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Apple Inc.’s Strategic Leadership and Innovation


Heracleous and Papachroni explore strategic leadership and innovation at Apple, Inc., performed by Steve Jobs, a founder of the organization. The authors point out that the company started to prosper after Jobs returned to work in 1997. For the period before 1997, however, the organization experienced financial difficulties and was hardly capable of managing its production (Heracleous, & Papachroni, 2013). According to these facts, it is logical to conclude that Steve Jobs had excellent leadership skills that allowed him to improve the position of the company in the market and increase profits. The effectiveness of his leadership was ensured by Job’s readiness to work hard and his ability to implement a strategy based on innovation. Combining new technologies and attractive design solutions, the company started manufacturing new products that became popular among the population.

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The popularity of the company’s goods was achieved not only by the development of new products but also by creating various services and software programs under the name of the brand. Some of these services and programs were unique as holders of Apple products were not able to use any other software for their devices. Soon, the organization became a leader among all the other producers of electronics in the market. This position was taken due to the creation of new goods that combined several functions, such as phones, cameras, and computers. Due to their convenience, these devices were widely accepted by the public both in the USA and abroad.

Assessing the set of company’s measures, it is possible to say that its leadership strategy is effective. The organization gained the position of leader through innovation, which is one of the best components of competitive advantage (Dereli, 2015). Moreover, the success of the strategy was achieved by a competent analysis of consumers’ needs, such as new technologies, attractive design, uniqueness, and convenience. Therefore, advanced sales of Apple products, as well as a strong position of the organization in the market, prove that the company’s leadership is effective. It is worth mentioning that it would not be possible to succeed without a competent leader, who, according to scholars, must be forward-looking, inspiring, and intelligent (Hossain, 2015). Steve Jobs possessed all these qualities and ensured the progressive development of his company.

In order to take a strong position in the market, the company implemented certain techniques that distinguish them from the other manufacturers. These techniques include the development of a highly responsive operating system and teamwork of all departments at once while creating a new product. It also consists of the integration of several systems created by Apple within one product, and gathering top professionals for working in the organization. What makes Apple unique among its competitors is that the company has various specialists, working in mechanics, IT, electronics, or design spheres.

Thus, it does not need to outsource its work to other manufacturers. Therefore, the organization’s competitive advantage is based on the proprietary approach. However, Heracleous and Papachroni assert that even though there are some benefits of this approach, there are still some risks (2013). For instance, the potential challenges that the company may face include greater responsibility of the staff, additional expenses, and the increase of the first costs of the products. Thus, this approach requires the organization to hire more people who would be able to manage the process of creating products. It is obvious it is much easier to outsource some work to other companies than to control the whole process internally. Moreover, maintaining a large number of professionals leads to additional expenses, such as renting an office or conducting training programs for the staff. This results in an increase in the first cost of the products created by the company.

Another challenge that Apple might meet is the lack of professionals who would agree to work long hours for an average salary. As it is stated in the case study, the salaries of workers in Apple are not higher than in other companies, even though they have more working hours per week. The case here is that the majority of the company’s employees work at Apple because it is considered prestigious. However, if the cost of production gets hire, people will not be able to buy the same quantity of Apple products, and the popularity of the company may decrease. As a result, it can affect the status of the organization and cause large-scale staff layoffs. In this case, it will be problematic to stick to the proprietary approach in the future.

Apple is the biggest start-up company in the world, which pursues many strategies to ensure the company’s growth. It has a strong position in the market, develops new products, and opens new stores in various locations around the world. However, there is still a strategy that might be used for the company’s growth, which is called acquisition. It is not a secret, that even though Apple products are popular among the population, the company still has a lot of competitors in the market of electronic goods. Thus, the main competitor is Samsung, which creates high-quality products and has a lot of consumers in different parts of the world. Similarly, a Chinese electronics company, Xiaomi, develops cheap products accessible for people of different income levels. To reduce the potential risk that comes from competitors, it might be right for Apple to acquire small companies and start producing a new, budgetary type of goods for people with low incomes. It will allow the organization to increase both the number of its consumers and its profits. The additional revenues may be used to improve compensation for employees, who, as it was mentioned above, often have to work long hours to achieve the best results. In addition, creating a line of products for poor people will help the company to gain more trust from the population.

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Another measure that might be pursued by the company is introducing sustainable programs that would help the company to avoid the negative impact of its production on the environment. The company already utilizes a special type of materials for goods production that helps people to use it longer. The representatives of the organization claim that using devices longer prevents people from frequent purchases. As a result, there are fewer wastes that have a negative impact on the atmosphere of our planet. However, the company creates new products every few months, and, due to its marketing policy, persuades consumers to buy new devices that are always better than the previous ones. Therefore, there is still a need to implement a new, environment-friendly strategy that would not go against the main principles of the protection of nature. The described strategies would bring benefits to the company, its consumers, and future generations.


Dereli, D. (2015). Innovation management in global competition and competitive advantage. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences 195, 1365-1370.

Heracleous, L., & Papachroni, A. (2013). Strategic leadership and innovation at Apple, Inc.: Case study. London, UK: Pearson.

Hossain, K. (2015). Leadership qualities for 21st century leaders. Pearl Journal of Management, Social Science and Humanities, 1(1), 18-29.

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