Free Essay About The Seven Schools Of Administration: The Vanderbilt University
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Apple Inc. is a consumer electronics company that offers different devices or gadgets for its end users. Based in Cupertino, California, Apple has a wide range of products for personal computing, as well as mobile and smartphone technologies, and online services. Apple is known for its Mac product line, a competitor to businesses in personal computing such as Microsoft. Apple also offers other products including the iPhone smartphone, the iPad tablet computer, and the iPod media player. For consumers using Apple products, the company also offers online services including digital content. Through the Apple iTunes store, for instance, consumers may purchase digital content such as applications (e.g. productivity applications, games, music, books, etc.) and download them to their respective devices. iTunes content is accessible on Mac computers, iPhone, iPad, and iPod. Apple’s other services include the iCloud, a cloud computing system, and the Apple TV among others. Consumers may also purchase accessories from Apple for their devices.
I chose to write about Apple because information about the company is readily available online. At first, I wanted to choose a public or private college or university. I initially chose to write about the Vanderbilt University. However, after going over resources online, I was not able to find adequate information about the university to write the paper. For this reason, I went over organizations with information widely available online. I also chose Apple because it is one of the most successful companies in the mobile phone industry. Since the company introduced the Apple iPhone, it has captured a significant percentage of the market through continuing innovation. Every year, the company releases new models of its products and Apple continuously captures the interest of consumers. I thought that it would be interesting to analyze Apple’s structure, process and operations by applying the seven schools of administration.
What are some characteristics of the formal bureaucracy?
‘Formal bureaucracy’ refers to a specialized standard structure of an organization that constitutes interdependent positions, strategically developed towards a shared organizational goal or objective.
Weber (1946) and Wilson (1887) defined formal bureaucracy as a hierarchical structure developed for efficiency and productivity. “Weber (1946) and Wilson (1887) each posited principles of efficiency, centralized authority, hierarchical structures, educated workers, and application of expertise to administration” as the major features or characteristics of a bureaucracy (Young, 2010, p. 786).
It is important to note, however, that the structure partially affects organizational outcomes. Coordination among individuals and groups in the organization, strategic implementation of projects and plans, and movement or operations are equally important in determining the success of organizations. The bureaucracy holds the potential in facilitating organizational success “but whether potential will become reality, whether formal interdependence will be transformed into coordinate behavior, depends on the extent to which organizational members perform their constituent roles” (Price, 1975, p. 56).
According to White (1926), public administration is highly important in any organization because it facilitates the management of its resources, whether these are in the form of human resources and raw materials to accomplish set goals and objectives. In the public sphere, White (1926) defined public management as a practice aimed towards supporting and addressing the goals and interests of the state. Nonetheless, since the report explores bureaucracy in a private organization – Apple Inc. – the analysis will focus on goals and objectives of the company as a consumer electronics brand.
Is the organization best depicted as a pyramid?
An organization described as a pyramid accurately depicts the bureaucratic and hierarchical structure in the workplace. Apple may be depicted as a pyramid because operations, decision-making, and control occur in a hierarchy. The Board is at the top of the pyramid. The Board includes the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tim Cook, who shares responsibilities with other board members including the Chairman of the Board Arthur Levinson, and Directors Albert Gore, Millard Drexler, Robert Iger, Andrea Jung, Ronald Sugar, and Susan Wagner. Several personalities in charge of different departments or groups in the organization report to the CEO.
Departments and personalities under the CEO include the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Luca Maestri, and the heads of Software Engineering, Marketing, Legal, Retail and Online Stores, Hardware Engineer, Industrial Design, Internet Software and Maps, Operations, Special Projects, Sales and Service, Human Resources, and International Sales departments. All of these departments report to the CEO. Consequently, the groups or sub-departments and personalities under these departments are at the lower part of the pyramid. The Chief Information Officer (CIO), Vice President of Mergers and Acquisition, Tax Operations, and Sales and Finance report to the CFO. The Software Engineering department is divided into the Engineering Internet Services and Software Technology sub-departments. The Legal department is divided into the lobbying privacy and environmental initiatives. The Retail and Online Stores department is subdivided into the Apple Online Store, Apple Retail, and Applications sub-departments. The Hardware Engineering department is in charge of the Engineering, Field System Engineering, Medical Technology, and Wireless System Design Engineering departments. The Industrial Design department is in charge of the Creative, Industrial Design, and iPod/iPhone Product Design departments. The Internet Software and Maps department is in charge of Consumer and Pro Application, and iAd groups. The other departments are further sub-divided into smaller groups or departments (The Official Board, n.d.).
Considering the aforementioned organizational map of Apple, the organization may then be described as a pyramid because the distribution of authority and power is top-down and are distributed differently along the hierarchy.
Why and how is there line/staff conflict?
When Steve Jobs, former CEO of Apple died, reports surfaced about conflict in the organization. Issues about hierarchy in the organization and the relationship among the executives and line managers ensued. In 2012, for instance, Scott Forstall, the head of the iOS Software department left the organization. Engineers working for Forstall were surprised because Forstall was a talented, and therefore valued individual at Apple. Forstall’s departure resulted from a disagreement with Apple’s executives as well as his views and perspectives about conflict in the organization since Jobs’ death. Perhaps a lack of direction led to the conflict which began when Forstall had to work with Jonathan Ive, Apple’s head designer. Forstall and Ive were working on the Maps application for iOS but they failed to agree on aspects of the design and the application itself. The conflict between Forstall and Ive led to a faulty iOS 6 Maps application. When Apple executives asked Forstall to sign an apology letter for the public, particularly Apple’s users, he refused citing that he should not be blamed for the failure of the iOS 6 Maps (Cheng, 2012).
Other reports revealed that most of employees were relieved when Forstall left Apple because he was known for being difficult when it came to collaborating. Within this context, the primary reason for line conflict was the inability of Forstall to work with other line managers at Apple. Collaboration is important in the organization especially because Apple has fostered a workplace community of inclusion and collaboration. Conflict emerged because Forstall could not reach a compromise with Ive. Furthermore, Forstall’s interpersonal relationship with his colleagues and other employees at Apple resulted in situations where they found it difficult to make decisions due to conflict.
Another issue concerning staff conflict in the workplace stems from the organization’s policy of keeping its projects secret until the production and distribution stage. Apple prides itself for being an innovative organization. Every year, Apple produces and distributes new products following innovation. Prior to the release of the organization’s products, Apple keeps its innovations secret so as to avoid or prevent leaks about the projects that the company is working on. According to employees at Apple, they need to repeat or double their work input especially when they hear about updates for product development and design at a later time. This means that employees need to redo or adjust their work based on new information released about products and services. Furthermore, since Apple aims to produce the best device every year, employees have also aired their concern about pressure and stress in the workplace. Compared to other organizations, Apple provides limited incentives for employees (Fiegerman, 2012).
The foregoing examples show that some of the reasons that cause line and staff conflict include limited collaboration among line managers and their inability to see eye to eye, ineffective policies, and inadequate incentives and rewards for employees.
Is the organization X, Y, or Z?
The organization is a Z organization because Apple combines aspects of the X and Y organizations. As formerly noted, Apple is a hierarchical organization because it follows a chain of command. The CEO controls command because all the departments in the organization report to him. Furthermore, Apple relies on material motivations including the development of output to increase sales and revenue for the organization. For this reason, Apple focuses on innovation and the continuous advertising and promotion of its products to drive sales and revenue. All these features are characteristic of the X organization. However, Apple also adopts aspects of the Y organization. The distribution of power in the organization is organic in nature, such that movements or decisions for each major department at Apple depends on the knowledge, skills, and expertise of department heads or line managers. Consequently, employees also contribute to decision making. In addition, separate departments make crucial decisions on their own based on information and resources they have. Some departments will need to collaborate and in doing so, the “communities” in the organization share their knowledge, skills, and resources. Non-material incentives also drive motivation at Apple. Since Apple has created a workplace that inspires innovation and creativity, as well as fosters inclusion and diversity, the organization makes use of inspiration (e.g. think different) and positive reinforcements to drive motivations and movements in the workplace environment.
Since Apple combines aspects of the X and Y organization, the organization is therefore a Z organization that combines aspects of a rigid and flexible work environment driven by rules and guidelines but also creativity and drive for innovation. Apple balances these aspects of management in order to address its needs as an organization in the tech industry. Apple needs to adopt a hierarchical structure to maintain an organized workflow and distribution of power in the organization. Nonetheless, Apple also fosters a flexible work environment in order to encourage creativity and innovation, as well as collaboration and the sharing of knowledge and resources in the workplace.
Give examples of X, Y, or Z.
The X organization has a hierarchical structure. Hence, decision-making is top-down in nature. The management makes decisions and the employees follow this decision.
The Y organization follows stratarchy, which means that decision-making is shared and based on the input and contributions of employees with knowledge or information about issues. The management still makes the decisions but takes into consideration the suggestions or feedback of subordinates.
In the Z organization, decision-making depends on circumstances. The Z organization acknowledges that different factors affect operations and practices. Different outcomes also arise from these variable circumstances. For this reason, the Z organization assesses circumstances and decide whether to make direct decisions or to gain the feedback of employees prior to making one.
Which do you prefer and why?
I prefer a Z organization because it takes into consideration all the factors that may affect performance. Issues and problems in the workplace largely depend on circumstances. Some circumstances required directives from the management while others necessitate the involvement of employees or the “communities” in the workplace. For this reason, it is important to strike a balance between the two structures and adopt practices depending on circumstances and expected outcomes or goals and objectives.
How is the organization like a small town?
Apple is like a “small town” because the organization functions as a community that aims to foster both individual and institutional growth (Follett, 1924). According to Follett (1924), the organization as a small town is a workplace environment that fosters communities through democracy. Apple follows this nature or description of a small town by allowing its employees to freely explore possibilities by “thinking different” and applying their knowledge and creativity to foster innovation.
One of the most important features of Apple’s organizational culture is that I facilitates or nurtures inclusion. Apple promotes diversity in the workplace, which is why the organization employs people of different ages, race or ethnicity, and gender or sexual orientation, among others. Apple does not discriminate but instead welcomes everyone regardless of their cultural background as long as they had something to contribute to the organization in terms of knowledge, skill, and competencies. Furthermore, Apple employs individuals from different fields because the organization believes that people from different backgrounds and with various knowledge sets and skills could contribute to creativity and innovation. Apple (2014) employs “artists, designers, engineers and scientists, thinkers and dreamers” because the company believes that “an intersection of technology and the liberal arts” would boost innovation and creativity in the organization. Apple (2014) has also worked towards the development of a workplace environment where employees from diverse backgrounds may contribute their experiences, and an environment that “inspires creativity and innovation” and empowers everyone in the organization to do their best in every aspect of their personal and professional lives (Apple, 2014).
How is the organization a “political institution”, both externally and internally?
Apple is under the private sector, which means that the company is not state-owned and therefore ran by private citizens. Nonetheless, the company may also be described as political institution internally and externally.
Internally, Apple is a political institution because employees compete with one another in terms of delivering creative ideas for the organization. Apple is part of the “knowledge economy” because its service largely depends on the knowledge and skills of human resources to create products and services for consumers. Within the organization, human resources compete with one another to deliver ideas to help Apple sustain its dominance in the marketplace.
Externally, Apple is a political institution because it is driven to gain competitive advantage over other companies. Competition in the corporate landscape refers to the concept of “the game of politics” whereby an organization achieves means to reach its goals and objectives. The players in the corporate landscape playing “the game of politics” are competing organizations. Apple competes with various organizations. Considering its multiple product offerings, Apple competes with organizations under various sectors. Apple’s Mac products rival that of Microsoft and other organizations involved in computing. Apple’s smartphone line – the iPhone – rivals other smartphone companies such as Samsung, HTC, Nokia, Sony, Lenovo, and Blackberry among others. Apple’s iPod media player line competes with other media players such as those produced by Philips and Sony among others. Apple’s online services also compete with others (e.g. iTunes competes with Google’s Playstore). Gaining competitive advantage over the competition facilitates “the game of politics” because gaining a larger market share than other organizations in this sector defines the power and influence of an organization in the corporate landscape.
Competition is “the game of politics” in itself because Apple strategizes to get ahead of the competition. Part of this involves knowing and exploring the products and services offered by other companies and producing better products and services to trump the competition. The Baltimore Sun (2003) explored the way that Apple competed with its rivals. Essentially, Apple creates counterparts of existing products to compete with oorganizations such as Microsoft. Apple’s Safari competes with Internet Explorer and other browsers. Apple also developed Keynote as a means to compete with Microsoft’s Word, PowerPoint, and Excel modules. Overall, Apple plays “the game of politics” by exploring products and services offered by the competition and developing counterparts of these products for the organization.
Apple is also a political institution externally because the organization is engaged in several activities and initiatives that affect politics. Based on Apple’s report of its political contributions since 2012, the organization has continuously contributed to the development of schools in Cupertino district. Since 2012, Apple has donated funds to support the Measure a campaign under the “Support our Cupertino District Schools” program. According to Apple, “Measure A would provide ongoing essential funds to continue to attract and retain qualified teachers, support academic programs, maintain lower class sizes, and keep schools in Cupertino safe and clean” (Apple Inc., n.d.). Furthermore, Apple engages with people in the government. The organization’s relationship with political figures significantly affect its operations. Apple “engages with government officials at all levels on issues that impact the Corporation and its operations” (Apple Inc., 2012). Apple also follows laws, policies, and regulations set or implemented by the government and public agencies.
Give examples of “a-rational” decision making in the organization.
Apple used to attend trade shows because it was able to promote the lineup of its products in these types of environments. However, when Apple was able to gain significant revenue and following after it launched the iPhone, the organization decided to stop attending trade shows. Apple found more opportunities to advertise and promote on a larger scale compared to promoting its products at trade shows. In this way, Apple was able to save its resources and redirect them to better advertising and promotional opportunities such as social media and digital promotions. Another example of Apple “a-rational” decision involves the organization’s decision to stop selling the iPod. Apple based its decision on yearly sales. The organization noticed that its iPod sales decreased because consumers preferred to purchase the iPhone or the iPad. For this reason, Apple decided to cease production of the iPod to focus on innovating and producing its more successful products. Apple’s decision to offer low-end products is another example. In doing so, Apple was able to capture multiple market segments from the middle to upper classes. All of the foregoing decisions were strategic on Apple’s part to improve its operations, save on cost, and gain more revenue.
Give examples of the different stages of policy making.
Different stages of policy making in the organization begins with an assessment of issues or situations that may require the implementation of policies. One of the main issues that plagued the company in the past involved Apple’s production. Organizations and agencies concerned with corporate ethics criticized Apple because factory workers are being treated poorly while some factories employ children for production. After receiving reports about this, Apple conducted its own investigation to confirm reports as well as to collate information about the situation.
After conducting assessment, Apple then considered all possible options to address the problem. In this stage, Apple identified different options to avoid exploitation in the workplace. Consequently, the next stage involved corporate lobbying to influence policy development. Lobbying focused on efforts to implement better policies in handling and upholding human rights in the workplace as well as following environmental standards and guidelines in operations (Ethical Consumer, 2011).
How are different kinds of policies handled differently?
Apple handles different policies depending on the issue and the gravity of the situation. In handling issues such as human rights and environmental sustainability, for instance, Apple directly implements policies to set standards and follow international labor laws and environmental standards. Consequently, Apple makes reports about its performance and actions on these issues public to inform stakeholders about its progress in addressing major problems and issues concerning the organization. For other policies, Apple engages and collaborates with stakeholders to sustain its position. For instance, Apple communicates with political figures and negotiates partnerships to ensure that the organization would be able to sustain its policies in the organization. In other instances, Apple creates or develops programs to follow through the implementation of its policies. When it comes to the organization’s workplace relationship policy, for instance, Apple facilitates continuous training for employees to develop and improve interpersonal and communication skills among them.
Give examples of negative externalities (unforeseen, unanticipated, and undesired ripple effects) and suboptimization (people losing sight of the mission).
Examples of negative externalities that affect Apple’s operations and create undesired ripple effects include the refusal or failure of its partners to follow standards and guidelines. As formerly noted, Apple outsources production of its products to countries such as China where labor costs lower. Nonetheless, labor laws in these countries differ from that in the US. Hence, employees in factories located in other countries are vulnerable to exploitation due to inability of Apple’s partners in outsourcing to set the same standards of labor practices such as those implemented in the US. Practices in other countries that differ from practices in the US create undesired ripple effects because they influence not only the quality of Apple’s products but also its reputation or image as brand. Suboptimization, on the other hand, occurs when ideas clash in the workplace. In the previous discussion about line and staff conflict, we have explored the situation where one department head failed to reach a compromise with another department head since both had different ideas about the development of an iOS application. This led to a weak Maps application criticized by many for its flaws. The failure of people to communicate, interact, collaborate, and work together towards similar or shared goals is an example of suboptimization, which then causes to lose sight of their goals and objectives.
How is the organization culturally unique and distinctive?
Apple is culturally unique and distinctive because the organization embraces a collaborative working environment. Apple’s organizational structure in itself may be hierarchical because it follows the standard distribution of power from top to bottom. Nonetheless, as formerly discussed, Apple employs a flexible work environment since the organization’s culture allows it to adopt policies to promote inclusion in the workplace. Unlike other pyramid organizations where the management makes all the decisions and all employees strictly follow decisions, policies, and guidelines from the top level, Apple believes that these types of functions must be shared with employees. Hence, Apple encourages employees to share their knowledge and experiences. In this way, they may contribute information that would help the organization make important decisions. Overall, Apple’s culture is unique and distinctive because it creates an environment that empowers and encourages employees to take part in various operations in the organization, particularly in planning and decision-making (Tobak, 2011). Apple’s unique culture is encapsulated in the organization’s motto, which is “Think different”.
How do administrative environmental variables (economy, international affairs, U.S. politics, American culture) impact on the organization?
Administrative, environmental variables affect the organization in terms of various factors or aspects’ effects on operation, policies, and revenue among others. Apple is a multinational company, which means that it operates in different parts of the world. Hence, international affairs affect Apple’s operations and services.
Politics in the United States also affect Apple’s operations. As formerly noted, Apple engages with people in different levels of the government. The goal of which is to promote the interests of the company. To sustain this relationship and privilege, Apple engages in political activity. Apple may contribute to the state and local government to support political processes and initiatives from which the company would benefit (Center for Political Accountability, 2009). It is important for Apple to do so because outcomes of politics would affect the organization, particularly the policies that political figures would implement on the state or federal level.
Another variable that affects Apple is the economy. Essentially, the state of the economy will affect Apple’s revenue. A strong economy means high household income in the US, which then grants buying power to consumers to purchase various products and services including Apple’s offerings. On the contrary, a weak economy means low household income. Consequently, consumers will lose the buying power to purchase commodities beyond basic necessities including Apple’s products. Hence, a strong economy and high household income are crucial for Apple’s success in terms of generating revenue.
Westernization in other regions, which may be defined by the spread of American culture, also impact the organization in terms of advertising and promotion. Westernization takes place in different means. Aside from the spread of Western ideals in other regions, perhaps the most glaring evidence of Westernization is the dominance of these ideals in the media. People around the world watch American films, for instance, as well as television shows. People also watch American advertisements. Consequently, the audience from around the world are exposed to and become familiarized with the American culture. Apple has taken advantage of Westernization to introduce its products in the global market. The organization takes advantage of the media to advertise and promote its products locally and internationally. Many experts in advertising relate part of Apple’s success to its advertising and promotional strategies. Apple is taking advantage of widely distributed films and television shows as well as other media content that reaches the global market to advertise and promote its products (Graham, n.d.). Furthermore, Apple has also taken advantage of the celebrity culture to promote its products. Majority of famous actors and celebrities, for instance, have been photographed many times using their iPhones. Apple then takes advantage of actors and celebrities’ popularity to promote the brand internationally.
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