1. Briefly describe what is taking place at Apple at the beginning of this case?
2. How would you describe Donna Dubinsky’s role and her successes to date? How would you characterize her effectiveness as a leader?
3. Do you see any negative points or weaknesses in Dubrinsky’s leadership or management style?
4. Tell me a little about each of the following persons: Weaver, Campbell, Jobs, and Coleman. I am looking for more than just their job title.
5. What is the proposed change that is being discussed at Apple? Why is this change necessary? How do the proposals made by Coleman and Dubrinsky differ?
6. How does Dubinsky react to Coleman’s proposal?
7. How would you react in this situation in which your responsibilities were apparently threatened with dissolution based on the brainstorming session between the boss and someone from an entirely different company, one that wasn’t even in your industry?
8. How would the Coleman proposal affect the role of Dubinsky?
9. What should Dubinsky have done differently? Think about the following episodes: jobs initial criticism of distribution; the period between his JIT idea and the strategy review in December 1984; the preparation of Weavers presentation at the executive meeting in January; the task force proceedings; and, the confrontation with Scully. What are your recommendations? Defend each of your recommendations.
10. Was Dubinsky being well served by Weaver? What was Scully’s responsibility? What was Campbell’s responsibility?
11. Given the information in the case, was the J IT proposal valid? A pipe dream?
12. What do you do when you know you’re right, but everyone has jumped on the bandwagon and you are left alone with your conviction? Did the organization handle the proposal in the best way? Is a task force the way to make these decisions?
13. If you were Scully driving home from the seminar that evening, what would you be thinking about Dubinsky?
Dubinsky’s Threat to Resign
14. Could Dubinsky have delivered her message in another way, or had her frustration reached to the point that her message could only be delivered in the frame of such trauma? How should Campbell respond?
Dubinsky's Role and Responses
In the beginning of case, Steve jobs chairman of the board and general manager of Macintosh division has proposed that existing distribution system will be discontinued and would be replaced by just in time method. This change would bring significant savings for the company by shrinking product pipeline and reducing inventory as a share of Apple was deteriorating gradually (Jick & Gentile, 2011).Q2
Donna Dubinsky is the hard-working employee. She fights for her issues and if there is anything, which is not right she makes sure that it is done in a corrective manner, she does not give up easily. She is confident and clear in what she does. She does not let peer feel the pressure. Upper management does not intimate her. She always supports and respects the decision even if she was not agreed to it. She is extremely intelligent always take a decision in a sorted manner. She is ready to take risks, which are calculative and precise, which helps in giving in return to business as profits. She is one of the dedicated resources. She had joined as Customer support Liaison and working hard and with dedications, she has grown to a position of director, distribution, and sale administration (Cowie, 2016).Q3
Yes, Donna Dubinsky was not ready for a change which top management has suggested, she was insecure for her job and she was afraid that she and many more could end their job with the management decision. She was not ready for a change which management has planned. She had criticized the management decision for at least four months that the decision which management is taking is not right and tries best that it could not be finalized without thinking how much the benefit can be there with this decision (Yoffie & Cusumano, 2015).Q4
Weaver – Roy waver was one of the best mentors who give enough space for an individual to experiment on things. He is always available for help and support, also always ready gives advice and guidance which help to achieve the targets easily. He always rewards his employees which is a booster for any employee. He provides visibility and responsibility.
Campbell – He was one of the dedicated resources of the company who always believed that things do not happen automatically we have to sell our ideas for success and visibility.
Jobs – He is one of the Visionary. He is also an innovative individual who foresee things and act accordingly. He had always focused on the best quality product. He had introduced just in time method, which helps in reducing the cost by shrinking product line.
Coleman – Debi Coleman was one of the condiment individuals. She always focused to be the best in the world. She is very aggressive, very intimidating and having little finesse. She is very adamant in her proposals and tries to convince others by presenting data, which at times does not justify or match with each other.Q5
The change, which was in the discussion that existing distribution system, will be discontinued and would be replaced by the method of just in time. Such changes would bring noteworthy savings for the business by reducing the pipeline of the product as well as dropping the inventory as Apple’s share was declining steadily. The proposal made by Coleman was simple and not much effective, which Dubinsky had proposed. Her plan was for a long-term, which will help the company to grow steadily, and Dubinsky was taking care of distribution channel for a long time and had made good relations with the retailer and another department, which helps the overall business for a much longer period as proposed by Coleman (Kriger & Zhovtobryukh, 2016).Q6
Proposed Change at Apple
Dubinsky was angry and disappointed, as she has done so well in her work area that nothing has gone wrong till date. She has always anticipated that she would continue to collect the ideas from the arena for suggested improvements in the current system. Coleman consistently stressed the point that her proposal would save money. The plan, which was shared, was not clear and figures and assumptions were not correct and she had more expertise than him.Q7
It would not be a healthy sign for business and for the individual itself as the roles and responsibilities, which are given to an individual, justify the work, which he/she is doing and they are the expert of that particular field and they are aware of each and everything or efforts, which are required to achieve. It justifies that immediate boss is not having trust and confidence on the individual who has expertise in it, instead they are ready to listen or take a suggestion from the individuals who are not associated with the respective industry.Q8
Dubinsky role would be affected by Coleman’s proposal, as Dubinsky was responsible for making a new strategy. The more she heard about Coleman’s proposal the more she was unsecure of her position as she had worked with Dave Kinser, a controller for the distribution, service and support group on a research project intended to defend the existing distribution system. Dubinsky was unable to assign an approximate total number of hours or individuals on the assignment. Still, she moved on, as she was confident that distribution was her forte and she would pull out the best output from this situation. She was also aware that Coleman’s idea or proposal is an untested and radical proposal (Windsor, 2014).
Dubinsky should have seen the whole picture instead of saving her job at any cost. She should not be so much insecure for her job that she is not ready to buy/listen to another perspective. Donna should find out how to increase the sales forecasting, instead of opposing the Just in time method. Donna and waver presented their plan in incorrect timings, which increase the conflict. She did not understand the concept and ideology of the senior management when they were planning to apply just in time methodology, as it would reduce the distribution system to minimize the expenses as Apple sales were on declining trend that to at steady pace which was the more serious issues for the management.Q10
Yes, Dubinsky was well served with weaver as Weaver had given rewards and challenges to Dubinsky at regular intervals which helped him to retain such talented manager and even Steve Jobs made a proposal to take her in Maintosh location, but she stays put with current roles in addition, responsibility which weaver had provided to her.
Sculley’s responsibility - He was responsible to fetch new organization as well as the marketing chastisement to the company apple without foregoing the creativity as well as spirit. He abridged the structure with the conciliation in a format that unifying the development of the product as well as product marketing in two partitions, which are the Apple II and the Macintosh. He always thought that synchronization the approach of sales and marketing was essential for the company to deliver the flawless message to the dealers.
The Difference in Proposals
Campbell’s responsibility - He was vice president for sales and marketing at Apple Computer Inc. He was responsible for overall business for US sales and he was reporting to John Sculley. He makes sure those sales are on increasing trend with creating a good relationship with customers, dealers. He was one of the best coaches in the Silicon Valley. He had excellent teaching ability, which every individual admire.Q 11
Yes, as per the given information in the case “Just in time” methodology was a valid proposal as it is a cost-effective method wherein extra cost reduced or eliminated by reducing extra efforts. It would directly establish relationships between the dealer and the plant, essentially eliminating the need for six distribution centers. As apples’ share was declining steadily, so this approach needs to be established. The JIT methodology helped Apple to produce customized products when clients had placed orders. SCM (supply chain management) had incorporated the activities of manufacturers, warehousing providers and retailers and delivered the goods at the client’s doorstep as soon as possible (Books, 2017).Q-12
When we are right but everyone has joined the cause in a situation we would try our best to stay calm and think in more positive and in a constructive manner and handle the situation in a better manner. Try to provide each evidence or justification to prove our point. It would be difficult for an organization to handle the proposal in the best way as when cost is associated with anything and company is able to see the cost reduction in production then that proposal is difficult to hold on. Yes, this situation can be taken care of by formulating a task force, which measures the pros and cons of both aspects and takes the decision accordingly.Q-13
If Sculley driving home from the seminar that evening. It would be thinking on certain aspects that - was it too urgent that Dubinsky, cannot wait for the next day. The reason was also not communicated overall. The individual would have scheduled a meeting or would have marked down an email and explaining the concern. It could have been in a more constructive manner.Q-14
Yes, Dubinsky had delivered her message in another way or in a more sophisticated manner so that the mistake which she had done in doing work and for which she had extended the time period by30 days could have been managed in first go. The impact would have been more effective and she would not find any difficulty. The things which were happening around her was not great due to which she felt frustrated and when every possible manner was not working or seniors were not ready to understand her point of view. She does not need the intervention in her work but Campbell demanded that if you are right then there should not be any problem in justifying to others but she was adamant that she does not need intervention from outside task force. Campbell should understand her point of view and try to convince Dubinsky that this is need of the hour and it is required (Sahlman, 2018).
Books, W. (2017). Summary and Analysis of Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World: Based on the Book by Adam Grant. New York: Open Road Media.
Cowie, K. A. (2016). Book Review Diversity, Originality, and Persuasion as Drivers of Change. Global Business and Organizational Excellence, 35(4), 88-92.
Jick, T.D. & Gentile, M. (2011). Donna Dubinsky and Apple Computer, Inc. Harward Business School, 9(486).
Kriger, M., & Zhovtobryukh, Y. (2016). Strategic leadership for turbulent times. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Sahlman, W. A. (2018). Leslie Berlin, Troublemakers: Silicon Valley's Coming of Age. Business History Review, 92(2), 343-353.
Windsor, D. (2014). A typology of moral exemplars in business. Moral saints and moral exemplars 2(8), 63-95.
Yoffie, D. B., & Cusumano, M. A. (2015). Strategy Rules: Five Timeless Lessons from Bill Gates, Andy Grove, and Steve Jobs. London: HarperBusiness.
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