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Fayol's Four Functions of Management

Discuss about the Apple vs. Nokia in Application Fayol’s Four Management Functions.

In any business environment, firms are often seen strategizing on ways to keep ahead of their competitors, basically by enhancing market dominance among other techniques. This concern evokes the very concept of management, which is most definitely the core of any organization’s strategies. In this context, this paper will explore the supremacy battle between the two technological giant companies,  Nokia and Apple Inc., in which the paper will endeavor to elaborate how the implementation of Fayol's four functions have resulted in notable differences between the two firms. While Nokia is an old giant whose prowess in making smartphones was once irrefutable, the fact that Apple is now far much ahead of Nokia can be purely attributed to strategies in place over the last decade.[1] Technically speaking, in the last quarter of 2009, Apple made more sales out of hardware (smartphones) and software (Appstore purchase and subscriptions), revealing important lessons in the technology business ecosystem.[2] This paper will explicitly highlight the variations in planning, organizing, leading and controlling as in the Fayol’s model of management citing possible reasons why the trend reversed in favor of its furious competitor Apple Inc.

First and foremost, planning is the most fundamental aspect of progress, and therefore any vicious managerial team would take into account extensive measures to forecast the most suitable course of action. As much as Nokia, the earlier giant having crafted long-term objectivities of staying in the lead, Apple seemed to be more ambitious, from the way they designed their products to the way they embraced innovation. Bob, Brown, a technology enthusiast notes that “Apple was about to launch a phone that nobody in the mobile world thought they had much of a chance. The company was just being too ambitious” (p.26)[3]. Having noted that Nokia was selling half a billion phones a year before the iPhone, it seemed ridiculous enough for Apple to ever think of reversing the charts without proper planning. [4] While the biggest trick behind the huge success of Apple has been largely pointed to the uniqueness of its products, one cannot ignore the fact that the firm conducted a comprehensive research which ultimately aided the customization of their next-generation technology gadgets. Thus, as much as it is unfit to claim that Nokia did not plan, most consumers widely admit that the latter did not forge sustainable plans including advancing technology and changing customer preferences in both hardware and software.[5] Lastly, Apple is credited for taking consideration of both local and international markets, while Nokia majorly focused on local consumption, which directly translated to wide acceptability and consumer loyalty of the former’s merchandise.[6] Conclusively, the rapid advances in Apple products and eventual superiority over the fairly rigid Nokia's masterpiece demonstrate the need for proper planning for businesses. Most importantly, the planning must as well take consideration of competitors and dynamics in the trade.

Differences in Planning between Nokia and Apple Inc.


Secondly, leadership, which is loosely defined in terms of quality management and effective planning by the people in authority is as well a vital factor in any organization. In another perspective yet, leadership in terms of market share indicates that both Nokia and Apple have been at the top of the pinnacle of tech products sales.[7] Before Apple overtook Nokia as the maker of the leading smartphone in September 2011, Nokia had been an uncompromised genius for good running years. Taking a keener look into the leadership of Nokia, we see quite a number of flaws that badly ruined the firm’s performance and lack of vision. Unlike Tim Cook, whose tenure at Apple since Jobs left has been all through inspirational and client-centered, Stephen Elop’s ill-fated leadership has landed Nokia in bad terms.[8] Any organization that intends to remain steadfast in its place in the market and would first install a cutting-edge management, which runs from the chief executive officer all the way through all ranks to marketers and public relations departments. As it is widely contested, Elop was inexperienced to make the firm's ends meet, and amid the pressure of competition from Apple, he made the most desperate moves which dragged the company further down.[9] As a sober team leader, Elop could have put to end the galloping brain drain at Nokia in mid-2000’s, affected marketing and beefed up the organizational structure to accommodate for the fast leaning technological landscape that largely crippled the firm. In addition, having made the first smartphone before Apple had it on its table, Nokia’s downfall is unforgivable. Thus, we can attribute the success of Apple over Nokia to the difference in leadership, with the two chief executives of each firm both accountable for the fall and rise respectively. 

As well, apart from planning and leadership, the organizational structure of a firm plays a central role in its endeavors to succeed. That is why the contrast between Apple and Nokia can be substantially accountable for the differences in their performance especially in the last one decade, where competition has been stiffest. Sadly, Nokia lacks a heart for innovation, and this begins right at the top management.[10] On the contrary, innovation is the culture of Apple's management team.  Secondly, corporate management at Apple is designed in a way to allow for easy flow of information, and thus there is no chance for dotted lines of lack of understanding. Just like Steve job's management way back before 2011, the culture of simplicity and well-defined hierarchies have always aided apple to stay afloat.[11] The culture is as well evident from the way the manufacturer releases an item at a time, unlike Nokia whose diversity has been more of a liability than a strength. As much as Nokia's management is not as much far from Apple in terms of decision-making, it is notable to say that while Steve Jobs was the CEO, he took most crucial decisions by himself and few consultants. Despite being a little risky, it can, however, be advantageous, unlike Nokia's way which calls for broad discussions before reaching finalities. As well, Nokia's command chain has previously exhibited various hitches to fluidity, hindering the process of decision-making which then directly affects productivity.[12] All said and done, Apple's simplicity in its organizational structure has recently placed it a step ahead of Nokia.

Differences in Organizing between Nokia and Apple Inc.

Lastly, it would be incomplete to consider management minus considering control as a key factor. Being one of the primary functions of management, it hugely involves setting performance standards, measuring performance and consequentially taking corrective measures in a bid to affirm the organizations’ position in the market. Going straight to the Nokia-Apple duel, the two firms have both effected measures of control in the tech markets. For instance, in 2013, Nokia acquired the Microsoft handset division in a bid to take full control of both software and hardware.[13] Similarly, apple, having previously producing software and hardware solely, insistently refuted attempts to lease the software development to a third party. Far from sales, Apple is well known for keeping a keen eye on the media, always working to have its reputation sparkling (Mac-rumors). With the latest developments in social media, the company is much concerned with the issues raised, and any client will always testify that it responds aptly to the concerns. This way, it has led the way, with Nokia having ignored that in the first place realizing the niche. In so doing, Apple has achieved better control of users than its competitors. As well, iPhone’s mp3 players seem to be more interactive than Nokia’s, enhancing usability and thus likeability.[14] Through similar ways, the tech firm has found its way through Nokia’s markets.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it can be drawn that Apple has flaunted Nokia following its keen interest in the four basics of managing practices. Thus it plans, organizes, leads and thus controls more effectively. For instance, Apple has been on the forefront of planning and making sustainable strategies, which has resulted in a double score. On the other hand, Nokia has been more reserved and consequently trailed by the fast-changing environments. Thus, any firm wishing to break the glass ceiling would first take consideration of the four entities of management. Additionally, just like in the above context, any firm in the lead must be able to make well-thought and dynamic strategies that can aid it to survive an onslaught by a younger entrant.

9To5Mac. “Apple's Rise and Nokia's Fall Highlight Platform Strategy Essentials." Last modified 6:28 am Jul 21st, 2011. https://9to5mac.com/2011/07/21/its-official-apple-beats-nokia-and-becomes-the-worlds-leading-smartphone-maker/

Adam, Harntung. “Get Rich, not Lost - Change your planning - Apple, Google v Nokia, Samsung, RIM, Microsoft in Smartphones.” Forbes. Last updated 05:27 Nov 23, 2010. https://www.forbes.com/sites/adamhartung/2010/11/23/get-rich-not-lost-change-your-planning-apple-google-v-nokia-samsung-rim-microsoft-in-smartphones/#4e669bbc3beb

Bob, brown. "Apple's management team: Before & after Steve Jobs left." Network World. No. 14 (2013). 23-28.

Haydn, Shaughnessy. "Apple's Rise and Nokia's Fall Highlight Platform Strategy Essentials." Forbes. No. 28. (2013). 24-33.

IBS Case Study Development Centre. List of case studies on strategy – 1. No.1. (2011) 9-11.

Jonathan, Bean. "Bye bye Nokia – A failure of management over leadership." Jonobean. Last modified Nov 12th, 2014. https://jonobean.com/2014/11/12/bye-bye-nokia-a-failure-of-management-over-leadership/

Juli, Clover. "Inside Apple's PR Practices, From Media Control to Attitude Shift under Tim Cook." Macrumours. No. 8 (2014). 4-5.

Patel, Nilay. “Nokia vs. Apple: The In-depth Analysis”. EnGadget. No.5 (2010). 38-55.

Research Matic. Organizational Culture of Apple and Nokia. No. 5 (2012). 18-29.

STL Partners. “Apple vs. Nokia: Strategic Lessons from the Smartphone / Appstore Wars” In Growing Digital and Telco 2.0. London Penguin, 2011.

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[Accessed 01 March 2024].

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