Although Apple is huge today, the company has the same organizational structure as when Steve Jobs returned in 1997. While most other giants in Apple’s size have different divisions with top executives and their own responsibility to make a profit, Apple has gathered everything in a single functional structure. .
This is what the Harvard Business Review writes in a long article in which the magazine interviews, among others, Joel Podolny, head of “Apple University”, the company’s internal management training that Steve Jobs created when he realized that he could not be there forever.
Apple, despite its 137,000 employees and over two trillion kronor in turnover, has no directors in the ordinary sense of a person who is responsible for entire products from development to sales. In addition to the CEO Tim Cook, the company management consists of people with responsibility for functional areas. The “Senior Vice President” title may apply, for example, to marketing, software development or hardware technicians.
Podolny also talks about how Apple is almost unique to how managers advance upwards in the organization. The most important thing for a manager at Apple is subject matter expertise, interest in details and a willingness to participate in and debate other functions outside one’s direct area of responsibility. Decisions are almost always made by those who know the most about the subject, not a manager far up in a hierarchy.
Middle managers talk about how high-ranking managers can ask detailed questions about, for example, the value of a certain cell in a spreadsheet or a measured value in a technically advanced hardware test.
The whole article is interesting and worth reading for those who are curious about how Apple works.