Becoming a Successful Learning Organisation: Case Study of Apple

When faced with the challenges and difficulties in business environment nowadays, business need to improve knowledge continuously to survive and remain competitive with other business. Meanwhile, “learning organization” and “best practices” are two important concepts that can help businesses succeed. From an unknown organization has now become a famous brand with business strategy, the way in breaking success, Apple is one of the business organization encourages continuous personal learning to be able to overcome difficulties in the market today. We should study how organizations learn and practice such as Apple to see the strategic vision and ways of doing business that many companies in the world by surprise.

How does Apple become a Learning Organization?

Learning organization is one that sought to create their own future, said that learning is a continuous process and innovation for its members, and one in which the development, adaptation, and transform itself to meet the needs and aspirations of the people, both inside and outside of it. There are five major factors in the learning organization. Those are systems thinking, personal mastery, mental models, building shared visions, and team learning. Knowledge management is a tool for learning implementation. A learning organization requires effective knowledge management and knowledge management to support the distribution of knowledge, of course, turn to support learning. A learning organization is at a higher level and involves a lot more than knowledge management. Work processes to enhance the importance of learning and integrating all aspects of knowledge. For an organization to study the potential relationship can switch between Knowledge management and the Learning organization potential, so companies need knowledge management. So a company wants to succeed should be based on both these factors. Thus, learning should facilitate organizational learning for staff organization, and should maintain it to contribute to continuous changes of the organization.

The connection between organizational learning and knowledge management is a new method of doing it and creating new ideas to adapt to changes in the company. Companies should encourage their employees with critical thinking and generate new ideas, but not all new ideas are correct. Therefore organizations should accept editing mistakes and let people learn from experience and testing. This will create a flexible organization in which employees will be adapted to new ideas and change a common vision within the organization. This is a way that no one knows what Apple used to apply to their organizations and have been successful now. They did make the mistake of each product in the past and helped them defeat their product innovation to make new products reach the market better.

Apple Inc is a U.S. manufacturer of personal computers, computer peripherals, music players, mobile phones and computer software. It was the first successful personal computer company and the “popularize” of the graphical user interface in the globalization business environment. Apple’s success the first time in 1978 when they realize they need to work in groups to put apples on the market at that time Steve Jobs, along with partner Stephen G. Wozniak. He said it would require professional management and funding worth. Apple Inc. never stops learning and creativity to make the enterprise and innovation are created. That is the best way to adapt to the rapidly changing and stringent requirements of customers worldwide.

Apple Inc. faces a lot of mistakes, even failure in some product lines in the past and learning with all the failures of other companies. It has drawn a good organization it is today. A CEO has stated that: “There is no advantage that is invariant. Although the core businesses of a company’s employees are favorable, but it still must continue to maintain creative edge competition in the business environment is increasingly severe. “Steve Jobs and his organization recognized that they must understand clearly what happened wrongly with Apple.

Within a decade, Apple has created five product lines to completely change the face of those created in the technology world. That are includes the iPod – the player is a departure for the conquest era technology market, Apple’s next start iTunes it’s quite perfect-a perfect software with a good business model, it has convinced many consumers, then the iPhone-despite the Smartphone was born three years but is still not found a rival, The AppExchange — the first online market for applications cloud and eventually Apple Store – The revolution is quietly than Apple’s. A series of product launch is an example of how learning and constantly updated to bring new features in the product. Apple was research and continuous innovation of products that can attract many different types of customers around the world.

June 26, 2010 iPhone 4 was officially released in the market. On the first day iPhone 4 came out, all of retail shops were full of long queues of customers, all of customers expected to have iPhone 4 earlier. However, iPhone 4 did not satisfy as the customers expected. The customers recognized some problems in iPhone 4 such as yellow pixels on iPhone 4 screen, case of iPhone is easily to be scratched and get troubles when iPhone 4 connects with other devices as computer, or iPhone accessories like Bluetooth. The customers are very angry with this product and four customers were suing manufacturers. Apple knew how to calm down the customers and fixed mistakes such as show video clip how to prevent losing signal and update firmware for iPhone 4 to reduce programs problem and donate free case for customers buy iPhone 4. Apple not only successful in terms of design and Apple know customer orientation “What do they want? And what do they need?.” That reflected sales of the apple, in sequence, sale volume of iPhone did drop otherwise raise 60% compare with 2009, Apple earn 15.7 billion USD.

Why Best Practice is Useful in Knowledge Management?

Many organizations are trying to find the good way to make their business best but sometime they make some mistakes in their decision. On the other hand, most of enterprises were successful when they use best practice system. It also makes a big difference in their own business.

Best practice means that organization try to find out and using best way to make company successful and achieve their goals and objectives. Best practice help organizations recognize their weakness and their strength then organizations can set up strategies more clearly and carefully, making up real plan in future and improve activities in business. When organizations apply best practice this means they have the awareness to develop continuous about product’s quality and services, they can increase their competitive advantages. Best practices can be used in any kind of business such as new software development, construction, transportation, business management as well as government. Best practices can be a part of helping transfer tacit knowledge to explicit knowledge such as: documented in the form of manuals, lists, reports, software, instructional documents or materials.

The mobile devices industry is really a competitive market in many famous companies as Nokia, Samsung, Motorola, etc. They were successful in their special products to make them get more profit and positioning in huge market. But it’s a big change in 2007, the new products of Apple are iPhone, iPod, Macbook, etc. gradually show up in over the world. And then Apple became a big competitor of mobile industry in the world. Apple’s CEO said “iPhone is a revolutionary and magical product that is literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone”. That’s absolutely right.

14.1 million iPhones was sold to get 20.34 billion USD for Apple in 25th October,2010. It was increased 91% for 2011. iPhone is the product can make most benefit for Apple. On the other hand, Mac was sold 3.89 million, increased 27%. iPod is 9.05 million, increased 11% and 4.19 million iPad come to customers. CEO Steve Jobs once put it: “Our goal is to stand at the intersection of technology and the humanities.” Apple tries to adapt high technology to simple user interfaces.

Depend on the ability to adapt Apple’s best practice to business. There is no doubt to say that Apple is the top of innovative companies. They can use and apply all the principles, ideas to create something new of innovation. Actually, the Apple’s products aren’t easy to acquire and integrate into the life of people. But after that, people recognize the simple features and use it quickly. That’s reason why Apple was successful in short time. One more thing, Apple does best is they can make customers can satisfy their products by providing best software and services, make them proud to use the products and services. It’s also a main purpose many companies want to reach on.

How Best Practice used in Learning Organization?

The successfulness of one product depends on the contribution of getting experiences from failure lessons or by the effort of trying to learn and the innovative of employees. So, when companies apply best practice in learning organization means that companies want their employees find the best way to earning profit, it will impulses employees have the awareness to improve their knowledge, skills, and idea to create better products and services. The errors or unsuccessful of products of their companies or competitors in the market in the past can help employees understand that which products with how quality and price to satisfy target customers, to create new products successfully appropriate to the predilection of consumers. Employees can discuss and exchange together to find out the solution to solve problems and avoid these errors or problems happen again. However, applying best practice in learning organization is not easy, leadership need to do first to make employees learning and follow. Leader encourages employees giving ideas, innovative, and solutions bravely. Then everyone can share their thoughts, give advice and make company giving best decisions exactly and effectively.

Apple used best practice in learning organization that they realize which part is success which is fail in their product then having new idea for new product and successful. This product is not strange is iPhone. iPhone is one of most successful products of Apple, but no one know that behind this successfulness is learning form the failure. The unsuccessful product is RORK E1; it is the combination of Motorola and Apple Inc in 2004. Its characteristics is supporting iTunes feature – allows synchronization with Apple’s iTunes software on computer via USB as any iPod. In another hand, the capacity of RORK E1 just enough for 100 songs, with memory cars is 512 MB microSD, and sound transmission was very low because of lacking the support of High-Speed USB. So, consumers turn their back to E1 and it is easy to see that E1 did not achieve high turnover. Then, Apple and Motorola end co-operation and separate. However, Apple did not stop their dream to create a successful mobile. So, in 2007 Apple represented their own mobile is iPhone which not just music mobile but also it is a real PDA phone. Therefore, people can see the successfulness of iPhone as well as the impact of it in the competitors as Nokia, Samsung, LG, and so on. It brought to Apple reputation and huge benefit in many years.

To sum up, not just only Apple but also all companies around the world receiving failure and from that failure they can get the lessons and experiences to avoid this problems and make more products with better quality and services to serve customers and earn profit for their organizations. It also increases their competitive advantage in the market and has chances to win their competitors. Any organization has their own strategies and way to achieve their goals but apply best practice and learning organization is the fast and best way leads them to success. The way they apply and maintain best practice and learning organization can be influences in the effectiveness of company. If they apply and maintain in wrong way will cause the damage for company.

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