The potential impact of 4 factors that may have on the industry sector
The two organisations within the technology sector that will be discussed in this section of this report will be Windows and Mac OS, which are the largest operating systems, supporting the likes of Microsoft and Apple products.
Strength – Well-known brands
Windows and Mac OS are well-known brands that are known across the world. This identity helps consumers filter the choices of which operating system would serve them well. It is important to consider what the PC would be used for as both brands contribute to different capabilities to computer needs (Digital Doc Repair, 2016). For example, Mac OS and Windows both have different processors. Mac OS uses a more graphics-based interface where else Windows is text-based. Mac OS offers powerful graphic and video editing software’s such as photo and movie editing, therefore their processors are designed to operate these software’s effectively (Introduction to Macs for PC Users, n.d.).
Weaknesses – Dependence on single products
Apple’s main threat is dependency on a few products. Apple iPhones and iPads accounted for 73% of the total revenues in 2016 (Market Line, 2017). If sales of these products decline, Apple will lose major capital. It appears as a huge business risk, given the fact that this industry is characterised by everchanging technology. Similarly, Microsoft has been questioned for its over-reliance on Windows (Gralla, 2012). This can be a reason why Windows net income has dipped heavily in its annual growth and income since 2013 (Statista, 2017). Therefore, a high standard on updates and new versions of flagship products is essential to secure revenue.
Opportunities – Increasing the use of Cloud Storage
iCloud is a cloud storage can be used on all Apple devices. Back-ups can only be made on iOS devices where else on a Windows machine, any version of Cloud Storage can be used. This impacts the Windows and Mac OS industry because consumers will need to consider which operating system will suit them. If the consumer or business only use Apple devices, then iCloud would suit them, but if they only use Windows, then there are a wider variety of Cloud Storage services that are available (Casserly, 2017).
Threat – Lawsuits and Litigations
Apple has been subject to various legal proceedings which have not been resolved. In 2016, Apple paid $626 million due to damage after finding that iMessage and Facetime breached VirnetX’s patents (Mullin, 2016). Microsoft’s products and online services are subject to government regulation in some jurisdictions (Norris, 2017) including in areas of user privacy and data protection. Compliance with these types of regulations or lawsuits involve significant costs, time, diversion of management attention and require changes in products or business practices that result in reduced revenue regardless of the merits of the claims.
Management and Leadership
This section will analyse Microsoft and Apple leaders to understand the characteristics required for sustainable management. To assess the managing styles of both brands, this part of the report will consider their most influential leaders, in the form of Apple’s Steve Jobs and Microsoft’s Bill Gates.
Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs is famously Apple’s inventor and notably said during his speech at the University of Stanford, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do” (Reporters, 2016). Therefore, it is hard to question his passion or credibility. His leadership style is described as ‘hands-on’ with an entrepreneurial perspective and personal experience. However, this perfectionistic drive and focus might have a negative influence on his health and his employees as he could pursue his goals without listening (Kramer, 2010).
Bill Gates also had a love for computers and started programming from the age of 13. After attending Basic programming language at Harvard, he started Microsoft with his friend Paul Allen, which became incorporated in 1981. His leadership style was participative, decisional and authoritarian as he liked to keep control although, he encouraged creativity and innovation while he listened to input from his employees. He was known to recognize his employee’s achievements. An advantage of his leadership skills was the quick decision making made during emergency situations (Gilliard, 2014). This dominant leadership style might not be conductive for creativity, but Bill Gates made it work.
Considering this, both Gates’ and Jobs’ leadership styles would be perfectly valid today (McAlone, 2015). They both possessed characteristics like unmatched talent, devotion and the benefit of being the creators of their brands, which dictates authority and credibility. By examining the two we can also see that Gates’ ‘freedom under responsibility’ or Jobs’ ‘controlling’ leadership approach (Emerson, 2016) worked for them individually, so perhaps there is no blueprint?
A successful leader is required to meet stakeholder demands and secure sustainable revenue while developing talent, but the way to accomplish this is not set in stone. Some rely on their staff talent, while others develop the ideas and technology themselves. Whether a leader simplifies, controls, innovates, possesses confidence, collaborates or boosts staff moral is not important, the results are (Kalla, 2012). In fact, it appears as the only thing they all have in common is devotion.
Devotion is a double-edged sword though, as many leaders’ stress and pressure lead to mental health problems or other diseases (Thomson, 2015). There are other variables that influence leadership styles. Variables like the aftermath of the economic crisis of 2008, were many held the major firms accountable for their economic crack. Therefore, were forced to be more transparent and collaborative to uphold public trust (Lorette, 2015). Also, the enhanced focus on environmentally friendly businesses forced leaders to focus less on share stock value and more on conscious capitalism (Elliott, 2017).
Organisational Structure, Culture and Conflict
The two-selected organisations that have been chosen are Microsoft and Apple.
1. Analyse the culture of two selected organisations
A company’s organisational culture regulates capabilities in supporting changes, new policies and strategies. Different organisations have different characteristics towards their culture. A theory ‘Three Levels of Culture’ by Schein (Appendix 4) can be adapted into Microsoft and Apple to ensure that all employees’ are governed on how they should behave within the organisation (Tutor2u, n.d.).
Apple’s organisational culture is very important to the success of the company. All employees are developed effectively within the organisational culture which enables faster innovation. Their organisational culture has characteristics to ensure that they are the in the leading position in the market (Meyar, 2017). An example of Apple’s characteristics is creativity and innovation. As Apple focuses on the functionality of their products and services, effective implementation is needed. Another example is working under pressure. As most projects have strict deadlines, employees must be able to work long hours. From research, the CEO Tim Cook sets an example of working long hours as he responds to emails from employees at 4.30am. A high level of secrecy is a very important characteristic because not everyone in the organisation knows how the Apple product will look until it is launched. For example, the people that work on the software doesn’t know how the hardware will look and the people that work on the hardware doesn’t know how the software will look (Dudovskiy, 2017).
Microsoft organisational culture is to empower their employees, so they can achieve more. They are customer obsessed and passionate about listening to their customers and innovate further to give their customers a better experience. They support diversity and inclusion where employees can be who they are. Due to this, they have a better idea, better products and happier customers (Microsoft, 2017). The Financial Times news article claims, ‘Microsoft has become richer through its culture shift’. In 2014, Microsoft partnership with Dropbox while Skype is integrated into the Office apps. This shows that Microsoft is joining forces with other organisations to provide flexibility to their consumers (Heffernan, 2016).
2. Assess the impact of the leadership or culture on communication and the ways in which conflict may be perceived, and resolved
The leadership of Apple changed dramatically once it was taken over the new CEO Tim Cook six weeks before Steve Jobs died in 2011. Steve Jobs was an icon of leadership and innovation which meant that it would be a tough decision to find someone as inventive like him. The conflict that arises was that not everyone thought he is the right man for the job and believed that Steve Jobs is irreplaceable (Lashinsky, 2015). In 2016 the Telegraph claimed, “Analysts doubted whether he would be able to keep the Apple magic alive” (Titcomb, 2016). Tim Cook reacted to this and taught himself to block out the noise and due to this, he released his first product as CEO of Apple. This was the Apple Watch which is now the ‘number one watch in the world’ (CNBC, 2017).
Currently, Apple faces a significant challenge in leadership. A master of financial analysis, Shawn, claims that “Cook has set the financial performance so high, it may be impossible to meet in the future” (Colvin, 2016). This means that profitability would be difficult to make and will have a negative effect on the overall value of the company.
3. The structure of the organisation to fully assess the impact on communication
Apple’s organisational structure is a factor that has contributed towards their successful innovation. The organisational structure for Apple is a traditional hierarchy. It has been developed by the founder CEO Steve Jobs who managed a wide range of business operations. Theory suggests, “When Steve Jobs was in charge, everything flowed through him. Now that he’s dead, the company is taking on a more collaborative approach” (Yarow, 2013). Apple operates on a functional and geographic organisational structure. The functional organisational structure is found within in the 361 Apple retail stores around the world where else, the geographical organisational structure is found in the headquarters located in the United States (The Telegraph, 2017).
Below, is a diagram of their organisational structure. The organisational structure of Apple is tall and a boundary-less organisation. It shows the communication within the organisation and the way the employees collaborate with each other to result in faster innovation. Surrounding around Steve Jobs (CEO), are many people from the executive team and surrounded by them, are the Vice Presidents of each sector. As Steve Jobs had a hard-working, trained executive team, he could oversee everything that goes on within the company. He also reached outside the inner and outer circles to participate in critical projects and communicate with key employees (Lashinsky, 2011).
Apple’s organisational structure (Lashinsky, 2011).
Apple’s organisational structure (Lashinsky, 2011).
Part D. Reflection and Learning
In this section, we will be reflecting and exploring how we worked together to develop and produce this report and how it has supported academic and professional development (Appendix 5).
We started by introducing each other and went through the aims and objectives and set team goals. We allocated different sections of the assignment to each team member and agreed on a date we should collate our work and create a draft. Next, we went into a study room to foster a creative environment. We created a brainstorm on which industry sector we should choose. This embraced the team’s diversity as we had a huge passion towards the computing industry (Fallon, 2014).
Before creating our first draft, we researched into Tuckman’s (1965) four stages of team development so we can develop ourselves and get to the performing stage faster (MindTools, n.d.). We researched into Belbin’s (1981), 9 team roles. We came up with a list of three main strengths of each team member and three main weaknesses (Appendix 2).
After meeting up regularly and creating multiple drafts, we asked for constructive feedback each week from our seminar tutor, so we know exactly what we need to work on (Appendix 3).
Overall, we are satisfied with the outcome of this report and believe we have both contributed towards the assignment equally. From this experience, we have learnt that understanding the stages of group development and roles can help us build a cohesive team that gives results.