The Role Of Apple In Current Markets Commerce Essay

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The brand, Apple needs no further introduction in today's civilization. Apple Inc has produced iconic products such as the iBook, iPod and in recent times, breaking boundaries yet again with their remarkable iPhone4. The man who brought Apple to the highest pinnacle stature, escalated Apple's share prices from $7 a share to $74, and brought digital technology to the masses by conceiving products that captures the consumers' imagination. This man is none other than, Co-founder of Apple Inc and multibillionaire, Steve Jobs.

One of the important leadership skills that Steve Jobs used to propel Apple Inc from the ashes of irrelevance, using the autocratic style of leadership. With total control, breakout innovation and first-class marketing, he created products that delivered and consumers hanker after. A poll to show the world's most admired company was conducted by FORTUNE magazine in 2010 and it shows Apple Inc topping the list of 50 in 3 consecutive years since 2008, among them is Google, Toyota Motors and Microsoft.

A leader is someone who can influence others, as well as developing a vision for the future and then align people by imparting this vision and aspiring them to overcome hurdles. Leadership is what leaders do by steering or influencing the group towards the achievement of a set of goals. There have been numerous questions mixing a leader and a manager together. Are they both the same? Looking back at the four functions of management, leading is one of them. Therefore ideally, all managers should be leaders, however, not all leaders are mangers. Just because individuals have been appointed with managerial authority is no assurance that they will lead effectively (Robbins, 2010, pg184).

In today's complex and volatile business environment, leaders and managers are both necessary for success. Leaders are needed to challenge the status quo, to create visions for the future and to inspire individuals in achieving those goals. Good managers are also desired to bring a degree of order, creating efficient organizational structure and manage day-to-day operations.

There are some traditional theories of leadership which were researched over the past few decades in trying to determine to differentiate between leaders and non-leaders. Trait theories of leadership emphases on personal qualities and characteristics. Behavioral theories focuses on observable behaviors exhibited by specific leaders. Apart from trait and behavioral theories, contingency theories were developed which focuses on determining which kind of leader emerges in different situations (Robbins & Judge, 2010, pg187).


For a long time, researchers have been aiming to answer one question and that is "What is an effective leader?" Early theories were formed with the effort to identify and separate leaders among the non-leaders. These early leadership theories focused on the leader (trait theories) and how the leader interacts with the group members (behavioral theories) (Robbins & Coulter, 2010, pg 518).

Trait Theories

This theory makes a distinction between leaders and non-leaders by identifying people which are born with certain character traits or qualities associated with leadership potential. Finding has shown that it is important to know what kind of character traits that followers look for in a leader and what kind of characteristics an individual possess that can attract followers. In addition, most people consider those traits to be naturally part of the personality from birth. Furthermore, individuals have grown to accept that people are born to be leaders. Until a certain time, researchers gave a second opinion on the theory. Their finding shows that someone with good traits can change for the worst and vice versa.

A broaden aspect on traits leadership, when structured around the Big Five traits, have revealed that extraversion is the most essential trait for effective leaders. Extraversion is one of the Big Five factors which affect human personalities.

People who are in this category are more likely to be very sociable as they possess superior interpersonal skills compared to the rest. It is also their state of mind in needing to constantly express themselves thus making them more outstanding in the crowd. These results show that it better relates to leader emergence than leader effectiveness.

People will tend to follow leaders who are extraverted, conscientious and open to experiences. These traits display strong and consistent relationships to leadership in an individual. However, it is still not as potent as extraversion. (Robbins & Judge, 2010, pg 42).

Behavioral Theories

This theory came about when early studies show that leadership can be perceived by observable behaviors exhibited by individuals. There were signs of a unique way leaders behave apart from the normal crowd. Researchers realize that since the actions can be studied, individuals could become leaders through observation and teaching, differing from the traits theory.

University of Iowa

Base on a leader's decision-making model, the University of Iowa has identified three possible leadership styles. The pros and cons are described below:

Autocratic: This style portrays a leader who holds authority firmly, commands specific work methods and seldom allows employees to participate in decision making process.

Pro: This style is appropriate when a decision is required to be taken urgently when external inputs are not necessary for a successful outcome.

Con: Employees will feel very much in a regimental environment, having the leader dominating in every decision-making process. This makes the employees not able to think independently, hence hindering the organization's growth.

Democratic: Leaders going by this style will tend to obtain employees' inputs which encourage participation in deciding work matters and delegating authority if necessary.

Pro: When team agreement is crucial, leaders will go with this style. In addition, leaders can gain feedback on strengths and weaknesses.

Con: When a group is gathered to make a decision, it might take a long time to decide on one and leaders might create a pseudo feedback environment, where employees are urged to voice out their views, but their suggestions are never put into action.

Laissez-faire: This style allows the leader to give employees full freedom on their own, completing the task at hand in whichever way they saw fit. Decision making will also be made by them.

Pro: Laissez-faire style works very well in a team of highly motivated individuals as they do not need any close supervision.

Con: Employees might feel left alone and without the sight of a leadership figure, and not everyone is able to make the correct decision.

Contingency Theories

This theory is focused on how a leader reacts to situational influences on leadership effectiveness. This style is stressed on using distinctive leadership methods appropriate to the needs of different organizational conditions. There are two types of theories formed and are listed below:

Fiedler Model: This theory is developed and conceived by Fred Fiedler in the late 1960s, and he believes that there are two types of leader, one which is task oriented and the other is relationship oriented. A questionnaire was conducted and revealed that about 84% scored at either extreme of the spectrum and only 16% were hovering in the middle range, which are not considered within this theory.

The elements that would influence the efficacy of leadership are:

How clearly defined and structured the job scope is

The relationship between the leader and the employees

The degree of influence and positional power the leader has over the followers.

Fiedler states that the better the leader-member relationship, the more highly structured the

job, stronger positional power, and more control the leader has.

He also found that task-oriented leaders flourish in either extreme ends of the spectrum of either being having poor relationships with employees or have good relationship with employees.

Leader-Member Exchange theory: This theory focuses on the relationship between leaders and

followers. Every leader has an exclusive relationship with each and every follower, and this being said, the value of the relationship is dependent on the quality of interactions with one another.

According to the theory, everyone is being treated differently by the leader which suggest that certain individuals will fall into an "in-group" and others in the "out-group"

For those falling into the "in-group" will be governed with trust and respect. They tend to be frequently involved in crucial activities and decisions. The rest which belongs to the "out-group" will not be involved in any important decision making or activities. They also have a reduced amount of interactions with the leader as they are confined by their job category and deemed to be less competent ad motivated to do more.


The Singapore Police Force (SPF) was formed in 1819 and the current Commissioner of Police (CP) is Nr Ng Joo Hee who has taken over the helm from former Commissioner, Khoo Boon Hui since January 2010. Till date, SPF has an operational ready strength of 13,802 police officers and 56% of which are regular officers. During his Commissioner's Address in 2009, CP Khoo has also pointed out that SPF has won awards in Human Resource Management in categories of "Leadership Development Strategy" and "Performance Management". He also cited in terms of picking out potential leaders in saying:

"Leadership is a strategic imperative for our continued success. It is not a competency reserved only for the management but for all levels in the organisation. To enhance the development of leadership competency in SPF, we have developed a Leadership Competency Framework which defines the various types of individual leadership competencies required for officers at various levels in the organisation. We have also rolled out a Leadership Mentoring Programme (LMP), which is an essential developmental tool to groom high potential officers for future leadership appointments."

Looking at leadership within the organization, right at the helm of it is former SPF CP, Khoo. His leadership would be akin to visionary style leadership. This style of leadership has the ability to craft out a credible, realistic and an alluring vision for the future that enhances the current situation. CP Khoo has a vision to ensure that the SPF will aid Singapore in its success and survival, protecting life and property, as well as to make SPF a Police Force which inspires the world. He was able to explain his vision to others through oral and written communications. Those wisdom of words were in-printed onto boards which are hung up in Police establishments, and circulate Police magazines bi-monthly to remind officers the true mission of SPF.

Being a visionary leader will need the aptitude to express the vision not jus verbally but through behavior. While serving the Interpol since 2006, he has vigorously worked to strengthen ties between Interpol and the south-east Asian Police Forces and ultimately lead to the signing of a Declaration of Co-operation between Interpol and Aseanpol. In October 2008, CP Khoo was elected as president of Interpol which exemplifies his vision to place SPF in the world front to inspire the world.