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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.