Kotter Theories: Apple Company

Strategic management is the process by which an organization drafts, implements and evaluates cross-functional decisions that enable the organization to achieve its long-term objectives. It entails the process of specifying the mission of the organization, its vision, objectives and the development of the various strategies to achieve the objectives of the organization. Apple Inc. has managed to create substantial value in the highly competitive personal computer industry, by utilizing at least three of Kotter’s steps to innovate and forge a path different from its competitors in the industry. The company has been able to successfully be the industry leader through innovation and product differentiation (Kotter 2).

The corporation began by setting its vision statement, which is “commitment to bring personal computing experience to students, educators, professionals who are creative and consumers throughout the world using its innovation capabilities in computer hardware and software” (Masi 10). The vision statement was widely communicated in the firm and internalized by every employee. In a bid to fulfill the mission, the company resorted to creating an organizational culture of innovation using its strategic resources. The company’s vision enabled it to realize the existing opportunities in the computing environment. Apple entered the high-volume business environment traditionally dominated by Windows-based PCs. It also exploited the consumer electronics sector especially after successful sell of iPod and iTunes.

After the identification of the opportunities, the company decided to lay down the strategies on which to achieve its vision. The two major strategies that were identified were product differentiation and innovation. The company chose to differentiate its products by to focusing on quality, design elegance, and superior customer service, while outsourcing actual manufacturing to trusted original equipment manufacturers. Despite the benefits, the stiff competition within the industry and other external factors present formidable challenges to the firm (Enderle 1).

The high competition in the computer industry has enabled Apple Inc utilize yet another Kotter’s step of consolidating more improvements and producing further changes. The latest outcome of these efforts is the manufacture of the ipad. According to Huzefa, Gaurav and Harmanjeet, the company has been able to maximize on this step by utilizing the talented software and hardware engineers who are backed by a sizeable research and development budget (15). However, the company can fail to realize the positive outcome of Kotter’s theories if any of the steps is wrongly implemented. For instance, lack of systematic strategic planning and involvement of all company employees can lead to failure in its plan and objective. The computer industry is maturing and the firm needs to venture into other new and expanding markets while following the steps well (Mercer 75).

After considering Apple’s strategic war, Apple’s core competencies, key resources, and capabilities and given its current situation within the industry and the compounding factors in the form of trends from the general environment, it is clear Apple stands to create considerable value through continued related diversification. The firm’s history of category-defining products like the iPod and iPhone and now the ipad provide sufficient evidence that it is well equipped to continue its path of innovation, by creating digital lifestyle convergence devices that bridge the digital lives of users (Kotter 2). The firm will develop new technologically advanced devices if it continues to apply the theories of Kotter especially by institutionalizing the new approaches developed by the firm. It is evident that the application of the theories is relevant and can be applied by any other firm in any other industry.


Enderle, Rob. Apple’s Competitive advantage. 2004. Web.

Huzefa, Deepti., Gaurav, Dinesh. and Harmanjeet, Singh. A Strategic Analysis of Apple Corporation. Scribd.com, 2009. Web.

Kotter, John. Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail. Harvard Business Review, 2008, 1-7.

Masi, Brian. Strategic analysis of Apple Inc. 2009. Web.

Mercer, David. Marketing strategy: the challenge of the external environment. Thousand Oak, FL: SAGE. 1998.