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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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Social Performance of Organizations

Introduction

Apple is one of the leading international corporations that deal in the design, development and sale of computer hardware and software, in addition to providing online services. The company is best known for its series of consumer electronic products, which are inclusive of the iPad, iPod, and Mac personal computer. Founded in 1976, the company has over the years grown to be the largest in revenue and total assets in regard to the IT industry globally (Hasan, 2013, p. 1). Given the global recognition that the company has attracted in the recent years, the aim of this paper is to specify the type, organization and categories of products or services of Apple, and identify key factors in the company's external environment that can affect its success. Moreover, this paper provides suggestions on the ways in which Apple's primary stakeholders can influence its financial performance, in addition to specifying a contentious company social responsibility concern related to the company.

The Type, Organization, and Categories of Products and/ or Services offered by Apple

Since it was founded in 1976, Apple has designed and developed electronic products that include personal computers, watches, media players, mobile phones, and tablet computers that are outstanding and exceptional in nature. More specifically, the company's products comprise of the iPad tablet computer, iPod portable media player, Mac personal computer, iPhone smartphone, Apple TV, and Apple smart watch. The company's range of products has done tremendously well in the international market with a continued growth in their demand still experienced (Hitt, Ireland, & Hoskisson, 2012, p. 161). In particular, the continued success of Apple's range of products in the international market is owed to the firm's remarkable innovation and creativity that it employs in the design and development of its products. This has enabled Apple's products to competitively beat their rival products in the market.

Beside Apple's range of hardware products highlighted in the previous paragraph, the company also provides offerings on software products. Software product offerings that the firm provides fall in a range of applications for business, government, entertainment, and education.  In particular, Apple's software products are inclusive of professional application software, and entertainment, business and education oriented application software. For example, the firm's iTunes is software that operates on Mac and Windows operating systems, enabling people to buy, download, organize and play digital audio and video files (Hitt, Ireland, & Hoskisson, 2012, p. 161). The company also offers operating system software that is used in its range of electronic products, particularly the iPhone, which utilizes iOS, and Mac personal computer, which makes use of OS X.  

Moreover, Apple operates as a service offering company, providing a range of services that are essential to the daily operation of businesses and individuals. Following from this, the firm offers the iCloud, a cloud service which enables the storage of digital audio and video files, applications, snapshots, charts, documents, and contacts. Also included in the company's list of services is Apple's mapping solution, which provides directions to various locations around the world. Apple recognizes that the provision of services is core to its future. In this regard, its strategies for overcoming the challenges of becoming more of a service company include integration and differentiation (Hasan, 2013, p. 1).

A major reason to Apple's successful sail in the market is the creation of customer friendly products, which are in contrast to most of the company's rival products in the market that do not match customer needs and taste. The company has over the years ensured that it provides product offerings that are highly valued by consumers relative to those of the rival firms as exemplified by its successful iPhone offering. As noted by Hill, Schilling, and Jones (2016, p. 90), Apple creates value for consumers with the elegance of design for its products, and their intuitive easy-to-use interface. The firm has enjoyed incredible success in differentiating its products along these dimensions in addition to charging premium prices for its products relative to product offerings from rival firms such as Samsung. This approach to product design and development has enabled Apple to achieve enormous economies of scale in production and purchasing of components used in the creation of its products.

Key factors in the organization's external environment that can affect its success

Nonetheless, an organization's success is attributed to how effectively it is able to develop strategic plans that make it possible to overcome external factors that might affect business success. In order to effectively come up with these plans, key external factors that affect business success must be identified. In the case of Apple, the most likely external factors that may have a bearing on its success are inclusive of technological factors and economic factors. Technological factors affect competition among industry players, especially in regard to changes in technological solutions that determine cost operations, manufacturing capacity, and product quality of a company. Economic factors can as well upset the achievement of Apple because an organization's growth depends on the prevailing national and global economic conditions. In this perspective, the amount of disposable income in the global market, high inflation rates, and the wealth of the global population can greatly antagonize the prospects of Apple INC (Hasan, 2013, p. 3).

Ways in which Primary Stakeholders can Influence the Company's Financial Performance

Primary stakeholders are considered to be the key stakeholders in an organization. This group of stakeholders has contractual, official and formal relationship with an organization that enables them to exert direct influence on a firm's financial performance. Specifically, primary stakeholders have the power to influence the resources of a company, especially when they are shareholders (owners) (Longenecker, et al., 2016, p. 40). In this view, Apple's financial performance can be influenced by primary stakeholders in the sense that it is this group of stakeholders that has control over the financial resources, which are used for production, marketing, and distribution of products to consumers. In a similar manner, primary stakeholders in the form of creditors can have an influence on Apple's financial performance as well because they are a major source of funding for the company. Also, employees, who are part of a company's primary stakeholders, can affect financial performance of Apple because they invest intellectual capital, time, and energy without which the firm would not realize its financial success (Longenecker, et al., 2016).

Primary stakeholders can also have an influence over a company's financial performance when they are in the form of customers. Customers provide the potential market for the sale of products offered by a company based on the relationship that the company has established with the customers (Phillips, 2011, p. 170). In this manner, Apples' financial performance is likely to be influenced by its customers, who, depending on their purchasing power, preference, and trust on the company's products, can decide to purchase or ignore products and services that the company provides. Likewise, suppliers can influence an organizational, financial performance depending on the effectiveness of the relationship that a firm has established with them. Like in many other companies, Apple's suppliers determine the efficiency of its value chain and can as a result influence its financial performance.

Controversial Corporate Social Responsibility Concern Associated with the Company

Corporate social responsibility, a firm's sense of responsibility in regard to its business practice, has recently emerged as a dominant aspect of business model that needs to be addressed by firms effectively. Apple, like many multinational companies, has been in the spotlight regarding its corporate social responsibility. The most recent CSR controversy concern associated with the company is the scandal surrounding the firm's labor and human right, in which a report by FLA found that Apple's Foxconn, the company's subsidiary and supplier based in China, had routinely violated the wages and hours provisions of the Chinese law. According to the report, Apple was required to improve the poor working conditions in Foxconn; in this way, reinforcing the principle of supply chain corporate social responsibility. Numerous civil society groups have pointed out that the Apple-Foxconn CRS controversy is evidence of the fact that the supply chain CSR policies of Apple have proved inadequate to the task of identifying and preventing labor violations (Tsutsui, & Lim, 2015, p. 210). Nonetheless, Apple has since made efforts to improve the workers' working conditions in the factory accordingly.

Conclusion

Over the years, Apple has gained a global reputation over its unique products and services that have proven to appeal to a wide international market. The company's ability to design and develop innovative and creative products and services that meet customer needs has enabled it to have a competitive advantage over its rivals. Currently, Apple enjoys financial success unmatched by any other company in the IT industry due to how effectively it has managed its primary stakeholders over the years. However, this outstanding reputation has been tainted by a scandalous company social responsibility issue associated with the company; its labor problems in China. In this regard, Apple has made efforts to ensure that the Chinese labor problem is resolved and that it continues to thrive in the IT industry. Nevertheless, given the economic and technological factors, which are beyond the company's control, only the future will tell if Apple will indeed continue to experience success in its business venture.

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