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Apple Inc. is an American multinational electronics and software company established by Steven Jobs and Stephen Wozniak on April 1, 1976, in Cupertino, California. Apple designs, manufactures and markets personal computers, portable media players, mobile phones, computer software, computer hardware and peripherals. The Apple Store, which is a retail store owned and operated by Apple Inc., has opened 283 stores as of December 2009, which are located in 10 countries. The company's products are also sold worldwide through its online stores, its direct sales force, and third-party wholesalers, resellers, and value-added resellers. Music, audio books, iPod games, music videos, episodes of television programs, and movies can be downloaded off the iTunes Store on Mac or Windows computers, and on the iPod Touch and iPhone. Apple's most popular products include their line of Macintosh personal computers, iPod portable media players, and the iPhone.
Apple Inc. sells its products to individual consumers, small and mid-sized businesses, educators and consumers in enterprise, government, creative, information technology and scientific markets. The company's total net sales was $36 537 million and they employed approximately 34 300 full-time equivalent employees and 2500 full-time equivalent temporary employees and contractors as of the end of their fiscal year on September 26, 2009.
Apple manages and organizes its business based on a geographical structure, which is one of the divisional structures. The divisional structure is a traditional organization structure which group together people who work on the same product or process, serve similar customers, and/or are located in the same geographical region. In regards to Apple, their geographical structure group together jobs and activities being performed in the same geographical region. The company has created operating segments based on the location and nature of customers. The operating segments are the Americas, Europe, Japan, Asia-Pacific, Retail and FileMaker operations. The Americas, Europe, Japan and Retail operations are Apple's reportable operating segments. The Americas, Europe, Japan and Asia Pacific segments do not include activities associated with the Retail segment. Asia Pacific includes Australia and Asia, excluding Japan. The Americas segment encompasses North and South America. European countries, the Middle East, and Africa are part of the Europe segment. Regarding the company's retail segment, these are the retail stores operating in the U.S. and international markets. Similar hardware and software products and services are provided to the same types of customers by each reportable operating segment.
Apple Inc. is such a large corporation that it has all levels of management from upper to lower. The organization has all types of managers including line managers whose work directly contributes to the production of apples goods and services. They also have staff managers who use their special technical expertise to support line workers (marketing, accounting, human resources, and legal services). As shown in the diagram below of how Apple's top managers are organized, the company has both functional managers, who are responsible for one area of activity, and general managers, who are responsible for complex areas.
Chief Executive Officer
Chief Operating Officer
Senior Vice President, iPhone Software
Senior Vice President, Industrial Design
Senior Vice President, Retail Division
Senior Vice President, Mac Hardware Engineering
Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer
Senior Vice President, Devices Hardware Engineering
Senior Vice President, Worldwide Product Marketing
Senior Vice President, Software Engineering
Senior Vice President and General Counsel
Senior Vice President, Applications Division
This design is appropriate for the organization because their process of creating this geographical structure has appeared to benefit them from their results, which included a 36% gross margin in 2009, and helped them accomplish their mission and objectives. It allows their expertise to be focused on specific customers, products, and regions, which all have unique cultures and different requirements.
Steve Jobs the CEO and Co-Founder of Apple Inc. is known for having a temperamental management style. He has gone against the traditional management style, being strict with employees causing some fear but also praising them. Jobs is a perfectionist who pays close attention to detail, which can drive some of his subordinates crazy from his constant demands. He has a "no compromise" attitude when developing products for Apple. He creates many prototypes and mock-ups which are constantly being edited and revised by being passed back and forth between designers, engineers, programmers, and managers, and then back again. His obsession with excellence has created an amazing development process which turns out great products.
Based on Steve Jobs's management style I believe he is not following a traditional approach to management. He appears to be following one of the behavioural management approaches, McGregor's Theory X and Theory Y. I believe he has some of the qualities of a theory 'X' and theory 'Y' manager. Jobs has theory 'X' characteristics because he prefers to lead others and expects staff to listen to his commands. His drive to change the world leads him to scream and shout at employees. In contrast, he also has some of the qualities of a theory 'Y' manager because he wants his staff to be imaginative and creative and to also be involved by participating in the design process. Jobs believes debating between his employees fosters creativity, therefore he gives creative partners a lot of rope.
In the ever constantly changing environment of the computer/electronics industry, I also see Steve Jobs following the modern management approach of contingency thinking as the competitive environment is always changing. Jobs is always required to understand the situation and respond to it in the appropriate way. Apple is also a learning organization, which is a continuing management theme. The organization continuously changes and improves, using lessons learned from prior experiences. Information sharing, teamwork, participation, and learning are all valued within the company.
Apple Inc. is very modern in everything they do which has caused them to already follow some of the common trends including: shorter chains of command, less unity of command, wider spans of control and more delegation and empowerment. Today, technology companies are starting to not talk about their product, rather the "solutions" or "customer experience" that is offered. The organization is one of the most competitive because it is constantly being one of the first to look to new trends to improve, while others companies are still trying to compete and keep up with Apple's trends. Trends of today in the technology industry include: the demand for excellence, the pursuit of great design, the instinct for marketing, and the insistence on ease of use and compatibility. These trends have been with Jobs and Apple since the beginning, which has allowed it to succeed in what it has become today. Apple remains the last and only vertical integration company, meaning they make their own hardware and software, which is their greatest strategic advantage.
Through research of Steve Jobs's management style within Apple Inc, it appears the organization is adaptive. An adaptive organization has more decentralized authority, fewer rules and procedures, less precise division of labour, wider spans of control, and more personal means of coordination. Worker empowerment and teamwork is encouraged within Apple as Jobs believes "talented staff is a competitive advantage that puts you ahead of your rivals." He likes to work in many small teams, which is a characteristic of an adaptive organization. He does not like teams of more than 100 members because he believes they can become unfocused and unmanageable if they become too large. Members of the organization are encouraged to challenge Jobs's ideas to foster creative thinking. Adaptive organizations are built upon trust of the employees to get the job down through their own initiative. It is freeing people from control and restrictions and giving them the power and freedom to do what they do best to get the job done; which Jobs allows with his creative partners. The adaptive design works well for Apple Inc.'s competitive environment, which demands flexibility in dealing with the constantly changing conditions. Internal teamwork is encouraged in the company because of the demand for total quality management and competitive advantage.
Areas Where Improvement Could Be Made:
After analyzing Apple Inc.'s organizational design, types and approaches to management, and organizational trends, it appears the design is appropriate for the organization as they are able to accomplish their mission and objectives. As there is always room for improvement in business, Apple can re-engineer some of its processes to design new and better ways to carry out work in the organization. There are many advantages for large organizations that use a divisional structure, disadvantages include: reducing economies of scale and increasing costs through the duplication of resources and efforts across divisions. Rivalries can be created as divisions compete for resources and top-management attention, and divisional needs can take away from the goals of Apple as a whole.
Apple attracts the best highly motivated workers from around the world, therefore I believe it is not necessary for Steve Jobs to be so temperamental, by screaming and shouting at employees. It would improve the organization if he lost his "Theory X" qualities as his preference to lead others and expectations that staff should listen to his commands, can create passive, dependent, and reluctant subordinates who tend to do only what they are told to or required to do. Improving human skills creates a better ability for Jobs and others to work well with each other in cooperation. Less intimidation and threat of job loss in the organization would improve the quality of work life at Apple.
Part B: The Planning Performed by the Organization
Apple Inc. has developed a great detailed strategic management process through understanding of their organization's competitive environment and knowing when to properly implement their strategies. Their strategic management process succeeds because of the mission, values, and objectives they have created which allows them to assess the organization's resources and capabilities as well as the external environments competitive opportunities and threats.
The mission for any organization is their reason for existence in society. Apple Inc.'s mission statement located on their website is:
"Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Today, Apple continues to lead the industry in innovation with its award-winning computers, OS X operating system and iLife and professional applications. Apple is also spearheading the digital media revolution with its iPod portable music and video players and iTunes online store, and has entered the mobile phone market with its revolutionary iPhone."
Values are broad beliefs of what is or is not appropriate and affect the behaviour in, and by organizations. These values help build institutional identity, give character to the organization which is recognized by the employees and external shareholders, and it backs up the mission statement. They also help guide the behaviour of the members of the organization. Listed below is a copy of Apple's values.
"Apple Values are the qualities, customs, standards, and principles that the company believes will help it and its employees succeed. They are the basis for what we do and how we do it. Taken together, they identify Apple as a unique company.
These are the values that govern our business conduct:
Empathy for Customers/Users
We offer superior products that fill real needs and provide lasting value. We deal fairly with competitors and meet customers and vendors more than halfway. We are genuinely interested in solving customer problems, and we will not compromise our ethics or integrity in the name of profit.
We set aggressive goals and drive ourselves hard to achieve them. We recognize that this is a unique time, when our products will change the way people work and live. It is an adventure, and we are in it together.
Positive Social Contribution
We build products that extend human capability, freeing people from drudgery and helping them achieve more than they could alone. But beyond that, we expect to make this world a better place to live. As a corporate citizen, we wish to be an economic, intellectual, and social asset in communities where we operate.
We built our company on innovation, providing products that were new and needed. We accept the risks inherent in following our vision, and work to develop leadership products that command the profit margins we strive for.
We expect individual commitment and performance above the standard for our industry. Only thus will we make the profits that permit us to seek our other corporate objectives. Each employee can and must make a difference. In the final analysis, individuals determine the character and strength of Apple.
Teamwork is essential to Apple's success, for the job is too big to be done by one person. Individuals are encouraged to interact with all levels of management, sharing ideas and suggestions to improve Apple's effectiveness and quality of life. It takes all of us to win. We support each other and share the victories and rewards together. We are enthusiastic about what we do.
We care about what we do. We build into Apple products a level of quality, performance, and value that will earn the respect and loyalty of our customers. At Apple, quality management is critical to our continued success.
We recognize each person's contribution to Apple's success, and we share the financial rewards that flow from high performance. We recognize also that rewards must be psychological as well as financial, and we strive for an atmosphere where each individual can share the adventure and excitement of working at Apple.
The attitudes and behaviours of managers toward their people are of primary importance. Employees should be able to trust the motives and integrity of their supervisors. It is the responsibility of management to create a productive environment where Apple Values flourish."
Apple Inc. has not published any specific objectives, which are specific results the company is trying to accomplish. However, they have published their customer focus and business strategy. Regarding customer focus, the company said, "Every product we make and every service we provide is for our customers. Focus on providing innovative, high-quality products and services and on demonstrating integrity in every business interaction. Always apply Apple's principles of business conduct." Apples principles of business conduct state:
"Apple's success is based on creating innovative, high-quality products and services and on demonstrating integrity in every business interaction. Apple's principles of business conduct define the way we do business worldwide. These principles are:
â€¢ Honesty. Demonstrate honesty and high ethical standards in all business dealings.
â€¢ Respect. Treat customers, suppliers, employees, and others with respect and courtesy.
â€¢ Confidentiality. Protect the confidentiality of Apple's information and the information
of our customers, suppliers, and employees.
â€¢ Community. Conduct business in a way that benefits the communities in which we
â€¢ Compliance. Ensure that business decisions comply with all applicable laws and regulations."
As these are not specific objectives of the organization, it reveals some of the goals they are trying to accomplish. As stated in their business strategy, "the company is committed to bringing the best personal computing, mobile communication and portable digital music and video experience to consumers, students, educators, businesses, and government agencies through its innovative hardware, software, peripherals, services, and Internet offerings." Through their constant research and innovation, Apple has developed a detailed strategic management process through constant research and innovation which has helped them in gaining their current competitive advantage.
Apple Inc. is such a large organization that it uses all types of plans including short-range and long-range plans. The long-range plans are usually set by the top management at apple to provide a direction for the organization as a whole. Examples of some of their long range plans include expanding its market opportunities related to mobile communication devices, expanding its distribution network to reach more of their target customers, commitment to be the best electronics and software company, and plans to become greener.
The company also uses short-range plans which are usually set by lower management to help achieve their long-range objectives. Some short-range plans include implementing the iPhone to help them expand into the mobile communications market and opening stores in other countries to reach other target markets. Other plans include constantly spending money on research and development to create new innovative products to help reach their long-term objective of becoming the best electronics and software company, and removing toxic chemicals from their products in the goal of becoming as environmental friendly as they can.
When not considering the time horizon of plans, Apple tends to also use both strategic and operational plans like most business do. They use strategic plans to identify the long-term direction of the organization by determining objectives for the entire company and describing what and where the organization wants to be in the future. Apple does this in hopes of gaining a competitive advantage in their industry and to make a profit. To help implement Apple's strategic plans, operational plans are used to define what work needs to be done. Apple uses the typical operational plans that businesses use which include production plans- the necessary methods and technology needed by employees to do their work; financial plans- the money required to operate the company; facilities plans- dealing with retail stores, offices, manufacturing plants, etc.; marketing plans- how to sell and distribute products and services; and human resource plans- recruiting, selecting and placing people into jobs in the organization. Many policies and procedures have also been created for use over and over again within Apple.
Apple Inc. uses a variety of planning tools and techniques to further help them in their planning process. They use forecasting to help with planning by attempting to predict what will happen in the future. This includes predicting future economic trends, the demand for products, looking at historical data and predicting customer needs and buyer power in the future. Contingency planning is used within the organization to ensure there are alternative actions to take when things go wrong. A perfect example of this is how Steve Jobs has taken a leave of absence due to ill health and the company stated they do have a succession plan in case the worst comes to the worst. Scenario planning is used in the company, which is identifying possible future scenarios and making plans to deal with each. An example shown by Apple is how they have switched between computer chip suppliers many times because they are constantly looking forward and planning for potential scenarios. They make sure their suppliers are the best so they do not weaken Apple's potential. They are keeping their options open by positioning itself to win regardless of the potential scenarios that could occur with their suppliers. By looking at different suppliers they are keeping themselves flexible by being able to move with market shits in case a competitor takes an action that lowers Apple's competitiveness. Apple also uses benchmarking using external comparisons to gain insights for planning form their major competitors such as Microsoft.
As with most large organizations, Apple Inc. has a control process to measure performance and take action to ensure desired results. The control process of establishing objectives and standards, measuring actual performance, then comparing results with objectives and standards, and finally taking corrective actions is followed by Apple. Steve Job's is a manager who wants control in everything he does, "I've always wanted to own and control the primary technology in everything we do." Jobs controls Apple's software, hardware, and design. He also controls the marketing, online services and every aspect of the company's functioning, from the food the employees eat and how much they tell their families about their work. His control freak tendencies have created good business creating ease of use, security and reliability in the organization's hardware and software products.
The control process within Apple is used through the endless prototypes they develop, such as the iPod's breakthrough interface being discovered through a process of trial and error. All Apple products are developed by being prototyped, edited, and refined; including Apple's stores. Steve Jobs believes in using trial and error, "to make an 'embarrassing' number of solutions to get one solution."
Areas Where Improvement Could Be Made:
Apple Inc. could improve on creating a set of objectives. This is important because they would set out specific results the organization is trying to accomplish. They help direct activities towards key and specific results because actual performance results can be compared to them as indicators of progress and continuous improvement. The organization could improve on maintaining a differentiation strategy because their offering of products that are unique and different than the competitions is what makes the company successful. If they started using a cost leadership strategy, they would lose the loyal customers they have attracted because of their unique products that are different then the customers.
Another area of improvement in the organization could be planning tools and techniques regarding the use of staff planners. It would be of benefit for Apple to use staff planners as they are employed to help coordinate planning for the organization as a whole or for one of its major components. They help accomplish important planning tasks by bringing focus and energy to them. The use of staff planners may also help Job's to not feel the need to be a control freak and control everything by having trust that all plans will be accomplished.
If Apple continues to succeed and profits keep increasing, they should continue to have a growth strategy increase the size and the expansion of current operations. If the company continues to grow through concentration, which is within the same business area, they will keep expanding globally into markets and countries around the world, increasing their number of customers which results in increased profits.
Part C: The Human Resource Management
Apple Inc.'s human resource management attracts a quality workforce by attracting visionary people that think freely and can see the potential in different objects. It does this through excellent human resource planning (job descriptions and job specification are listed on website), recruitment (advertising job vacancies and screening applications on their website), and selection process. As Steve Jobs said, "In our business, one person can't do anything anymore. You create a team of people around you." Much of Jobs's success is due to the attraction of great people to do great work for him. Jobs's believes a small 'A team' is more effective than a large number of designers and engineers. He seeks out the highest quality in people, products, and advertising. Most companies recruit more staff as the company gets larger, but with Apple, the core part of it is kept relatively small, especially Jobs's 'A team' of select programmers, designers and executives. His strategy is to hire the smartest programmers, engineers, and designers available. Jobs's goal is to have only 'A' players in the organization, "I always considered part of my job was to keep the quality level of people in the organizations I work with very high."
Apple develops a quality workforce through outstanding employee orientation, training and development, and performance management systems. Jobs's instils employees with a passion for what the organization is doing so that they are happy with working long hours. Jobs teaches that trial and error is good, it is alright to make a large number of "embarrassing" solutions to get to one solution. He praises and punishes everyone to get great work. He inspires employees by "invoking a higher calling" and makes them believe they are changing the world. He knows what he wants and will get it, even if it means yelling at his employees. Passion is instilled in the employees to make them not lose interest. Jobs is uncompromising and expects work to be at its highest standard. Things that seem impossible to solve, he will insist on, knowing that they will eventually be solved. Jobs is a great intimidator, putting fear into employees to inspire them and to have a desire to please.
After attracting and developing a quality workforce, Apple does its best in trying to maintain these employees. This is done through the opportunity for many employees to move along their career path, developing their career until it reaches its plateau. Some of Apple's jobs include the opportunity to work at home which provides excellent work-life balance. The organization further helps maintain their workforce through good base compensation, employee discounts and many benefits. Some employee benefits include:
Health and life insurance - Paid vacations and holidays
Flexible spending accounts (health care - Product discounts
and day care)
Short and long-term disability coverage - Personal and family counselling
Long-term care insurance - Wellness programs
Onsite fitness center - Commuter programs
Employee Stock Purchase Plan - Cafe including local ingredients
Financial education seminars - Tuition assistance
The Employee Stock Purchase Plan is one of the best perks Apple employees receive. Full-time employees are awarded grants of stock options when they join the company. Apple also offers an Employee Savings Plan which is a great benefit to workers. Overall through career development, work-life balance, the various benefits and the general atmosphere of working at Apple that many employees love, this allows the organization to have great success in maintaining a quality workforce.
Areas Where Improvement Could Be Made:
Apple Inc. could improve their recruiting process by seeking applicants from inside the organization, known as internal recruitment. This is less expensive and deals with individuals whose performance records are well established and are easy to obtain. Internal recruitment within the organization would build employees loyalty and motivation, because they will realize they can advance by working hard and doing well when given responsibility. They could further improve their recruiting process by offering realistic job previews. This gives job applicants all the relevant information of the job and organization without distortion and before the candidate has accepted the job. This would allow the candidate to know what to expect so they do not come into the job with unrealistic expectations, which could be costly when the new hires quit. This hurts both the individual who suffers a career disruption, and the employer who suffers lost productivity and the cost of having to recruit and hire again.
Apple could improve the ways they maintain their quality workforce by allowing workers to join a labour union. A labour union is an organization that deals with employers on the workers' collective behalf. This could help maintain the workforce as labour unions deal with the employers on behalf of the employees, negotiating labour contracts affecting many aspects of the employment relationship. Human resource management decisions must take into consideration the labour contract and its legal implications. I believe Steve Jobs could further improve his relationship with employees by not intimidating them so much. There are many other ways to inspire and motivate employees other then intimidation, such as rewards.
I believe the organization can improve on using performance appraisals to formally assess the accomplishments of individuals and provide feedback. Performance appraisals would improve the organization by placing Jobs and other management in a judgemental and counselling role. Performance appraisals provide and evaluation to let people know where they stand relative to objectives and standards. They also provide development by assisting in training and continued personal development. This would further help in developing Apple's quality workforce.
Part D: Leadership and Motivation of the Members of the Organization
Leadership, the process of inspiring others to work hard to accomplish important tasks, comes from Steve Jobs and the other managers. Leading is a large part of the management process in Apple, as it builds the commitments and enthusiasm for people to apply their talents to help accomplish plans. Jobs is a visionary leader because he has a clear understanding for the future as well as an understanding of the actions needed to get there successfully. He is able to communicate his vision to all necessary employees, getting them motivated and inspired to pursue his vision in their daily work. In the organization, management uses power to influence their staff. Reward power and legitimate power are used within Apple, and some employees have stated that coercive power has also occurred. Based on research of the leadership within Apple, I believe the organization has a democratic style. They are committed to task and people, getting things done while sharing information, encouraging employees to participate in all aspects, and helping others develop their skills and capabilities.
The contingency leadership approach Apple Inc. appears to follow is "House's Path-Goal Leadership Theory," which is where the leader clarifies paths through which followers can achieve both task-related and personal goals. Steve Jobs motivates employees to move along these paths, removing barriers along the way and providing appropriate rewards for task accomplishments.
The four leadership styles of the path-goal theory stated in the text book that Jobs and other management possess are:
"Directive leadership- letting subordinates know what is expected; giving directions on what to do and how.
Supportive leadership- doing things to make work more pleasant.
Achievement-oriented leadership- setting challenging goals; expecting the highest levels of performance.
Participative leadership- involving subordinates in decision making."
Jobs and other managers use whatever leadership style is necessary for the current situation. Value is added through this leadership approach by contributing things that are missing from the situation or that need strengthening.
Motivation is the forces within the individual that accounts for the level, direction, and persistence of effort expended at work. Apple Inc. produces highly motivated individuals who work hard at their job. Managers within the organization, including Steve Jobs, lead through motivation to create conditions where employees constantly feel inspired to work hard. Apple's highly motivated workforce is one of the major reasons for their high-performance results. The company is rich in both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards for people whose performance helps accomplish the organization's objectives.
Extrinsic rewards are provided by someone else, usually a supervisor or higher-level manager. At Apple, extrinsic rewards have included: additional vacation time, all employees receiving an iPod Shuffle, and in 2007, all full-time employees (21 600 of them) received a complimentary iPhone. Jobs is great at celebrating his teams accomplishments which includes: opening champagne to mark milestones, and educational trips to museums or exhibits. He has taken employees on "retreats" to expensive resorts and thrown parties at popular locations in the cities Apple operates in. The rewards vary in size from large pay bonuses to verbal praise, and recognition.
In contrast, intrinsic rewards occur naturally as a person performs their job. The sources of intrinsic rewards such as feelings of competency, personal development, and self-control are all experienced by the staff at Apple. Employees have described how they enjoy and are motivated by the high calibre of people they work with, and being able to work on the cutting edge of technology. Due to stock option grants, employees who have worked at the company for many years have large amounts of money tied up with Apple. For majority of the staff, this is a key motivator to protect the company's interests.
In regards to motivational theories, it does not appear Apple Inc. focuses as much on individual needs as do the content theories of motivation, but more on pursuing task goals as does one of the process theories of motivation and the external environment consequences regarding the reinforcement theory of motivation. The "goal-setting theory," which is one of the process theories that applies to the organization, focuses on the motivational properties of task goals. Employees within the organization are highly motivated to accomplish task goals, which give direction to people in their work. The proper setting and management of goals within Apple helps clarify performance expectations in the organization. They provide a foundation for behavioural self-management, which helps motivate employees work performance and job satisfaction.
Apple applies to the reinforcement theory of motivation because it focuses on the external environment and the consequences it holds for the individual. The organization mostly applies to the positive reinforcement strategy which strengthens or increases the frequency of desirable behaviour by making a pleasant consequence contingent on it occurrence. Examples of positive reinforcement at Apple include the rewards given by Jobs as mentioned above (opening champagne, vacations, company parties). All employees are motivated to do their best work to accomplish goals because of the rewards they can receive.
Apple has also been known to use incentive compensation systems to motivate employees. This includes bonus pay, which provides one-time payments to employees based on the accomplishment of specific performance targets. They also have an employee stock ownership plan as mentioned earlier. An ownership share in one's place of employment links directly with a performance incentive. Employees holding stock options are motivated to work hard to raise the price of the firm's stock.
Many of Apple's employees have to deal with stress on a daily basis, which is the state of tension experienced by individuals facing extraordinary demands, constraints or opportunities. Much of their stress comes from working factors which includes, long working hours, too many demands, the rush of developing the next big product, and the fear of losing their job for those who cannot meet objectives. Stress can also come from personal factors which includes the "Type A" personality and from non-work factors which include: family events, economics, and personal affairs.
Jobs believes in putting a lot of stress on his workers as it acts in a positive way to increase effort, stimulate creativity, and encourage great work; known as constructive stress. The stress employees' face can also have negative effects, known as destructive stress, which impairs the performance of an individual. A great example of this was recently, in July of 2009, a man who worked at an iPhone plant in China committed suicide. This was after the worker lost a fourth-generation iPhone prototype that he was responsible for. Employees who deal with Apple's new products face great pressure in maintaining a high-level of secrecy over their products.
Many of the organization's employees are constantly dealing with the stress of their job and non-work factors; therefore Apple has come up with a few strategies in dealing with stress. The organization's strict role clarification helps reduce job uncertainties, conflicts, and work overloads. Employees' assistance programs are offered, which include: financial education seminars, tuition assistance, personal and family counselling, wellness programs, an onsite fitness center, and commuter programs.
Areas Where Improvement Could Be Made:
At Apple, areas of improvement could be made by eliminating the use of coercive power within the organization. Coercive power is influencing an individual through punishment. Employees have reported that they have coerced to do something through verbal reprimands. This only hurts the organization by making employees not want to work for management out of liking for their job, but out of fear they are going to be punished in some way (pay penalties, termination).
In regards to leadership and power, I believe Apple can improve in empowering other people. Empowerment is the process through which managers enable and help other individuals to gain power and have more influence within the company. This would improve the organization by not making it a "one genius that leads the company" model. It would help relieve Steve Jobs's work and when people are empowered to act, they are generally more committed to their task and producing high-quality work. It would show the confidence management has in their employees, and their respect for the talents and creativity they possess.
Apple Inc. can improve its motivation of employees by not only following process theories and reinforcement theories of motivation, but also content theories of motivation. Content theories explain the behaviours and attitudes of people at work based on individual needs- the unfulfilled physiological or psychological desires. Having managers and leaders that establish conditions where it is possible for people to satisfy important needs through their work is important, as needs cause tensions that influence attitudes and behaviour. Eliminating obstacles that interfere with the satisfaction of important needs help in improving motivation at Apple.
I believe Apple could improve stress management by not putting as many demands on employees, decreasing the amount of work hours a week and not putting stress on workers to increase effort and encourage great work. As it is hard for an organization to limit personal and non-work factors of stress, Apple can improve in reducing the amount of work factors of stress. The organization needs to focus on maintaining constructive stress, but eliminating destructive stress.
Detailed Plan of Improvement
Content Theories of Motivation - Hierarchy of Needs Theory
As mentioned in "Part D- Leadership and Motivation of the Members of the Organization," Apple Inc. does not focus as much on the individual needs of their employees, which relates to the content theories of motivation, but more on the accomplishment of task goals and the external environment consequences, which relate to the process and reinforcement theories of motivation. This leads to room for improvement in following the content theories of motivation, which explain the behaviours and attitudes of people at work based on individual needs. This would improve the organization because needs are the unfulfilled physiological or psychological desires of an individual, which cause tensions that influence attitudes and behaviour. This is why it is important for managers and leaders to establish conditions where it is possible for employees to satisfy important needs through their work and to also eliminate obstacles that have the potential to interfere with the satisfaction of important needs. Fulfilling these individual needs will further help in improving the motivation at Apple.
One of the content theories of motivation, the "Hierarchy of Needs Theory" developed by Abraham Maslow, is a great theory to implement into the organization to improve motivation. This theory states that there are two categories of needs: "Lower-order needs"- include physiological, safety, and social concerns, and "higher-order needs"- include esteem and self-actualization concerns. The fulfilment of lower-order needs, which desire social and physical well-being, and higher-orders needs, which desire psychological development and growth, leads to great behaviour and attitudes of people at work.
Maslow's theory describes two principles explaining the affects of needs on human behaviour. The first is the "deficit principle," which states that "a satisfied need is not a motivator of behaviour". The second is the "progression principle," which states that "a need at one level does not become activated until the next lower-level need is already satisfied." The goal of Apple in implementing this theory would be to allow all employees to advance through the hierarchy until they reach the level of self-actualization. At this level, employees begin to be motivated by opportunities of self-fulfillment. If managers within Apple followed this theory, employees would not have deprived needs which result in negative attitudes and behaviours, which in turn affect the organization in many different aspects. There are many different ways managers can use Maslow's ideas to better meet the needs of their staff.
A detailed plan to implement this theory would first begin by looking at the order of the needs in the hierarchy. The hierarchy of human needs is, from first to last: physiological, safety, social, esteem and lastly self-actualization needs. Below is an example on how Apple can fulfill each of these individual needs.
Physiological needs: Providing reasonable work hours, rest and refreshment breaks, and physical comfort when working.
Safety needs: Apple already does a good job in providing for some of these needs, such as safe working conditions, base compensation, and benefits. It could still improve in job security, which is eliminating the threat many employees feel of losing their jobs because of their performance.
Social needs: Improving the group atmosphere between managers and workers, by having friendly co-workers and pleasant supervisors. Allowing all individuals to feel a sense of belonging is important. This need is important to fulfill within the Apple organization as it has many team-based projects. More social events could help improve the fulfillment of this need.
Esteem needs: Apple can fulfill employees esteem needs by giving them more responsibility for important jobs, allowing the opportunity for promotion to a higher job status, and more praise and recognition from Steve Jobs and other managers. Ensuring workers know their contribution helps in reaching the organizations goals and making certain they receive recognition for what they have done results in good self-esteem, leading them to be more productive and effective.
Self-actualization needs: As Apple already provides creative and challenging work through the products they develop, and participation in decision making, they could further help in fulfilling this need by allowing more job flexibility and autonomy. Apple should allow employees to feel that they have reached the place they want and by fulfilling the self-actualization need more and more, the individual is suppose to grow stronger.
With Apple Inc. being one of the top companies in the world, it is hard to say what they should improve on because of their success, the great individuals they have working for them and their size. This plan to implement the "Hierarchy of Needs Theory" may benefit the organization but because of the organizations size and the expertise of the individuals that run the company, including Steve Jobs, I am sure they have looked to all aspects of the organization for ways to improve.