How Culture is expressed in an Organisation: A Case Study of Apple Inc. Introduction Each and every company has its own culture. According to Wooten (2010), an organisational culture entails “ the shared beliefs, principles, values, and assumptions that shape behaviour by building commitment, providing direction, establishing a collective identity, and creating a community” (p. 8). Thus, culture manifests itself in the overall behaviour of the company in order for the organisation to adapt to the environment it operates. Essentially, the culture holds the company strategy together. However, culture is only effective if the management is able to align it with values, resources, goals and the organisation’s environment.
At Apple, the management has created a culture whose driving force is the desire to make great and unique products. Consequently, the key strategy of the company has been innovation and creativity. All employees are challenged and encouraged to take up this as they work towards producing unique products meeting the demands of consumers. This paper explores the concept of organisations culture and how this expression helps or hinders the organisation’s effectiveness using apple as a case study. Brief Historical BackgroundApple Inc.
was founded in 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald G. Wayne. At that time, the company was referred to as Apple Computer Company. According to Iliev et al (2004), the three set their initial business goal that was to see the company grow to $500 million in a period of ten years. However, they were surprised when the company passed that target within a period of five years. By then, the microcomputer industry was only characterised by companies involved in “the manufacture and sale of small desktop computers” (p.
11). More so, the central processing units of these microcomputers were the microprocessors. The major players in the industry in the mid 1970’s were IBM (they were producing what was termed has the “industry benchmark”), Atari, HP (AT& T) and Commodore. Thus, Apple as a new entrant into the market faced a lot of competition. Furthermore, given that the company did not comply with standards of either manufacturing hardware or software, dealers, as well as consumers that only wanted to get one of these were confused.
On the incorporation of Apple Computers Company, responsibilities were divided among the founders. Thus, Jobs took over marketing and engineering, Wozniak was in charge of engineering and Wayne was in charge of documentation and mechanical engineering. Both Jobs and Wozniak each owned 45%, whereas Wayne owned 10% of the company. Given that the company’s first product, the Apple I, did not raise the revenue as expected, the company found itself in financial trouble. Wayne had sold his 10% to the two and hence they needed to look for potential investors.
Mike Markkula agreed to provide capital for the two. Iliev et al (2004) says “Luckily, they could raise venture capital provided by Mike Marrkula and moved to a new corporate HQ in Cupertino, California” (p. 12). According to Satariano (2012) of Bloomberg News, Apple is currently ranked as the most valuable company in the world. Currently, Apple Inc. is involved in the designing, manufacture, as well as the marketing of personal computers. According to Richey (2008), Apple Inc. is also involved in the sale of other related services, software, peripherals, as well as offering networking solutions to its consumers.
Wall Street Journal (2012) also corroborates this statement. As a company, Apple is one of the leading asset management companies in the world. It is involved in the creation and management of both software and hardware (Digital Marketing, 2011). Bajarin (2011) notes that “Apple competitors delight in going head-to-head with Apple in hardware, because they can compete with them at this level. But it is the combinations of its hardware that is created specifically to be a vehicle for its software and the software itself that really sets Apple apart”.
It means that companies are competing with Apple in hardware manufacture but what differentiates Apple from the rest is its ability to develop software for its products. For instance, if one acquired a Dell laptop, the operating system could be Windows 7 from Microsoft. On the other hand, Apple has its own software for its products. One such software from Apple is Panther (Hawn, 2004).