Organisational Culture : Apple

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Apple Case Study
The role of a successful leader in organisational change cannot be overestimated. Organisational culture is significant for each organisation and its successful operation, playing large role in whether or not a particular organisation has a happy, healthy and comfortable working environment. Organisational culture at any company has to be strong and well-established but able to be changed as well. So, in order to establish, maintain and improve the company’s culture timely a recognised leader has to be in the head. The case study of Apple Inc. is a bright example of the great shift in the corporate culture and business success due to one leader who was able to implement the innovative image that totally changed the company.

History of the Company

Apple computer was founded on April 1, 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne (O'Grady, 2009, 26) with the aim of selling personal computers. Incorporation of the company happened in 1977 when Wayne sold his shares to co-founders. The vision of the founders towards their company was to bring people affordable personal computers. Starting with only a few people the founders tended to hire people that would share their visions. The first launches made by company were successful and Apple was developing, but the organisational culture could not be supposed as totally successful. Apple suffered from numerous misunderstandings over the production development, for example between Apple Lisa and Macintosh, involving Steve Jobs. Finally, Jobs had a big struggle with John Sculley, who was a CEO, hired two years before; the board of directors did not vote for Jobs, he was deprived of management part, and willingly left the company in 1985. The fact that he was one of the primary co-founders of the company was strangely not in his favour. However, decision taken by the board was not perceived by Steve Jobs as a failure as he founded NextStep Computers and continued successful development of computers and software.

Apple without Steve Jobs

The period of he company’s operation without Steve Jobs is widely recognised as a decline of Apple. It was a pioneering company in computer development yet it could not fulfil the primary vision of affordable computers for everyone, remaining the company, “relegated to a niche hobbyist computer manufacturer” (O'Grady, 2009, 33). This vision was not the one that was the background of the Apple’s foundation and organisational culture that united the co-founders and their first supporters. Disability to become the leader on the market of computer technologies despite the fact that Apple was a creator of the first personal computer means that organisational culture was not perfect at the company. Strong leadership was lacked and consequently Apple was not able to introduce innovations that would be successful. Moreover, the fact that one of the founders of Apple was forced to leave the company implies that personal ambitions and striving for leadership was at the first place rather than reasonable team work over the improvement of the company. In the beginning of the 1990s company suffered from a substantial lack of leadership that would lead the company out of the bankruptcy and misfortune. Apple expended money in large amount and uncontrollable way without visible effective result. The company lost the image of successful pioneer of computer technology, which was earned in the beginning. The misfortune can be explained by the lack of viable corporate culture that would help Apple to maintain the initial course of action. Three consecutive CEOs were not able to create sustainable corporate culture, so the return of Steve Jobs in 1997 and the changes implemented became salvation for Apple.

Return of the Leader

In 1997 Apple bought Next, which was ruled by Steve Jobs, so he was hired again at the company that he founded. Years of Steve Jobs as a CEO of Apple are recognised...
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