jobs took over apple in 1997, under his leadership and control he changed the system. He ordered the people to design the product as he said , but is they say it's not possible he used to be a pain in their neck and get the work done.

This clearly shows two important aspects of apple first control of Steve at apple. Steve looks at every minute detail in a product and integrates it with all its components and makes the users experience wonderful. This is the reason why most of the products were a big hit during the time of jobs and no other CEO. He always produces what he wants without compromising on anything. He even controls his talented members from getting in touch with the competitors.

The tale of Steve Jobs has long been a Silicon Valley legend. It was Jobs who, as a long-haired and barefoot twenty something, set in motion the revolution called the personal computer by making it "user friendly" to the masses. Jobs didn't invent the machine; his partner Steve Wozniak was the real engineer. But Jobs understood before anyone else the key to transforming the computer from a geek's expensive toy into a household appliance. Instead of writing commands in computerise, Macintosh owners used a mouse to point and click on easily identifiable icons on the screen--a trash can and a file folder. Jobs also paired the laser printer with the computer, thus sparking the desktop-publishing revolution. "We started out to get a computer in the hands of everyday people, and we succeeded beyond our wildest dreams," laughs Jobs (http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,986849,00.html)

"What if Apple didn't exist? Think about it. TIME wouldn't get published next week. Some 70% of the newspapers in the U.S. wouldn't publish tomorrow morning. Some 60% of the kids wouldn't have computers; 64% of the teachers wouldn't have computers. More than half the Websites created on Macs wouldn't exist," he says. "So there's something worth saving here. See?" (http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,986849,00.html)