Supporting Change Within an Organization: Apple Inc. Case Study
Background Information about Apple Inc. Company
Apple Inc. Company is an American company that manaufactures personal computers, smartphones, and computer software with its headquarters located in Cupertino California. The company was invented by Stephen G. Wozniak in 1975 and the various products and services provided by Apple Inc. Company are Mac, iPod, Apple watch, Apple TV, customer and professional software applications portfolio, iCloud, Apple Pay, iPhone, and watch operating systems (Calugar et al., 2021). The company is a secondary, tertiary and quaternary industry since it manufactures its own goods and services. The company is also a large-sized business entity with high revenue collection. Apple employs about 147,000 workers worldwide due to its high level of brand loyalty with about 1.7 billion products being distributed across the globe annually. The company employs unitary, functional, and collaborative organizational structure to allow it communicate with all classes of staff (lower, middle, and top managers) (Chandra and Kumar, 2018). The company also needs to continue changing due to the influence of internal and external factors that drive change.
Internal and External Factors that Influence Change in Apple Inc. Company
The external factors that influence change in Apple Inc. include economics, technological changes, and political factors.
Political Factors– Governments in various countries often pass laws and business policies that drive change in the country. Examples of such political changes that influence change in the company include amended business legislations and changes in the amount of tax paid by business entities. For instance, the government of UK passed a law in 2018 that increases the national minimum wage (Chandra and Kumar, 2018). The law increased the wage costs of various companies or organizations and Apple had to reduce the staff hours and its products’ prices in the country to maintain its profit margins despite the increased wage costs. The federal government of the United States also decreased business tax rates during the COVID-19 pandemic, which increased Apple’s expenditure and the company had to change its investment strategy and pricing strategy by increasing investment and reducing products’ prices (Chaudhary et al., 2016).
Economic Factors– Economic factors such as interest rates and exchange rates often drive changes in Apple Inc. Company. The economic situations of each country also influence change in the company. for example, when a given country experiences good economy (boom), the company’s sales volume increases and Apple Inc. may decide to increase the products’ prices or launch new products in the market (Chaudhary et al., 2016. On the other hand, recession compels the company to introduce strategic product promotion approaches to attract more customers or lower the product prices. The company also shifts from borrowing capital from the money lending institutions when the interest rates are increased due to higher costs of borrowing compared to when the interest rates are decreased.
Technological Factors– Various technological factors influence change in Apple Inc. Company. for example, introduction of new and advanced production equipment decreases the costs of production and the company could decide to reinvest to increase profits generation or reduce the product prices (Yusoff and Husnina, 2018). Technological advancements could also force the company restructure its staffing or introduce training programs to the employees to ensure that the company remains relevant based on skills, knowledge, and competencies.
The internal factors that influence change in Apple company include human resource, finance, and current technology. Various components of human resource management such as corporate culture, mission statement, company policies, vision and purpose statements, and employees’ training and development drive change in Apple company. For example, revising the mission, vision, and purpose statement influences a change in objectives of the company (Yusoff and Husnina, 2018). on the other hand, availability of adequate finance also drive change in the company, for example increasing wages to the employees, hiring new staffs, and developing new products. Current technology also influences a change in the company’s saving culture. For instance, video conferencing and using tablets and smartphones for employees to work from home helps the company to save a lot in terms of travelling costs and accommodation costs during meetings.
Change affects business in various ways. Change could introduce more efficient and effective ways of undertaking the business operations and provide employees with the opportunities to shine and increase revenue generation (Cummings et al., 2016). Similarly, introducing new or advanced delivery process in Apple company could increase the speed of delivering merchandise to the customers. However, negative changes could reduce staff morale, breakdown the workers’ relationships, and promote absenteeism.
Key Factors involved in the Change Process
The four key factors involved in the change process include; understanding the change, planning the change, implementing change, and communicating the change. Understanding the change involves highlighting the benefits of change to the stakeholders involved after conducting thorough cost-benefits analysis. Planning the change entails developing the strategic approaches of managing the change (Cummings et al., 2016). Change implementation involves building momentum and encouraging all parties to participate in the change implementation activities. Communicating the change encompasses giving the right message at the right time to the people to get ample support to reinforce the change.
Critical Stages involved in the Change Process
- Preparing the organization for change- The manager informs employees about the change to enhance understanding of the needs for change and the associated benefits and challenges of such change.
- Crafting vision and plan for the change-The manager in charge of the change develops realistic plan for the change including strategic goals, the key performance indicators, the project stakeholders, and project scope while accounting for the challenges that could arise during the implementation process
- Implementing the change- This involves the actual transition to the desired change. The stage also encompasses employees’ empowerment and repeated communication to keep the employees alert to the change process.
- Embedding changes within company culture and practices to prevent the organization from backsliding
- Reviewing progress and analyzing results to help leaders understand whether the change initiative was successful and plan the future change efforts.
The Approaches of Change Management
The three common change management models (approaches) include Kotter’s change model, ADKAR, and Lewin’s change management model. The three change management models differ in terms of application and emphasis. For instance, Kotter’s model pays more attention to the opinions of the senior executives, ADKAR mainly focuses on the organization, and Lewin’s model focus on all the stakeholders to prevent potential resistance (Hussain et al., 2018). However, all the three approaches provide excellent insights into the effective ways of successfully managing the change.
Apple company has been using Lewin’s change model to successfully implement the proposed changes. The three stages followed by the company to implement the change include:
- Unfreezing- The managers prepares the organization for the change by stating the benefits to eliminate possible resistance
- Change- This is the transition stage where the company adopts new culture, values, behaviors, and attitudes by employing excellent leadership and communication
- Refreezing- The company crystallizes the new change to prevent it from reverting to the old ways of doing things.
The three behavioral responses observed when change occurs in an organization are;
- Disengagement- Disengagement refers to the employees’ psychological withdrawal from the change. Disengagement negatively affects the success of change process by imposing lack of drive or commitment among the employees to implement the change (Pugh, 2018).
- Dis-identification- The feeling of being threatened by the change. The response introduces resistance in the change process and such employees would cling to the previous ways of doing things to safeguard their identities.
- Disenchantment- Usually expressed in terms of negativity or anger while employees are feeling mad at the change process. Disenchantment makes it difficult to engage and reason with employees during the change process (McCarthy et al., 2021).
Roles of HR in Supporting Individuals during Change
- Advocating for employees’ interests during the change
- Providing answers to the questions raised by confused employees
- Ensuring adequate employees’ training to support the change goals.