The case study will involves the relationship between a top American company, Amazon and its employees. Today, Amazon ranks among the elite companies of the United States with its CEO, Jeff Bezos getting accolades all over for an exemplary work done at the helm of the company. Question of trust however rise within the organisation due to the manner in which the employees are monitored and are made to work in their stores. Away that has been equated to the “functional foreman” system introduced in America in the nineteenth century by Taylor. Such kind of treatment or organizational behaviour creates an untrustworthy environment and this has far reaching impacts on the organization, justifying the case study based on the organizational behaviour within Amazon.
Analysis of the Case Study
Employees at Amazon stores across the globe are placed under strict surveillance all through their shifts and at every place within the stores. They constant notices whenever they are behind schedules and afterwards may get fired for such. Their work majorly involves walking across large stores moving items or packaging items ordered by customers online. This is likely to be detrimental to the kind of employer-employee relationship in the organization. Employees will work within their schedule and are likely to be very unproductive as their major focus will be to work within the program implemented by the surveillance system.
Amazon aspires to make huge amounts of profits and rank among the top organizations in the US, a fate it is achieving. This has prompted the heavy use of technology, just as Walmart does to monitor employees. It is however sad that they cannot get rid of human labour as their operations large involve the use of human labour, who suffer the consequences of the means used in trying to achieve the organization’s goals. A decision needs to be made as to planning of work for employees and all the surveillance and the threats that come with it. Employees need to be involved to as computers and technology cannot be used to program people whereas it should be the other way round. An evaluation needs to be done to gauge the performances where employees are subjected to the treatment witnessed in Amazon stores and organizations whereby employees are actively involved in decision making and carrying out duties without unnecessary surveillance to gauge the better of the two that would deliver better results.
Amazon is known worldwide for its success and this makes information such as this on employer-employee interaction suppressed. The situation is however clear and no inferences need to made as any employee in any Amazon store globally would attest to this; the case is reliable.
There are certain questions that are pertinent to the problem at Amazon and these include; does nineteenth century “Taylorism” mode of employee management still stand relevant in the twenty first century? Should organizational behaviour in organizations be only justified on the capacity to bring in profits? In the case of Amazon as an organization, could a better model of employee management yield even better results?
The subjects of this problem includes the top management of Amazon including the CEO and chief of operations and customer relations Mark Onetto Jeff Bezos and the employees who feel the pinch of this way of doing things. The “Amazon way” of doing things is the problem, where employees are under surveillance from machines and foremen to ensure they do not waste a minute, pack the right weight and do not talk or even catch breath.
The ambiguity is that the organization is making profits with this outdated model of doing things whereas the relationship with employees deteriorates. This problem if realized and resolved by the management, who are responsible, would perhaps see Amazon reach unprecedented heights of success. The bottom is knowing how to create a healthy culture in the organization through changes in the organizational behaviour.
Amazon’s management can opt to reinvent the “Amazon way” and instead of laying too much focus on satisfaction of customers, look at the welfare of the employees as this will guarantee even service to the customers. The decision to make changes starts right from the CEO and flows through to all stores globally. The current model of operations guarantees profits and trying a different model may not be certain. However, good organization behaviour creates a perfect culture that eventually translates to profitability with ease. This would mean consultation even with the employees to figure out some of the ways that can favour them in their work, which to others may mean ‘freedom’ and laxity.
Evaluation of the situation at Amazon can be done through evaluating the CEO and his mode of carrying out management and this can only be done by an external third party to the employer-employee relationship at Amazon. It will be difficult to attain information to carry out the evaluation successfully as the CEO has moved to deny claims that are made in this paper whereas the employees will feel intimidated to freely share on their plight.
The risk being evaluated is the risk of the model turning on the success of Amazon when the employees find the working condition and relationship unbearable. The criteria would be looking at the impact of the model on the employees and whether it impacts on production and establishing the same would be the most important evaluation.
Proof and Action
Through the pronunciations of senior executive Onetto, they deal with their customers with “care” and “trust”. This implies a customer-centric culture and behaviour at the organization with the employees charged to facilitate this with all the means possible. In order to establish the same, it is necessary to get evidence of practice even from the managers and employees currently employed; which is difficult due to the fact that they are parties of interest. Talking to employees already sacked due to inability to keep up to the “Amazon” way and CEOs of outlets that are less radical would provide more evidence.
The situation can be made better at Amazon through unionisation of employees. This way the employees would have a collective bargaining power and will stop being like human ‘robots’ pushed to the limit to achieve productivity. As an individual, can make known the plight of the employees and even reach out to some to inform them of the need for unionisation to push through their interests, which is very practical.
A way from the unionization and sensitization of employees as against ‘Taylorism’ mode of employee management at Amazon, the management can be persuaded to include “care” and “trust” towards employees in the “Amazon way” and this could bring better results. However, this seems unlikely as the management is too defensive. Unionization will however lead to a drop in fortunes for Amazon at the beginning before it can pick up.
To conclude, the organization behaviour and the culture created at Amazon is not the best, change is inevitable for Amazon and should be effected as an initiative of the management or it might occur as an initiative of the employees, greatly affecting the profitability of the organization before it can stabilize again.
Head, S. (2014). Worse than Wal-Mart: Amazon’s sick brutality and secret history of ruthlessly intimidating workers. Salon. com.