Can You Follow an Icon and Succeed?

Mini Case 4 chapter 12
Can You Follow an Icon and Succeed? Apple and Tim Cook After Steve Jobs
Tim Cook, Apple’s current CEO, had some iconic shoes to try to fill, Steve Jobs’ shoes. Apple’s success has been the fruit of Jobs’ “genius” and leadership. Jobs was responsible for the iPod, iTunes, iPhone, and other products that are still driving the record-breaking revenue. Because of this, it is hard to know how effective Tim Cook actually is.
Cook has an extremely different leadership style from Jobs. Where Jobs was very impulsive and a bit selfish with the spotlight, Cook is known for his measured, emotional approach to leadership. He empowers his team to manage their functional areas, is good at delegating to others, and is willing to share the spotlight. He is also willing to grow the company through acquisitions and partnerships, something Jobs never did.
In the years since Cook assumed leadership of Apple, the company has failed to deliver several new products by the announced release dates. However, the company is still the most highly valued corporation in the United States.
Brainstorm potential issues Tim Cook may have had when he took over for Steve Jobs. What are some obstacles Cook would have had to overcome? How could Apple have become weaker or lose what makes it so great? Then think about the advantages Cook may bring with this new leadership style. Debate with students whether demanding Jobs or collaborative Cook may be better as Apple’s leader.
Case Discussion Questions
Your minimum writing content for all four questions must be at least 200 words.
2 points will be deducted if not provided.
1. What makes a CEO’s job so complex? Use the challenge Tim Cook faces as Steve Jobs’ successor to provide examples that support your answer.
2. Tim Cook came from Apple’s internal managerial labor market to succeed Steve Jobs. In your view, was using the internal managerial labor market the best approach to follow when replacing Jobs? Use materials in the chapter regarding the internal and external managerial labor markets to explain your answer.
3. Given their different leadership styles, describe the differences you see in Apple’s culture under Tim Cook’s leadership compared to the culture in Apple when Steve Jobs was CEO.
4. Using information in this Mini-Case as well as additional materials available to you via searches, how do you evaluate Tim Cook as a CEO? Is he an effective strategic leader or not? Use examples from the chapter’s discussion of “Key Strategic Leadership Actions” to justify your answer to this question.