Leadership entails a series of essential elements, which includes an array of items that define the degree of the leader. Leaders exercise their knowledge and skills in numerous ways to ensure that the organization performs competitively. The performance of Apple under Steve Jobs management is depicted as one of the leadership periods that brought the company into a competing and innovative edge. Apple's performance today is attributed to the degree of leadership and culture that Jobs instilled in the company. Thus, the analysis will critically elucidate the conflict management, ethics, politics, and strategic planning under Steve Jobs's leadership in Apple. Inc.
Ethics and Professional Codes of Conduct
The U.S survey disclosed that, despite the increased efforts on the number of ethics and compliance program elements being widely adopted and implemented, unethical levels have not reduced since 1994 (Gebler, 2006). The increased program on ethics aims at curbing the unethical business practices that alter the performance of the business. The organization culture has a significant influence in determining the success or failure of these programs' outcomes. Ethics policies are a set of formulated behavior that covers a diverse range of areas. However, ethical policies do not include or describe specific actions to take each imaginable scenario (Jacobs, 1999).
The organizational culture plays a critical role in the success of implementing ethical practices. "The Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Department of Justice have played a close eye on these trends" (Gebler, 2006, p.31). While a keen observation on the issues of ethics has been widely analyzed numerous organizations, have reported unethical practices that are leading to an array of interrelated wrong methods that have not only affected the career of these leaders but the entire organization (Taylor & Moynihan, 2002). Apple's organizational culture of transparency is one of the most practiced and adopted concepts by many organizations towards the fight against unethical practices.
Steve Jobs' approach towards ethical practice in the organization remained to be one of his top priority under his leadership. According to Yoffie and Baldwin (2018), Jobs instilled a culture of transparency and hard work in the organization. Through this, workers are accountable for their actions, making it easier for the management to note mistakes and unethical practices within the organization. On the contrary, the image of the company remained to be one of Steve's most significant challenges on the issues of ethical practices. In this case, the ethical approach included both financial strategies, government legislation, and racism as the leading factors (Yoffie & Baldwin, 2018). As a way of ensuring that Apple's brand and image remain to be on the top, Steve emphasized the use of ethics, to meet the consumer's demand. This included the use of research and innovation to increase the levels of Intellectual Property protection in the company (IP). Unlike companies like Samsung that later suffered an intellectual property fine, due to the emulation of Apple's designs, Steve instilled the culture of transparency and innovation in the company to help reduce the growth of unethical practices in the organization.
According to Heracleous and Papachroni (2016, p.7), observation, one of the leading factors that lead to unethical practices in an organization is due to lack of proper communication. "Without a good relationship with employees, customers, and suppliers, integrity is compromised." While many leaders do not critically pay closer attention to this matter, Jobs took a stunning measure in coordination and communication. Apple's communication culture between workers and suppliers is one of the critical elements that Jobs instilled. However, internal communication between top managers in the organization remained to be secretive. The essence or maintaining a secretive code of communication within the organization helped to keep the company's secrets within the organization's doors.
Conflicts in an organization are among the standard practices that each manager should brace for on their daily practices. The origin of conflict at work may emanate from various sources, some of which may be a lack of resources and other necessary investments. However, Apple's financial position is undoubtedly one of the wealthiest companies on the planet to help coordinate all its resources (Heracleous & Klaering, 2017). According to Charles-Soverall and Khan (2008), conflict is well noted in the various sector of an organization. Among one of the leading factors that cause an increase in dispute are the interests and goals of different departments (Womack, 1988). Goal setting and objectives of each department may be the leading causes of conflict that most of the managers fail to address. Conflicts affect both small and large organizations irrespective of their position, and so Apple has not been spared either. Apple has widely managed to display a fantastic series of products under Jobs management. While most of the consumers may think Apple's administration has not been affected by internal conflicts, Jobs was forced to battle with numerous internal disputes at the departmental sector to ensure that the company runs smoothly (Heracleous & Klaering, 2017).
As a way of ensuring that work at the company operated accordingly, one of the concepts that Jobs emphasized was the attitude of the employees and their skills in managing conflict within the organization (West & Mace, 2010). While Jobs did most of the work in conflict management, he instilled the culture of positive conflict resolution, which was widely adopted by most of the mangers.
According to West, and Mace, (2010), practicing what you preach was the concept adopted by Jobs. The use of this ideology was to ensuring that conflict within the organization was managed effectively. Conflict within the departmental level was addressed by assessing the goals and objectives of each department to gain a better understanding of which department should sacrifice their aspirations for the benefit of the organization. For instance, a conflict emanated in the iPhone assembly point with the delay of the camera sensors, delaying the entire process. As a result, the whole assembly point was forced to halt to ensure that the right sensors for the manufacturing supplied the production. Through this, managers at the assembly point demonstrated effective conflict management skills that not only saved the company billions of revenue but also the company's reputation (Heracleous & Klaering, 2017).
Apple brand has succeeded in the market due to the strategic planning the company has widely employed. Jobs laid the foundations on strategic management, envisioning the company as one of the futures leading companies in the tech industry (West & Mace, 2010). Today, Apple has embraced the culture of strategic planning to ensure that the company remains to be one of the top brands in the market.
According to Jensen (2014), the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of an organization determines the actual product and the customers' taste towards the brand. Even though CIO's abilities can vary in their limitation, consumers are drawn to a product by the degree of creativity a product depicts. Apple products are among the iconic electronic devices that customers have widely scrambled for based on their buying power. The hardware design and software application in most of Apple's devices have set the trend in the modern world of electronic devices.
Apple's ideology in winning customer perception has been demonstrated from extended strategic planning envisioned by Jobs. Since the launching of the first Apple Mac, Apple has followed the footsteps of Jobs' strategic plan. Nearly all the companies have later emulated jobs' concept. For instance, the technology of touch screen has been widely adopted and used by all mobile phones. However, the use of the touch screen on smartphones first came into life under Jobs' leadership in the company, to help beat the keyboard layout adopted by BlackBerry in the mobile industry. Since then, Apple approved the use of touch screens, a concept many giant companies in the industry have been forced to take, including the BlackBerry (West & Mace, 2010).
Power and Politics
The politics and control of an organization are one of the critical sectors that propel the organization. Jobs' leadership, in terms of power distribution, is one of the highly criticized areas. According to Tushman and O'Reilly, (1997), power distribution within the organization provides, rapid decision making, and coordination of workers, and departments. Through this, departments can make independent decisions that affect the performance of the organization. Jobs' leadership, in the areas of politics and power, remains under great scrutiny of questioning and how he made the decision. Apple operated under a centralized decision making, which gave Jobs all the exclusive power in making the final decision within the organization. As a result, workers felt to be left out, and most of their choices in design were not highly implemented in the designing model. As a result, this is one of the sectors that most scholars argue that Jobs failed to promote teamwork and power-sharing. However, others say on the interest of the company that it was the right decision to make the company maintain its secretes, which has led to the success of the company to date (West & Mace, 2010).
In the bottom line, Jobs' leadership and approach towards an ethical approach in the organization have played a vital role in cultivating the culture of transparency. More so, communication between top executives and employees within the organization remained a top-secret to ensure that the company does not suffer from IP theft. Strategic planning is one of the areas where Jobs depicted most of his talents, a concept that has been embraced by the firm as organizational culture. While the success of Jobs may be described in various ways, power distribution remained to be one of his weaknesses to help protect the company's reputation and intellectual property.
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