Proposed Title: Innovation and team performance through studying iPhone and iPad
Apple Inc has been one of the most successful global brands, which has developed to become an iconic brand in the Silicon Valley companies. The company’s success is evidenced in its iPhone and iPad products, with iPhone gaining over 43% market share in the US market (Lashinsky, 2012). In line with its mission, Apple has been committed to bring the best experience in personal computing through its highly innovative technology. As a result of its highly differentiation strategy, Apple has developed to become an ultimate iconic brand with unmatched brand acceptance, leading to its increasing share in both US and the global markets.
2. Brief Literature Review
Innovation and organisational structure are key organisational elements that Un (2010) considers to be fundamental sources of success in technology companies like Apple. Considering the competitive nature of the technology industry, value creation is becoming the bottom-line for success; firms seek to position themselves more strategically in the industry. As pointed out by Shipton et al (2006) and Kramar et al (2011), when firms focus on value creation through adopting innovative approaches in their product development, it becomes easier for the company to acquire a higher market share because the products will be able to penetrate easier into the target customers. Nonetheless, Rogers (2003) emphasizes the importance of effective leadership and organisational structure which play an important role towards fostering innovation in organisation.
While there are many types of innovation, Puranam, Singh & Zollo (2006) considers radical innovation to be the most important in organisations seeking to differentiate themselves in a highly competitive business environment. As reported by Nair & Leng (2012), Apple’s slogan of ‘leading the customer’ other than following the customer is considered to be one of the cutting edge strategy leveraged through radical innovation which has seen the company grow and develop to become one of the most respected brands. Strong leadership and an effective organisational structure are considered by to be critical in organisations adopting radical innovation strategy as a way of differentiating themselves from competitors. For example, during the development of the iPad at Apple, it is reported by Lashinsky (2012) the company’s marketing department strongly opposed the design, but Steve Jobs was more focused to introduce the new innovative product, which has developed to be one of the most admired technological gadgets across the world. In this regard, a very strong and focused leadership is considered to be of fundamental importance in the development of radical innovations.
As a result of radical innovation, organisations are able to develop new and more attractive products which tend to be preferred in the market, leading to the increase in market share and profitability (Naranjo-Valencia et al, 2011; Folkestad & Gonzalez, 2010). With an effective organizational structure where information share is centralized, Nakamura & Yorks (2011) argues that it is easier for an organisation to pursue a differentiation strategy which makes its products to remain unique and attractive to the target customers. This is evidenced in the development of iPad and iPhone by Apple which have contributed massively to its growth and increased market share over the recent years (Scott-Morgan, 2012). However, the success of Apple seem to be stemmed during the leadership era of Steve Jobs, where the current CEO, Tim Cook took over in the year 2012. Though the company has continued to develop new updated models of its iPad and iPhone products, no ‘new products’ have been established by Apple Inc so far; this study seeks to establish the ultimate factors that have enabled the company to continue enjoying high levels of marker share and continued profitability.
3. Specific Research Objectives and Research Questions
This study seeks to achieve the following research objectives:
a) To identify the management practices that has enabled Apple to achieve success
b) To establish the role of radical innovation in the company’s differentiation strategy
c) To provide recommendations on how the company can achieve sustainable competitive advantage
The following are the research questions that will guide this research:
a) What are the management practices that have enabled Apple to achieve success?
b) How does radical innovation promote Apple’s differentiation strategy?
c) How can Apple achieve sustainable competitive advantage in the long-run?
4. Methodology, including approach(es) to data collection and analysis
This study will adopt mixed research design where both qualitative and quantitative data will be collected through interviews and questionnaires. The need to collect both qualitative and quantitative data in this is guided by the nature of the research problem where both the employees and the management of Apple Inc will be contacted for data collection. As such, a case study design will be adopted where the stakeholders of Apple Inc (employees and the management) will be the ultimate sources of data. A sample of 100 employees of Apple in the company’s headquarters in California and five middle level managers will be selected. The selected employees will be administered with questionnaires, while the five middle level employees will be interviewed. Because both qualitative and quantitative data will be collected in this study, a comprehensive data analysis strategy will be employed where qualitative data will be analysed through thematic analysis, while quantitative data collected from questionnaires will be analysed using SPSS 17.0 software. Throughout the data collection process, a high level of ethical considerations will be employed in this study.
5. Time scale
This study will be conducted on 12-week time scale (as shown in the table 1 below):
Table 1 – Gantt chart showing the research schedule
Task Wk 1 Wk 2 Wk 3 Wk 4 Wk 5 Wk 6 Wk 7 Wk 8 Wk 9 Wk 10 Wk 11 Wk 12
Research of relevant literature
Write-up literature review
Construct research instruments
Selection research sample
Preparation of ethics application
Piloting the data collection instruments
Actual data collection
Conducting data analysis
Writing up the other parts of the dissertation
Proof-reading and Presenting the first draft to the supervisor
Revising the dissertation based on the supervisor’s comments
Submitting the final copy of the dissertation
6. Reference list
Folkestad, J., & Gonzalez, R. (2010) ‘Teamwork for innovation: A content analysis of the highly read and highly cited literature on innovation’, Advances in Developing Human Resources, 12(1): 115-136.
Kramar, R., De Cieri, H., Noe, R.A., Hollenbeck, J.R., Gerhart, B.A. & Wright, P.M. (2011) Human Resource Management: Strategy, People & Performance, 4th edn., Sydney: McGraw-Hill Australia Pty Ltd Publishing.
Lashinsky, A. (2012) Inside Apple: How America’s most admired and secretive company really works. Washington, DC: Pearson Publishers.
Matthias, I. & Schenker-Wicki, A. (2012) ‘Fostering radical innovations with open innovations’ European Journal of Innovation Management, 15(2): 212-231.
Nair, P.B. & Leng, Q.I. (2012) ‘The sweet and sour Apple: The case of CEO strategies at Apple Inc.’ The Indian Journal of Management, 5(1): 21-25.
Nakamura, Y.K. & Yorks, L. (2011) ‘The role of reflective practices in building social capital in organisations from HRD perspective’, Human Resource Development Review, 10(3): 222-245.
Naranjo-Valencia, J.C., Jimenez, D. & Sanz-Vale, R. (2011) ‘Innovation or imitation? The role of organizational culture’, Management Decision, 49(1): 55-72.
Puranam, P., Singh, H., & Zollo, M. (2006) ‘Organizing for innovation: Managing the coordination- autonomy dilemma in technology acquisition’, Academy of Management Journal, 49(2): 263-280.
Rogers, E. M. (2003) Diffusion of Innovation, 5th edition. New York, NY: Free Press, A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Scott-Morgan, P. (2012) The reality of our global future: how five unstoppable high-tech trends will dominate our lives and transform our world. New Jersey: Wiley & Sons Publishers.
Shipton, H., West, M. A. Dawson, J. Birdi, K. & Patterson. M. (2006) ‘HRM practices as a predictor of innovation’, Human Resource Management Journal, 16(1): 3–27.
Un, C.A. (2010) ‘An empirical multi-level analysis for achieving balance between incremental and radical innovation’, Journal of Engineering and Technology Management, 27(1/2): 1-19.
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