Steve Jobs: Leadership
Review the following example: (Answer in 200 words)
OD in Practice: Can Steve Jobs Keep His Mojo Working?
Can chief executive Steve Jobs provide a permanent reprieve for Apple Computer, Inc.? Jobs has brought Apple back from the verge of oblivion, racking up profits and restoring Apple's image with the innovative iMac and iBook. Apple stock has increased more than 8 times since Jobs returned.
Now it's time for his next act. Before an adoring crowd at the Macworld Expo in New York, Jobs unveiled a long-awaited notebook version of the iMac aimed at consumers and students. (The two-toned iBook is priced aggressively and available in either blueberry-and-white or tangerine-and-white plastic). "It's a rocket ship," Jobs brags. The iBook fills in the last piece of a product road map Jobs had outlined earlier. Its success could restore Apple's luster in portable computers - as the iMac did on the desktop. And thanks to "being cool," Apple gets away with charging up to 25 percent more than competitors for a similarly equipped machine.
In the past, many felt that Steve Jobs' charismatic leadership and idiosyncrasies caused some internal problems. At Apple, he was seen as a leader whose brilliance and idealistic vision of "providing computers as a tool to change the world," drew other talented people to him. Yet, by the same token, his management style tended toward throwing tantrums and to berating and humiliating employees who disagreed with his ideas. Also, his habit of making decisions and then suddenly changing his mind has been given as part of the reason he is difficult to work for.
But is the iBook enough to sustain Apple's momentum? Most analysts think so - at least for now. Admittedly, like all computer makers, Apple is operating in a pricing environment so brutal that some PCs are now offered for free in conjunction with multiyear Internet service contracts.
More important, it could be a new vehicle for rebuilding market share. Even after Apple's turnaround, the company still sells fewer than 4 percent of the world's PCS, says researcher Dataquest Inc. What's more, the opportunity in portables is particularly promising: After all, in the early 1990s, Apple PowerBooks were top sellers. But Apple had quality and manufacturing problems and ceded leadership in the category to IBM and Dell. Its share plunged to just 2.3 percent by 1997.
Under Jobs, Apple has regained ground in traditional desktop strongholds such as graphic arts and rolled out pricey new PowerBooks aimed at professionals. However, the biggest growth opportunity for PCs today is among consumers - especially novices. The iMac has already attracted many such customers, and Apple is trying to do the same for portables - where sales are now growing 33 percent faster than sales of desktop PCs.
For this assignment you are to answer the following questions: (limit your answer to 200 words)
1. Is this an example of organizational renewal or transformation? Why?
2. Do entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs have to leave large organizations to achieve innovation, or can they successfully transform larger companies? Why?
3. What adaptive orientation was used? Support your answer.
This solution discusses the charisma of Steve Jobs. It then explores the effectiveness of his leadership style on Apple.
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