Apple Inc.'s Corporate Culture

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Apple Inc.'s Corporate Culture

Apple Inc.'s Corporate Culture


This case is about US-based consumer electronics company Apple, Inc's (Apple), known for its ability to come out with path-breaking products. Experts have associated the innovation at Apple with its corporate culture. The case discusses in detail the corporate culture at Apple. At Apple, the work culture was driven by a passion for new products with no end to challenges and opportunities. The case discusses how Apple became the pioneer of the "Work Hard Play Hard" ethic (Apple Crumble, 2007). The corporate culture at Apple was exemplified by its intense work ethics. Though the work environment was relaxed and casual, there was a very strong commitment to deadlines. Analysts summarized the work culture at Apple as "fun, yet demanding".

The case talks about how employees at Apple had to run their own show and work in a challenging and creative environment. Apple adopted a style that was not too formal or hierarchical and a more results-driven approach which worked best for them. The case also focuses on the career opportunities and employability security, compensation, and benefits offered to the employees by the company. The case explains how Apple fostered a culture of secrecy. The demand for absolute secrecy and insistence on control were infused into the company culture right from the beginning. The various dysfunctional aspects of Apple's culture which led the company to the brink of disaster are also discussed (Bartholomew, 2009).

While some appreciated Apple's culture saying that it valued creative people, others felt that it was dysfunctional from a management standpoint and was largely influenced by its CEO Steve Jobs (Jobs) who had a very quirky style. Experts felt that Apple's obsession with maintaining secrecy could hurt the company and its brand in the new milieu. They felt that the biggest challenge for Apple was to move out from under the shadow of Jobs. The performance of the company in his absence was a key concern for all stakeholders, they said. The case concludes by discussing whether a change in the company's culture is required to remain competitiveness in the long run.

Why culture matters

Corporations have spent untold millions trying to understand and change their culture. Most mergers turn out to be financial fiascos. McKinsey & Co., The Hay Group, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu and other consulting firms indicate that almost 20 percent of acquired companies' performances fall after acquisition. In fact, 90 percent of mergers never live up to their expectations. One of the most common reasons for these failures is a clash of corporate cultures. One needs only to look at the experiences of Carly Fiorina at Hewlett-Packard Co. to realize that changes in a culture through media blitzes and slick communications campaigns cannot lead to success. She did not understand that she entered a company whose founders had created a culture that was deeply embedded in the history of HP and was a strength to be maintained - not broken.

Behavior in an organization is determined more by its culture ...
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