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Charisma Crisis in Apple

Introduction

Apple is an American multinational based incorporation located in Cupertino, California in the United States. The company’s core activity is the production and sale of electronic consumer products. Currently, Apple Company is ranked as the most profitable electronic company in the world. Apple was established by two people from a very simple background. These people were Steve Wozniak in collaboration with Steve Jobs. They moved to a garage from the bedroom, where the operation started (Dyer 58). While still working in the garage in 1975, they invented a personal computer. This discovery marked the first step towards the invention of personal computers. Since this invention, Apple grew exponentially and in 1980 the company saw the need to grow its capital base, as it launched an initial public offer. Steve Jobs gained his experience first-hand as a result of the microcomputer industry development and the emergence of internet. The share of Apple microcomputer plummeted from 12 to 4 percent after Jobs was ousted by John Scully in 1985 with the help of the board of directors when he became the CEO of Apple (Sverre 373-385).

Crisis

Though it is difficult to define charisma, Max Weber, a German sociologist, defined it as qualities of a one’s personalities, on whose basis an individual is perceived different from others with exceptional traits. Steve Jobs has been accorded such perception by the public for the long time that he has served in Apple. A company with a charismatic leader has a competitive edge, as people try to associate themselves with such an icon. This creates loyalty, repeat and evangelical customers who for that reason increase sales for the company and, hence profits and wealth for the shareholders. The unfortunate thing is that, such a luminary star will only remain in the sky for a considerably short time. This is what has happened in Apple Co. with respect to Steve Jobs. He was that star for the company and he is now gone.

Steve Jobs’ striking traits have been associated with his inspirations to both the company’s employees and the public which constitutes the customers. He is remembered for providing guidance on the direction that projects in the company should take or other people ideas towards solving the company’s problems. His leadership was characterized with self-confidence, visionary and conviction that the adopted strategies would work for the best interest of the company and other stakeholders. His resignation and subsequent death leaves the company at a receiving end with respect to public relationship. The departure of Steve Jobs posed a great challenge to company’s public image. This is a serious crisis.

Informal Planning Summary

When Steve job was still working in the company, he was the company and the company was him. Trying to track empirical proves of his importance to the company, we may use the instance when he announced that he would be leaving the company to get some medical services, upon releasing the news, the company’s share fell by 8% in the markets overseas. It is absolutely clear to everyone that with the absence of Steve Jobs at the company’s helm, the company may not have realized the advancement it has with regard to the fundamental shifts it has realized. The uptake of the new products, such as iPod and iPhone, by the customers is all due to Steve Jobs’ charisma. This makes the current and the future of this company being subjected to challenges associated with the charisma crisis.

It is important for the company to uphold any attribute that forms the basis of its success or reputation. The consumers have sovereignty to consume whatever they want from any company. The challenge, when it comes to Apple, is that, it is within the technology industry, where competition is stiff and where other companies may be able to easily match or improve their products to those of the competitor. This, therefore means, that going beyond the real quality of the products, company may gain a competitive edge by differentiating their brand by use of striking traits, such as charisma, of their products.

The important thing to note is that characters are developed and it is possible to develop different quality upon sufficient exposure. Apprenticeship is a renowned approach of developing leaders. I would not suggest that Tim Ghriskey never borrowed the relevant skills from Steve Jobs, but he cannot match his qualities. Apparently, it is important to try and identify other gifted employee, assess the possibility of acquiring a person who may match Jobs’ personality, create a strong marketing team and assess other strategies that the company would build and maintain the reputation created by Steve Jobs.

The charisma crisis has mainly affected the shareholders and subsequently the management who are supposed to act as stewards and agents for the shareholder. This relates to the going concern of the company and both the current profitability and that of the future. As loyalty of the consumers withers as Steve reputation fades, sales are expected to reduce together with profitability. The attractiveness of the company to investors might reduce which will result in capital losses.

The departure of Steve Jobs represents a departure of an icon that the public had envied and whose success of Apple Company owes. His charisma has influenced the public into trusting the company’s product and, hence high sales. It also represents a loss of motivational to both the employee and consumers of the products. The subsequent sign of fall in the share prices indicate a possible loss of gains to investors and, hence negative publicity by itself. However, the management team, lead be CEO Tim Cook, constitutes of leaders that he mentored and, therefore it might be easy for the team to match the steps. It is a team that has witnessed the innovative technologies brought about by Mr. Jobs and, hence can be able to borrow a leaf (Isaacson 126). 

Brand Apple Corporation

Apple Corporation was able to realize a tremendous performance improvement upon the return of Steve Jobs in 1997. He started as an interim CEO and was able to steer the company back to the profit track. He devoted his efforts in developing technology that was customer oriented and offered customers a unique experience. This created an indication that Apple was posing a challenge to Nokia, among other competitors. He led the company to offer the market the first laptop and desktop computers in 1998, known as the iMac. The iMac became the ever fast selling PC in the history of technologies. It created an efficient standard and an easy to use design, which earned him great respect and high profitability for the company. There was emergence of a laptop computer after the iMac, called the iBook in the following year, 1999. It had the wireless connection, it was well designed and easier to use than the iMac. He ensured an updated iMac and iBook yearly by use of the innovative technology and then introduced several products that proved meaningful to customers.

Charisma Crisis

As observed, it is practically impossible to separate the success of Apple from the attained mileage since 1997 when Jobs came back to the company. His inspirations to the public, employees, potential management individuals and other stake holders, including the shareholders made him build an undisputable charismatic trait. His skills date back to his starting point of the business life, for instance, he was able to influence the Pepsi-Cola president in USA, John Sculley, into joining Apple as early as 1983. This means that, his charisma was enough to source the relevant skills and talents into the company. He said to have won him by providing him with an alternative of changing the world, rather than keep on selling sugared water. This means, in his presence, internal operations were optimized through persuasively luring them into the company (Goldsworthy 89).

With his absence, the advancements to be achieved are independent of him. There are those customers who bought the product as an aggregate of its physical attributes and the reputation of the company, arising directly from Mr. Jobs. Skills necessary to bring innovations required in a technology may not be as easily tapped, as it would have been in the presence of Steve Jobs. The shareholders and potential investors are aware of this and they know that the absence of Steve Jobs would affect innovation and loyalty of the customers. They are also aware that the consequence of such events is reduced profit or reduced capital gains or even loss. All this is based on the charisma of Steve Jobs when he was present in the company.

Effects to the Consumers

The major approach used by Steve Jobs in marketing of the newly made products was through trade shows. He was a striking showman who would be welcomed to conferences and shows with applause and sheers by both the customers, software developers and employees. He was so influential, that whenever he conducted such events, crowds would “eat from his arms”, meaning that people trusted him fully. He was able to capture the customer’s imagination and make them trust and understand his vision. This way, he was able to establish mass-marketing approach of the personal computer successfully. The trust and affection to Apple’s product was founded on the charisma of Jobs and, hence the success of majority of the Apples undertakings are embedded in this personal trait that is not transferable. It may not affect the already existing products in the market, however, departure of Mr. Jobs affects the loyalty that customer have in Apple’s product and, hence new products may not be appreciated by the customers at such a fast pace, as in the past (Hartnell 203).

Effect on Software Developer and Innovators

Mr. Jobs was highly gifted with the capacity to intermarry innovations and gain commercial success. He would do this, based on the future needs, as happened for the case of Xerox. After two visits there, Mr. Jobs identified the potential to change the world and guided his team into realizing this. He bought the idea of using graphic user interface from here and employed it in Apples product instead of command-line interface. He acted as an inspiration to the software developers and innovators and as a reliable think-tank. With his absence, there is a possibility of a fall in innovations.

Effect to the Shareholders

The performance of the company was exemplary due to the presence of Mr. Jobs’ skills and charisma. This made the company start being profitable since 1997 and the trend never changed since then. His innovation made him outdo other competitors such as Google, Nokia and Samsung. This is something that gave confidence to the investors. Throughout the period, investors would get substantially good dividends and capital gains. This was through such innovations as iPhone that exceeds 50% of the Apple’s current stock. This product alone has helped Apple to realize an increase in the market share since 2007 when it was introduced. His influence was such substantial that, when it seemed that Mr. Jobs’ health was deteriorating and he announced that he was leaving for treatment the value of the shares reduced by 8%, especially in overseas markets.

Possibility of Different Circumstance

Charisma and Marketing

Though marketing is supposed to be as effective as possible by having every other necessary component, persuasion of people into buying a product is not always tied to the personal traits of the marketer. The uptake of a new product may be more a function of quality and price than anything else. It is, however, possible that having quality products at competitive prices does not necessarily mean that product will be in demand.

Charisma and Innovation

Skills are developed and it is a process that can be substantially achieved by almost anybody upon relevant exposure. We cannot conclude that, because various innovations took place during Mr. Jobs’ presence that, he was the only resourceful person in the process. Achievement of any projects is a team achievement and, therefore, majority of those who participated in development of earlier technology are still there. They, therefore, do not need to woe new innovators in a do or die assumption.

Charisma and Shareholders Confidence

The absence of Mr. Jobs should not be assumed to be the presence of losses simply because we cannot be able to separate the earlier success from him; we also cannot rule out the contribution of the current management from the same success. The profit made was teams’ achievement and the team never consisted of Mr. Jobs alone. Therefore, through a slight fall was realized, investors will soon regain confidence and the trend of improvement will resume.

In conclusion, it is important for any business to embrace anything that would help it win market competitiveness for the success of the business. However, what has been witnessed in this case is a situation that has been built over time since the inception of the corporation and especially from 1997, when Jobs came back to Apple. The market confidence as seen from various stakeholders is that this was a one market success and doing. However, it is a fact that his charisma was just one factor among other that led to this success; soon we expect that the stakeholders will overcome their fear over the new team, as the new team will perfect on the learnt skills from Mr. Jobs and eventually the charisma crisis will fade out.

Hypothetical Event

Target Audience

Overseas markets have become quite extensive with the potential effect of growth increasing day by day. The market is characterized with fairly low income earners, especially in Africa and Asia. The developments that are taking place there have made them change their preference toward the product from this continent. For this reason, the focus will be in this market.

Apple’s Partnership with Facebook Inc

The event to be undertaken to win the confidence of the stakeholders with respect to charisma crisis will be signing a partnership agreement with Facebook Inc. This will be aimed at reaching the entire market to improve its connectivity for timely flow of information to all stakeholders on any development by the company. The choice has been guided by the extensive usage of social media in communication.

Overview of the Event

The signing of the partnership agreement will take place in the New York Conference Centre. The conference will take place from 10.00 am and is expected to take a maximum of four hours. In attendance will be the current CEOs of Apple and Facebook Inc.

Despite the main agenda of signing the contract, the CEO Tim Cook is expected to give a strong issue statement with regard to the charisma crisis, being experienced due to the departure of Steve Jobs. He is expected to address the issue by first noting the progress that the corporation has achieved in the past period in the absence of Steve Jobs.

The CEO is also expected to show the executive team of Apple to those in the conference. Part of what he is expected to give details of, is the qualification of different technical teams in the company. He will, in addition, give personal achievements of the executive and their years of experience.

In his detailed speech, Tim Cook is expected to explain the main role, played by the major staff in the company on the achievements made by the company. He will name the development team used in the development of iPhone and iPad. Majority of those who participated in those innovations are steal members of the technical teams that are guiding the current innovation.

Tim Cook is expected to also show the company’s research team, their qualifications and achievements made in the recent past. He is expected to indicate the part played by this team in the resent development, witnessed in time of Steve Jobs and their potential for further success.

This event will have a major objective of restoring the lost confidence associated with charismatic crisis. The main purpose of partnering with the Facebook Inc will be to restore the hope to the shareholders of the assurance of contact with the market and an assurance of customer loyalty. The system between the companies would serve to forward and backward links that will facilitate marketing of the new products and also obtaining feedback. This will also serve as a basis of obtaining market information. This communication channel will be used to supplement the company’s website.

The event will also be broadcasted by the major world and local TV stations to enable the entire market follow the proceeding of the event. It will also be available in the newly developed site in the Facebook Inc platform.