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Modernism and Postmodernism at Apple Inc.

AbstractThis paper discuses theoretical perspectives of modernism and postmodernism as applied at Apple Inc. Company. The history of the company has been reviewed briefly to provide a foundation for any information relating to it. Short descriptions about the two perspectives have been done and their application connected with Apple’s experience. To further understand the two perspectives, assumptions of ontology and epistemology have been discussed with a clear connection to the situation at Apple Inc. Appropriate recommendations have been provided to assist the company develop a better system in future.Modernism and PostmodernismTo explicate this topic, many organizational theorists have developed systems which define ideal success processes adopted by many companies. They have established that, though there are different categories of organizations operating in the international market today, there are many similarities which are portrayed by these companies (Koch, 2007). It is from the understanding of different organizational systems that modernism and postmodernism theories were developed to distinguish the nature of different organizations in the market (Hoffmann, 2005). An example of a company which has displayed the characteristics of modernism and postmodernism is Apple Inc. The structure of the of the company should be reviewed regularly to overcome any new challenge in the market.Apple Inc.Apple Inc. is based in the US and was originally established to manufacture and market computer hardware and software. Recently, the company has ventured in the electronics industry as a diversification strategy. Some of the products of the company are iPod, iPad, iTunes, and others. To create a larger market for its products, Apple developed a system of selling products through retail stores as well as online stores. This strategy has improved the sales volume of the company to a large extent. The technology applied by the company has been the best and this has led to the innovation of competitive brands. The international market share of Apple has been expanding because the management has focused on improving customer loyalty for its products (Schermerhorn, 2010). Apple Inc. was founded in 1976 and the current headquarters of the company are located in California. The founders of the company were Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne. The company was established to manufacture computer hardware and software but the company started to venture in the electronics industry in 2007. The company has employed more than 50,000 people worldwide to work in the manufacturing, marketing and other departments of the company. Annual sales of the company have been in excess of $65 billion in the recent past. To maintain the top position in the market Apple Inc. has worked on improving its reputation in the electronics industry as well as carrying out extensive advertising campaigns (O’Grady, 2008). Therefore, from the brief history of Apple Inc. it is evident that the company has been able to apply modernism and postmodernism theories. The two perspectives provide an overview of an organization’s environment which may affect its performance (Hatch, 2006).ModernismHatch (2006) opine that modernism provides a realistic way of looking things in an organization. The facts relating to a situation in an organization are most important in the diagnosis of any factor affecting the pursuit of goals. Modernists believe that the structure of an organization is very important in the analysis of different aspects. Therefore, absolute knowledge about the structure and systems helps define all the functions of an organization. This calls for the management to balance the internal/external pressures, create a strong systems which focuses on the core competencies, efficiency and ability to adapt to change. This will help understand all organizational problems and create competitive advantage which will improve profitability (Cahoone, 2003). The modernistic approach provides a proper guide on how Apple has been able to sustain itself in the competitive market environment. The organizational structure of Apple Inc. has been designed such that all employees can reduce the effect of red-tapes. Employees at all levels have been given the mandate to develop innovative systems and this has been made possible by the reduction of many procedures in the management process. The top management team interacts freely with all other members of the company and this has improved communication systems and decision making process. Decisions are made in collaboration with all stakeholders of the company to enhance acceptance of any system to be introduced in the company. These systems have improved the internal processes of the company (Lliev, Lindinger, & Poettler, 2004). Apple Inc. has also improved its relationship with the external environment. This has been achieved by adhering to the political needs of the various countries where it operates, developing a good socio-economic system and establishing good systems which accommodate the needs of all stakeholders. For example, Apple Inc. developed a system of corporate social responsibility to improve the image of the company. The company has established various programs to assist the communities where the company operates. To operate in various countries, the company has been politically neutral and this has improved its marketing strategy. Through this, the company has been able to secure a big market base in various countries (Lliev, Lindinger, & Poettler, 2004). To adapt to change, the management team has developed a team of experts who conduct research concerning new technologies. Apple Inc. has been able to come up with innovative products and marketing processes. Changes in the market needs have not affected the position of the company in the global markets because better products are being developed. Product diversification has been a major focus and this has sustained the company in the competitive market. Digressing from the manufacture of computer hardware and software to the production of electronics positioned the company at a competitive level. To market its products easily, the company introduced online stores to capture the global markets more easily (Chazin, 2007). Therefore, Apple has been able to adapt to change and this displays its modernism nature. On the other hand, the company has portrayed post-modernism in its history.Post-Modernism Organizational theorists explain that postmodernism has the characteristics of uncertainty, complex and contradictory processes. Hatch (2006) further discuses that postmodernism is based on vision and focusing on the future perspective. While modernism focuses on the systems of improving production, research and service processes in an organization, postmodernism is directed towards the assumptions made in developing such systems (Clifford & Marcus, 1986). However, the two perspectives have one thing in common: technology is found to be the foundation of change in any organization. It is therefore, evident that Apple Inc. applied postmodernism in its operations. This has been achieved through the development of a clear vision of the company which focuses on developing technologies for sustainable profitability. Steve Jobs, the former president of Apple Inc. has been the encouraged the development of innovative technologies in the development of products. In fact, was able to upgrade the systems of the company by promoting the leadership among the top management team. He has been able to introduce a vision without limitations such that all stakeholders believe that technology is the best way to conquer any challenge in the market today. Steve Jobs has acquired a lot of experience in the management of the company because he has made various transformations in the company which have promoted the market position of the company (Linzmayer, 2004).The future of Apple Inc. is very bright even after the departure of Steve Jobs because a strong foundation has already been established. Health challenges have affected Steve and he had to delegate the management of the company. However, despite these challenges the company is continuously making profits (Satariano, 2011). Modernism and postmodernism is evident in the management of Apple Inc. The two perspectives have their own assumptions act as a guide. These assumptions are referred to as the ontology and epistemology.Ontology and Epistemology Ontology deals with the definition of reality while epistemology is concerned with the evaluation of the reality in an organization (Hatch, 2002). The existence of illusions has been assumed through ontological assumption. This explains the existence of culture, power and control in an organization. Culturally, Apple Inc. has adopted a culture of innovation and this is assumed to be the major cause of success. In addition, delegation of power has been exercised and this has resulted into the development of innovative products and marketing systems. The management of the company has controlled the advancement of technology in the company be establishing a research center. This center has acted as a source of technological innovation and top scientists have been hired to work there. It is from these developments experienced in Apple Inc. that lead us to the assumption that the company’s success is based on the technology and innovations introduced. It is a reality that Apple Inc. is the leading company in development of electronics, computer software and hardware (Schneiders, 2011). Additionally, it is a reality that the leadership of Steve Jobs has made Apple Inc. to achieve success. He has served as the president of the company since 1997 and it is during this period that the company experienced great success. Steve Jobs has been able to introduce better systems of management which led to the introduction of innovative methods of production and marketing. Particularly, the introduction of retail stores was the idea of Steve Jobs and this led to a great sales volume of the company (Liu, 2010).The management of the company has been successful in conflict management. There are various criticisms leveled against Apple Inc. but the company has overcome such challenges. Internal and external conflicts have been amicably resolved to avoid failure in any project. The management of the company has been quick in responding to problems encountered by employees. As such, the internal systems have been operating without interruptions. External conflicts have been minimized by the establishment of a strong corporate social responsibility system (Dubrin, 2011). From the realities being experienced at Apple Inc. we are able to know that the organizational culture, leadership and adoption of new technologies is the basis of success for any company in the current market condition. It has become the culture of the company to develop diversified products. Apple Inc. has been able to manufacture many products which match the needs of the consumers. To achieve this, extensive research has been conducted to identify the market needs. This has improved the level of customer loyalty for the company’s products. The improvement on sales volume of the company in the recent past has caused alarm especially in the electronics industry. Introduction of iPod, iPad, iTunes among other products of the company in the market caused reduction in the sales level of other related products. This is an indication that Apple has been able to capture consumer demand (Schneiders, 2011).Recommendations· Apple Inc. should develop strong leaders to take over the management of the company especially after departure of Steve Jobs.· More research need to be done about the products because many companies have developed similar products.· The culture of the company should be maintained to enhance future success of the company.ConclusionModernism and postmodernism theories explain the nature of organizations and they develop better strategies of improving performance. These theories provide the realities being experienced in modern organizations today and they try to dichotomize success factors from other elements which may cause failure. It is clear that these theories have assumptions which can be categorized into ontological and epistemological nature. The perspectives have been found to match with the operations of Apple Inc. As such, the leadership, culture, use of technology, change management and interaction of different roles has been well explained by the processes of the company. It has also been proved that the management has been successful in conflict management because the company has experienced minimal internal and external conflicts. Therefore, the structure of the company should be reviewed regularly to overcome any new challenge.

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