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Research Paper Example: Corporate Culture in Zappos and Amazon

6 pages
1434 words
Wesleyan University
Type of paper: 
Research paper
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Culture is built and it is not bought. Organizational culture refers to the principles, beliefs, values, and organizational culture practiced by a firm. The culture of a company is significant as it controls the way in which the employees behave with people inside and outside the organization. Culture also decides the way the employees interact at the workplace. A healthy and strong culture makes the employees stay motivated and loyal to the organizational management. A strong culture also enhances competition in the workplace as all the employees want to achieve the best. This issue plays a significant role in ensuring that an organization achieves its success. Furthermore, organizational culture represents some predefined policies that guide the staff and provides them with a sense of direction at the company. Through it, everyone is clear about the responsibilities and role of the organization and the way the tasks should be accomplished within the provided deadline.

One of the dimensions of describing an organizational culture is building a strong organizational culture through CEO and management strategy. The CEO and the management play a significant role in building a strong culture in an organization. The CEO has an influence on a firms culture more than any other person. Although one cannot create a culture on his or her own, what one does daily illustrates to the team members what ones value and what the values of the firm expect from its employees (Schein & Scheiner, 2016 p.46). Through the example of the CEO, people understand the behaviors that are appropriate and the things required to head a company.

According to the CEO of IBM, Ginni Rometty, culture is the firms number one asset. Additionally, no one can implement the desired culture of the organization than the CEO since the firm mirrors the behavior and actions of the CEO. The CEO and the management can build a strong culture by establishing an inspiring vision. The words inspiring vision have been thrown around that some leaders usually forget its real meaning. A vision for the future should inspire the CEO and the team members. Being inspired means feeling a sense of liveliness and doing what matters.

In Amazon, the leaders do not play a significant role to the employees by establishing an inspiring vision. Although Amazon Company is performing well, it has a forthright leadership. The management style of the CEO is influenced with high bluntness regarding confrontation and Foverarching his confidence (Lussier, 2012 p. 55). In the early years, the CEO led the company in resisting the forces which he thought fetter the businesses. Breeding unhealthy competition between the coworkers is another thing that makes the culture of Amazon weak. The company is transparent on the high achiever in the firm. The staff is also expected to work for long hours in the evening often as the emails that reach midnight are usually followed by a text message which asks for a prompt response. Amazon Corporation also has insensitive management. The employees who suffer from diseases like miscarriages and cancer are usually judged unfairly and they are not given time to recover.

The other way of building a strong culture is to buy knowing the values of an individual. If one needs to establish a values-driven-firm, then one needs to have the knowledge of operating ones own life according to the personal values. Taking time of clarifying the most important things to a person ensures that one is making choices based on the values that assist one see the difference it makes in an individual and strengthens one revolves in creating a values-driven company (Flamholtz & Randle, 2011 p.67). Additionally, making tough tradeoffs and choices which exhibit ones commitment to honoring the values of the company where the rubber meets the road in building a strong culture.

Defining the companys values and observable behaviors which embody them is another way of building a strong culture. Whether the CEO has tried to define it or not, the company has a culture. If the CEO does not put much thought into the values the company, then the culture reflects his personal behaviors and values and early expectations and norms which have been established and the few individuals on the team (Schein & Scheiner, 2016 p.51). In most cases, individuals have a vague sense on what is expected and how things are done around there but considerable stress can be established and productivity can be lost because of the lack of clear and agreed expectations. as the CEO, it is difficult to deal with behavioral issues and doing things that are not in the interest of the team members.

An example of a company with a strong culture that relates to its core values is Zappos. The company infuses its culture using the core values. The company treats everyone as a family including the employees and the customers. The attitudes start from the top organization and everyone in the organization practices it. The CEO and the management of the organization demonstrate it through their actions. On the other hand, Amazon has a weak culture as compared to Zappos. The company usually prides itself to have a tough culture. The company also has unreasonably high expectations and standards and it does not abide by its core values (Lussier, 2012 p.55). The firm boasts of some standards which are deliberately high. Though the standards are set to develop the firm, the employees feel pressure and unreachable expectations which causes distress.

Hiring for values and firing for values can also help in building a strong culture. The visible signals of the values of a company include who gets promoted, who gets fired, and who get employed. Each of these signals is an amazing chance of exhibiting to the team members the one the CEO values in the company. It is also a potential trap if the CEO violates one of the values in any of the three decisions. If the CEO does not adhere to the values of the company when making decisions then one may end up with the wrong people in the company or the right people in the firm. an example of a company with strong culture is Zappos (Medinilla, 2012). It has zero tolerance regarding the values that fit in hiring. If one does not fit the organization then the person does not get hired.

Firing is an important point of focus as most of the leaders usually wait for long or they are at times hesitant to fire an employee who is performing but violates the values of the company. Therefore, it is important for a company to ensure that it does not violate the values of a company by not firing employees who do not fit a company. Zappos is one of the companies that hire for values. The company hires for cultural fit. Everyone in this company has an outgoing personality, passionate, and friendly (Medinilla, 2012). During interviews, the company asks questions in relation to its core values to find members who fir in their culture. Through this, all the employees of the organization demonstrate the brand of the firm.

Transparency helps in building a strong culture in an organization. The CEO and the management should be transparent in the various activities that take place in the organization to build a strong culture that results in the success of an organization (Flamholtz & Randle, 2011 p.67). The objective of all the employees is that they want to feel that they know the responsibilities, strategy, and thinking of different levels of the firm and can share the feedback and ideas irrespective of their levels in the firm. The strategy that can be done is having a meeting once in a week like on Friday where members ask questions and they are answered. Through this, the employees get to know the various things that take place in the firm. Another outstanding thing about Zappos is that it trusts its employees. The customer representative of the company is not needed to follow a certain script and they do not have limits in their calls. Their objective is creating an emotional relationship with the customers. Every employee in the organization has postcards as they sit next to the phone. The customer representatives are encouraged to create a relationship with the customer.


List of references

Flamholtz, E., & Randle, Y. 2011. Corporate culture: the ultimate strategic asset. Stanford, Calif, Stanford Business Books.

Lussier, R. N. 2012. Management fundamentals: concepts, applications, skill development. Mason, Ohio, South-Western.

Medinilla, A. 2012. Agile Management [recurso electronico] Leadership in an Agile Environment.

Schein, E. H., & Scheiner, P. 2016. Organization Culture and Leadership. Somerset, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated.


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