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Leadership And People Management Apple After Steve Jobs Commerce Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Commerce
Wordcount: 4433 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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According to David Caldwell, professor of Santa Clara University, “culture is a shared set of norms.” Culture as a shared understanding of assumptions and expectations among the member of an organisation. It is reflected easily in the policies, vision, and goal of the particular organisation. In other words a culture informs success and leadership drives that culture. Stephan Sadove, the chairman of Saks says “leadership drives the innovations and whatever you want to accomplish within the organisation, innovation, execution and whatever that needs to be done. And then drives results.”

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Apple was near the brink of death about ten years ago when it had 150 million dollars in the bank and it stock was trading few bucks a share. Job could have focused on near term-fixes but instead he focused in building the high performance culture by doing three things well. First of all he refocused the strategy of the company. Secondly he eliminated the passive aggressiveness and encourage the debate when forming new ideas and thirdly he introduced a cross disciplinary views of how to get success from concept to product to sales. It was not an easy thing to achieve but he recreated the culture and didn’t cut the corners. ( Neilofer Merchant, 1998).


Culture defines the values and targets of a company and leadership helps to accomplish it. Commonly “the way we see and do things around here”. Through traditions, history and structures, organisations maker their own culture.One of the first thing the new team member learns in any organisation, the predecessors of the company how they have built certain norms and values to gain the status of a legend. These legends might have no training and prior education related to the company needs. In the mean time there may occur a “culture shift” a new team leader joins into and the values and norms get a new definition and direction and the employees may need a specific training or education to acquire the certain standard of the company.Like Apple does when Tim became the leader after Steve Job died.

(http://businesscasestudies.co.uk/business-theory/strategy/corporate-and-organisational-culture.html#axzz2HEIBFMdM )

A number of organisational cultures been identified by the researchers,

A power culture

A role culture

A task culture

A person culture

Leaders are the torch bearers for applying the culture to achieve the certain objectives of the organisation.differet types of leadership are

Autocratic leadership

Beaurocratic leadership

Chismatic leadership

Democratic or participative leadership

Laissez – faire leadership

People oriented leadership correlation oriented leadership

Servant leadership

Task oriented leadership

Transactional leadership

Transformational leadership

Using the case study of the Apple and the visionary genius Steve Job, leadership framework can be obtained. Four frame work approach and managerial grid models can help to elaborate it.

A leader should translate the company’s strategy and goals to all individual levels if he/she wants to inspire and retain the best talent (CEO of Consumer Goods Company). Some leadership behaviours, which are more frequently applied by women than by men in management teams, prove to enhance corporate performance and will be a key factor in meeting tomorrow’s business challenges. Hence, promoting gender diversity and leadership variety is of strategic importance for companies. (McKinsey & Company , 2007)

What is Leadership and organisational behaviour?

The importance of leadership is increasing rapidly and it is essential to have deep understanding of leadership skills and basic principles. Also, there is a misconception among leadership, management and authority. Precisely a leader is a person who has followers or a leader is a person who has a combination of personality and skills that make others to follow his/her direction.(Jago, 1982)

Leaders are born not created and good leaders are who keep improving themselves by self study and observation. A good leader is who knows himself and improves himself through observations, classes or self study, training continuously. Who is technically proficient, seek responsibility and take responsibility, make sound and timely decision, set himself as example, knows his people and look for their well being, communicate properly to the workers, use the skills of the workers and resources of the organisation to its best and is a good team player and team manager. Four important factors of leadership are leader, followers, communication and situation. (Mischel, 1968)

There is a difference between boss and a leader. The authority, position, lead and supervision make a person boss not a leader. Leadership makes followers to achieve what you want them to achieve rather than simply bossing around.(Rowe,2007).

Steve job got the same attributes of the leader and a boss. Apple has gained an international success under Steve. By following the tight team work among top executives, narrow product focus and extreme commitment to accountability, Apple outshines. But still there are few drawbacks of Apple culture like top-bottom dictatorship, beaurocratic behave with the employees and company’s obsession about secrecy. The apple has gained the ultimate image of cool under Steve but under this cool is a cold heartless face. Comparing it with Microsoft where Bill has given it a human face and with kindness a Heart. Because of this major difference customers rated Microsoft better than Apple. (Case study)

What are the leadership and organisational behaviour theories?

Lewins’s three style leadership model:

 Kurt Lewin’s leadership theory also called as a Situational/Contingency leadership model. He catagorised it in three major catagories

Autocratic – sometimes called the Authoritira style. It is where leades decide and set the targets and goal make all important decisions and employees accomplish it’. It is where employees are treated like machines “do the job and shut up”.

Participative – It’s the democratic style of doing things. It is where the leader of the company expresses his/her priorities targets goals and decisions.Then leadership allows employees to take part in the group’s work and accepts advice and suggestions from colleagues.( Northouse, G. (2007)

Delegative – sometimes termed the Laissez-Faire style. Lewin classes this as one of the leadership styles but others may not agree. This particular style means that the leader passes on the decision or skill, knowledge to the group of people to achieve the certain goals of the organisation.

Tannenbaum and Schmidt’s Leadership Behaviour or Behaviour Continuum:

 Single leadership <-------------------------------ƒ Shared leadership



Leaderdecides and orders

Leader decides and ‘sells’ benefits of it.


Leader decides first and then delegate it to the people to get their opinion


Leader presents initial thinking and decisions and allows followers to change them as well


Leader presents problem, gets suggestions, makes decision.


Leader defines problem, asks group to decide the solution


Leader welcomes the suggestions and decisions from the group of followers as well its like a bottom up situation

Boss-Centred Leadership <-------------------> Subordinate-Centred Leadership

(original Tannenbaum and Schmidt terminology)


Fiedler’s Contingency Model: Third noticeable model was situational model by Fielder to emerge leadership. It was published in Fiedler’s book “A Theory of Leadership Effectiveness” for the first. Precisely Fiedler’s theory interprets that leader’s effectiveness depends on congruency of two forces:

Leadership style of the leader


Fielder’s called it “combination of situational contingency”.

Path-Goal Theory – Robert House

The next important theory to emerge leadership was Robert House’s Path-Goal theory, in his 1971 paper: A Path-Goal Theory of Leader Effectiveness, He represented it again three years later with T R Mitchell. He said that the significant role of a leader is to motivate his followers by:

Explaining and clarifying the (group’s/followers’) their personal interest of struggling for and achieving the group’s goal.

Explaining and clarifying a path to get to the group’s goals.

That’s how the theory’s called: Path-Goal Theory.

Robert House’s theory explains four ways of behaving to four sets of conditions, or ‘situations’ or circumstances.

Hersey & Blanchard’s Situational Leadership® Model diagram

Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard published their Situational Leadership® Model in 1982. The book named Management of Organizational Behaviour: Utilizing Human Resources. This was the best situational contingency concept.

The features of “situational” model

Focuses on followers, but the wider workplace circumstances.

Advises that leaders should change their behaviour regarding the type of followers.

Convinces ‘continuum’ or progression of leadership adaptation in response to the development of followers.

Bolman and Deal’s Four-Frame Model:

This Four-Frame model was published by Deal and Bolman in their book. The book named Reframing Organizations (1991).

Bolman and Deal said that leaders should focus and approach issues of the organisation from four aspects, termed ‘Frames’.

In their view, if a leader works with only one habitual Frame (frame of reference), the leader risks being ineffective.

The Four Frames outlined by Bolman and Deal are:

Human Resource




John Adair’s Action-Centred Leadership model:

This is stated as Action-Centred Leadership model. It suggests that the leader must pay attention to three aspects of need all together.

1. Achieving the challenge face by the group task.

2. Developing the sound sense of team or group unity and collective responsibility.

3. Making sure that each person in the group is capable to meet his or her own needs – psychologically and physically too. ( Maslow’s can be taken as example to understand these better). (Jago, 1982)

Kouzes and Posner’s Five Leadership Practices Model:

Kouzes and Posner’s Leadership Challenge Model that is an exemplary five aspects model.It stathes that the leader should

Model the Way

Inspire a Shared Vision

Challenge the Process

Enabling Others to Act

Encourage the Heart

(Kouzes, etl (1987)

Review of the leadership and behaviour of Apple:

Steve job cofounded the Apple with his brother in the garage of his parents in 1976. He was thrown out of the business in 1985; he set his business company named Next and rejoins the Apple to rescue it from the bankruptcy in 1997. After putting it on the road to the success he died in 2011. His leadership and decision proved the miracle for the company. Along the way he refurbished seven industries: personal computing, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, retail stores, and digital publishing. That’s how he enrolled himself in the cluster of great innovators of America. He is parallel to Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Walt Disney. None of them is alive but history will remember how they translate their imagination to technology and business.( Walter Isaacson, 2012)

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In 2000 Jobs became the company’s permanent CEO .In the years that followed Apple not only got back on track, but also became one of the most profitable companies in the world. Jobs led Apple to success by focusing the company on a few core products (desktop computers and laptops) as opposed to many different ones and by creating ground breaking products like the Mac Book Air. Apple prided itself in its sleek, elegant and easy to use computers like the iMac, Mac Book and Mac Book Air. The creation of new digital devices such as the iPod, iPhone and iPad, made Apple a house-hold name around the world. ( case study)

Below we explore the complex dynamic frame work in which Steve Jobs enacted distance and proximity from Apple customers and wider audiences, in an attempt to uncover one of the processes that contributed to the strong bond that developed between Steve Jobs and Apple clients/fans.

Pros of Apple and Steve Job’s Organisational behaviour:

A narrow product focus: When Steve job unveiled the iPhone has mentioned the three major qualities, a wide screen iPod, a revolutionary phone and a break through internet communication. Every one won by Steves masterful presentation of the iPhone. (Shamir, 1995)Then with the time passage the drawbacks been noted. Why it didn’t have the 3G data? Where was the real support from the corporate email? And why couldn’t you write real presentation for that? On closer examination one could say Apple had blundered its product. But after the full four years Apple has continuously developed the missing pieces. This slow but steady roll out of the features proved very successful for Apple. (shely,2009)

Tight team work: There was close and tight team work among the extreme lead of the Apple inc. They worked with the close cooperation for the continuous development of the iPhone. The management changes are big news for Apple, which has seen little executive turnover since Steve Jobs rejoined to lead Apple in 1997. Most of the ET has been with Apple for more than ten years. Cook took over as CEO from Steve in August 2011, He compensated several executives intending to retain them and acknowledge them.(waldman& yammarino, 1999)

Extreme commitment to accountability: There is a culture of extreme accountability in Apple inc. The continuous progress and development of gadgets is the sign of this value. Apple inc took its challenges and challengers on the chin. ( Yagil,1998)The criticism after the launch of first iPhone was taken as one the big blunder but with the continuous development and introduction of the new features explains the strategy very well.

Innovation: From one perspective, Rising from the rubble of a disappearance of the company in 1997, Apple has gained tremendous success in 15 short years. With a market capitalisation of over $500 billion, Apple is one of the most prosper and high profit earning companies in the world. Its gigantic success is the result of the company’s capacity to create really innovative gadgets with huge customer applause.(Cult of Mac,2011)

User Friendly products: Apple flouts the traditional wisdom of the consumer in the electronics industry, focusing on low cost, “me-too” products, and short product life. Instead, Apple has given an option for constant and reliable product innovation. In return it gained vast consumer loyalty and a huge profitability.(Lapin,2011)

Cons of Apple Inc:

Top Down Dictatorial Culture: Apple has dual face .It’s been working in the past on top down dictatorial style. The decisions been taken by the CEO’s only.

Arrogance towards employees: Apple treats the employees with a degree of disrespect. They just abide the orders like ” shut up and do your job.” After disclosing of the fact how Apple is behaving and utilizing its employees in China to meet the challenges of its supply and demand. Where some employees get disabled because of the excessive working hours.(Isaacson,2011)

Company’s Obsession about secrecy: The most troubling issue with apple is its obsession of keeping its door shut for the world. Apple is missing the opportunities to tap the wisdom and feedback of its customers. That’s the reason that Microsoft and other rivals of Apple have overtaken apple to some extent.(case study)

Anti-Apple code of conduct activities: From the customer’s perspective Apple gives new direction to the gadgets industry on the other hand for the management of its supply and demand chain management it ignores and breaks no new grounds but its self designed actual fair code of conduct to treat the employees fairly. It violates the grounds and issues, despite the decades of inspecting the factories Apple’s own audits show continuous non-compliance to improve.(http:www.apple.com/stevejob)

Least Transparency about Pollution: Earlier this year a Chinese environmental group accused apple for its least transparent policy about pollution to meet its supply chain. Dangerous snapshots of the deficiencies in the supply chain is increasingly unacceptable to the consumers, workers and investors.(www.businessball.co.uk)

Cold not Cool: Apple has earned the ultimate image of cool with Steve but in real life its cold. According to research by Young and Rubicam Apple’s ads have mocked rival Microsoft nerdy but customers rate Microsoft better because Bill has given it heart and human face. (Cult of Mac,2011)

Review of the leadership and behaviour of Apple according to the leadership and behaviour theories:

Lewins’s three style leadership model:

Analysing Apple according to Lewins three style leadership model Apple after Steve looks in the Autocratic style of leadership. Because initially after China’s reports came to the news it revealed that Apple had a top to bottom style of delegation of the orders. So the employees were told to do what and how to do and “shut up”. (www.ivybusiness.com)

Leadership traits were so often praised in Steve. He was so concerned about the product and he walked by talk. Even when he noticed the yellow colour of apple on iPhone whenever logging on to google. He noticed and discussed it with the companions and omitted it.

In his studies, Lewin suggested that participative or democratic styles of leadership bring the best results, as it proves a median between the extreme authority of the dictatorship and democracy. Actually every leadership style is effective if applied in the suitable context. The job of an effective leader is to choose the style that fits best with his team capacity.( stogdill,1989)

Tannenbaum and Schmidt’s Leadership Behaviour or Behaviour Continuum:

Situational contingency model of 1967 supports Apple’s leadership style vigorously. Steve got the luck only or he was the true leader who inspires the follower to their heart and they achieve what he wants. (Jago,1999)The two basics of contingency model, leader’s leadership style was unique in terms of Steve. He was so brutally honest with the goal that he wants to achieve and that’s why it wasn’t easy to work for Apple with him. Many other follow him but unlikely succeed to achieve the same results. Situational favourableness was there with Steve’s leadership. (Bass.B (1990) His quick decisions on the time when Apple was on the brink of bankruptcy proved it. He struggled to this super-positivity because he constantly went over edges of the EI or EQ spectrum. Jobs practiced a very extreme balance, balance that was always favourable by accident.(www.balance-and-result/stevejob.html)

Kouzes and Posner’s Five Leadership Practices Model:

Model the Way: It suggests that leader’s actions speak louder than words so leader should do what he wants to achieve by himself to get the job done properly by the followers .Job become involved and get the commitment done to stand Apple Inc out in the corporate world.(Kousez,etl(1987)

Inspire a Shared Vision: Job was a masterpiece of vision. He exactly visualised the apple status and gained it through his inspiring communication. His staffs explain him as a spell bounder. They said he was master in creating ‘reality distortion field’ in any long conversation or meeting. He was inspiring in communicating his arguments in such a way that people abide him by heart, completely positive he would succeed, They ‘drank the cool-aid’ .He even pushed Apple to launch top notch software of presentation. It was a massive skill. Tim is trying to achieve the same.( Posner, B. Z. (1987)

Challenge the Process: He was so brutally concerned about the finishing product be an extreme standard. He was a challenge in himself to achieve the perfection. Apple is a beginning of new electronic era with all of its new and user friendly innovations. from iPod to iPad2.

Enabling Others to Act: Apple leadership and accomplishments are not only the result of a single person’s skill, they enable a good tight team work which encourage and enable other followers to exceed their own expectations.

Encourage the Heart: Apple leadership knows that constituents require recognition and aspirations to continue delivering their best. This feature lack previously in Apple somehow.(www.apple.com/stevejob) &(www.academia.edu/1543032)

New leadership Influences on Apple:

Since Steve Jobs’ death, Apple has gone through a constant and subtle brand makeover, getting rid of some of the more unpleasant attributes associated with Jobs and adapting characteristics of the personality of its new leader, Tim Cook.

For all his abilities at product design, Jobs gave little interest in glad-handing with Apple stakeholders. As compare to Job, Apple from the outside has become more open under Cook, Acknowledging to a number of organised meetings and trips meant to greet to the massive groups — consumers, investors and politicians – convinced and interested in the world’s leading tech company. (edition.cnn.com) Cook reached Washington to convince congressional leaders to open lines of communication that were blocked in previous years mostly. Apple was not a stranger to lobbying (despite it spends much less than some other Silicon Valley companies, like Google).Sending Cook to the congressional leaders was a trick of letting politicians know that Apple was ready to make its relationship with Capitol Hill. That way the company will create a good will about its bad past policy in China specially and it will take a stronger interest in policy issues in the future.(www.apple.com/Timcook)

Apple has also paid vast amount of attention to woo Wall Street. There was a bus tour of stakeholders and investors that stopped at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California. They were treated to cookies and Apple’s chief financial officer presented a full description. Another gesture of goodwill was the cash dividend that Apple paid out to investors ever in the previous the first in 17 years. On a call with investors in February, Cook answered questions, cracked jokes and was generally open and friendly. So Apple is expecting to get a human face and heart with the kindness of its new leadership.(the Ideal leader/www.ivybussiness.com)


Citing interviews with current and former Apple stakeholders, executives, employees and partners, said the company is happier and even somewhat more transparent than it was during Jobs’ tenure … There are fewer ridiculous calls at midnight, and there’s less amount of pressure on engineers to shorten or cancel vacations in the urge of product development stages.(www.edition.cnn.com)

Unfortunately, for Apple’s soft-spoken chief executive Tim, he has been deliberately compared to his former CEO after every presentation, successes and failures. They actually put Steve Jobs on some subscription of pedestal. The people who compare Tim with Steve think Apple could do no wrong under Steve’s leadership. That is completely wrong. Analysts refer the example of “Ping”, Apple’s failed attempt at a social network centred on music?

No doubt Apple has not launched any further new gadgets or invention to the market in the previous twelve months. The leadership of Tim didn’t prove so bold in this respect. The company has only introduced minor updates of popular products, like speedier laptops, the new Mac operating system, the refreshed iPod line and the new, taller iPhone 5. They’ve all been met with solid reviews (Maps app aside) and sold well.(www.apple.com/Timcook)

But by staying the course and continuing, Cook has entailed some issues about his ability to imagine and capability to invent mind-blowing new products, which was Jobs’ significance. Cook’s last major responsibility was decidedly left-brained: sorting Apple’s supply chain properly. Critically analysing, how much credit for Apple’s recent financial success should go for Cook and how much is the turnover from Jobs’ regime? Could be very the interesting to discover. Steve prepared the company and its executives to carry on his vision and spent years grooming staff and setting up Apple to continue on for centuries without him. Is it any surprise that it’s continued to do so well?(www.times100.co.uk/casestudies)

It’s still too early to predict Tim Cook as the effective leader.


The biggest challenge for Apple Inc is not to launch so many products internationally like the new leadership is so aggressive about it. As Tim decided that he will launch iPhone5 to hundred countries of the world by the end of this year. The most important is to keep the standards of Steve so consumers do not miss him in the long run when using the apple gadgets. No doubt Tim is fully skilled leader as he has been taking the charge since Steve was facing cancer. A lot more to come and expected from Steve the new leader of the Apple to overwrite Steve Job the legend.


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