Apple’s corporate structure and culture are critical to the company’s efficiency in operating on a worldwide scale. Apple’s corporate culture was tough, demanding, and aggressive under the former CEO Steve Jobs’ leadership. Conversely, one might argue that since taking the helm in 2011, Tim Cook has made significant attempts to humanize the brand. Tim Cook, unlike Steve Jobs, has advocated for social justice, privacy, immigration policy reforms, and environmental considerations. This essay focuses on the effect of Apple’s corporate structure and culture on the Covid19 pandemic response providing potential suggestions for the management. The stability of Apple in the current dynamic external business environment is critical as it provides daily support to millions of people globally.
Apple as a Company
Apple Inc., originally Apple Computer, Inc., is a technology company based in Cupertino, California. It manufactures personal computers, smartphones, tablet computers, computer accessories, and software application platforms (Greg 2020). The company was the first profitable personal computer firm and was instrumental in popularizing the graphical user interface. Apple is one of the most innovative companies globally recognized for its home computers and iPhones. The COID 19 pandemic had a direct impact on the company’s hierarchical and functional structure and the innovative and secretive culture at Apple.
Apple’s Organizational Structure
Apple’s company structure is hierarchical and functional, primarily aiming at excellence in its control of production and marketing. The organization structure was designed under the leadership Of Steve jobs, the company’s creator and previous CEO, to assure the concentrated fulfillment of his creative ideas and coherent direction for the firm. In Figure 1, Apple’s organizational structure has changed significantly since Tim Cook took the CEO post in August 2011 to a unitary organizational form (Greg 2020). Mr. Cook, in particular, advocated for some decentralization of decision-making to develop new products and foster creative thinking. Apple has set itself apart from competitors via its performance and corporate structure (Podolny & Hansen 2020). The company structure is designed mainly based on the need for control with effective communication and direct oversight.
In terms of business, the company’s structure has been designed to focus on customer satisfaction and client experience. The hierarchical and functional nature ensures that the goods provided meet specific standards that guarantee customer satisfaction. These goods, from the iPhone to the iPad and Mac, are renowned for their exceptional quality. However, the COVID 19 has significantly affected the production schedules straining the company’s communication routines (Podolny & Hansen 2020). Economists acknowledge that a business must foster an innovative atmosphere and active communication (Greg 2020). With the demand for laptops and desktop computers declining, Apple’s reliance on the iPhone has risen with the pandemic. Still, the surge in demand was accompanied by a disruption in supply chains (Dilyard et al., 2021). There were specific changes to Apple’s organizational structure necessitated by the COVID 19 pandemic, including introducing new brands and the functional managerial position of innovative brands such as Siri.
Apple’s COVID 19 Response Internal Adjustments
Apple’s management recognized the need to contribute to the containment of the COVID 19 pandemic by supporting its customers on symptom and testing stations. New sections within the company were assigned roles to innovate Siri-based solutions that could help determine if one had COVID-19 as people would be directed through several questions that will assist one in determining the answers to those questions. If the symptoms look serious, individuals would be recommended to remain at home or seek more assistance. The company product line also improved with assistance with the App Store introducing new coronavirus-related information support. When users ask Siri about coronavirus, the corporation promotes healthcare services through the App Store. The platform expedites the evaluation of COVID-19 applications from credible sources to ensure that consumers get the most accurate information possible and not fraudulent or misleading information. The company structure was configured to address the dynamics of the technology market.
Apple also adopted telework and made administrative changes to introduce flexibility on medical allowances and leaves. Outside of Greater China, Apple has shifted to flexible work options, including working from home. CEO Tim Cook acknowledged the need for Apple employees to consider working remotely if possible (Greg 2020). The company made necessary structural changes and advised people who must physically visit the workplace to maintain a distance as per the public health guidelines. Apple also took up the responsibility of taking care of employee health. Apple expanded its health exams and temperature checks to all of its locations. Additionally, the company has accommodations for people who require a leave of absence to address personal or family health concerns brought about by COVID-19.
The Impact of the Changes to Apple’s Response to COVID-19 Disruption
The changed structure means an improved pace of innovation, the working environment and employee welfare. Employees benefit from additional flexibility and autonomy when they work remotely. At Apple, nine out of ten employees who work remotely want to do so for the remainder of their lives (Greg 2020). People are linked via technology such as teleconference software, collaboration software, and cloud services, which enables them to have meetings and execute tasks from anywhere, at whatever time. However, employers are beginning to regard remote work as a critical component of recruiting and maintaining top personnel, remaining competitive in their area, and even saving on company expenditures.
Apple’s COVID 19 Response External Adjustments
The company also took steps to make changes to the organizational structure to address the external challenges such as misinformation derailing the pandemic management efforts. Apple News is taking a proactive stance in addressing the challenges associated with fake news. The company recognized that there were several contradictory allegations about COVID-19. The move was perplexing, and at a time when the world messaging must be very unambiguous, Apple News began curating the news it distributes. It now has a COVID-19 news area that features confirmed information from trusted news organizations. The functional units inside Apple’s COVID 19 response teams also ensured that on iOS and iPad OS devices, a hand-picked selection of headlines and links to a comprehensive coverage page is available (Meyer et al., 2021). These changes mean that Apple’s originations structures would be flexible enough to respond to the disruptions. Similar changes were also considered in the organization’s culture.
Apple’s Company’s Organizational Culture
Creativity and Innovation
Apple has made deliberate efforts to accelerate its creativity and innovation culture throughout the pandemic. The culture at Apple today could be traced to its early days as a startup. Steven Jobs and Steve Wozniak started Apple at their young ages and were open to innovative ideas and courageous marketing approaches (Yun et al., 2018). Jobs and Wozniak were high school classmates and members of The Homebrew Computer Club in 1975, a now-legendary group of electronics hobbyists who convened to discuss their accomplishments. As in Figure 2, the team launched a computer with a somewhat contemporary appearance in a plastic shell and incorporated it as Apple Computer the following year. By 1980, the firm had expanded to more than 1000 people and had a promising growth trend (Podolny & Hansen 2020). The capacity to innovate forms the backbone of Apple as a company, and the pace of new trends adoption was also seen in its employee’s response to the COVID 29 pandemic.
However, there are still concerns over Apple’s significant intense competition over the performance of its employees, even in a remote setting. The pressure emerges from the increasing competition in the market and the largely disrupted markets due to the pandemic shifts in demand and supply chain complications. Today, Samsung, Huawei, and a slew of other competitors are vying for market share in the smartphone industry (Podolny & Hansen 2020). Apple goods are designed for the most discerning consumers. Apple places a premium on user experience since it sets the firm apart from competitors. However, efficiency and innovation-related pressures are very high. While Tim Cook has loosened many of the company’s conventions, pressure remains a component of the job environment and mentality.
Apple’s management emphasizes quality products despite the dynamics in the work environment. The pressure from optimum performance is because Apple cannot give less than what consumers want to maintain its high device performance and quality standards. The culture at Apple is that workers will always need to give their all to their job to continue that heritage of technical innovation. Tim Cook has taken some bold efforts to reposition Apple despite the disruptions in the external business environment. Inclusion and diversity are now critical components of Apple’s human resources strategy. During Steve Jobs’ tenure, workers laboured in an atmosphere of perpetual anxiety, where even the smallest errors might result in termination.
Apple’s COVID 19 Response External Adjustments
Tim cook also introduces new efforts towards supporting the general population with digital technologies to address the growing need for computation during the pandemic. The company adopted the culture of community social responsibility providing support to companies reliant on digital technologies with support tools for survival. When combined with upcoming technologies such as virtual and augmented worlds, Apple recognized that massive digitization has the potential to provide new kinds of cultural experience, diffusion, and marketable business models.
Due to the shutdowns, most public and private producers made the material available for free online via the company’s cloud platforms. The services were provided to maintain audience engagement and meet the dramatically increased demand for cultural content. While providing free and digitally mediated cultural material is unsustainable in the long run, it has paved the way for many future breakthroughs. To capitalize on them, Apple recognized that it was necessary to solve the sector’s digital skills shortages and expand digital access outside big urban areas. These opportunities began to change under Cook’s leadership as he innovated and humanized the company culture. Apple has developed as a company, and its culture has evolved as well, especially with the change of leadership after the death of Steve Jobs.
The Impact of Changes to Apple’s Response to COVID-19 Disruption
Changes in culture, strategy, and technology were crucial in assuring an organization’s success. Apple recognizes that entrepreneurship and imagination are critical components of modern organizations’ success. The functional teams recognize that for creativity and innovation to thrive in any business, organizational leaders must guarantee that the firm’s environment supports this approach. At Apple, the administration is seen as the source and accelerator of modern organizations’ innovative thinking (Greg 2020). With the changes brought about by the epidemic, Apple’s originality was determined by its culture and structure, which influenced the firm’s whole innovation process. Today’s business climate is significantly more dynamic, necessitating new strategies for improving business performance. As such, specific recommendations are necessary for Apple’s structure and culture.
Recommended Structural Changes
First, the company should consider addressing the functionality structure to ensure a more decentralized management approach characterized by effective interdepartmental communication. Functionality is another critical component of Apple’s structure, which may be emphasized even more with the rise of remote work. While product-based grouping is critical for organizational design, senior managers reporting to the CEO are responsible for functions, not specific products. Apple may profit from the functional, structural patterns that have enhanced communication channels that can be supported remotely. Unlike many other major organizations, Apple does not have a resource war amongst the leaders of product divisions. As a result, Apple’s executives must have a holistic view of the company, comparable to that of tiny entrepreneurial enterprises.
Reconsider the Hierarchical Organization Structure
The COVID 19 pandemic has highlighted the need to have appropriate organizational structures responsive to market fluctuations. Apple’s hierarchical and functional organizational structure benefits from the executive board’s strong supervision of overall production segments. Additionally, advancement prospects motivate personnel to perform well, and authority and accountability levels are clearly defined (Podolny & Hansen 2020). However, the hierarchical structure has to be reconsidered in an environment where most workers are remote. The pace of innovation should be maintained with the discipline necessary to sustain quality and accountability. Apple should be championing new technologies that can improve employee coordination, such as virtual reality and Metaverse technologies.
The Need to Reignite the Spirit of Innovation
Tim Cooks should also reignite the spirit of innovation and enthusiasm as Apple that faded with the death of Steve Jobs. The teams must be obliged to become imaginative and inventive to remain ahead in the industries in which Apple operates. Such a culture would increase Apple’s efficacy and efficiency and remain profitable in the future. As a result, these businesses’ leadership strategies must be adapted to include innovative thinking and risk-taking processes. With such a leadership approach, it is relatively simple for a given entity to establish, develop, and start embracing an institutional culture that values creativity and innovation, thereby meeting the implementation needs and demands of businesses in the twenty-first century by increasing their competitive edge. Otherwise, Apple’s culture will begin to lose its gloss if the passion and enthusiasm are removed. In this case, intensity is always critical, as it was throughout Steve Jobs’ tenure. Without such, its goods and work culture would lack flavour. Similar changes should be considered within the culture of the organization.
Aggressive Market Research
Apple should also aggressively undertake market research and analysis to understand its market dynamics during the pandemic. The teams should identify new and novel ways to strengthen their competitive advantage over competing enterprises. Through its executives and employees, the business has built a strong corporate culture and structure that fosters creativeness. It is usual for managers to urge their workers to have a favourable attitude about their proposal at this point to motivate them. As a result, workers are encouraged to use their senses and cultivate positive thinking to generate meaningful ideas (Greg 2020). The steps involve creating desired models, which comprises vision, imagination, daydreaming, and building a prototype in an employee’s head. At this point, the interested person must design an action plan that would aid in the realization of their concept. Effective structural changes within the organization are also dependent on corresponding cultural changes.
Recommended Cultural Changes
Addressing Secrecy and Competitiveness Concerns
Apple’s corporate culture must change to suit the new market dynamics for successful structural changes. For instance, present difficulties resulting from its focus on secrecy and mild aggressiveness should be addressed. A veil of secrecy prevents employees from forming the bonds necessary, especially in a virtual environment. The mild combativeness does have the ability to detract from or diminish staff morale. These cultural concerns may have a detrimental influence on corporate performance and staff attrition. Although Tim Cook has attempted to address combativeness with the company, there are still concerns regarding employee sense of security. This advice focuses on mitigating the problems of combativeness in the workplace while maintaining the benefits of combative tactics. Additionally, Apple may incorporate new cultural characteristics to remain relevant in changing trends and conditions in the digital technologies, cloud solutions, digital content management, and consumer electronics industries.
Improved Employee Schedule Flexibility
The remote working model was also adopted, which shifted the company culture to more flexible working options, with trust emerging as a new culture within the organization. Before the pandemic, everyone is free to be themselves throughout his tenure. The new culture may seem to be in stark contrast to the Apple culture established by Steve Jobs. On the other hand, Apple’s culture and atmosphere remain very fast-paced, inventive, cutting-edge, and confident, with an increasing emphasis on employee pleasure and welfare (Greg 2020). The company’s emphasis has turned to establish a more balanced work atmosphere that incorporates both works and plays. The pressure will exist since it is impossible to eliminate it in a highly competitive setting. The IT sector as a whole is well-known for its fierce competition. However, two critical aspects of Apple’s organizational culture have always been known to endure: innovation and creativity. These elements are inextricably linked to Apple’s culture and will continue to be so in the future. Today, things have changed significantly with Tim Cook’s emphasis on employee welfare and self-actualization.
Apple’s corporate structure and culture are characterized by a high level of quality, creativity, and innovation, which contributes to the company’s competitive success. The company is highly recognized as the leading brand in product design and innovation. During the COVID 19 pandemic, these cultural attributes have enabled Apple and its people to differentiate themselves and remain one step ahead of the competition. This corporate culture facilitates success and key success factors and the continued building of the company’s brand, which is one of the company’s primary product differentiation. Excellence and creativity are particularly critical in the company’s quick innovation processes to ensure ongoing competitiveness and commercial success.
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