A. The success of Apple is due to the strategic & visionary leadership style (e.g. transformative and charismatic leadership) adopted by Tim Cook. Discuss and support your answer by applying theoretical understanding to the evidence given in the case.
B. The success of Apple is due to the situational leadership style of Path-Goal Theory adopted by Tim Cook. Discuss and support your answer by applying theoretical understanding to the evidence given in the case.
Apple Case Study
Tim Cook Named 'World's Greatest Leader,' Reflects on Leading Post-Jobs Era at Apple Thursday March 26, 2015 8:03 am PDT by Joe Rossigno
Following the release of Becoming Steve Jobs, an acclaimed biography of the late Apple co-founder, Fortune has named Tim Cook the "world's greatest leader," accompanied by an in-depth profile that reflects on the chief executive in the post-Jobs era. Cook brings a different leadership style to Apple, placing more trust in others instead of being as impulsive and manipulative as Jobs often was. The results have been favorable, as Apple has grown to become the world's most valuable company during the three-and-a-half years since Cook took over the helm. Nevertheless, he admits that he has needed to grow thicker skin to handle the intensity that comes with the territory.
Despite his successes, Cook has faced a number of senior management challenges since taking over as chief executive, including the disappointment that was Apple Maps, fallout with sapphire partner GT Advanced Technologies and the short-lived hiring of John Browett as Apple's retail chief. Cook reflected on Browett, who never fit in with the company's culture and was ousted after just six months on the job.
“That was a reminder to me of the critical importance of cultural fit, and that it takes some time to learn that,” he says. As CEO, “you’re engaged in so many things that each particular thing gets a little less attention. You need to be able to operate on shorter cycles, less data points, less knowledge, less facts. When you’re an engineer, you want to analyze things a lot. But if you believe that the most important data points are people, then you have to make conclusions in relatively short order. Because you want to push the people who are doing great. And you want to either develop the people who are not or, in a worst case, they need to be somewhere else.”
Following the departure of Browett, Cook recognized the need to be patient in his search for a retail chief that could truly fit in with Apple's culture. Last May, the company found its candidate in former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts, who discretely met with Cook in Cupertino, outside of Apple's headquarters, to discuss the future of retail. Ahrendts did not expect to join Apple, but she ultimately reconsidered after she felt moved by Cook.
“The first time I sat down with him, I walked away thinking wow, that’s a man of peace,” she says. “I just absolutely loved his integrity, his values. Nothing anybody can write, say, or do is going to take him off of always doing the right thing. Not just for Apple, but for Apple’s people, for communities, for countries. The world needs more leaders like Tim.”
Source: http://www.macrumors.com/2015/03/26/tim-cook-post-jobs-era-fortune/ Leadership Lessons From Apple CEO Tim Cook
By Steve Tobak: Author and Managing Partner, Invisor Consulting
SEPTEMBER 10, 2014
After becoming CEO, Tim Cook was immediately beset by predictions that Apple would sink without Jobs and that, as the company's new leader, he would usher in an age of un-innovation. This, of course, has so far failed to play out: Under Cook, the company has rolled out the Apple Watch and Apple Pay, among other potentially game-changing projects. Cook says his baptism-by-fire – which included the Apple Maps debacle and some high-profile hires and subsequent firings – taught him valuable lessons about the art of leadership.
Cook has an operations background. As an engineer, he told Fortune, you have the luxury of analyzing specific problems. But as CEO, there are so many realms -- hiring, culture, marketing, product design etc. – that need to be managed at once. “You’re engaged in so many things that each particular thing gets a little less attention,” he said. “You need to be able to operate on shorter cycles, less data points, less knowledge, less facts.”
As CEO, he says, “if you believe that the most important data points are people, then you have to make conclusions in relatively short order.” It’s a lesson Cook learned in early 2013, when he hired John Browett, the former head of the U.K.-based discount electronics chain Dixon’s. It was quickly apparent that Browett didn’t fit in with Apple’s culture, and instead of hemming Cook swiftly cut him loose, firing him in March of that year. “You want to push the people who are doing great,” told the outlet. “And you want to either develop the people who are not or, in a worst case, they need to be somewhere else.”
Indeed things have changed. But Cook has managed to walk that fine line between staying true to what’s unique about the company while adding value in ways that only he could – ways that even Steve Jobs could not have done. And the way he runs Apple offers powerful lessons for every current and aspiring executive and business leader.
Don’t fix what isn’t broken. If there was ever an organization that had every arrow pointed in the right direction, it was Apple when Cook took over. Iconic brand, check. Insanely innovative products, check. Think Different culture, check. Unique flat-management structure, check. Cook resisted the temptation to get his pawprints all over everything that didn't need it and made his mark where it counted. Realizing that Apple is not about him but about the products, the customers and the employees is impressive.
Keep calm and have faith. When analysts were saying the company had lost its innovation mojo and the stock had lost $200 billion of market cap from its peak, Cook never panicked. He instead implemented the biggest share buyback program in history, a dividend increase and a 7:1 stock split. And in this week’s launch of the iPhone 6, Apple Watch and Apple Pay we see the results of his patience and faith in his team.
Don’t try to be what you’re not. I say this over and over but this is perhaps the most powerful example to make the point. If there was ever a temptation to emulate a great man, Cook had to feel it. After all, everybody and his brother was trying to be like Steve Jobs. And yet Cook resisted. The truth is people are not chameleons. If you try to change who you are you end up behaving like a psychopath. It doesn’t work.
You can be nice and competitive. Cook may be friendlier to Wall Street and the media, and he certainly has that southern gentlemen vibe going on, but he’s no pushover. When iOS chief Scott Forstall’s disruptive nature became toxic to the management team, Cook ousted him. And he continues to fight tooth and nail with Samsung and Google on both competitive and legal battlefields.
Make risky but smart bets. Two of the top failure modes for CEOs of highly successful companies are to either sit back on your laurels and stop taking risks or take enormously stupid strategic risks, such as a megamerger. Cook did neither. But he hired several fashion-industry execs, including Yves St. Laurent CEO Paul Deneve and Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts, to infuse their decidedly non-tech expertise into Apple’s upcoming smartwatch and retail operations.
Put your money where your mouth is. In a gutsy move that went largely unnoticed, when the stock was tanking Cook chose to forfeit up to one third of his stock-based compensation – which accounts for nearly all of his compensation – if Apple’s stock underperforms relative to the S&P 500. That’s right, he actually laid $130 million over eight years on the line. No upside and no small print.
While Tim Cook has done many things to distinguish himself since joining Apple as head of operations 16 years ago, his actions as chief executive of this fabled company have shown him to be a formidable leader that is equal to the challenge, holds himself accountable and sets a powerful example for others. We can all learn from his example.
Rather than standing in complete contrast to former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, Cook appears to have adopted some of the legendary entrepreneur's existing practices and developed a uniquely blended leadership mantra.
It was clear from the outset that Cook lacked the bold visionary style of Jobs and yet was not without strengths of his own, being described as charismatic and thoughtful by Apple employees. Cook's tenure so far has been characterized by a greater focus on existing products and fostering of business as well as employee relationships.
Rather than attempt to simply continue the legacy of Jobs' autocratic leadership style, Cook has played to his strengths and placed emphasis on advancing cooperation among Apple's arsenal of talent including Jony Ive, Craig Federighi, Eddy Cue and Phil Schiller. This is extremely indicative of the democratic style of management, which encourages consensus building, particularly among high-level employees prior to mutually consented decision making.
The role of hands-on participation of the CEO in developing Apple products has significantly reduced since Cook took over in 2011. The much-hyped iWatch is an example of this shift in structure, with Cook choosing to be less involved in the details of product engineering and instead delegating those duties to members of his executive cabinet. While his notably less vigorous but subtle style of leadership has enhanced industry and employee goodwill. When compared to Jobs' brusque and often dictatorial manner, it has also resulted in slower decision-making and a clear loss of innovative drive.
In a blatant shift from Jobs' innovation first approach, Cook asserts that one "can only do a few things great." However, it is possible to see from his famous ouster of iOS chief Scott Forstall as well as his handling of the Apple Maps controversy, Tim Cook is certainly capable of making tough decisions when necessary. Ultimately, his focus on existing strengths of the organization, the importance given to accord between senior executives and lack of micromanagement clearly indicates a democratic managerial style.
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