Strategic Leadership & Innovation at Apple

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Contents Executive Summary 3 Part One – Critically Evaluate the Key Features of Apple’s Industry 5 Part Two – Discuss how Leadership in Apple Influenced Strategic Innovation 8 Part Three – Critically assess Steve Jobs as a strategic leader at Apple 12 Conclusions 15 Appendices 17 References 20 2 Executive Summary “Increasingly, though, we live in an irregular world, where irregular people take advantage of irregular events and use irregular means to produce irregular products that yield irregular profits.” – The Future of Management: Gary Hamel; Bill Breen, 2007. During his time as CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs displayed the attributes outlined in many leadership theories. In some ways he was charismatic, powerful,…show more content…
From the creation of the mouse, a revolutionary graphical user interface to colour graphics, and a networking and wireless Local Area Network, Apple’s approach, according to Heracleous and Papachroni, “had been to make use of a personal computer as easy and intuitive as possible” and to “deliver computers that did what they promised.” [Heracleous and Papachroni, p. 7] However, when Steve Jobs departed the company after his first spell in 1985, the company started to struggle in the market place and at one stage looked as if it would not survive. Indeed, Michael Dell, when asked what he would do with Apple if he was in Jobs’ position when he returned in 1997, famously replied “I’d shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders.” [Burrows & Grover, 2006]. After Jobs left the company in the mid-‘80s, none of the successive leaders (Scully, Spindler and Amelio) were able to replicate the strategic innovation and success that occurred during Jobs’ previous tenure. The period between 1985 and 1997 was characterised by outsourcing and cost cutting, as well as frequent changes in strategy – Spindler reversed some of the alliances introduced by Sculley (Heracleous and Papachroni, p. 3), while Amelio entered into three corporate restructures (Heracleous and Papachroni, p.3). Jobs’ priority on his return 12 years later was to “revitalise Apple’s innovation

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