Apple Inc.'s Corporate Culture: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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Case Details:
Case Code : HROB124
Case Length : 25 pages
Period : 2008-2009
Pub Date : 2009
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Apple, Inc.
Industry : Consumer Electronics
Countries : USA

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"No one denied that Apple's rise was aided immeasurably by his [Steve Jobs'] astonishing energy and persuasiveness and charisma and chutzpah (a word that he loved). And it was his personality that created the company's culture and mystique,"1

- Alan Deutschman, in The Second Coming of Steve Jobs.

"Apple is not Apple because of its technology. Apple is Apple because of the fervor with which its employees believe in the corporate mission... Apple's campus is a fortress. The people within believe that they are doing The Right Thing, and that they will win... passion for one's company is arguably a prerequisite for any company that wants to dominate its market."2

- Matt Asay, vice president of business development, Alfresco3, in 2007.

"Apple is one of the world's coolest companies. But there is one cool-company trend it has rejected [...] Few companies, indeed, are more secretive than Apple, or as punitive to those who dare violate the company's rules on keeping tight control over information [...] Secrecy at Apple is not just the prevailing communications strategy; it is baked into the corporate culture."4

- New York Times5, June 22, 2009.


In 2009, consumer electronics giant Apple, Inc. (Apple) based in Cupertino, California, topped Fortune Magazine's6 "Most Admired Companies" list for the second consecutive year.7 The company was given a top rank in innovation as well as people management.

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1] Alan Deutschman, The Second Coming of Steve Jobs, (Broadway Books, 2001).
2] Matt Asay, "The Power of Apple's Culture,", August 10, 2007.
3] Alfresco is a company that develops open-source software for content management.
4] Brad Stone and Ashlee Vance, "Apple's Obsession with Secrecy Grows Stronger,", June 22, 2009.
5] The New York Times is an English daily newspaper published in New York City.
6] Fortune Magazine is a bi-weekly global business magazine published by Time Inc.
7] The survey annually measures the views of investors, securities analysts, and executives on a numbers-ranked basis in nine specific categories: innovation, people management, use of corporate assets, social responsibility, global competitiveness, management quality, financial soundness, long-term investment, and quality of products and services. The survey covered 64 industries and a total of 689 companies from 28 countries were surveyed.


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