The concepts of leadership and management are intertwined but independent in terms of application. For an organisation to have effective management strategies, appropriate leadership styles are proactively applied (Arslan & Staub 2013). This report explains and critically analyses the concepts of leadership and management in terms of their application at the Apple PLC. Specifically, the paper examines the organisational, social, multicultural and environmental contexts of leadership and management integration into Apple PLC’s organisational culture. The report highlights the current challenges and presents a detailed framework for addressing them in the form of an implementation plan.
Concepts of Leadership and Management at Apple PLC
Overview of Apple PLC
Apple PLC is a leading global tech company renowned for innovative products and services. The company has been in the market for almost two decades. At present, it controls a sizable market for smartphone and online music streaming services across the globe. Over the last two decades, the company has grown from a small venture into a multinational firm with equity estimated at $40 billion.
Leadership and Management Application
In the last few decades, the responsibilities and roles of managers in organisations have changed due to the dynamics in the business environment. At Apple PLC, the leadership strategy adopted can be explained by the management strategies that managers practice. There are several leadership styles that organisations across the world apply in managing all aspects of a business such as an employee performance, productivity and efficiency in balancing present and future goals (Cameron 2009). In general terms, Cameron and Green (2008) define leadership style as the approach adopted by the management of an organisation to execute different elements of leadership to improve on performance and sustainability. Cottrell (2013) notes that different leadership styles have impacts on the level of employee performance, especially in organisations that have a formal structure. For instance, Apple PLC organisation has adopted a relaxed approach to management since different cultures are integrated into the organisation’s structure.
Management and leadership mindsets are critical pillars of organisational effectiveness, especially in decision-making. According to Baxter (2014), leadership is “the intrinsic ability to internalise a setting with the intention of empowering a group or team to proactively and creatively contribute towards problem solving” (p. 24). Capacity building is essential in understanding a challenge, in terms of the strategies to put in place for its solution. Cowan and Beck (2005) note that a leader should set up techniques to direct or control assets, individuals and different components of organisational conduct in a firm inside preset qualities or standards. The use of leadership and management principles at Apple PLC has become an instrumental determinant of hierarchical behaviour and general performance involving objective setting, overseeing resources, strategic planning and preparation of assets to accomplish preset targets. At Apple PLC, the annual targets are quantifiable and estimated over a particular timeframe (Dasgupta, Suar & Singh 2013). This implies effective leadership and management application in the organisation in terms of the urge to proactively contribute towards the creation of a reasonable workplace by minimising potential or existing setbacks between a problem and its solution.
The application of the leadership concept at Apple PLC is unique. For example, the leadership capacity of the company incorporates aptitudes, capacity or ability to encourage responsibility, empowerment, flexibility and basic critical thinking as displayed by the transformational style of the CEO Tim Cook. These modifications trigger inventive approaches for observing and consoling the needs of Apple PLC. Moreover, Harrison (2017) explains that part of empowerment is instrumental in instilling confidence among the managers by equipping them with rational decision-making skills. Subsequently, the managers depend on confidentiality at Apple PLC to create answers for each test in this organisation. Strategic leadership has become a parameter of an inventive reaction towards powerful problem-solving strategies (Nisula & Kianto 2016). The organisation deliberately makes a broad chain of solution adjustments to deal with the present difficulties the employees face (Horn 2009).
In the basic leadership process at Apple PLC, the transformational leadership style is connected by management at different levels to motivate the proactive support of the partners through their commitment. For example, when faced with a choice on the best decision for amplifying profitability, these transformational leaders will welcome the input of all stakeholders in an open discourse on the accessible choices, on which a final decision is made (Harrison 2017). Amid these dialogues, the workers are urged to contribute and make recommendations that are incorporated into a final consultative decision (Northedge 2005). This implies that the decisions made at Apple PLC are satisfactory to the subordinates. The persuasive inspirational management style is connected in the basic leadership procedure to expedite the process of integrating the management team, who are required to acknowledge the choices made for their benefit (Baxter 2014).
Suma and Lesha (2013), describes management competency as functioning in organisational communication culture to create clear structural norms that develop into employee development goals, expectations and relevant guidelines, which control the interaction channel between the management and subordinates. For example, when the chain of the communication channel in an organisation originates from prejudiced and self-opinionated management towards the subordinates, the response or reaction by the subjects of such message or decision may only motivate self-contempt (Sostrin 2013). Fortunately, Apple PLC may integrate the management and leadership framework that defines specific competences and value for every decision-making process to improve on the performance of the managers (Horn 2009). These competencies could be angled on optimal performance, multidimensional organisational culture and effective workforce through a complex motivational programme.
In line with Henri Fayol’s management theory, Apple PLC may create a complex human resource competency tracker, which is an instrumental component of management motivation in the work environment since it inspires particular behaviour that is friendly to individual growth (Vanhala & Stavrou 2013). To delve further into Apple PLC’s management orientation, FW Taylor proposals could be applied in this organisation to create a controlled decision-making model that incorporates the observed and actual experiences of managers as individual entities in a similar work environment (Sostrin 2013). This conforms to the Max Weber model, which displays an effective management approach to structure Apple PLC’s work environment as integrating strategic management principles.
According to Baxter (2014), the conceptual framework of these models is ideal in defining, analysing and ultimately classifying the work environment as either ideal for motivation or wanting. However, Henri Fayol’s model covers the managerial functions only as compared to Max Weber’s theory, which functions on the strict rule (Vanhala & Stavrou 2013). Moreover, FW scientific management proposal is the most commonly applied approach at Apple PLC (Sostrin 2013). This is because this model encourages a systematic and multidimensional strategy in managing an organisation. In management application, Apple could develop a successful model involving direct and close supervision management principle to give the managers an opportunity for continuous assessment of different strategies in place (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill 2016). This model is ideal for promoting management involvement since there are preset instructions that each manager is expected to follow and operate within, irrespective of the dynamics of the assigned roles. Since Apple PLC is a dynamic organisation, the proposed performance management process will ensure that the decision-making process and implementation of organisational strategies are aligned to collaborative coordination (Horn 2009).
According to Sostrin (2013), a balanced performance management process is critical in integrating planning, executing and assessing diverse systems associated with organisational ethical principles. Apple PLC could incorporate these principles into a solitary capacity to encourage smooth progress of management policy implementation in the short and long term (Harrison & Wicks 2013). For example, the choice of procedure could be transformed into a linear management chain of command for effective execution of duties at every level of leadership (Open University 2007). In the organisation, at the leadership level, the CEO makes the final decision while management decisions at the highest level are made by the board of directors.
The management approach adopted by Apple PLC portrays steady participation between the management and subordinates in managing difficulties through a systematic policy strategy. (Baxter (2014) notes that balancing the performance management process is related to motivation and issue execution through upgraded confidence, inspiration and managers involvement (Harrison 2017). In application, this initiative could be incorporated through the utilisation of influence at Apple PLC to control the basic management decision-making process to improve on the output of each manager. The management team may improve on their performance when the balanced performance management process is transformed into a continuous training program (Obeidat, Masadeh & Abdallah 2014). This implies the managers will be influenced to comprehend the method of reasoning behind every decision-making process.
At Apple PLC, the leadership and management competencies are very flexible and broad in application, making decisions made accommodative and integral to different perceptions and cultures in the organisation. Unfortunately, since this strategy involves equality in decision making through broad consultative mechanisms, it is always an uphill task to reach consensus (Baxter 2014). These adopted competencies have such merits as proactive employee participation in decision making and consultative approach to policy creation and implementation. However, the demerits include the very slow process of making decisions, even in instances that require quick decisions (Wilkinson & Redman 2013). Moreover, since Apple PLC has a complex organisational culture that promotes innovation, the laissez-faire leadership style is common in the organisation, since the management and subordinates do not follow any guideline in decision making (Nisula & Kianto 2016). This means that the subordinates make decisions on behalf of the company without any form of consultation as long as each staff member is convicted that he or she is right.
Despite its unpopularity, laissez-faire leadership style has merits such as high employee morale at Apple PLC since the subordinates are trusted to follow their instincts and make the right decision without supervision or predetermined guideline (Horn 2009). Moreover, this leadership style is ideal in creating and promoting a creative work environment since each individual is empowered to design and apply his or her ideals in performing different roles in an organisation (Northedge 2005). The main demerits of this style of leadership might include high-rate of redundancy among employees when excessive freedom is abused. Besides, the employees may not be accountable to their actions or behaviour since this leadership style is silent on hierarchal leadership authority structure that controls different internal elements of business operations (Harrison & Wicks 2013). In relation to Apple PLC, this leadership style is not ideal since the dynamics in the tech industry are excessively sensitive to any alternation in the decision, especially with regards to how services are presented.
Recommendations: Proposed Solution
Although Apple PLC has effective leadership and management competencies, there is a need to improve the current integrated performance management cycle (Wilkinson & Redman 2013). For instance, it is necessary for Apple PLC to balance the impetus of management and leadership frameworks through a systematic value competency tracking. This is necessary to avoid the current barriers such as an inability to balance the current and expected virtuous learning since the hybrid of autocratic and laissez-faire leadership styles limited consultative decision-making (Nisula & Kianto 2016).
The solution would be the elimination of blinders, which are perceptions that “prevent someone from gaining a full understanding of a situation” (Cameron 2009, p. 33) in the process of making a decision. In relation to Apple PLC, it is important to eliminate the blinders associated with autocratic and laissez-faire leadership styles. Nisula and Kianto (2016) note that blinders are partially responsible for the poor decision-making at the individual level in the company as a result of assumptions that are not backed by any scientific evidence. For instance, since the company has empowered employees to be innovative in decision-making, some workers have made decisions based on the assumption that the company does not agitate for blind conformity (Cottrell 2013).
Although the individual decisions are regulated by the systematic management competency framework, the response process is elongated and complex. For example, Cowan and Beck (2005) note that a manager distracted by a blinder situation might blindly make decisions that interfere with the process of creating a functional feedback tracker. Such a manager might suffer from the illusion of invulnerability. The excessive empowerment of the employees has resulted in many blinders as many workers have integrated the belief of universality in decision-making. Therefore, erasing the blinders at Apple PLC will involve embracing a systematic decision-making skill through an employee training programme. Specifically, the decision-makers at Apple PLC should integrate high-quality decision processes that are controlled from a systematic and organised channel (Cottrell 2011). The proposed system should be managed around heuristics to provide integration of options, assumptions and control of the decision rationale.
Since the management and leadership competencies are characterised by swings and dynamics of the decision environment, as explained by Cottrell (2011). For instance, when the proposed universal decision-making tracker is implemented by Apple PLC, it will be practical to integrate the analytical tools for competitive rationality and positioning advantage. As discussed by Cameron (2009), each decision option would be effectively assigned to a unique quadrant that determines the follow-ups and response strategies for an entire decision-making cycle. As a result, the company will be able to ensure that the decision-making process for leadership and management competences produces high-quality results to boost the competitive advantage of the organisation. Moreover, this environment will integrate the interests of the employees and organisational ethical principles as guidance for interaction. Therefore, decisions made under the proposed environment will be holistic, accurate and relevant to the needs and expectations of Apple PLC as a leading innovative firm.
Implementation Plan: Integrated Performance Management
The implementation plan for the improved integrated performance management cycle will be done through the integration of consistent, evidence-based management as part of scientific orientation to organisational control (Arslan & Staub 2013). This will be achievable through a systematic and effective planning process for all actions accompanied by excellent execution strategies to achieve measurable results (see table 1, 2, and 3). Apple PLC should proactively use the past, present and projected trends in making decisions on operational, human resource, logistics and any other aspect of organisational management. This will be followed by an organised and continuous training programme for all the stakeholders involved in management or decision-making (Nisula & Kianto 2016). For instance, the management team of Apple PLC will be empowered by the analytics and other decision-making tools during the training sessions to integrate strategic, intuitive and group learning system for an effective response to different needs at any given time. The proposed evidence-based decision-making network is expected to balance the current bureaucratic and hierarchical structures that might impede an effective response.
Table 1: Integrated performance management implementation parameters.
|Level 1 |
Reaction to the proposed management approach
| || |
|Level 2 |
Effectiveness of the change implementation process
| || |
|Level 2 |
Application of the change
| || |
|Level 3 |
On-the-job & environment
| || |
|Level 4 |
| || |
Table 2. Proposed improvement evaluation.
|Topic||Frequency or timeline||Purpose||Rationale||Message|
|The decision to adopt the consultation approach in decision-making||Integration into weekly company management manuals||To capture the attention of managers on the need for improved management||To ensure participatory implementation||To adopt a new management approach|
|Discussion on implementation||Managers to decide on the period of proposal viability||To expound to the implementation committee proposed stages involved||To authenticate the decision-making process||Appropriate approach to guarantee the stakeholders acceptance|
Table 3. Resource requirements.
|Resource requirements||Potential costs and rationale||Timeline rationale||Responsibility|
|Training||$5,000. The cost includes three training session and relevant stationery done three times in a month||Training to run for a month. This is adequate for the introduction of integrated performance management||Human resource office will organise the training in partnership with outsourced training expert from a reputable organisation|
|Implementation||$2,000. Cost includes internal and external actions for implementing the proposed integrated performance management plan||Three months. The first month is for policy modification. The second month will cover trial and third month will be the actual implementation||Human resource office in partnership with an outsourced expert and head of divisions|
|Evaluation||No cost since it will be done internally by the human resource department and departmental heads||Continuous with adjustments done every three months for a whole year||Human resource department and departmental heads|
Sustainability of the proposed change guarantees better performance of the Apple PLC. Its benefits are tangible and non-tangible in running the organisation. Therefore, managers should include these practices in the strategic plan in the change. However, this may prove challenging due to a number of reasons. Implementing sustainability may require an overhaul of the usual way of carrying out business for the Apple PLC (Nisula & Kianto 2016). However, managers can change some internal business processes upon receiving approvals from stakeholders. These changes may not be approved hence hindering implementation. The management may lack experienced expertise required to fast track implementation of sustainability. This hinders implementation. Finally, management needs to strike a balance between reputation and business and implementing sustainability (Arslan & Staub 2013). This occurs when the sustainability project affects a group of people, as is the case in the Apple PLC. Thus, the management may choose not to implement the sustainability project so as to protect the reputation of the business.
Communication to employees should be done early in the decision-making process. The message should be meaningful and accessible. This should be done throughout the entire three months of the change implementation. The consultation needs to be inclusive, well documented, communicated, and balanced within a suitable follow-up process (Cottrell 2011). The negotiations and partnerships in the change process should be in the best interest of the stakeholders. There is a need to establish reachable and reactive ways for the employees to raise distresses and complaints about the proposed change throughout the three months of implementation. Lastly, there is a need to report frequently to the stakeholders on the general performance of the proposed change. The dynamic essence of change proponent should not facilitate any state of quagmire or conflict as the unnecessary pressure associated with change should be integrated into a more consultative, proactive, and structure system for managing the proposed change of the Apple PLC (Cameron 2009).
Results Measuring Process
In order to present an alternative but flexible change plan, the process should be able to allow the Apple PLC to plan for future desirability and be able to achieve them while responding to the rising circumstances. Being cyclic in nature, it operates on the perception that management of change in an organisation is an interactive process. Direct, as the first dimension, deals with making an alignment. It ensures that all the objectives are thought in the right way and then articulated appropriately to create a platform on which the other four dimensions will rely and operate (Nisula & Kianto 2016). In the case of the proposed change at the Apple PLC, the task of the implementation committee should be in a way that it is evidenced both to the internal and external stakeholders. As an exemplary behaviour, it needs to be incorporated into the management system in order to be in continuous evaluation. Achievement of these factors will only occur if behaviours of the employees are clearly defined and described appropriately (Cottrell 2011). It ensures that consistency in implementing overall values and visions of the organisation is quantifiable and within reach. Reflectively, depending on organisation management decision-making process, may not guarantee commitments to their implementation (Cameron 2009). This strategy calls for communications to appropriate models demonstrated through behaviours as displayed by the employees and the change implementation committee of the Apple PLC.
Effective management and leadership strategy is pegged on the ability to balance environmental dynamics and externalities to ensure that the process of planning and execution are self-sustaining. In addition, before making a decision, it is necessary to examine different alternatives to select the optimal choice. Apple PLC is a dynamic and effective organisation that has managed to integrate the leadership and management competencies in its organisational structure. As a result, the company is one of the leading firms in terms of effective decision-making process and execution of different goals. However, the company should improve on its focus and intuition to create a regulated consensus-building process. This might be achieved through the proposed improvement in the current integrated performance management system.
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