Apple's leadership strategies. Steve Jobs and Tim Cook


Research Paper (postgraduate), 2014

12 Pages


Excerpt

Table of Contents

1. INTRODUCTION

2. COMPARISON OF THE BIOGRAPHY OF JOBS AND COOK
2.1 STEVE JOBS – A BIOGRAPHY
2.2 TIM COOK – BEFORE AND AFTER APPLE

3. THE ROUTEMAP OF THE CAPTAINS WHO STEERED APPLE
3.1 STEVE JOBS AT THE BEGINNING OF APPLE
3.2 APPLE WITHOUT STEVE JOBS WAS AN APPLE WITHOUT LIFE
3.3 JOB’S LEADERSHIP STYLE – A MYSTERY INDEED!
3.4 TIM COOK – THE PERSON BEHIND APPLE’S NEW RECIPE
3.5 COOK’S LEADERSHIP STYLE

4. THE FINAL VERDICT

REFERENCES

1. INTRODUCTION

This research paper is an attempt to examine the leadership strategies followed by the world’s most valuable company. Leadership is indeed one of the most important aspects of any company and Apple has displayed extraordinary breakthroughs right from when it was founded. Steve Jobs left the world on October 5, 2011 to leave Tim Cook as the CEO of Apple Inc. To a normal person who sees Apple from the outside as a company, there might have not been any noticeable changes. But there must have been some vicissitudes at least in the way Apple is functioning right now. There is no doubt that Steve Jobs created and raised Apple from a baby into a giant, and many believe that Apple has lost a well treasured leader. This research will compare and contrast the leadership styles of both the leaders in an attempt to find which one suits the company best, and also analyze if Cook really has the potential to be in the driver’s seat of Apple.

2. COMPARISON OF THE BIOGRAPHY OF JOBS AND COOK

2.1 STEVE JOBS – A BIOGRAPHY

The biography of great leaders is often vague, and that of Steve Jobs was no exception. His original name was Steven Paul Jobs and he was born to biological parents Joanne Schieble and Abdulfattah Jandali. Steve Jobs was made available for adoption before he was named and was later adopted by Clara and Paul Jobs. Jobs’ genius seems to be accredited to his father Paul, who was a machinist. Paul had Steve by his side and taught him to do things, especially to assemble and disassemble electronic instruments, which might have sparked the desire in him to manufacture electronic gadgets (Biography.com, 2014). According to Isaacson (2011), Jobs even wrote poetry and played the guitar. Chrisann Bennan was his first girlfriend and Jobs did not like going to college, although he was forced by his parents to do so.

Jobs met Wozniak in his early years and both of them shared the same first name. Wozniak was introduced to Jobs by their mutual friend Fernandez since he felt they had a lot in common more than just their first names. They indeed found each other intriguing, and teamed up to work together. Jobs had ideas and Wozniak had technical skills. Jobs accepted the fact that Wozniak “knew electronics better than him” and encouraged him to make his ideas come true (Blumenthal, 2012). This was one of Jobs’ most admired traits that made him a successful leader. He admired and encouraged the talents of other individuals and that is what made Apple a ‘creative’ company.

Jobs worked at Atari in his initial stages and he certainly did a good job there. Al Alcorn, the chief engineer at Atari when Jobs was hired, quoted that he gave him a job just because he sported some inner energy in him. Jobs’ personal life and his attitude towards other employees was bad in Atari, and since his boss did not want to lose him, he made him work in night shifts, alone (Imbimbo, 2009). There are a lot of notorious cases reported after Jobs, even in his last days, but that does not find much place in this research. Meanwhile, Wozniak found himself a job at Hewlett Packard and was still friends with Jobs. He helped Jobs with difficult technical problems since he was not technically capable enough. Later on, it was Wozniak’s idea to develop a personal computer since it was not easy to use computers those days. The Apple 1 was the first computer which actually had a screen that could display what was typed on the keyboard. Though Wozniak designed the computer and made it work, Jobs was the one who had the idea of selling it. They began to make many replicas of this board and sell them. This was Apple’s first commercial venture (Lüsted, 2012). This made it clear that Jobs had an urge to get products to the market, and that was one of the paramount reasons of Apple being successful. Jobs was neither an engineer nor a programmer, but he had a vision for the company which was what really made him a successful CEO. When Jobs quit Apple, his final parting advice to Cook was “Never ask me what to do, just do what is right” (Lashinsky, 2012).

2.2 TIM COOK – BEFORE AND AFTER APPLE

“No more than five minutes into my initial interview with Steve [Jobs], I wanted to throw caution and logic to the wind and join Apple.”- (Tim Cook on his decision of taking up a job at Apple)

Tim Cook’s earlier biography is not of much clarity. However, he was different in many ways when compared to Steve Jobs. Cook did his Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering at Auburn University followed by an MBA from Duke University. His first big role was at IBM where he took up the responsibility as director for North American Fulfillment. He then worked for Intelligent Electronics as the Chief Operating Officer of the company’s Reseller Division. Before making his foray into Apple Inc., Cook was the Vice President of Corporate Materials for Compaq (Apple, 2014). Cook’s job at Apple was not an easy task, and it was quite daunting for him. Apple was in bad shape when Jobs offered him a chance at his firm and Cook was advised by many not to take up the job. But against all odds, he followed his instincts and took up the job as Apple’s Chief Operating Officer somewhere in the beginning of 1998 ( Biography.com, 2014a). Since Tim Cook joined Apple, he was completely devoted to his company. Some of his employees even quoted him as a workaholic, and he is definitely not a CEO that whiles away his time. Cook’s job profile before he became CEO was to be responsible for all the international operations of Apple. In other words, he was instrumental in making Jobs’ dream become a reality (Sinding and Bøllingtoft, 2012).

3. THE ROUTEMAP OF THE CAPTAINS WHO STEERED APPLE

3.1 STEVE JOBS AT THE BEGINNING OF APPLE

Most people know about the history of the Apple I and II, however, this was the combined work of Wozniak and Steve Jobs. The success of Apple cannot be entirely contributed to Jobs, and he is still known only as the ‘co-founder’ and not the ‘founder’ of Apple. Jobs was astute like every other founder of a successful corporate firm and he was dominating, undeterred and very irritating, a few of the reasons why most people did not want to work with him. However, the leadership style that he followed was entirely unique. It was neither autocratic, nor democratic and you could never find it any textbook.

The Apple I and II were successful in terms of technology, but they were not so popular among the common man. By that time, Apple was beginning to form as a corporate firm and it also had its own board of directors who asked Jobs to withdraw himself from ‘Lisa’, a project he was working on. By that time, engineer Jef Raskin was developing the very first Macintosh computer which was initially condemned by Jobs. But later, he was forced to drop the Lisa project. Then, Jobs advertently joined Raskin and took up the task of hardware development for the Mac. Jobs pestered Raskin so much that he resigned from the company in 1982 (Shea, 2012). After this, the Mac went on sale commercially and Apple had a huge market share when compared to the other companies. But IBM also entered the market and though its computers did not have as many features as the Mac, it could be customized according to the user’s requirements and it was more open. This helped IBM to steal a huge market share and Apple began to lose its significance in the market gradually. Jobs played a huge role in the development of the Mac by bribing his team members with ‘fresh orange juice’, although the entire project was Raskin’s idea (Burgelman, 2009). However, Jobs got his people to work on it, and that is what he is generally known for. He could just get things done, some way or the other.

3.2 APPLE WITHOUT STEVE JOBS WAS AN APPLE WITHOUT LIFE

Jobs was later kicked out of an operational position at Apple since he was found to be too interfering. Tenacity was one strong word that can be best used to describe the Apple co-founder, but when Jobs was interviewed about how he felt after he was sent away from Apple, his answer was unexpected. He viewed Apple not just as an entity, but as a resource of people who worked there (Lakin, 2011). Jobs envisioned Apple as no one else could and the board of directors later realized their mistake of sending Jobs outside the firm. Jobs was engrossed in every project and product that he was involved in, and he had a vision about how Apple was going to be. Though he was grouchy and cynical at times, he was the leader that put the ‘creative’ sense into Apple (Mathews and Wacker, 2010). According to a Forbes article, Jobs was a leader who set stretch goals for Apple and persuaded employees to achieve even more than what they thought they were capable of. That is why many personalities in the IT sector appreciate Jobs in spite of his notorious character. Jobs used his strengths to overcome his weaknesses and that is what made him a great leader (Zenger, 2013). When Jobs left Apple, the company never grew. Most of the products were stagnant and they were not being profitable to the company. Realizing this, Apple’s board of directors brought him back to the pavilion. Jobs saved Apple by introducing the iPod and iTunes and changed the way that the world perceived the company to be (Stoute and Rivas, 2011). In other words, it could be said that Apple would never have been there without Jobs. He had a vision for the company more than anyone else had.

3.3 JOB’S LEADERSHIP STYLE – A MYSTERY INDEED!

Steve Jobs never followed any traditional leadership model. He was a tyrant leader like all the others and he even mentioned once by himself that his job was not to be easy on people. This meant that he was hard on them, but he indeed made them realize that they were more capable than they though they actually were. Frederick Allen, a Forbes columnist even described that Steve Jobs broke every leadership rule possible and created a ‘ruthless’ corporate culture in Apple (Sander, 2012). However, this research suggests that Jobs was definitely needed for Apple, since he was able to flourish by buying and running a few other companies as well. Jobs was instrumental in leading Pixar studios which is now owned by Disney and also his own company called NeXT. However, he was successful in every establishment that he made, whether it was big or small.

[...]

Excerpt out of 12 pages

Details

Title
Apple's leadership strategies. Steve Jobs and Tim Cook
Author
Year
2014
Pages
12
Catalog Number
V277400
ISBN (eBook)
9783656711537
ISBN (Book)
9783656712541
File size
599 KB
Language
English
Tags
Apple, Tim Cook, Steve Jobs, Leadership
Quote paper
Kemmy Jose (Author), 2014, Apple's leadership strategies. Steve Jobs and Tim Cook, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/277400

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