Transformative Leadership in Apple Company


Apple Company is known very well because of its various innovation in software, hardware, and provision of technological services. The company’s growth has increased from about $6.5 billion in revenue and 7,500 workers since 1997 after the return of Steve Jobs (Podolny & Hansen, 2021). The company’s revenue increased to $260 billion, and employees grew to 137,000 by 2019 (Podolny & Hansen, 2021). However, there is little knowledge about the design of the organization and the model of leadership associated with the company’s innovation success. Nevertheless, this paper discusses the most applicable model of leadership that has contributed to the improved growth of Apple Company for many years.

Main body

The transformation leadership of the company began when Steve Jobs returned to Apple Company in 1997 (Podolny & Hansen, 2021). At that time, the company operated under a conventional structure. This was efficient then because of its size then. The company was then divided into different units, where every division had P&L duties (Podolny & Hansen, 2021). The directors in the company ran a group of Macintosh products, the server products division, and the information appliances division (Podolny & Hansen, 2021).

Just as is the case with decentralizing units in many companies, directors were often not on good terms with one another, particularly over price transfers (Podolny & Hansen, 2021). Believing that innovation had been affected by the conventional managers, the first step taken by Jobs after returning as the CEO was laying off the general directors of all units in the business and putting the entire firm in charge of one P&L (Podolny & Hansen, 2021). Steve Jobs also collected different functional departments of the company under a single functional organization.

The transformation of leadership from a conventional structure to a functional structure might not have appeared unsurprising for the organization at that time. However, it is surprising that the structure is still retained by the company, although the size of the company is almost 40 times larger when considering income and the number of workers compared to 1998 (Podolny & Hansen, 2021).

Superior deputy presidents are in control of all operations, but not the products. Just as was the case before Jobs, CEO Tim Cook occupies the only place on the organizational chart where the meeting, operations, engineering and design, and retail of any of Apple’s main products meet (Podolny & Hansen, 2021). As a result, besides the CEO, the operation of the organization takes place without straight general directors: People in charge of controlling an entire process from the time a product is being developed via sales and are evaluated following the statement of P&L.

Through transformational leadership, Jacob aimed at changing the company enabling it to develop products that promote the daily lives of every people. This does not only involve creating new product groupings such as the Apple Watch and the iPhone but also constantly coming up with innovations within those categories (Podolny & Hansen, 2021). For instance, there is no other product that reflects Apple’s dedication to the continued advancement than the iPhone camera (Podolny & Hansen, 2021).

After the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, Steve Jobs dedicated about six seconds to its camera in the important yearly event for new product introduction (Podolny & Hansen, 2021). Since then, the technology of the iPhone camera has made great contributions to the photography industry because of its various improvements. This comprises features such as night mode, portrait lighting, portrait mode, dual-lens camera, stabilization of optical image, True Tone flash, panorama photos, and high dynamic imaging.

From the time the functional organization was implemented by Steve Jobs, all managers at every level in Apple Company, starting from the senior vice president moving downwards, have been expected to have three key leadership qualities. These comprise deep expertise that enables the leaders to engage themselves meaningfully in all functionalities performed within their functionalities; immersion in the details of those functions; and finally, the desire to debate other functions in togetherness during group decision making (Podolny & Hansen, 2021). When managers possess all of the above qualities, decision-making happens in a synchronized strategy by the individuals with the best qualifications.

When coming up with new product developments, Apple Company depends on a structure that centers on expertise functionality. The basic conviction about the company is that the most skilled individuals in a certain field possess the power to make decisions for that area (Podolny & Hansen, 2021). This depends on two specific views: First, the company battles in a market environment where the rate of technological disruption and change is high (Podolny & Hansen, 2021). Therefore, it is dependent on the intuition and judgment of individuals possessing vast technological understanding accountable for disruption.

Consequently, before the company receives a response and strong market predictions, the organization ought to forecast the type of technologies and designs likely to thrive in computers, smartphones, and so on (Podolny & Hansen, 2021). Therefore, depending on the technological experts instead of the general manager enhances the probability that those changes will be successful.


Conclusively, this paper has explored the transformational leadership of Apple Company from 1997 under the leadership of Steve Jacob. Therefore, it is evident that transformational leadership enables a leader to work with other teams in the organization to identify the required changes, thus creating a vision to guide the change through inspiration and executing the change (Kelly & Solomon, 2020). Therefore, the transformation that has occurred in Apple Company from 1997 until today has inspired employees to attain unexpected or remarkable outcomes.


Kelly, L., & Solomon, S. (2020). 2019 Visionary leader Iesha Bethley. Nursing Management, 51(1), 13-15. Web.

Podolny, J., & Hansen, M. (2021). How Apple is organized for innovation. Web.

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