MG204: Leadership in Organizations
1. Executive Summary
Our group democratically decided to research and review steve jobs, and
he encompassed a significant amount our leadership course work.
According to social power theory, Job has the five powers: referent,
legitimate, expert, reward and coercive. As personal leader trait we have
considered Passion, focused communication and innovative as the most
relevant. Finally, a change from an autocratic to a transformational leadership
has been observed.
Our analysis that there are significant strengths but also weaknesses that
we suggest require leadership input. He is a credible and ethical leader who
has consistently met and exceeded expectations.
An interview with Jobs and direct communication with his subordinates
would have been ideal. The nature of media and propaganda means that
secondary sources may be biased.
2. Terms of Reference
This report has been produced by 201025548, 360132, 361530 due on 9th
August 2011, in order to analyze the internal and external environment of
Apple Inc. We subdivided this analysis into several parts, in order to perform
a comprehensive leadership analysis of Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple.
The whole report is based on a comprehensive internet research and
secondary material. These sources have been evaluated and analyzed and
can be viewed in the bibliography.
Table of contents
1. Executive Summary 1
2. Terms of Reference 1
3. Leadership Analysis
3.1 Brief History on the Leader 3
3.2 Leader Traits 5
3.3 Credibility 7
3.4 Charisma 8
3.5 Differentiation 9
3.6 Ethical Behaviour 10
3.7 Future Strategic Analysis 11
3.8 Conclusion and Future Perspectives 12
3. Bibliography 13
4. Appendices 16
1. Brief History on the Leader
Steve Jobs´ life is embossed by many successes and accomplishments and
1955 Born in San Francisco, CA. Adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs
1969 Jobs meets Steve Wozniak
Jobs after one semester at Reed College, Oregon, he drops
Apple Computer Inc. is incorporated by Jobs, Wozniak and R.
1977 Apple makes a huge sensation with the prototype Apple II.
The Apple II becomes the first mass-market personal
computer, a huge hit all around the US
1980 Apple launches the Apple III. A disastrous flop
1983 PepsiCo CEO John Sculley becomes Apple's CEO
Macintosh is launched. The first small computer with a graphic
Bad business decision and fights with his CEO.
Steve Jobs resigns from Apple.
Apple announces it will sue Steve's future company, NeXT
Jobs buys a division of George Lucas' ILM for $10 million and
incorporates it as Pixar
Steve discovers his biological mother and sister
1991 Steve Jobs marries Laurene Powell
Apple buys NeXT for $400 million. Steve Jobs is
named "informal adviser".
1997 Steve Jobs is named interim CEO
1998 Apple is profitable again
Jobs introduces Apple's revolutionary iMac.
2000 Jobs officially becomes Apple’s CEO
Jobs unveils the first iPod
2003 Jobs is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer
Apple opens the online iTunes Music Store in the US
2005 Jobs's commencement speech at Stanford University
2006 Disney Company acquires Pixar for $7.4 billion
2007 Jobs introduces the iPhone
2010 Jobs unveils iPad1
Steve Jobs is undeniably an extraordinary man by any standard. He has left
his mark on no less than five industries: personal computers, music, phone,
animation and film and portable computing.
3.2 Leader Traits
The approach to this topic has been made considering some of the concepts
we have been lectured about and have discussed in class.
This is based on “The Bases of Social Power” (French and Raven, 1959).
Steve Jobs has, to some extent, all five types of power.
Legitimate: as Apple’s CEO
Expert : due to his deep knowledge of both technological issues and
Reward: as his economic wealth could allow him to use it.
Coercive: in fact he has been referred to be authoritarian,
Referent: due to his charisma, success and narcissistic leadership
Jobs himself has told us about his leadership principles and personal traits at
Passionate: In his well know speech at the University of Stanford
(Stanford, 2005) two sentences tell us about passion: "The only way to do
great work is to love what you do" and "keep looking until you find it". Steve
Jobs has a deep passion for his work and has always transmitted it
enthusiastically. He inspires his subordinates and leads to changes.
Focused: Jobs is very focused in what he does. When he returned to Apple
he streamlined the product line of Apple (Linzmayer, 2004). This focus
continues to be evident in the design of Apple products. Apple produces
products that are simple, yet elegant in their design and function. Jobs
explanation is: "Apple is a $30 billion company, yet we've got less than 30
major products [...] we tend to focus much more. [Focus] means saying no
to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully”
(2008, Morris). Related to his work passion he thinks that "We don't get a
chance to do that many things, and everyone should be really excellent”
Communicative: Steve Jobs is famed for his speeches and captivating
the audience's attention, internal and external (Kramer, 2010). He uses this
ability to clearly communicate his emotions and his passion influencing
people´s decisions. When he launched the iPod, he said: "In our own small
way we're going to make the world a better place". So he is not actually
selling products, he is selling dreams.
Innovative: While many companies think about money in innovation
issues, Jobs thinks about people, what makes a great difference, as people
come up with very innovative ideas (Kirkpatrick and Maroney, 1998).
During his first years he was labeled as autocratic. After his resignation
he gained more leadership experience in other companies, encouraging a
culture of collaboration and innovation. When he returned to Apple he had a
more democratic and open-minded style, and developed his personal
relationships with his family.
The former senior vice president of Apple Jay Elliot wrote in his book
“The Steve Jobs way” (2011) that Steve Jobs “earned credibility without even
noticing” (Elliot and Simon, 2011). This chapter is to examine Steve Jobs´
credibility and the factors it is built on.
An important factor contributing to his credibility is his honesty and
integrity. Steve Jobs mentioned in one of apple’s press conferences
concerning the IPhone 4 antenna problem “We are not perfect […] and
phones are not perfect” (Jobs, 2010). As the leader of Apple he takes
responsibility for mistakes committed by his company. This statement is
publicly perceived as very credible for both, the company and Steve Jobs.
According to Forbes magazine Steve Jobs´ net worth is estimated to be
$8.3 billion dollars (Forbes, 2011). And despite of being among the top 20
most powerful people in the world (Forbes, 2011) he has “taken a $1 salary
for the past several years” (Cnet news, 2006). His decision not to work
primarily for money shows his passionate approach towards his company and
His down-to-earth appearance and his competence are another two
factors contributing to his credibility. The fact that Apple´s stock price
increased by approximately 1000% (Appendix 1) since he regained power in
1997 impressively states his extraordinary competence (Yahoo Finance,
According to Friedrich Nietzsche “all credibility, all good conscience, all
evidence of truth come only from the senses.” The way Steve Jobs appears in
the news is mostly in connection with products like the iPhone or the Ipad,
with companies people like (Apple, Pixar) or in connection with the
company´s or his personal success. Being always associated and mentioned
with positive things allocates referent power to him, grants admiration for his
unique narcissistic style and strengthens his credibility.
From our discussions during the lectures we know that charismatic
leaders have vision, they take risks and can motivate and manipulate others.
These leaders embrace their followers’ needs and seek answers (products) to
their needs. When we initially consulted the dictionary definition we could
appreciate, that Jobs is a charismatic leader. His vision and perfectionism
makes him an admired leader with referent power, with a cross-cultural
According to Dubrin’s book on leadership “charisma is a key aspect of
leadership” and Steve Jobs proves that he possesses the ability to connect
with people during his public speeches and attracts them to follow him
(Dubrin, 2003). The way he communicates with people differs from other
leaders. He presented the new “iPad” by sitting on a couch at home, creating
a scenario that helped people to imagine using this product (Kramer, 2010).
Steve Jobs addresses people by intimately relating to them. In our
perception he is the self-confident and down-to-earth leader instead of a
billionaire with attitude. His gestures and quotations, with his consistent
appearance (rounded glasses, black turtleneck polo, blue jeans) creates a
unique and charismatic picture.
Furthermore, he is not afraid of expressing his personal feelings,
experiences and failures, which confirms his self-confidence and charisma
Jobs differentiates himself by consistently innovating and being a
“Category Creator” giving people what they want, before they even
acknowledge what they need (Goldberg, 2011.) Although he seems distant he
understands people and natural progression and confirms this with his perfect
timing for product release. He tends to be secretive and thereby generating
public anticipation for his next product.
Jobs is non-conformist and wants young graduates to view the world
with a unique perspective even if it does mean breaking the rules (Jobs,
2005). Kahney (2008) attributes Apple’s success to the leadership of Steve
Jobs rule breaking characteristics. The article entitled, “How Apple Got
Everything Right By Doing Everything Wrong” summarizes this (Kahney,
Furthermore Jobs has applied and transferred his knowledge across
diverse industries, whilst taking what was regarded by business analysts as
massive risks. This combined with a relentless, obsession over details, from
Marketing, PR and most importantly product design and aesthetic (Goldberg,
All the above may be the result of Jobs adventurous nature. He hitch-
hiked through India and Tibet which along with being an adventure was
attributed to increasing his personal, business and spiritual horizons (Young,
Jobs has learnt from his mistakes and rebounded from these failures
with tenacity. After early massive success in the 1970’s, he was forced out of
his company, and started up NeXT. This experience had provided him with a
unique perspective of the opposite polarities of business (Young, Simon
2005). It was not easy when he was not the “golden boy” yet he has re-
claimed his position as the most admired CEO (Hansen, Ibarra, Pever, 2010).
3.6 Ethical Behaviour
In many articles, relating to earlier years of Jobs´ career, his name was
mentioned in connection with boorish and dishonest behaviour. He is shown
as the one who found MacIntosh computers but actually Steve Wozniak was
the driving founder. He is so closely related to Apple that nobody mentions
Apple´s success in connection with any other names than his own one.
On the other hand, when Apple faced problems about their applications
related to pornographic content, Jobs’ answer to this was that “We believe
that we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone. Porn is a
place where we don’t want to go- so we’re not going to go there” (Jobs,
2010). So as a CEO, he insisted on being ethical when creating new formats
and applications for the iPhone.
Jobs visited Apple´s contract manufacturer in China (Foxconn) when
the scandal , with many suicides and deaths, came to the world´s attention.
He tried to ensure a pleasant working environment (Wilson, 2010). However,
the reports of the workers have shown that "they had been forced to work
very long hours and were not allowed to take breaks (Wilson, 2010). The
salaries had been increased. Steve Jobs as an ethical person, took a personal
interest and played a participative leadership role in taking corrective
Whilst his peer, Bill Gates is often mentioned as a "philanthropist", Jobs
is regarded as a "capitalist", although we may not be aware of all his
In the end we can say, that Steve Jobs in an “ice cold capitalist”. He is
very good in what he does and keen to establish an ethical environment. As
mentioned it is still a long way to go, but he already tackles some important
3.7 Future Strategic Analysis
This chapter is to examine Steve Job´s strengths and weaknesses in
order to find out possible future opportunities and threats.
Steve Jobs is definitely a person with many strengths. Here is to
mention that he is able to guide a multibillion company towards “category
creator” products “giving people what they want before they know they want
it” (Goldberg, 2011). Apple and Steve Jobs are both mentioned in Goldberg´s
symposium “Consumer culture in global perspective” (2011). His vision,
wisdom and all-round leadership qualities make it possible to be ahead of the
His main weakness is his state of health. During the seven years,
since he has been diagnosed with cancer, there has been many rumours of
him not being able to further lead the company (CNN tech, 2010). Other
weaknesses occur due to his narcissistic personality type. There is to mention
that he is sometimes mentioned in the news aggressively pursuing his goals
without listening to others (Customerthink, 2010).
His opportunities are to work on his weaknesses in future. It is
against narcissist´s habits to buy self-improvement books, but this might be
a real opportunity for him in order to understand his personality type´s
characteristics. To establish a mentor trainee program in order to “create” his
successor might be a very profitable consideration.
Steve Jobs´ health is going to be a risk and a threat in future. Past
has shown that apple´s stock price reacts very sensibly towards public
announcements concerning his health (Appendix 2). His departure has
pushed down the share price by 2.25% which is equivalent to approximately
8 billion dollars market capitalization. He might also drift away from customer
needs by not listening to what they want (Customerthink, 2010).
3.8 Conclusion and Perspectives
Steve Jobs seems to have synthesized a unique leadership style by
drawing together many leadership traits from sociological leadership,
business management (academic) viewpoint including a ‘hands-on’
entrepreneurial perspective with personal experience. These are very relevant
to the current economic climate but furthermore he seems to be the
embodiment of a good leader and business person. However his diligence,
drive and perfectionistic traits may have had a negative influence on his
His company sells premium expensive products and has made a
massive profit, whilst almost 80% of all other consumer companies have
made losses. The key point is that he does not dominate market share, but
extracts substantial profits. (Wired magazine, 2011)
Jobs has proposed a massive new-age headquarters for his company
(Dembosky, 2011), which would cement his legacy in the Cupertino
landscape. Secondly, Job chose Walter Isaacson to author his official
autobiography call “iSteve, The Book of Jobs”, (Italie, 2011) with lofty
similarity to the Hebrew Bible, ‘Book of Job’. This innovative leader has found
a posthumous way to leave his mark on the world.
Bauer T., Erdogan B., 2010. Organizational Behaviour - Creative Commons.
Berglas, 1999. What You Can Learn from Steve Jobs. [online]
http://www.inc.com/magazine/19991001/13575.html (Accessed 2.8.2011)
Cnet news, 2006. Apple again pays Jobs $1 salary. [online]
http://news.cnet.com/2100-1047_3-6049166.html. (Accessed 3.8.2011)
CNN tech, 2011. Speculation continues about Apple CEO's health. [online]
apple-spokesman-energy-independence?_s=PM:TECH. (Accessed 2.8.2011)
Customersthink, 2010. Why Steve Jobs doesn’t listen to customers. [online]
rs. (Accessed 3.8.2011)
Dembosky,A., 2011. Apple unveils plan for new headquarters [online] Financial
Times http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_18236676 (Accessed
Discover Magazine, 2009. Modern Bedfellows: LSD Inventor Wrote To Steve
Jobs, Asked For Support. [online]
lsd-inventor-wrote-to-steve-jobs-asked-for-support/ (Accessed 3.8.2011)
Dubrin, Andrew. 1998. Leadership: Research Findings, Practice and Skills. 2nd
Ed. Boston, Houghton Mifflin Co.
Elliot, J. Simon, W.L.,2011. The Steve Jobs Way: iLeadership for a New
Ed. New York: Vanguard Press.
Forbes, 2011. Steve Jobs. [online] http://www.forbes.com/profile/steve-jobs.
French, J., Raven, B. 1959. The Basis of Social Power. [online book] Cartwright
(Eds). Studies of Social Power, (Ann Arbor MI: Institute of Social Research, pp.
Forbes, 2010. Capitalism Has Made Steve Jobs Happy. [online]
happy/?boxes=techchannellighttop (Accessed 2.8.2011)
Goldberg, 2011. [Publication] Giving people what they want before they know
they want it. Springer Science Publication: Symposium “Consumer culture …”.
Gustacci, D. 2011. Steve Jobs, [online] http://gustacci.com/steve-
jobs/introduction/ (Accessed 04.08.2011)
Hansen TM, Ibarra H, Pever U., 2010, The Best-Performing CEOs in the World,
HBR Magazine [online] http://hbr.org/web/extras/100ceos/1-jobs. (Accessed
Italie, H.,2011, Steve Jobs Authorized Biography Coming in 2012. New York:
Associated Press National Writer
Jobs, 2005. Commencement address delivered by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple
Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, on June 12, 2005. [video]
www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1R-jKKp3NA. (Accessed 2.8.2011)
Khaney L., 2008. How Apple Got Everything Right By Doing Everything Wrong
Kirkpatrick D., Maroney T., 1998. The Second Coming of Apple. [online] Fortune
ndex.htm (Accessed 05.08.2011)
Kramer D., 2010. Leadership Behaviors and Attitudes of Steve Jobs [online]
attitudes-of-steve-jobs/ (Accessed 3.8.2011)
Linzmayer, O. W. 2004. Apple confidential 2.0: The definitive history of the
world’s most colorful company. [book] San Francisco: Vanguard Press.
Macworld, 2010. Steve Jobs: Apple wrong over iPhone app rejection, get Google
Android if you want porn. [online]
Mobile Computing News, 2010. Foxconn Scandal continues for Apple: Students
forced to work. [online] http://www.mobile-computing-news.co.uk/industry-
Morris, B. 2008. Steve Jobs speaks out [online]
Steve Jobs, 2010. Steve Jobs - iPhone 4 Problem. [online video].
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2wvLlbyHcs (Accessed 3.8.2011).
The Times, 2009. Leadership is more about than charisma. [online]
Tuaw, 2006. Steve Jobs: Capitalist, Bill Gates: Philanthropist. [online]
Yahoo Finance, 2011. Apple Inc. (AAPL). [online]
http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=AAPL. (Accessed 2.8.2011)
Young, S., William L. 2005. iCon: Steve Jobs The Greatest Second Act in the
history of Business. New York: Vanguard Press.
Appendix 1: Apple´s stock price from 1985-2011 (Yahoo Finance, 2011)
Appendix 2: The Steve Jobs effect (CNN Money, 2011)