Part A: Management vs. Leadership
Managers and leaders are not always clearly distinguishable, and in many cases, they are not mutually exclusive roles. If a clear statement is required to segregate the two entities, the following statement by Steven Convey is a good illustration of the underlying difference. "Management is the efficiency in climbing the ladder of success, leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall" 1 Steve Jobs is perhaps better known as a visionary, and often related to as an extraordinary leader who is able to communicate his ideas and visions to his employees and get them to buy into his ideas. Using John Kotter's (1990) account of leadership, it was believed that leadership is about coping with changes. Since Job's re-entry back into Apple as the CEO, he was able to articulate and communicate his new vision for the company. Apple successfully transited from a computer manufacturer, to a company focused on a wider range of multimedia devices like the IPod and IPhone. His ability to influence his employees, advocating his beliefs, and introducing essential changes, firmly makes him more of a leader than a manager. However, Jobs is also likened to a 'corporate dictator' in his management approach. He holds the final say in almost all decision making processes, from long term visions to seemingly micro-level decisions like choosing the design of the company busses. Like most managers, Jobs was the one whom set the standards that is expected from all employees, and he strictly enforces accountability. For example when the MobileMe service did not turn up as well as Jobs had expected, he was very critical of their performance and was quick to demand accountability from the MobileMe team. He made an example out of them by replacing the team's executive. The role of managing and leading is almost always intertwined. Steve Jobs has the traits of what is defined as a manager, but he is still first and foremost a leader.
Part B: Ethical Issues
Ethics is the cornerstone to good leadership because of the very nature of the leadership process is to influence employees to accomplish a common goal. Steve Jobs' sphere of influence trickles down to every single employee, and as such any unethical behaviour on his part may become extremely contagious. Steve Jobs' apparent 'corporate dictatorship' style of management was unique, and it seems to be working extremely well for the company as evident from its phenomenal performance during his tenure as CEO. This management style is however like a double-edged sword which may be sowing the seeds for possible problems, like ethical issues which impacts Apple's stakeholders. The Purpose, People, Planet, Probity (P4) model2 created by Alan Chapman, details the character and personalities of a good ethical organisation/ leader. Reconcile the Purpose of the organisation with the needs and feelings of the People, with proper consideration of the Planet in terms of environment/ substainability, and at all times acting on Probity which emcompasses love, integrity compassion, honesty and truth. - Alan Chapman Figure 1: P4 Ethical Model
Jobs' management style had established a rather 'ruthless' culture, in which high level of responsibility and accountability is placed onto employees and no second chance is given for failures. The consequence of any unsatisfactory work often falls onto the shoulders of the employees. An example is the way Jobs handled the failure of MobileMe, whereby he basically pushed all the blame to the development team. This level of excessive accountability instils a high sense of fear amongst the employees, which inevitably affects their happiness whilst at work. Jobs' personality of being straight forward and outspoken also inherently resulted in a negligence of the sensitivity towards the feelings of the employees. With reference to the P4 ethical model, it is obvious that that the People and Probity portion is not...
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