Guess what people? Apple will decline after Steve Jobs’ death. This according to a Forrester post that highlights the theory of Sociologist Max Weber. Weber wrote a book over 60 years ago called Theory of Social and Economic Organization. In this book, the author talks about a typology of organizations that are lead by three different social categories. The categories that were broken down goes as followed: 1) Legal/bureaucratic (think IBM or the U.S. government), 2) Traditional (e.g., the Catholic Church) and 3) Charismatic (run by special, magical individuals).
If you follow the book’s theory, Steve Jobs would fit under category three, which is Charismatic organizations headed by people with the “gift of grace” (charisma from the Greek). “He is set apart from ordinary men and treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities.” Followers and disciples have absolute trust in the leader, fed by that leader’s access to nearly magical powers. “Charismatic authority repudiates the past, and is in this sense a specifically revolutionary force.”
Yup, that whole description describes what Steve Jobs was, as all decisions went through him. This would suggest that the primary challenges with charismatic organizations is succession, as this is the very thing that drives investors’ blood pressure up. The Forrester post that interpreted the logic of this theory, suggested Apple should have succeeded its previous charismatic leader with another.
The article mentions that Tim Cook isn’t the right guy, because “His legal/bureaucratic approach will prove to be a mismatch for an organization that feeds off the gift of grace.” Moreover, the new leader should have been Apple executives Jon Ive or Scott Forstall.
If you want to read more, head over to the Forrester Blogs