Case Study: Apple Inc.
GB520: Strategic Human Resource Management
Prof. Susan Pettine
By: Anthony Melendez
What is Strategic Management, and why is it critical to the success of an organization in meeting its goals and mission? What is Strategic Management?
Strategic management is the comprehensive collection of ongoing activities and processes that organizations use to systematically coordinate and align resources and actions with mission, vision and strategy throughout an organization (Mello, 2011). In General Sun Tzu’s words, “The general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple ere the battle is fought.” When translating it to today’s Strategic Management’s words, it means: “Those companies and individuals who win in the business world make much calculation, planning and deliberations on their strategy and plans. Basically, those who plan less have lower chance of success, much less those who don’t plan anything at all.” (Soo, 2011). Strategic Planning increases the chance that the future of the organization will have the upper hand by being in the right place at the right time. Strategic Management collects all activities and processes utilized by an organization in order to align resources and actions with mission, vision and strategy throughout the organization (Mello, 2011). When used correctly, strategic management activities change the idea into performance and enable the plan to evolve and grow as necessities and other circumstances change. The Great Apple!
In researching Apple’s success, we can find countless reports appreciating this fact. According to Denning in his Forbes’ article, in 2009, when retail sales declined around 2%, Apple’s retail sales rose roughly 7%. In 2010, Apple’s retail sales, excluding online, jumped 70% to $11.7 billion, or about 15% of its revenues of $76.3 billion, compared to the overall retail industry’s sales growth of 4.5%. In the Jobs’ era (1997 to 2011) it is very clear how relevant both are. Among the obvious features of Apple’s success we can cite, great design, single brand products and the “Steve Jobs’ factor”, which is his clever marketing skills. Based on this evidence we can agree that their employees are trained to understand the customers’ needs and to solve their problems. They believe in what they are doing and their goal is to satisfy potential clients. The company obtained their success by integrating continuous innovation and based its “steps of service” in the simple acronym APPLE (Denning, 2011): Approach customers with a personalized warm welcome;
Probe politely to understand all the customer’s needs;
Present a solution for the customer to take home today;
Listen for and resolve any issues or concerns;
End with a fond farewell and an invitation to return
However it doesn’t stop there. They include other tactics such as attention to detail, discipline, recruiting and training, and the most important, loyalty. Because of this they are considered the company that reinvented the way the world listens to music with iTunes, revolutionized the segment of mobile phones and smartphones with the iPhone, and created the tablet segment with the iPad. They are also considered the company with the highest market and the most valuable brand in the world.
What Went Wrong
For many years Apple was Steve Jobs and Steve Jobs was Apple. This created a dangerous personification between leader and business without a succession plan to reduce the impact of his departure on the day to day business. This has become clear ever since Jobs disclosed he had a cancerous tumor removed from his pancreas in 2004. According to the Wharton faculty, a succession plan is critical for most companies, especially for Apple. Even though they acknowledge that every company is different, they needed to established best practices for succession planning, including hiring from within, having a probationary audition, easing the...
References: 1. Yoffie,D; Slind, M (2008) Apple Inc. [Case Study]. Boston: Harvard Business Publishing
2. Mello, J. (2002). Strategic Human Resource Management. Australia: South-Western College Pub.
3. Denning, S. (2011,). Apple 's Retail Success Is More Than Magic - Forbes. Information for the World 's Business Leaders - Forbes.com. Retrieved August 9th, 2014 from http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2011/06/17/apples-retail-stores-more-than-magic/
4. Dilger, D. E. (2011). Steve Jobs resignation letter mocks idea that board had no succession plan. AppleInsider | News and rumors since 1997. Retrieved August 9th, 2014 from http://appleinsider.com/articles/11/08/24/steve_jobs_resignation_letter_mocks_idea_that_board_had_no_succession_plan
5. Fisher, A. (2011, January 19). Apple 's not alone in succession plan woes - Fortune Management. Fortune Management & Career Blog. Retrieved August 10th, from http://management.fortune.cnn.com/2011/01/19/who-will-be-your-companys-next-ceo/
6. Job-less: Steve Jobs 's Succession Plan Should Be a Top Priority for Apple. (2009). Knowledge@Wharton. Retrieved on August 10th, 2014 http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/articlepdf/2134.pdf?CFID=85665243&CFTOKEN=98737440&jsessionid=a83085b1c14d36bb2995663bb2c445a666a5
7. Soo, R. (2011). Strategic Management & The Art of War By Sun Tzu | Ricky 's Online Business Blog [Web log post]. Retrieved August 10th, 2014 http://www.rickysoo.com/2011/04/23/strategic-management-the-art-of-war-by-sun-tzu/
8. The Basics of Strategic Planning and Strategic Management. (n.d.). Balanced Scorecard Institute. Retrieved August 10th, 2014, from http://www.balancedscorecard.org/BSCResources/StrategicPlanningBasics/tabid/459/Default.aspx
9. Apple Needs a Succession Plan -- Fast. (2009, January 8). Retrieved August 12, 2014. From, http://www.thestreet.com/story/10456816/1/apple-needs-a-succession-plan--fast.html
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