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Leading Apple With Steve Jobs: Management Lessons From a Controversial Genius by Jay Elliot

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Off Course: An Argument with Peter Drucker

After the Macintosh had launched, I dropped by to visit a friend who was working on his PhD in business at the Claremont Graduate University in Southern California. At the time there was a lot of speculation about how Steve was going to get along at Apple. My friend picked my brain about this and the big question of whether Steve would be able to turn Apple around and keep the company from going under.

Over lunch, my friend introduced me to his adviser, the renowned Peter Drucker. At the time, Peter was in his late eighties and was one of America’s most respected authorities in corporate management—an author, teacher, and consultant to many leading corporations. The question about Steve and Apple came up again. I said I was very confident in Steve’s ability to get the whole company working like the teams of the Macintosh Pirate days, and that he would focus on the key products as his turn-around strategy.

This led to a conversation about what type of organization is most powerful for promoting innovation, as well as whether it was possible to foster a start-up mentality in an established company. The conversation between Peter and me grew heated.

His position was that among the numerous types of organization management structures, the functional organizational structure has been most successful—that is, a structure in which the organization is segmented into divisions like sales, marketing, human resources, engineering, manufacturing, ...

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