Founded the first of April in 1976 and headquartered in Cupertino, California, Apple Inc. is one of the most recognized American transnational technology company. The firm is well-known for its designs and has developed and sold computer software, consumer electronics, and online services for decades. Initially beginning with the Mac personal computer, it has branches out to include various product lines including the internationally recognized iPhone smartphone and iPad tablet computer (O’Grady, 2009). With a 2015 worldwide annual revenue over $233 billion, the firm enjoys a high level of recognition as well as brand loyalty (Wahlen, 2016). Most of this has to do with the company’s consistent innovation, marketing, and organizational culture.
Apple Inc. is a well-known company that has risen in the last few decades as being one of the top firms in the world. Its organizational culture remains the key factor to its success. By implementing new strategies and policies that support and encourage change, employees effectively integrate and develop into an organizational culture that enables quick creativity and innovation. Such innovation can be seen in products like the wildly popular iPhone, iPad, and the recent launch of the Apple Watch. These products have put Apple Inc. on the map and have raised their brand awareness to a new level.
While different companies have various requirements for their organizational culture, Apple has characteristics that make it fly above its competitors. These characteristics are:
3. Moderate Combativeness
4. Top-notch excellence
Secrets are important to a company’s longevity. Part of Apple’s successful operation is its ability to minimize theft of intellectual property or proprietary data. Steve Jobs was at the forefront of developing secrecy in the company’s organizational culture. When Apple management hire employees, they agree to this secrecy as reflect in company policy, employment contracts, and rules. This is an important aspect of business operations and helps safeguard Apple from corporate espionage as well as the negative effects that happen from employee poaching.
It is known all over the world that Apple is an innovative firm. In fact, many regard Apple Inc. as one of the most innovative companies. Each employee is encouraged and trained to innovate in relation to individual work performance as well as via contribution of concepts to the firm’s product development processes. The company’s organizational culture enabled rapid innovation and allows such innovation to foster change, adaptation, and help raise brand awareness.
Moderate combativeness is also a key feature of Apple Inc. The late Steve Jobs combative approach to leadership led to employees facing challenges that guaranteed they had what it takes to work within the company. After Steve Jobs passing, and under Tim Cook’s leadership, the company shifted from a combative approach to a social one exemplifying a moderate degree of combativeness. Balance is the aim for Apple.
A fourth key characteristic, top-notch excellence, involves a policy of choosing only top-ranked workers. Excellence must be emphasized and only the best of employees can come and work for Apple Inc. This helps the company remain highly successful and proves a valuable factor in their business. This is especially true for development and product design.
Just like innovation, creative is highly prized in Apple. Employees are selected not just based on their skills and knowledge, but also their creative abilities. The company’s organizational culture promotes creative in order to help solve and meet consumer and business needs. High creativity also allows for constant creation of concepts and policies that enable the growth of Apple. Such growth has remained a constant for over a decade.
The main reason for choosing a company like Apple Inc. its staying power. So many companies, especially technology-based companies have fallen to the way-side as new trends emerge. Apple Inc. has managed to maintain its success and popularity and has even led the trends. Such innovation and marketing ability is highly valued in any market. Businesses like Apple Inc. do not exist and with the exception of Google Inc., very few companies have grown and continued to succeed at higher levels like Apple Inc. has.
Along with being innovators, Apple Inc. has managed to help herald in a new era of social media. Websites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have grown all in part thanks to the smartphone innovations brought on by Apple Inc. The iPhone began so many of the popular websites and apps seen today. The iPhone is also responsible for the idea of people sharing their lives with everyone. From taking live video to taking pictures and video and posting them online, this whole new culture emerged from the iPhone.
When a company does something like this, it is no wonder it would be at the top of any list. The company has been around now for over four decades and is stronger than ever. While most companies tend to die out or maintain their size, Apple Inc. has expanded. They may have had some hiccups because of the tragic loss of their lead innovators (Steve Jobs), but they continue to spark interest and create trends thanks to their recent inventions like the Apple Watch. The Apple Watch spawned a whole host of imitators and new ways for people to check and share data. This just shows the level of adaptability and creativity Apple Inc. fosters. Along with their great product lines, they have some of the best marketing out there. They managed to appeal to all demographics and create themselves into a luxury brand everyone wants.
Apple Inc. has a long history of problems. In the last few years many of its problems revolve around the several suicides reported in Apple’s China factories as a result of poor working conditions and worker abuse. Originally brought up and explored by various New York Times articles, the dilemmas the company faced in their China-based factories began in 2007. “The paper said more than half of the suppliers audited by Apple have broken at least one part of its conduct code each year since 2007 and have even broken the law in some cases” (Moore, 2012). The iPhone, a prized and successful product line of Apple Inc., is the product manufacture in China that raised the biggest concerns.
The factory conditions involved long work hours, hardly or no breaks, and little pay. Several incidents of suicides where workers jumped off of the factory rooftops demonstrated what little control Apple had over its factories and over the working conditions there. Along with the suicides, a spate of poisonings and explosions occurred. “it found at least 90 factories were asking workers to work for more than 60 hours a week, the company’s own guidelines, which are themselves significantly over the 40-hour limit imposed by Chinese law. Apple also found five cases of child labor at factories” (Moore, 2012). Apple responded by publishing a highly detailed list of all its one hundred and fifty-six suppliers and joining the Fair Labor Association, becoming the first in its field to do so.
In addition to these actions, they managed to communicate with and work alongside Chinese labor rights environmental groups and advocates, agreeing to permit external monitors within each of its suppliers’ factories. One reason for the drastic working conditions are the tight deadlines and the increase demand. Had Apple shared some of its profits with its suppliers, working conditions would have improved.
When examining Apple’s decision-making, it is important to see it through a different lens. Kidder’s Checkpoints for Ethical Decision-making provides an in-depth look into the steps in making a decision. The ethical dilemma with Apple was complex. It involved low profit margins for their suppliers and high demand for product from Apple leading to long work hours for the employees of suppliers and what was perceived as worker abuse. The dilemma involved suicides, poisonings, and explosions on the part of the employees that worked at the various factories that made iPhones for Apple. Some assumed the working conditions were terrible when in reality, they were (unfortunately) better than in other factories in the region. Nonetheless, the facts are, several suicides occurred due to stress and working conditions.
Some issues could be alleviated through monitoring, which Apple began to do, while others involved sharing more of the profits generated with the suppliers. If Apple had provided a bigger share of profit to lead to a bigger profit margin for the suppliers along with the monitoring, that could have helped the working conditions improve.
By seeing what can happen when demand is high and the pursuit of profit is higher, Apple has learned the limit of what their suppliers’ workers have reached. In the end, profit should not the be main concern of a company. Profit is an important aspect to any business, however, so it public perception of a company and practicing and adhering to high ethical standards. The series of suicides, accidents, and poisonings shows what can happen when employees are pushed too far.
Organizational culture and ethics are tied together with ethics being the learning…