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Running head: ORGANIZATION CULTURE

Organization Culture
Name
Institution

ORGANIZATION CULTURE

Introduction
Organization or corporate culture, whether spoken or written as mission statement, or is
merely understood, describes and governs the ways in which the owner(s) of a company and the
employees feel, behave, think, and act. As Schein (2010) puts it, it is a combination of
behaviours, ideas, beliefs, and value that influence the attitudes and behaviours of employees
towards the organization, and ultimately contribute to the unique psychological and social
environment of an organization. It includes the experiences, values, philosophy, and expectations
that hold an organization together. Organization or corporate culture is often expressed in the
organizations unique image, its interior dynamics, its future expectations and how the
organization interacts with the external world. According to Hofstede (2014), corporate culture is
based on shared beliefs, attitudes, rules, and customs that are consider valid and have been
developed over time. In fact, organization culture is illustrated in how the organization operates,
does its business, treats both its customers and employees, and how it relates with the community
around it. Today, organization or corporate culture extends to how much freedom an organization
extends to decision-making, the development of new concepts, as well as in how employees
personally express themselves. Finally, it is also displayed in how information and power flow
through the organization. Organization culture affects the performance and productivity of the

ORGANIZATION CULTURE

organization; thus, understanding it offers a lot of insight into explaining the failure or success of
the organization. It is unique to each and every organization (Corporate Culture, 2014).
Background
Apple Inc. is a fortune five-hundred global computer manufacturing firm that is known
for its ground-breaking and breath-taking products such the Mac Computers, the IPod, IPhone,
and the IPad. Over the last one-and-a-half decade, Apple Inc. exponentially grew from almost
being bankrupt-it had only $150 million in the bank-to a 600 billion dollar company, surpassing
Microsoft as the most valuable technology company globally (OGrady, 2009; Pagden, 2010).
This almost miraculous change of fortune has been attributed to a change in organization culture,
which was brought about by the Late Steve Jobs, its former CEO. Steve infused a new culture, a
design culture driven by the need to outperform Apples competitors. Apples organizational
culture focused on developing a culture that attracted and valued design-keen and creative
people. The basis of Apples corporate culture was grounded on the ideal that people who are
self-motivate will work harder if they do not have a boss controlling their every action. This
unique culture enabled Apple to continue with its exponential growth and helped it react more
swiftly and quickly to industry changes than their competitors (OGrady, 2009). The main reason
why Apple Inc. has always been able to quickly respond to changes is the fact that Apple has a
policy of keeping project teams as lean as possible as opposed to its competitors. Further, day-today decisions at Apple are made at the lowest possible level. This makes it easier to get a project
started because there are very few people that one needs to get approval from.
Singular Mission Driven culture
Apple Inc. has a culture driven by a singular mission. There are a few ideas that infuse
this company. First, at Apple, the most important thing is customers experience. Second, Apple

ORGANIZATION CULTURE

employs very talented people whom they refer to as, A players, thus, every employee is
expected to perform. Third, a major belief or tenet instilled in everyone at Apple is that the devil
is always in the details (Pollock, 2014). These ideas have resulted in Apple being an enormous
firm made up of very talented and creative individuals who all believe in one single mission: to
offer the best experience for the customers. In order to provide that experience, great attention to
detail is required; in fact, everyone at the firm must constantly be opened to critical feedback.
People at able are very keen to detail that Pollock (2014)argue that they are able to identify pixel
changes in user interface layouts between daily iOS builds. Apples singular mission culture
creates a common understanding and language among everybody at the firm; this has helped a
lot in guiding difficult product development decisions.
Task driven and innovative culture
Apple Inc. is and still remain fully focused on innovation; the goal at Apple Inc.is to
create unique and superior products. This is why Apple Inc. is keen to attract, recruit, hire, and
retain the best creative talent available. The company seeks employees who are hardworking and
committed to their work. As mentioned earlier, Apple Inc. believes in hiring only a small number
of talented people who work on their various projects; thus, there is the notion that there is
always more work at Apple than the available number of employees. The company has ensured
that the work environment at its campus is an informal and relaxed one. The hardest thing about
maintaining a culture of highly talented and innovative individuals is the issue of scalability.
Pollock (2014) asserts that at Apple, the job board is filled with hundreds of vacant positions that
could be filled anytime. However, for the company to remain true to the tenet innovation,
everyone at the firm must be able to trust one another especially with regards beyond the 90%
completion point at which a product becomes functional, and to continue to do so and iterate on

ORGANIZATION CULTURE

the final 10 % until the right functionality of the product is realized. In fact, the office signs at
Apple that remind people to drink water and wash their hands, which are written in crisp, clean
Helvetica which states Stay thirsty, stay foolish, and Take at least five minutes to debug
yourself, are in themselves a reminder of the culture of innovation creating unique and
superior products (Pollock, 2014).
Teamwork and interaction
Much of Apple Inc. organizational culture is about the day-to-day interactions between
teams and people. Everyone at Apple is always willing and ready to stop whatever they are doing
and debug a problem or answer a question from a co-worker. This extends far beyond just a
team; people are ready to help others even if they rarely interact. Irrespective of who you are
interacting with, the only thing that can prevent a quick, friendly, and thoughtful response is
always the never ending work (Pagden, 2010). Therefore, it you attempt to create a masterpiece,
always expect that there will be things to improve.
Individualism
Hofstede (2014) describes and individualist culture as one where employees are expected
and are capable of looking after themselves. The fact the compact only hires the best talent, A
player, every employee is allowed to work on their own and run their own show; guidance is
only offered occasionally. Apple Inc. employees are therefore self-motivated and self-confident;
they are very focused on their work, and show a lot of commitment to tasks or projects.
However, this also implies that at Apple Inc., the most difficult and most frustrating part is
collaboration. Despite being quite a large corporation, Apple Inc. is still trying to be nimble and
flexible just as a start-up (Merchant, 2014). Typically, engineering and design teams are often
small, and are designed to operate independently; in fact, they are given more power with

ORGANIZATION CULTURE

regards to defining their own priorities and making day-to-day decisions. Nevertheless, the fact
that Apple Inc. is in charge of the whole stack, there are many teams working in parallel on
software alterations within a complex web of dependencies . This means that working at the top
of the pile can prove to be very interesting, especially if a group demand a lot of an individuals
time or has a lot of political power (Pollock, 2014). Consequently, this can be very challenging
and difficult if a group is trying to convince another to fix a bug or add a feature without a
directive from the top. Thus, this is might result in wasted productivity, thus minor progress; but
this seems to have worked and is working for Apple Inc.
Conclusion
At Apple Inc., the overall organizational culture is focused on innovation and tasks,
which is quite unique. Employees at Apple enjoy a relaxed and informal work atmosphere, as
well as a culture that allows individualism, thus enabling them to be self-confident and selfmotivated. Apples culture has the benefit of creating a common language and understanding
amongst all employees, which facilitates quick decision-making, especially difficult situations. It
also enables innovation and personal development, and ensures that employees work to produce
high standard, unique products that satisfy customers. However, this culture has its own
drawbacks; for instance, the minimal top-down management structure, and lack of
micromanagement of employees may result in wasted productivity.

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References

Corporate Culture. (2014). Retrieved February 23, 2015, from


http://www.entrepreneur.com/encyclopedia/corporate-culture
Hofstede, G. (2014). Organisational Culture & Change Management. Retrieved February 23,
2015, from http://geert-hofstede.com/organisational-culture.html
Merchant, N. (2014, June). Apples Startup Culture. Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved from
http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/content/jun2010/id20100610_525759.htm
OGrady, J. D. (2009). Apple Inc. New York, NY: ABC-CLIO Ltd.
Pagden, A. (2010). 8 Things to Know About the Company Culture at Apple. Retrieved February
23, 2015, from http://uxmovement.com/resources/8-things-to-know-about-the-companyculture-at-apple/
Pollock, B. (2014). My Experience With Apples Culture. Retrieved February 22, 2015, from
https://medium.com/@bricepollock/my-experience-with-apples-culture-a443c39b7215
Schein, E. H. (2010). Organizational Culture and Leadership (4th ed.). San Francisco, CA: John
Willy & Sons, Inc.

ORGANIZATION CULTURE