Every company or organization strives to achieve its goals and objectives through clear guidelines and milestones. Organizations are social structures built with well-defined patterns of activity. Business processes are activities that firms utilize to achieve organizational goals. Business processes need to be continually reviewed to ensure they do not become outdated and cost organizations through profit reduction (Jensen, 1983). Every firm has its unique organizational structure that facilitates communication between all employees. Organizational structure provides transparent business processes and more clarity, helping manage expectations, and facilitate efficient decisions. Analyzing an organization in the context of services or products, structure, high-level processes, and information technology systems is critical to understand how organizations and business processes are interconnected.
The chosen organization is Apple Inc. which markets, manufactures, and designs personal computers, wearables, smartphones, accessories, and tablets and offers other related services. The company operates in various geographical segments, such as Japan, China, Europe, North America, South America, and Asia. However, Apple’s products have reached the whole world as people demand more of the company’s services. The firm’s services and products include Apple TV, AirPods, iPad, Mac, iPhone, Apple Watch, digital content stores, iCloud, Apple Care, licensing, and streaming services. Apple was created by Stephen Wozniak, Steven Jobs, and Ronald Wayne (Tasnim, 2018). The success of Apple Inc. has been achieved through consistent business processes and objectives, which require much effort. New employees of the company are expected to observe the company culture and adopt shared common values. William Ouchi acknowledges that an organization can shape those involved in the company (Ouchi, 1980). As a result, employee onboarding at Apple is consistent with Ouchi’s views on the complicated nature of organizations.
Apple has a functional organizational structure that is aligned to promote extensive innovation. The company had a conventional structure but was dismantled to adopt functional units. The leaders of every department are responsible for functions as opposed to products. According to Merton (1940), the hierarchical organizational structure is most common in organization theory. It involves a system where middle-level employees report to top management, whereas middle-level workers supervise regular staff (Merton, 1940). Organization theory advocates that as entrepreneurial companies such as Apple grow complex and large, they should adopt a multidivisional structure to promote control and accountability (Tasnim, 2018). However, Apple shows that the conventional approach to organization theory is unnecessary and that functional structures can benefit companies that face tremendous industry upheaval and technological change.
Apple’s primary goal is to make products that add value to the daily lives of people. As a result, the company needs to continually innovate to offer enriching products and services to its customers. To produce innovative products, a company can utilize a structure that is centered around functional expertise (Dickson, 2003). The functional organizational structure allows two leadership features: deep expertise and willingness to collaborate. The three leadership traits enable the collective making of decisions and knowledge of processes (Tasnim, 2018). Apple’s organizational structure promotes innovation through continuous quality improvement (Davenport, 1993). Innovative approaches used by Apple are exemplified by the high-level processes the company achieves.
A high-level process that is extremely important to Apple is the product development process. Such a process is highly secretive, considering that Apple has managed to attract its customers through the incredible design of its products. It is an example of a business process that is improved continuously to achieve a great final product. Business processes are activities that a firm does to realize its objectives (Jensen, 1983). Design teams are given the freedom to set their budgets and ignore the practicalities of manufacturing. The freedom to create products without limitations enables designers to produce incredible final products. Furthermore, only a few chosen employees have access to the Industrial Design Studio of Apple. Design teams are secluded from the entire company when working on a new product. An independent reporting structure is created for the design teams who report to the executive team directly. Apple ensures continuous improvement and provides the best product possible, making it ready to be launched (Tasnim, 2018). The product development process lies at the heart of the design functional unit.
Information Technology Systems
Apple relies on collaborative decision-making among its design team to produce unique products. When the design team is separated from the standard offices of Apple, they concentrate solely on building a specific product. As a result, they depend on decisions made collectively as a group. Apple acknowledges that the design group can accomplish a lot through group decision-support systems (GDSS). GDSS is an information technology system developed to facilitate organizational and group decision-making. In addition, it provides solutions to unstructured problems in product development. Apple employees use Web-based tools and collaboration systems for electronic meetings and videoconferencing to enable effective communication during product development. GDSS provides technologies and tools that are explicitly geared toward decision-making in groups. The system gives each team member a dedicated computer that the individual only controls. In addition, it promotes collaboration since members contribute to a meeting anonymously (Kenneth et al., 2019). GDSS is a critical information technology system that Apple uses to improve group collaboration and decision-making.
In conclusion, it is crucial to analyze a selected organization concerning its description, structure, critical information technology systems, and high-level processes to understand its business processes. The chosen organization is Apple Inc. which sells and markets smartphones, wearables, personal computers, and other services. The company benefits from a functional organizational structure that is designed to enhance innovation. A high-level process that Apple engages in is product development, and it is highly secretive. GDSS enables collaboration between the design team as they find solutions to unstructured problems.
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Kenneth, C., Laudon, L., & Jane, P. (2019). Management information systems: Managing the digital firm (16th Ed.). Pearson.
Merton, R. K. (1940). Bureaucratic structure and personality. Social Forces, 18(4), 560-568.
Ouchi, W. G. (1980). Markets, Bureaucracies, and Clans. Administrative Science Quarterly, 25(1), 129-141.
Tasnim, M. (2018). An organizational analysis on Apple. European Journal of Business and Management, 10(11). 35-40.