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A New Approach to Strategy: Positive Deviance at Apple

10/20/2011 --

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—When the late Steve Jobs returned to Apple Inc. for his second act in 1996, the company he'd founded two decades before was clearly struggling. Jobs embraced the challenge to refocus and rebuild, ultimately introducing the world to the iMac, iPod, iPhone, and iPad, along with iTunes and the Apple Store. Today Apple's market capitalization is $389 billion.

Professor Lynn Perry Wooten published a paper detailing Jobs' strength-based approach to strategy in the February 2010 edition of Effective Executive. Building a Company the Steve Jobs' Way: A Positive Deviance Approach to Strategy illustrates how Jobs motivated his teams to achieve extraordinary success beyond the expectations of both stakeholders and outside observers. Jobs perfected techniques that management in any industry can use: framing strategy through storytelling, seizing market opportunities, and creating a learning organization focused on results.

Wooten is co-director of the Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship at Ross. Her current research focuses on how changes in workforce demographics and the knowledge economy influence the implementation of strategic human resource management practices. In particular, she examines how these human resource management practices affect the performance of organizations and employee-related outcomes. Wooten also is a clinical associate professor of strategy and management and organizations. In addition, she is associate dean of undergraduate programs at Ross.

Download Wooten's paper.

For more information, contact:
Terry Kosdrosky, (734) 936-2502,