Selection Of Steve Jobs Case Study Commerce Essay


The purpose of this assignment and the selection of Steve Jobs case study draw in many features of leadership theories and works connected with Jobs' Apple or his business activity. His leadership tells again one further thing that sometimes successful leaders may divide into two camps the whole world : some adore the leader and others cannot stand him. This sensation is not so unusual as example of Margaret Thatcher's political leadership and many military leaders over the centuries.

Apple's success made Steve Jobs a successful leader and the main thing is Jobs personal creation is Apple. During his time there were Bill Gates and Michael Dell who were fabulously successful in different parts of the IT business, but Jobs' Apple was always the most creative, the quirkiest, maybe even the coolest of the three brands.

By this time, many of us already learned, heard, read and watched about Steve Jobs' many contributions to the society, his achievements on many accounts. Consumers' passions about Steve Jobs and the Apple are rare in the business world. In Soho I was passing by an Apple store not long ago and found flowers and hundreds of post - it notes from so many expressing gratitude to Steve Jobs. As his biographer Walter Isaacson and others have pointed out, however, Steve Jobs was far from perfect.  I'd like to comment in particular on his leadership and management style.  It is well-known that Steve Jobs could be arrogant, dictatorial, and mean-spirited.  Yet he was a great leader. So, this overturns some management writers claims and thoughts today's business leaders need to be nice, kind, humble (Level 5 leadership), and practice "servant leadership?"

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I think the contradiction about leadership can be clarified by two sets of aspects. One we need to recognize the situational leadership. In some circumstances one style could work properly but that might not work in some others at all. Ambiguity or the surprise matter always there while claims being made about the behaviour and the characteristics of the universal leadership. Woking overseas and leading cross - functional global teams definitely recognize leadership needs to be adapted culture specific. Mr. Jobs' leadership not mentioning his genius activities was a key part in the success of Apple. If he had used another style, might not be able to achieve the glorious success at Apple.

The other one is apart from arrogance style of Mr. Jobs he had some great executive leaders' qualities - visionary, risk taker, emotional stability, openness to experience, and highly focused, committed or persistent, passionate and positive attitude. Not only he dived into his vision, he made sure company's everyone brought into that created for the company a higher purpose which excited really the company employees. His products and passions of course were legendary in Apple. He established trust among company members not as a founder but in marketing and product design.

Leadership And Organisational Behaviour issues

To understand the attached case study's key aspect module - Organisational Behaviour, I have done a detailed research on Apple Inc. policies, leadership strategies etc.

Balanced Scorecard Institute defined the balanced scorecard which is a management and planning system used to bring into line business activities to the vision and the organisation's strategy, communications (internal & external) improvement, and against strategic goals monitor organisational performance. Most organisations, to bring effective changes use the balanced scorecard. But APPLE INC. doesn't implement the scorecard for operating changes but uses for long term performance. It focuses on various categories of measurement in the following order

Financial Perspective - Shareholder Value

Customer Perspective - Market share and customer satisfaction

Internal Process Perspective - Core Competencies

The Innovation and Improvement Perspective

The three wide-ranging Organisational Behaviour aspects have been taken i.e. Leadership, Motivation, and Change Management to identify whether Apple Inc. is following a good strategy or any possibility of improvement or any requirement of complete change. Especially the focus is more or less orbited around the Apple Inc.'s CEO Steve Jobs throughout the report and the way he be able to manage and motivate the Apple Inc.'s employees


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Through the case study and because of Steve Jobs I deeply researched and found on crisis moment Apple called him and simply Steve Jobs turned the things around and took the organisation at top level, honestly I got charmed by this man. His leadership styles sets for everyone example, he is visionary and transformational leaders role model. For example the price of Apple share 2% fell on Steve Jobs illness rumour in 2008.

Because of some power struggles internally, Apple forced Steve to leave his job in 1985 and after that nearly one decade Apple was in serious crisis. In 1996 financial losses was reaching $81600000 and in 1997 it was $1 billion and instead of $70 per share (1991) it became $14 per share. In 1997 March issue Fortune Magazine described Apple as

"Silicon Valley's paragon of dysfunctional management." (Woods, 1997).

Later Apple appointed Steve Jobs as the CEO and everything started changing - even Apple is much ahead than rivals HP, Dell, Microsoft etc. and posited or ranked sixth in the list of reputable companies.

In spite of his all achievements, Steve always been encircled with arguments. Beside the concern of the products of Apple, he is looked up as a business idol. Transformation leadership consists of charisma, motivation (inspirational), stimulation (intellectual) and consideration (individual). Everybody knows that Steve Jobs had these all qualities except the last one consideration (individual). He had a perfection achieving phenomenal hunger and acted as a one man army to reformed computing system. From his past as well as the past of Apple we can see his greatness. Todays the digital image of the society is enhanced by the Apple i.e. Steve Jobs. During 1985 to 1997, successfully he transformed 'Pixar' into a successful speculation. Only lack was Steve Jobs liked secrecy. Apple builds trust but never talked about their forthcoming products. They always talked about their achieved things and this behaviour effects a lot to the Apple Inc. employees. His arrogant and top-down approach is not going to work according to William C. Taylor (Harvard Business Review, 2009)

With an excellent speech ability and superb fascinating influence over the audience and his employees, Steve Jobs is a very powerful charismatic leader. He made his employees enthusiastic by the charismatic power and convinced customers to buy Apple's products. Apart from his charismatic power he is also known as devious, rude and corrupt. He did not respect individual, employees scared him, though its perfection quest but still shows his consideration for individual is low to some extent. He made his employees better but not to be easy on them. Survey in 2008 shows that employees were not enough satisfied with their bonus and compensation level but they had towards the products and the policies of the company full passion. Steve Jobs tremendous qualities of charismatic power, Apple outperformed others primarily in the business market. Though charismatic leadership power matched with him but his individual consideration does not go with him. In this respect my doubt goes whether Steve Jobs is a charismatic leader or a personalised leader more.


The purpose and direction of behave is the psychological process which is referred by the Motivation.

An organisation will be benefitted if the employees are motivated by effective productivity though it's a very complex task as motivation keeps on changing. In 2010, Glassdoor results show clearly that Apple's employees are respectful to their boss and are motivated. A few years before and the present Apple if compare, anyone can easily realise that Jobs was outstanding to get his employees commitment properly that proved Apple's employees motivation. When excellence expected then employees need not be told anything said by Steve Jobs in 1989, initially needs to coach them.

the motivation model of the Maslow's hierarchy of needs (1943) describes that the needs can be classified into these stages (including last need being basic need most).

SELF ACTUALISATION Doing what best you can do

ESTEEM NEEDS Self-respect and respect from others

BELONGING Acceptance and being part of something

SAFETY NEEDS Physical and Psychological security

PHYSIOLOGICAL NEEDS Hunger, Thirst, Rest etc.

'Esteem' , 'Belonging' and 'Self Actualisation needs' are as highlighted is that according to me, these are the underperformances in the Apple's motivation level for employees. Apple never put hard gear on the employees' motivation as they never knew what company coming up with next. They are restricted to go from one department to another by using electronic badges as terrorists. Jobs kept software and hardware department separate and set in different buildings. Steve Jobs always looking for perfection, a notorious manager, instead of motivate he used his stick. This definitely is not followed the Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

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Steve Jobs was an autocratic as he wanted people to listen to him. Though innovation is part of the involvement of the employees but this theory had a doubt on Apple's innovation. Definitely it conflicts with the 'Self Actualisation Stage' of Maslow's hierarchy.

In 2006, Roderick Kramer wrote for Harvard Business Review, a certain degree of forcefulness might prove to be useful when it comes to handling intractable problems. So, Steve jobs always worked on his own way and delivered fabulous results does not mean that his ways is the right way. Because it's not about Steve Jobs, it's the question about Apple Inc. So, therefore the way Jobs worked is not the right way. According to an insider Steve was acute with his employees, made them cry but also most of time he was right. His viewpoint was exceptional and he had no asshole rule, he was tyrant in his workplace but if employees not fully pleased then things not going to work same way in future.

Change Management

The development of an organisation depends on Change Management, a set of behavioural science-based theories, values and strategies. It is not an easy job. W Pasmore in 2010 said that many leaders failed to make operating and critical changes to led the organisation. Apple like many other big companies gained mastery in this matter. Not only Apple Inc. comes up with new and innovative technology but also the implementation of the financial figures of them vastly accepted all over the world. Steve Jobs has many reasons to be successful in change management and out of those understanding and anticipation of customers requirement most.

Change Management helps an organisation to take from one level to the next level by treating Employees as Focus Group. Steve doesn't rely on focus groups, instead he is a steady believer that customers themselves don't know their requirement. Without asking them he has a strong understanding ability and can anticipate his customers' call. So he treats as focus group his own employees and without any customer intervention makes the decision. By giving such huge importance to the employees, the employees themselves feel a part of the change. Thus he gains the employee loyalty very easily. The products like iPod, iPhone, and iTunes are great examples that prove his expertise in understanding the customer needs.

Every individual thinks own way differently and has got own different insights and assertiveness in life. So, therefore, it's not possible to get 100% support from all the employees. Rather, to accept and adapt to change, they need to be motivated and inspired enough. Jobs chooses team members by selecting multiplier factor of excellence. He believes that the extraordinary designers, engineers and managers are not only better than the good ones by 10 or 20 % but 10 times better. He feels that outstanding products come from their contributions.

Eliminating Fear of Change: Over time, Steve's leadership has made the organisations' mantra, together with its distribution and channel partners. While iTunes launch, people thought it might change the entire music industry. With the charismatic ability Jobs eliminated the fear of change, and they achieved their 100% contribution and iTunes in the music industry made a revolution.

Managing Changes in Distribution Strategy: the whole distribution strategy might be disrupted at time by the innovation and Apple faced the problem on their iPod launching time. They made good relation with big box stores like Wal Mart, Target etc. before introducing them in the consumer electronics industry. For distributing digital music iTunes also built a complete new distribution strategy successfully and that's the way Apple overcome the changing problem in distribution strategy.

Review of Literature

Most business leaders expect to touch the level Steve Jobs's did before he died in October 2011. He is the legendary visionary player one in a century. He is a dynamic and controversial leader and his success totally relied upon his innovation capabilities. During time the legacies left by many other protruding leaders become clear. However, we already by today have tremendous clarity of Jobs's leadership. Because of the masterful biography of Walter Isaacson, we know that Jobs pursued former CEO of CNN and managing editor of Time Isaacson, for five years (the first of many examples of Jobs's persistence in the book), and then gave him a free hand (a much rarer occurrence), promising: "It's your book. I won't even read it."

Certainly Steve Jobs was a wayward and ambitious leader, and his innovation, commercialization and services to the society through Apple Inc. changed the way of life styles of many of us and developed truthfully great ways for computing, publishing, movies, music, and mobile telephony industries.

His way or style of leadership is complex, risky, committed and charismatic to convince customers and employees on his aspiration. Though he is greatest business executive of the era but he was critical, tyrant one. All too often he was the antithesis of the "servant leader" model popularized in the 1990s (the giving, caring organizational mentor who in many ways contrasted with the hero model of a century prior). Not only at Apple Inc. but at NeXT and at Pixar, he seeded powerful culture. He created a place where motivated people make great products.

He had fascinating and perplexing leadership. Personally and professionally he fell in and out of love with people easily. Because of his great talent he created extraordinary skilful organisation but he missed many people's potential contribution. In question of teamwork, he always challenged to do beyond the possible. So, a few strong people cope with this challenge to keep remain the pride but many others usually become frustrated. In a way this is a loss of encouragement and emotional effect as the theme comes up A players and B players.

Then there was Jobs's habit of distorting reality to fit his purposes, coupled with the impatience, criticism, and brusqueness that often accompanied it. On the one hand, the "Jobs version" could create a compelling vision of what might be. Witness the strong cultures that he fostered at his companies: Even through the 10 years he was exiled from Apple, the underlying essence of the culture he established somehow stayed alive. On the other hand, Jobs's reality distortion could be extremely alienating, and it sapped his credibility, especially when he used it to dismiss a promising idea or an effort as "a piece of crap."

Applied to the wrong strategy, market, or product, his behaviors could sink a company. In the end, what made Jobs such a successful leader was his much-lauded talent at envisioning and delivering breakthrough products and services. His ability to innovate for his customers in a way few leaders had done before served as a salve to his gruff personal style.

Very few top leaders pay as much attention to product and design detail as Jobs did. He always considered simplicity, functionality, and consumer appeal before cost efficiency, sales volume, or even profit. That attention was integral to the strategic and marketing capabilities of his companies. In these respects, Jobs was an entrepreneurial leader in the mode of Walt Disney and Edwin Land, both of whom he admired.

Jobs famously said that "customers don't know what they want until we've shown them." Indeed, he had a remarkable, but not infallible, ability to develop products that consumers would buy and savor, as well as the confidence, courage, and drive to bring them to life. Part and parcel of this appeal was Jobs's remarkably clean sense of design, which Isaacson traces back to his study of Zen Buddhism and, further still, to his adoptive father, a blue-collar mechanic who rebuilt cars in the family's garage for extra income. Much of Jobs's genius - and Isaacson contends his genius was for "imaginative leaps [that] were instinctive, unexpected, and at times magical" - stemmed from his ability to integrate diverse disciplines, particularly the humanities and science, a sort of synthesis of artistry and engineering.

With age and experience, Steve Jobs became a better leader of people. Although Jobs was never one to dwell on his own shortcomings, Isaacson quotes a statement he made during a 2007 conference in which he revealed a somewhat reluctant, even latent sense of an important flaw. "Because Woz and I started the company based on doing the whole banana, we weren't so good at partnering with people," he said of Apple's design philosophy. "I think if Apple could have had a little more of that in its DNA, it would have served it extremely well." Jobs would have benefited from more of that in his leadership DNA, too. Who knows - if he had had more time, he might have been able to close that gap altogether.


By looking at the financial results of Apple Incorporated, people might perceive that things are going quite well within the organisation. But the entire analysis above shows that there are a lot of loopholes in Apple's functioning which requires a deep thought. Where Steve Jobs is considered as an idol by millions of people, at the same time his attitude questions whether he is a true transformational leader or more of a personalised leader. One might feel that innovative products of Apple are a result of employee motivation and involvement. But that is not the case. By analysing the levels of motivation with the help of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, it was found that the top three levels of needs go dicey in case of Apple employees. However, there is no denying the fact that Apple has mastered in the concept of change. Whether it is about training the employees for change or it is about managing the changes in distribution strategy, Apple has successfully managed changes both within as well as outside the organisation.

My recommendations to the company, particularly to Steve Jobs, are:

No wonder apple has no match in its innovation. But things can further improve provided that employees are given more freedom to express their thoughts. Moreover, if instead of Stick, Jobs can manage with some positive motivation, it can do wonders for the company as far as employee loyalty is concerned.

Steve Jobs, undoubtedly, is a fantastic charismatic leader. The analysis in the report clearly shows that the charisma of Steve Jobs has single handed taken the company to such heights. But Apple needs to think beyond Steve Jobs. The company should start focussing more on its future, for which it is really important that the other members of the organisation also start scratching their heads and reduce their dependency on one man.

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group assignment on steve jobs

management and leadership of steves INTRODUCTION

Summing Up

We know that there are basically two types of organisational leaders - the transactional and the

transformational. Transactional leaders are the ones who work with the safety of the status quo.

Transformational leaders strive with all their might to change the existing order of things. They are the

ones who bring about major, positive change for a group, organisation or society. We have seen that

Steve Jobs was able to direct his people and make them do things which they had never done before, but

these things were also essential for the realisation of his vision and plans. I leave it your judgment to

deduce what style of leadership Jobs followed.

It is quite logical to assume that Jobs' style of

management changed over the years. This is

also indicated in the following quote - "When

Jobs was ousted from Apple in 1985, he was

often termed as arrogant and bully combined

with perfectionist attitude, something that

indicates the 'Authority-Obedience Manager'"

(Fortune 2009, The Decade of Steve). In 2009,

due to medical reasons, Steve delegated his

responsibilities to Tim Cook, Apple's COO for

six months, and everything went on smoothly.

Perhaps, he had mentored his executive team

successfully to think and decide like him, which

indicates that his style had probably moved on

to being a 'Team Manager'.

Interestingly, Jobs may not be the embodiment

of an effective leader - in a way, he was far

from being a classical 'text-book' example.

Nevertheless, his charisma, self-confidence and

passion for work overshadow all his flaws, making him one of most successful CEOs of the decade.