Amazon.com Inc.’s Organizational Culture Characteristics (An Analysis)

Amazon.com Inc. organizational culture characteristics, corporate culture, advantages, disadvantages online retail e-commerce case study and analysis
Ashton Carter, left, meets with service members in an exchange program with Amazon in Seattle on March 3, 2016. Amazon.com Inc.’s organizational culture promotes risk-taking and unconventional human resources in the e-commerce business. (Photo: Public Domain)

Amazon.com Inc. has an organizational culture that enables business capacity to respond to the demands of the e-commerce market. A company’s organizational or corporate culture sets the traditions and values that influence employees’ behaviors. For example, Amazon’s corporate culture pushes employees to go beyond traditional limits and conventions to develop bright ideas and solutions. As the world’s top-performing online retailer, the company continues to seek fresh talent. However, to maintain a capable workforce, Amazon must reinforce its organizational culture to shape the development of human resources for long-term competitive advantage.

Amazon’s organizational culture is seen as a critical factor in the success of the online retail business. The corresponding cultural characteristics define the capabilities of Amazon.com Inc.’s human resources and, in turn, the e-commerce organization.

Features of Amazon.com’s Organizational Culture

Amazon is known for a corporate culture that pushes employees to explore ideas and take risks. This cultural condition is responsible for the company’s capacity to seek new opportunities to utilize data-intensive processes to provide efficient online retail service. Amazon.com Inc. states, “We’re a company of pioneers. It’s our job to make bold bets, and we get our energy from inventing on behalf of customers. Success is measured against the possible, not the probable. For today’s pioneers, that’s exactly why there’s no place on Earth they’d rather build than Amazon.” This statement shows that Amazon’s organizational culture has the following characteristics:

  1. Boldness
  2. Customer-centricity
  3. Peculiarity

Boldness. Amazon promotes boldness among its workers. This characteristic of the corporate culture is seen in how the company pioneered to sell a wide array of items online, initially starting with books, through data-intensive information technology. In relation, Amazon.com Inc.’s employees are encouraged to take risks, such as in considering new ideas to do business. In emphasizing boldness, the company also facilitates openness toward new ideas based on an organizational diversity policy. This feature of the organizational culture enables Amazon to identify the best possible ideas to solve problems or improve the e-commerce business.

Customer-Centricity. Amazon.com Inc.’s vision statement highlights the centrality of customers in its business. This factor is also included in the company’s organizational culture. For example, Amazon reinforces workers’ focus on customers’ needs and demands. The company continually strives to determine trends and changes in consumer preferences, and applies these preferences in its online retail and related services. Through this characteristic of the corporate culture, Amazon maintains its effectiveness in satisfying customers as the e-commerce business expands.

Peculiarity. Amazon.com Inc.’s organizational culture also involves peculiarity. In particular, this cultural characteristic refers to the idea of challenging conventions. For example, Amazon motivates its employees to view themselves and their work as different from conventional ways of doing business. The company believes that conventions impose limits on potential business growth. Thus, through this feature of the corporate culture, Amazon motivates employees to think outside the box to bring the e-commerce business to its maximum potential.

Amazon’s Organizational Culture Implications, Advantages & Disadvantages

Amazon’s corporate culture reinforces the company’s pioneering efforts in this type of online retail business, as espoused in the vision of CEO and founder Jeff Bezos. The firm’s cultural characteristics have the advantage of supporting innovation. For example, boldness and peculiarity directly promote new ideas to improve Amazon.com Inc.’s e-commerce business. Another advantage of this organizational culture is its focus on the customer, ensuring that the company always satisfies consumer expectations and preferences. However, a disadvantage of Amazon’s organizational culture is that it imposes a strain on human resources, especially in pushing employees to take a bold and peculiar non-conventional approach in doing their jobs.

References
  • Alvesson, M. (2016). Organizational Culture. Sage Publications Incorporated.
  • Alvesson, M., & Sveningsson, S. (2015). Changing organizational culture: Cultural change work in progress. Routledge.
  • Amazon Jobs – Working at Amazon.
  • Amazon.com, Inc. Form 10-K.
  • Bedarkar, M., Pandita, D., Agarwal, R., & Saini, R. (2016). Examining the Impact of Organizational Culture on Customer Centricity in Organizations: An Analysis. Prabandhan: Indian Journal of Management9(2), 19-28.
  • Huhtala, M., Tolvanen, A., Mauno, S., & Feldt, T. (2015). The associations between ethical organizational culture, burnout, and engagement: A multilevel study. Journal of Business and Psychology30(2), 399-414.
  • Kantor, J., & Streitfeld, D. (2015). Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace. The New York Times.
Tags:


COPYRIGHT NOTICE:
This article may not be reproduced, distributed, or mirrored without written permission from Panmore Institute and its author/s. Copyright by Panmore Institute - All rights reserved. Small parts of this article may be quoted or paraphrased for research purposes, as long as the article is properly cited and referenced together with its URL/link.