In Stage I (Discussion questions), your analysis will be geared toward responding to several questions related to the assigned case. This will require you to go beyond the rational analysis and provide you with more flexibility and freedom in formulating your answers, where you are not strictly bound by rational choices, as is the case with the SWOT matrix. This is to recognize that an organization is not an entirely rational entity but a dynamic one (e.g., actions are taken based on rational as well as other considerations), that a SWOT is not likely to capture all the nuances of an organization, and that considerations beyond what the data/facts indicate (e.g., organizational politics, wisdom of the strategic manager, factors that are not apparently visible, etc.,), all of which may play an important role in the formulation of a strategy. For example, a SWOT matrix may not touch on or provide a satisfactory answer to the type of questions, such as: How would you describe Steve Job’s leadership philosophy? Or what was the impact of the founder’s philosophy on the corporate culture, and does it help or hurt the corporation?
As Joseph Bower, Harvard Business School Professor and case author, mentioned, “We seek also, via the classroom case discussion process, to educate in the non-logical—that mixture of feeling and sentiment, comment and commitment, certainty and uncertainty—that goes into every decision and judgment. Such directed group discussion force attention to the human dimensions through which the analytic framework is filtered in real life. It serves further to emphasize the ongoing or process nature of the general manager’s world.’’ The Stage I is intended to complement the outcomes obtained based on a SWOT analysis process and add additional perspectives to the analysis
Apple Inc. is among the Big Five companies in America in Information Technology alongside other companies: Microsoft, Alphabet, Meta, and Amazon. Since it was founded in April 1976 by Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, and Ronald Wayne, the company has been striving to produce personal computers and other products of the best quality and with unique and innovative features that appeal to the users (Yoffie & Kim, 2014). From the beginning, Apple adopted a differentiation strategy making it unique in the personal computer market. Apart from adopting a differentiation strategy, Apple’s products are always customer-oriented, leading to strong customer loyalty. This is one factor that has provided a sustainable competitive advantage for the company over other players in the industry…