Apple Inc. Which was previously known as Apple Computer Inc. is a multinational corporation operating in a majority of countries in the world. The company was established in the United States of America on 1st April 1976, in California. It was later incorporated on 3rd of January, 1977. After 30 years in operation as a computer manufacturing company, the company decided to expand its operations to other electronics such as phones, and therefore changed its name to Apple Inc. According to the company, by 26th September 2009, the company has over 34,000 employees on a full time basis and another 2,500 on temporary employment worldwide. Due to this large number of employees, coupled with the high presence globally, there’s a need to employ management techniques aimed at bringing forth development, and stability in the business owing to the fact that there is high competition from other electronic manufacturers. In this paper, we are going to look at the management strategies being employed by Apple Inc. with close reference to the structure of the organization, types of organization that are being employed in the contemporary world as well as other issues in contemporary management.
For any organization to succeed in its operations, they must follow structural laws. But it is possible that an organization has intelligent workers who are highly capable, clear strategies for development, quality products and so on, but still experience dysfunction (Fritz 3). The question therefore is why some companies succeed more than others, while still following clear organizational structures.
Types of organizational structure
There are quite a number of different structures that a firm may employ to enhance proper management of resources. Some of the types include; line structure, the matrix structure, the team structure, and the line and staff structure.
Line structure involves a scenario where the authority comes from the top and moves down the organization levels. This kind of structure is very common among small and usually privately owned organizations. In this structure of organization every employee has got a clearly outlined role and reports to a specified higher official. Any course of action must be authorized from above.
Under matrix structure, in some instances the employees from different departments of the organization come together on temporary basis and work on a common project. This helps in exchange of ideas. The structure is highly appreciated as it provides a considerable amount of flexibility to quickly respond to the needs of the customers and other stakeholders
The team structure enables workers to work together as a team to achieve some set objectives. In this structure, lower level manager can comfortably make decisions without having to consult with higher level managers. The company may also decide to hire staffs with specific skills to help the line managers carry on with their duties. In this case the structure of the organization is referred to as line staff structure.
In an organizational structure, a company may decide to use flat or tall structures. In flat structures the organization develops small number of levels but gives a broad span of jurisdiction in terms of management at each level. The managers however delegates most of the work to junior employees. This structure is mostly preferred because it leads to more job satisfaction among the employees, as well as ensuring more delegation, thus communication is increased among the various levels of the organization. The tall structure is characterized by too many level of management with each level having a small scope of operation in terms of management. There is centralized power usually bestowed upon the chief executive officer (CEO) of the organization. One of the advantages of this kind is that it ensures great control and better performance of duties by the organization employees.
Apple Inc. knows and understands this very well. They have therefore come up with an organizational structure that to them, best suits a multinational organization.
To enhance efficient management of the organization, the company has developed a number of management levels and divisions. For management of products and also their marketing, the organization has got five divisions for products. These divisions are responsible for manufacturing, developing, as well as evaluating computer systems and peripheral devices. This encourages hiring professionals with relevant management skills coupled with nourished knowledge of computer development industry, especially market demands. Product management acts as the center of any business management (Sharma 1). The organization being a multinational organization deserves good product management strategies. In some countries there are specifications that are set aside for products to meet. The division therefore ensures that the products developed meets the international standard as well as standards set by particular countries. According to Anandan (203), the best way to manage products for multinational organization is to consider local player buyout. This helps the organization to reduce competition as well as increase its customer base. There are also four other divisions for product support. These divisions are responsible for marketing, distribution and after sale customer support. This ensures that the division handles all customer related issues and problems. This is very vital in any organization as the customers provide the basis on which the organization succeeds of fails. Good customer handling and management is key to an organization’s future. These divisions in the product divisions include
Personal computer systems divisions (PCSD)
As we have said earlier, Apple Inc. is involved in manufacture of computers and related electronics such as phone and computer peripherals. The personal computer systems division is responsible for improvement and refinement of the company’s products i.e. the Apple II and Apple III computer systems. This division is also responsible for development of new market niche products. The division is responsible for development of strategies that will see companies gain a market leader position. This will work along way in reducing competition in the global market (Wheelwright & Clark 3). Research and development also provides an avenue for learning for the organizations employees. Product development in particular helps the company renew itself in order to gain or retain market leadership position (Wheelwright & Clark 5).
Personal office systems division
This is yet another product division for the company. It is responsible for designing and manufacturing office storage devices for their computer systems. This aims in ensuring that the company has a wide range of devices to match and supplement their core products.
Accessory products division
The division is responsible for production of other hardware devices such as the keyboards as well as marketing all the accessory products. The division is the key to the company as it ensures that customers get spare parts for their products just in case they break down.
Apple Inc. being a multinational organization must ensure that all the activities are harmonized. The operations division mainly deals with the manufacturing and is aimed at bringing harmony between the different manufacturing zones such as Dallas, Texas, Singapore as well as Ireland.
The product support division is responsible for sales, communication and marketing in the different geographical regions where the organization operates. It has got the following divisions
North American sales
This division is clearly designed to enhance sales in the North America region. This division is responsible for channeling the company’s products to the customer by employing a number of channels such as field sales groups. It is the responsibility of the division to identify and help penetrate other major and potential markets for the organizations products.
The division is responsible for managing sales and channel of distribution for the European market. It is also responsible for assisting the parent divisions develop quality products that suit the European market as well as supporting the original manufactures.
This division has a responsibility to see that all the sales prospects, stakeholders, investors, governments as well as all other interested parties get all the information they need at all times. This will help the company develop a good image among its clients as well as potential customers and investors. This division manages matters concerning advertising, public relations, conducting market research and any other communication needs of the company as well as employees. According to Gregory (20), properly managing public relations helps to consider factors affecting the organization with a clear sense of problem solving and also provides a blueprint for proper management of the whole organization.
Markets marketing division
This division is bestowed with the responsibility of identifying and defining target markets for the organization and coming up with strategies for approaching them. If the organization’s management proposes marketing activities and strategies, it is then the responsibility of the division to make sure that they are implemented.
In administration, a number of departments have set up to assist in overseeing the organization’s day to day activities in the corporate world. The department reports to a vice president in-charge of administration
This department is responsible for all the financial activities of the organizations. With a diversified product as well as a large market, the organization receives millions of sales. It therefore calls for a specific department to handle the organization’s finances. The department provides accountancy services, cash management. It also works with all the other departments so as to finance their operations, projects and manage their expenses on their behalf. Management information services for the company which tracks down sales as well as inventories are vested upon the finance department. According to Madura (2), multinational corporations’ (MNCs) financial managers should also conduct IFM, which involves making investment decisions as well as financing decisions in the countries of operations. For most multinational organizations their goal is to increase the shareholders wealth as well as increase the profits and profitability of operations in foreign countries.
Human resources department
This department is of great importance to the organization’s success, owing to the level of competition in the global market for the organizations’ product. The department is in charge of the company’s most valuable asset, the employees. The department is responsible for all the staffing needs of the organization, training of the employees to make sure that they are the ideal employees who will take Apple to the next level in achieving its objectives. Multinational companies provide the means through which quality goods of international standards reach the consumers all over the world (Tayeb 4). Multinational organizations must develop cutting edge strategies for technological advancement and product innovation. This can be achieved by investing in research and development that will see products developed to achieve international standards as well as meet local standards set out by countries. To achieve this, the organizations need well furnished workforce, which can further be developed by having clear strategies for human resource development.
In any organization some decisions as well as staff and products may breach the laws of the land forcing legal action against the organization or even the organization seeking legal actions against others. For Apple inc. the Apple education Foundation as well as facilities, all lie under the legal services department. Legal services for multinational organizations are inevitable. According to Tayeb (4), for proper operation in the global business market, most of the organizations must negotiate for entries into other countries, and also ensure that their operations comply with the legal requirement set aside by the host country. The legal services divisions is therefore of paramount importance in ensuring that the globalization efforts of a company is successful.
Considering the organization structure of Apple Inc it is shows that the flat organization structure is in use. Each division operates as different entity though there is a vice president each for all the divisions. The structures of the organization are outlined below:
How apple structure is different from other company in the same industry
The apple structure is different from other structures of other company in that Apple Company has many departments and division with top key management. And each division performs specific tasks for all the key parties of the company such as stakeholders and customers among others. In addition each division operates as a different identity but have a vice president.Additionaly, managers of these lower levels are in a position to make decision without even consulting the managers at the top position. On the other hand, the structure of other company within the same industry is that there are many employees who have their own roles and responsibilities and respond to a top official.
The workers of the Apple Inc believe in themselves and have a belief that whatever they are doing is the right thing and victory is guaranteed. The workers also respond to customers very well and where the customers do not know what they want to buy, the apple employees are in a position to tell them what they ought to buy. In addition, the apple employees believe in, risk, trust and decisiveness as key parts in their culture.However, the employees do not have passion for their work and just work for the sake of and the main battle in the organization is between the organization and apple resellers.Additionaly the employees overwork themselves in most cases 60-70 hours per week and in many instances somebody have to remind them that they still have life outside the apple.Moreover,the apple industry believe in teamwork and total achievement where no one is left behind. They also foster individuality and excellence and employ people with talent and those who perform are recognized.
In this kind of organization there are usually centralized registries for each department in each geographical region, where all the details of the organization’s employee’s records and details are kept. Each department in each geographical region has a centralized filing system for all its office filing need.
At Apple Inc decision making is not centralized. This is because each department lays its strategy even though these strategies must be approved by the central decision making organ comprised of the board of directors. This is common to most of the organizations in the industry as most of them are international. This is probably because of the nature of the products which require specialized skills to manufacture and which has got a wide market in the global market. The nature of the products is such that their demand will continue to increase globally as advancements in other sectors largely depend on these kinds of products.
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