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Apple is an American multinational company, headquartered in Cupertino, California. It is based on designing, developing and selling of computer software, online services, and consumer electronics. The hardware products of this company include iPad tablet computer, iPhone smartphone, Apple TV, Apple smart watch and much more. Its consumer software includes iOS and MacOS operating systems and online services include iTunes Store, Mac App Store and iOS App Store, iCloud and Apple Music. Steve jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne were the founders of Apple who started the company in the year April 1976 to sell and develop personal computers. In the year 1977, it was renamed as Apple Inc. After the death of Steve Job, Tim cook is the new CEO of the company and is efficiently running the company. Apple was the first U.S. Company to earn revenue over US$700 billion in the business year 2014 and the largest trading corporation around the entire world by market capitalization. The company has around 478 retail stores in 17 countries and has around 115,000 full-time employees in its organization. The learner in this assignment has wholly described Apple Inc.’s organizational structure and its effectiveness in the target market by displaying the in depth issues of the organization.
Classify the Organization’s structure by describing its key dimensions.
The factors contribution towards Apple’s successful formalization is its organizational structure. As opined by (Byun et al. 2013, p.330), the organizational structure of a firm can create opportunities in terms of business growth. However, the complexity arises when it enforces certain limits on the development of the firm. The organizational structure of Apple Inc. follows the traditional hierarchy, in accordance to few crucial elements from different parts of structures in an organization. The leadership of Steve Jobs and its link towards innovation has made the company achieve its success. Currently, under the supervision and leadership quality of Tim Cook; Apple Inc. has made significant changes towards its organizational structure to manage the pace of industry and market demands. The business performance of Apple Inc. ensures leadership quality on the organizational structure. The capabilities of Apple Inc. in terms of creativity and design can be enhanced by adopting additional changes in its organizational structure
Features of Apple’s Organizational structure and its key dimensions:
The organizational structure of Apple enables the firm to move towards rapid innovation. The sole support of the firm’s organizational structure is linked to the creation of its new products such as the Apple Watch.The organizational structure of Apple follows the three most essential characteristics:
1. Spoke and wheel hierarchy: Traditional hierarchy is the basic organizational structure of Apple Inc. Earlier, every decision making and terms were made under Steve Job’s supervision and all the major decisions were made by Job. However, under the leadership of Tim Cook, this hierarchy in the organizational structure of Apple has significantly changed. At present, the centralization of Apple’s organizational structure is based on the collaboration among various departments of the firm such as hardware teams and software teams (Guadalupe and Wulf 2013, p.839). Autonomy was the organizational structure of Apple Inc. during the period Job was the vice president. Hence, the structure of the company is now quite flexible but stills follow the spoke and wheel hierarchy under the leadership of Tim Cook.
2. Function based grouping: The highest tier of Apple Inc. organizational structure comprises of function based grouping which is a core component derived from the functional type of organizational structure.Every single business function is handled by a senior vice president, under the supervision of the president, Tim Cook. For instance, Apple has a senior vice president for retail, a senior vice president for marketing and a senior vice president for industrial design. In this segment of the organizational structure, the uppermost leaders of Apple discourse their business needs towards specified functional extents.
3. Product based grouping: The subordinate division of the organizational structure of Apple Inc. involves product based grouping that is a component derived from the divisional type of organizational structure. Under the senior vice president’s supervision, there are various vice presidents in terms of different products and services. For instance, Apple has a vice president for consumer apps, vice presidents for iOS and other vice presidents for iPad. This part of the structure of an organization addresses specific product components or products (Woodside and Baxter 2013, p.390).
Application of Mintzberg's theorem in the organizational structure of Apple Inc.
The professional bureaucracy of Apple’s organizational structure assists a strong control over the organization. Hierarchy empowers the top leaders such as Tim Cook in terms of controlling every part in the organization. In accordance with the hierarchy, product based grouping and function based grouping in the organizational structure of Apple ensures the strong control of Cook and senior vice presidents in terms of all the organizational processes (O'Reilly and Tushman 2013, p.333).
In accordance with the model of Mintzberg, the organizational of Apple consists of six essential parts:
1. The top management or Strategic Apex
2. The middle management or Middle line
3. Operating core involves operational processes and operations
4. Technostructure which involves analysts that design processes, systems, etc.
5. Support staff who supports the outside of operating workflow
According to Mintzberg, professionalbureaucracy occurs when an organization has an exclusive need to be innovative in terms of intense dynamic technology or product competition. This is a typical case of Apple. They have adopted thisbureaucracy as it provides the only structure to simplify a complex issue and forms a perfect match for its innovative culture. At Apple Inc., the decision making power is centralized and is solely held by the top management or the strategic apex. This, in turn, makes Apple an entrepreneurial organization as well as a missionary organization in accordance with Mintzberg. The ideology of Apple has a huge effect towards the motivation of the employees. An entrepreneurial organization has centralized structures and is quite true in terms of Apple. Apple is a highly centralized company with a single key decision maker (Pache and Santos 2013, p.981).
The relation between Job’s leadership style and Apple’s organizational structure is the centralized structure. Job has a direct influence towards the small details of the business under this organizational structure which is an essential characteristic of the leadership style he follows. When it comes to Mintzberg’s managerial roles, there are many organizations and persons who come under this category. Steve Job is the well-known figure for his world-leading products and the success of his company Apple Inc. As stated by (Cole 2013, p.780), Steve Job is the world’s leading managers to attain the position held by his company. Mintzberg’s managerial role clearly stated the best manager is the person who faces various hurdles and challenges in the competitive market but still performs the desired role in a professional way. However, Steve Job has evolved slowly in his own way in this competitive market while attaining an example in this world. In accordance with Mintzberg’s managerial interpersonal roles, Steve Job has become the role model of various fresh leaders while leading his company at its peak.
The machinebureaucracy of Apple in terms of Mintzberg’s model is precisely defined by its standardization. The work done at Apple is much formalized with a centralized decision maker and tasks are gathered by functional departments. The machinebureaucracy has a constricted vertical organizational structure. The functional lines rely on the top management to maintain centralized control. The jobs or tasks are clearly defined with formal planning process followed by audits and budgets in a regular basis to analyze efficiency in the company.
How effective is this structure in enabling the organisation to achieve its strategic direction. Are its goals ends focused or means focused.
The strategic direction followed by Apple Inc. is very much effective in terms of organizational structure. As put forwarded by (Csaszar 2013, p.1093), Apple’s organizational function in terms of marketing mainly focuses on three points:
Empathy: Understanding customer needs which will be better in terms of other companies
Focus: Elimination of undesired opportunities and mean focus will be attaining good jobs
Impute: The products displayed to potential customer will be presented in a professional and creative manner to impute desired qualities
The success of Apple Inc. can be associated with its human resources department. The HR department of Apple contributes largely in terms of the organizational department. Few of these strategies involve the following:
Aware of their own roles: Every member of Apple Inc. knows their desired role and their end focus is to attain the organizational goal. Each member from the greater to genius crews are aware of their exact role, even they wear a different color of t-shirt to represent their work.
Free leadership:The employees are deployed effectively that makes supervisors and managers gain more time towards focusing on the important jobs such as inspiring, proving great customer service and leading without the need of managing each employee separately.
Meaningful work: The organizational structure followed by Apple Inc. are made based on the employees as their satisfaction will result in positive output with the delivery of the same level of work ethic.
Retain growth opportunities: Apple offers various opportunities by allowing employees to enhance within the organization. Most companies tend to struggle for retaining great talent while Apple believes in promoting from within (Plugge et al. 2013, p.279).
The finance department makes a huge contribution towards the success of Apple Inc. They maximize the shareholder value both in short term and long term goal to make the best of it. They know to allocate assets for achieving the goal while considering the risk factors.
Apple’s operational plan is the key to its compassionate business thinking. The employees at Apple are grouped together based on their resources and expertise which allows them to learn from its various functions. As opined by (El Ebrashi 2013, p.201), organization decision is a formal assisted process for integrating technology, information, and people in an organization. Apple’s organizational structure matches strategy, vision, technology and people to achieve the desired goal and its main focus is towards the accomplishment of the desired outcomes. The collaboration between all the members of Apple helped to determine the best strategy and design that needs to achieve desired goals, increase profits and reach more customers. Their collaboration structure enables them to provide efficient customer service in terms of technology and strategy. The organizational structure they follow allows different ideas and minds to gather together towards the creation of latest and beautiful gadgets while satisfying customer needs. Every consecutive day Apple becomes financially stronger and leads the electronics industry. Tim Cook is holding the company at its higher level after Steve Job, and its quality products are the primary choice of various customers. Hence, it can be said Apple is end focused rather than mean focused for the successful accomplishment of goals.
How does the organization evaluate its effectiveness?
As stated by (Erhemjamts and Venkateswaran 2013, p.401), corporate performance and organizational effectiveness are the essential concept for assessing effectiveness in organization theory and practices. Four approaches to organizational effectiveness:
It is also known as goal attainment approach, it shows the mechanistic view of an organization. This approach states that organizations are logical, planned and goal seeking entities which are meant for the achievement of desired goals. Apple sees its effectiveness in terms of its internal organizational performance and objectives. The typical goal approach factors include efficiency maximization and profit which Apple holds positively in their organizational structure.
The key restraint of this approach relates to the content comparability of Apple organizational goals. There are few times when certain formal goals do not match the organizational goals; hence, the formal goals of organizations are always dependent on its social desirability. There are a various short term and long terms goals with varied interest in an organization like Apple Inc. hence, the agreement is not possible.
System Resource Approach:
This approach follows in the response to the goal approach. It sees an organization like an open system. This approach focuses more on inputs rather than output. It assumes that an organization comprises of inter-related subsystems like Apple Inc. In Apple, if the subsystem works inefficiently then it would have a direct impact on the whole organization (Zaefarian et al. 2013, p.269). Hence, to work efficiently satisfaction of all members is desired to achieve the desired outcome in Apple Inc.
The only constraint in this approach is its measurement of means. It is very tough to determine an ideal degree of resource attainment in the discrete organization. In the case of Apple, defining the attainment of resources in terms of achieving a goal is tough.
This approach is based upon the fixed output view of the goal approach. As put forwarded by (Fan et al. 2013, p.1219), organizational effectiveness can be assessed by its internal health and effectiveness. Apple Inc.’s internal process approach is the capability to attain enhanced internal efficiency, staff satisfaction, commitment, and coordination. Similar to system resource approach, this approach can be applied only when organizational outcomes can be assessed accurately.
Strategic constituencies approach:
This approach states that an organization is efficient only if it fulfills the need and demands of the surrounding environment to achieve the desired goal. Apple Inc. satisfies the needs of both its internal and external members. At present, Apple is considering the views of its customer for gaining more profits in this competitive market. This approach assesses the effectiveness in both external and internal constituencies of the organization.
Hence, Apple Inc. follows the mentioned approaches to assess its organizational effectiveness in terms of achieving long and short term goals.
What structural problems or organizational issues do you perceive and in what way does the current structure help or hinder the organization in addressing these problems?
Floyd et al. 2013, p.759
Ford and Richardson 2013, p.29
Apple Inc. leadership practices have changed dramatically under the influence of Tim Cook who has been recognized as the World’s Greatest Leader by the Fortune Magazine. Tim Cook has been quite effective in his performance towards leading the company further by his collaboration approach. The organizational structure followed by Steve job earlier and Tim Cook currently has benefitted the company eventually. The members of the company are very efficient in terms of their specified job roles. At present times, Apple Inc. focuses mainly on its customer’s satisfaction by upgrading itself to the latest trends and technology. The only constraint to its success is its low flexibility in the organizational structure which will be resolved eventually under the supervision of Tim Cook.
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