An Analysis of Apples iPhone 4 Problems Using Stakeholder Management and Impression Management
Within hours, problems were reported with call reception. After initially denying there was a problem and advising users to hold the phone a certain way (Arthur, 2010h), Apple finally admitted that there was a design flaw and customers would be allowed to claim free bumpers to stop the problem (Arthur, 2010c). These problems affected both Apple’s image with customers and investors, resulting in a share price fall and some unwelcome publicity.
For organizations to be perceived as legitimate, they must have “structures that are seen as appropriate” (Arndt and Bigelow 2000 p.494). Such structures include communications “aimed at influencing corporate images or reputations” (Hooghiemstra, 2000, p.59) which form part of impression management. Hooghiemstra (ibid p.60) defined impression management as trying to “influence people’s perceptions of the company by using self-presentational devices”. As such, press releases form part of an organization’s impression management. The importance of impression management is related to the type of stakeholder under consideration. A stakeholder is one of “multiple and diverse constituencies and interests” (Susniene and Sargunas 2009 p.58) and each has its own power and influence as far as the organization is concerned. Managing stakeholder relations is considered essential given the “interdependence between society and business” (Mullins 2007 p.549) and the need to balance their interests (ibid).
Apple needs to balance the interests of, among others, customers, suppliers, investors, government and society (Doyle 1998). Investors are considered to have the greatest influence on customers being fragmented and therefore unable to generate sufficient strength to influence matters. .