BUS501 Organisational Behaviours and Leadership Issues of Apple Inc Assessment 4 Answer
BUS 501 – Organisational Behaviour
The project report focuses on the organisational behaviours and leadership issues of Apple Inc., one of the leading mobile and tech companies in the world. Understanding the business operation of Apple through the organisational behaviour concepts and theories would allow us to analyse the present organisational issues in the company and develop alternative solutions to improve the situation. A literature review of the theories regarding organisational behaviour has been discussed along with the possible methods to mitigate them. Additionally, recommendations have been made for future adaption to avoid any emergence of such issues that may arise.
Apple is a US-based multinational company that deals with technology and hardware products like smartphones and tablets. With headquarters located in Cupertino, California, the company designs, develops and sells computer software, consumer electronics and various other online services. In terms of technology, it is considered on the same level as Google, Amazon and Facebook, and in terms of smartphones sold, it is only second to the world's leading smartphone company, Samsung. Presently the company has around 132,000 employees across 500 locations in the world, and the total revenue as 2018 is US$265.59 billion (Apple 2019). The company was founded by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in 1976. In August 2011, due to the decline in health conditions, Steve Jobs resigned as the CEO and was taken over by Tim Cook in the post. However, the company has been recently facing some problems in its internal organisational behaviour and leadership structure, which has been discussed in details in the project report.
Analysis of Organisational Behaviour and Leadership Issues
It is true that Apple has been one of the leading tech companies in the world for the last few decades. However, the company has been recently suffering from some internal problems regarding organisational behaviour and several leadership issues. It is important that the company functions as a whole with all involved people working in harmony to get the best possible output (Robbins et al. 2013). This is why the company management must carefully analyse what the key issues and problems are and try to evaluate necessary solutions for them based on the theories and concepts about organisational behaviour.
One of the biggest problems that Apple is currently facing is the challenges that its corporate culture brings with it for maintaining secrecy and a moderate level of combativeness. The aspect of secrecy in the workplace has resulted in the decline of rapport among workers, and moderate combativeness has resulted in a decrease in employee morale (Guiso et al. 2015). The atmosphere of secrecy in the workplace combined with moderate combativeness have reduced the effectiveness of the business and increased the employee turnover in recent years. The company needs to develop mitigation processes for these issues through changes in the organisational culture and behaviour so that they do not need to remove combativeness completely and focus on its advantages while reducing the ill effects of combativeness.
Presently, another issue that has been affecting Apple is the lack of leadership qualities like the late founder and CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs. Without the influence of an effective leader, the company is under-utilising the initiatives and creativeness of its employees (Rosenbach 2018). Furthermore, the decisions taken by the organisation in recent years are subject to high risks which are not ideal for the working environment. This is further worsened by the lack of accountability of the leaders and the inability to take criticism from the lower management ranks. Such disadvantages of power culture can have negative implications on the company’s future growth prospects.
Another issue of concern in Apple is the lack of employee empowerment, which allows the sharing of power among individuals to gain the ability to do their respective jobs properly. Since the time of Steve Jobs, the company management had always made their employees feel empowered so that they can gain a well-rounded knowledge about the task they are working on. However, in recent years, due to the lack of effective leadership, employees no longer feel so much empowered to perform their tasks and push their boundaries and horizons in terms of creative thinking. This has resulted in a stagnant way of business operations in the organisational behaviour and employees, and staff members are no longer able to take the full freedom to perform their tasks and duties appropriately or even push beyond their potential for further creative success. This is an issue that should be handled as soon as possible and employees should be empowered if the company wants to increase employee efficiency and productivity.
Negotiation skills of a leader are something which has a wide and long-lasting impact on organisational behaviour and culture. Previously Steve Jobs was extremely good with negotiations, and he understood why negotiation was important in the first place. Moreover, negotiations are not only important with external competitors but also within the company as it is useful to resolve conflict situations in case such situations arise in the workplace. Negotiations do not only affect the present deal and can also impact other future deals. The ability to negotiate properly with an idea of future impacts it can have are the reason Apple has been so successful in the past. However, Apple, under the present leadership of Tim Cook, lack such excellent negotiating skills and the company has been unable to crack any big deals with competitors in recent years. Moreover, the internal environment has also suffered a lot due to lack of negotiation skills and employee turn over rate has increased considerably as they no longer feel taken care of by the organisation. This is not ideal for any company as the organisational behaviour can affect the productive outcome of employees.
Creativity and Teamwork
Creativity and teamwork are another two aspects in the organisational culture that determines the level of success that an organisation can produce. Since the beginning of the organisation, creativity and innovation have been the building pillars of the company, which helped to gain success and become one of the leading tech companies in the world. This was further supported by excellent teamwork culture, which developed a synergy effect on the individual creativity of employees (Wagner III & Hollenbeck, 2014). This is why Steve Jobs has always encouraged his staff members to think creatively and work as teams to extract maximum output from them. However, in recent years, under the leadership of CEO, Tim Cook, the organisation is unable to encourage employees for creative and innovative thinking, and without any effective leadership, the teamwork capabilities of the company have also declined considerably. The company must address all the above-mentioned issues and evaluate them in the light of application theories and concepts of organisational behaviour to develop alternative solutions that might improve the situation.
Literature Review – Application Theories of Identified Issues
The late CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs, has always been considered as a very unconventional leader who was able to persuade major stakeholders with his vision of the company’s future (Apple 2019). The organisational culture followed during the time of Steve Jobs can be considered very similar to the power culture of Harrison's Model of Culture which allowed Steve Jobs to make most of the important decisions in the organisation. It also allowed him to challenge his subordinates so that they can strive for better performance and was blatant and undiplomatic when criticising his employees when they are unable to meet the expectations. The antithesis of the servant leadership model was also followed by Steve Jobs, which helped him to persuade his employees, team members and individuals to perform better and develop a high-level performance corporate culture in the organisation. These organisational behaviour theories have their own advantages and disadvantages, and it was mostly due to the advantages of such culture, supported with the competence, creativity and confidence of Steve Jobs as an effective leader, that led to the success of Apple as an emerging tech company.
It is a well-known fact that the leadership style and approaches have a significant impact on the productive outcome and success of a company. As suggested by Antonakis & Day, (2017), the most organisation try to pursue Lewin's three style leadership model in their business operations based on the situation.
Figure 1: Lewin's three style leadership model
Source: (Klotz & Neubaum 2016)
According to the model, leadership styles can be primarily of three types, namely Autocratic, Participative and Delegative. The autocratic leadership follows an authoritarian style in which the leader is in charge of deciding and setting the goals and targets of the company. According to Klotz & Neubaum (2016), in this style, all the essential decisions are made by the leaders, and the employees strive to accomplish them without their own proper participation through creativity and innovation. The participative style has a more democratic approach to it in which the leader generally sets the goals and targets of the organisation and allows its employees some level of autonomy to accomplish these goals through participation. The advice and suggestions of employees are also put into consideration under this leadership style, and this helps them feel valued by the organisation, which increases their productivity. The third style known as the delegative style, is also sometimes coined as Laissez-Faire style. Although this style is often argued by some people as not a proper form of leadership style, it is still considered as one by Lewin. As mentioned in Jones (2013), according to this style, the leader provides the skills, decisions and knowledge to his employees or groups and it is their responsibility to achieve the goals by utilising them. Although this allows complete independence to employees, and they feel free to work creatively, this style often results in bad decision making and confusion due to multiple decisions by employees. Such type of leadership approach is not ideal in all aspects and might do more harm than good to the company. Presently under the leadership of Tim Cook, the autocratic leadership style is mostly followed in Apple which strips its employees from the authority to use any creative and innovative thinking in their work, and this is one of the leading causes of the organisational behaviour problems and leadership issues that Apple has been facing recently.
The Human Relations Behavioural Theory states that when employees of an organisation feel empowered and valued by the organisation, they tend to perform better under such circumstances and results in better functioning of the organisation. According to Greene (2017), this theory is best studied by observing employee productivity under various circumstances, and studies have shown that when employees feel validated and satisfied at work, their efficiency and productivity in the workplace is increased significantly. The decision-making behavioural theory is generally applicable to supervisors and managers as they make the essential decisions on behalf of the company that determines the company's future success. According to this theory, when managers and supervisors have accurate and complete information about business operations, they tend to make better decisions, and this is why this theory is applicable to Apple if they want to make a better decision for the future growth and development of the company. The servant leadership behavioural theory, on the other hand, states that if leaders are willing to first become the servant of their employees, they are bound to gain success in the future. As leaders have a very different view of the organisation than managers, they develop the visions and principles of the workplace and influence employees to follow them. This is why, according to this theory, every major protocol and process of the organisation are seen be executives from an employee’s point of view. Such approaches and attitudes build strong relationships and bonds with employees as executives view the needs and demands of the employees more important than their own. Based on the above-mentioned theories of organisational behaviours and leadership approaches, Apple needs to make significant changes in organisational culture or develop a change management process to mitigate the present issues and also prevent them from occurring again in the future.
Evaluation of Possible Alternative Solutions for Improving the Situation
It is true that both Steve Jobs and Tim Cook followed an authoritarian leadership style while running the company but Steve Jobs gained more success due to his effective leadership qualities like competence, confidence, vision and negotiation skills. However, the same cannot be applied for Tim Cook, and it is evident that he should pursue some other leadership style if he wants to mitigate the present issues and improve the situation of Apple. The issue with corporate culture in Apple can be addressed by the company management so that they can reduce the level of combativeness but not get rid of it completely. Without any level of combativeness, things can spiral out of hand, and it is wise to keep a low level of it to keep gaining the advantages from it (Vibert 2017). Additionally, the company can also implement new cultural traits so that the business is still relevant to trends and changes in the information technology sector, cloud services and consumer electronics industry environment.
Although not as effective as Steve Jobs, Tim Cook is still an excellent leader who contributes enough to keep the company on the top of the tech industry. However, it is better to distribute the flow of power among individuals instead of concentrating it on only the CEO and a collaborative approach by the management towards the set goals can have a better result than the present situation. In addition to this, some level of employee empowerment is essential in companies like Apple as it encourages creativity and innovation. Tech companies cannot rival their competitors without proper creative input from its employees, which is the basis of such companies (Odumeru & Ogbonna 2013). For this reason, a degree of employee empowerment should be practised in Apple as a part of the company culture to make it a norm for employees to focus and achieve their goals in whatever creative way they can think of.
As it is almost impossible to match the excellence of Steve Jobs in terms of negotiation skills, it is still better to work in this specification are and develop an organisational culture that can compete with its rivals through proper negotiations and satisfy the stakeholders with their future vision for the company. Apple can hire potential individuals who have promising negotiation skills to handle the deals and contracts of the organisation and help to develop this new management culture. Furthermore, it is also important that the company also focuses more on creativity and innovation and encourage its employees to push their boundaries and horizons to come with better innovative ideas regarding the products and services offered by the company (Amanchukwu et al. 2015). Also working as a team have other positive impacts on the employees as they feel more comfortable when part of a community and group and can work together through discussion of ideas and issues. The concept of teamwork should be encouraged by the company management, and the employees must be divided into small teams who will be assigned with specific tasks and should achieve them through a collaborative effort. The teaming develops a synergy effect for individuals, and this magnifies the overall creative output of the organisation while also increasing the efficiency and productivity. The above-mentioned processes are ideal for Apple to resolve the present organisational behaviour problems and leadership issues and improve the situation of the company.
In order to avoid further complications and organisational issues in the future, the company can adopt certain organisational behavioural theories and leadership approaches that would help it to remain as one of the most successful tech companies in the world. As per Lewin's leadership model, the best approach for Apple to implement is the participative or democratic style which would empower the employees while also making them satisfied in their job roles. This would also allow the free flow of ideas from the employees to the management and can produce some revolutionary ideas for the company. Apart from the employee empowerment, it is also in line with the human relations behavioural theory that suggests employee productivity increases once they feel satisfied and validated at work (Miner, 2015). Apple should, therefore, also adopt the human relations behavioural theory for future success and increased productivity from employees. Apart from this, the servant leadership behavioural theory is also very helpful in terms of empowering the employees and consider their suggestions and advice which would make them feel their demands and needs are also taken care of by the company, and this helps to build strong bonds and relationships between the supervisors and subordinates and produce great loyal employees for the company thus reducing employee turnover (Fernandez & Moldogaziev 2013). The decision-making theory is also such an organisational approach that the company should adopt in order to gain accurate and complete information about business operations. This would allow them to make the best decisions based on the situation and can make decisions that are subject to fewer risks. Since this is one of the major concerns that the company is facing since the departure of Steve Jobs, it is best to make decisions so that the company is subject to fewer risks. Furthermore, an overall change management process can be started if the company feels they are not able to cope with the rivalry from other companies. Change management processes take time, but if the company is able to implement it effectively, Apple is sure to get rid all its present organisational behaviour concerns and leadership issues and emerge as the leading tech company in the world.
The project report provides a conclusive view on the present leadership issues and organisational behaviours that Apple has been suffering for the last few years. They have been discussed in details and properly evaluated in the light of organisational behaviour theories and leadership concepts for addressing these issues and the best methods to resolve them have been provided. Furthermore, future recommendations to avoid such situations has been presented that would help Apple improve its growth prospects.