Researcher says Apple has lost its spark

April 26, 2012 at 1:34 PM
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CAMBRIDGE, Mass., April 26 (UPI) -- Forrester Research Chairman and Chief Executive Officer George Colony says U.S. innovator Apple Inc. without Steve Jobs is a company without its spark.

"He is set apart from ordinary men and treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities," Colony wrote in an online column, quoting "The Theory of Social and Economic Organization" by sociologist Max Weber.

Colony was referring to the late Steve Jobs, an Apple co-founder who died in October.

Citing Weber, Colony said there are three categories of organizations, which included "legal/bureaucratic (think IBM or the U.S. government), 2) Traditional (e.g. The Catholic Church) and 3) Charismatic."

Charismatic, defined by Weber, is an organization "run by special, magical individuals," Colony said.

Without a charismatic replacement for Jobs, Apple, the world's most valuable company, "will coast, then decelerate," Colony wrote.

He said Apple had maybe two more years of "momentum" left over from the Jobs era.

He cited other companies that once sat on top of the world with a charismatic leader that later slid from their perches to reach more pedestrian levels.

Sony without CEO Akio Morita and Disney without Walt Disney were two examples, Colony said.

Colony said Apple's choice of Tim Cook to replace Jobs would not work.

"His legal/bureaucratic approach will prove to be a mismatch for an organization that feeds off the gift of grace," he said.

A company that loses a charismatic leader has to find another as a successor, Colony said.

Unfortunately, Colony said, citing Weber's text, "Charisma can only be awakened and tested, it cannot be learned or taught."

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