Amazon Stakeholders & Corporate Social Responsibility

Amazon stakeholders, corporate social responsibility, CSR, corporate citizenship, sustainability, green business ethics, e-commerce case study
Amazon’s 2013 AWS Summit in New York City. Amazon’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy prioritizes customers as the primary stakeholders in the e-commerce company’s sustainability and corporate citizenship. (Photo: Public Domain)

Amazon’s ability to satisfy stakeholders supports organizational growth in the e-commerce industry. In Archie Carroll’s model of corporate social responsibility (CSR), stakeholders are individuals or groups linked to the organization based on their stake in what the business does. The company affects its stakeholders, and vice versa. In the case of Amazon, stakeholders have widely varying interests, considering the global reach of the organization and the diversity of its products. This condition requires a broad scope for the company’s corporate social responsibility strategy, policies, and programs. Satisfying stakeholders’ interests helps maintain Amazon’s market position as the leading online retail company in the world.

Amazon responds to stakeholders’ interests through a comprehensive corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy for goals in sustainability, corporate citizenship, and business ethics. While its CSR programs and policies evolve, Amazon improves its efforts to satisfy the changing interests and expectations of stakeholders in the global e-commerce industry. Also, Amazon’s corporate citizenship goals account for the stakeholder management efforts of competitors, including technology firms, like Google (Alphabet), Apple, and Microsoft, as well as retailers, such as Walmart and Costco. Competitors’ sustainability, business ethics, and corporate citizenship influence the market’s perception of Amazon’s corporate social responsibility programs.

Amazon’s Stakeholder Groups & CSR Initiatives

Amazon maintains corporate social responsibility initiatives to target the interests of its main stakeholder groups. The e-commerce organization experiences pressure from a variety of stakeholders and their interests. Amazon’s corporate social responsibility programs are designed to address and satisfy the interests of the following stakeholder groups, arranged according to the company’s prioritization:

  1. Customers (most important)
  2. Employees
  3. Communities

Customers. Amazon’s corporate social responsibility strategy gives the highest priority to customers as the most important stakeholder group. The company considers customers as the primary determinant of its e-commerce business success, especially because these stakeholders directly affect revenues. This prioritization agrees with Amazon’s mission statement and vision statement, which highlight the centrality of customers in the business and its development. The interests of these stakeholders are fair pricing, convenience of service, high-quality products, and online security in transacting with the company. Amazon satisfies these interests through emphasis on service and technology. For example, the company uses advanced information and communication technologies for secure transactions and for efficient purchase and delivery processes. Amazon employees are also trained to maximize the benefits of these technologies and to ensure customer convenience. In addition, fair pricing is maintained through competition among sellers on the company’s online marketplace and through the market-based pricing strategy included in Amazon’s marketing mix (4P). Thus, Amazon’s corporate social responsibility approach addresses the interests of customers as the primary stakeholder group.

Employees. Amazon values employees as significant determinants of organizational performance and corporate social responsibility policies and programs. This stakeholder group is interested in competitive compensation and career development. Employees are important because they support competitive advantages based on Amazon’s organizational culture (work culture). The company’s human resources facilitate the development of ideas to increase business efficiency. Amazon satisfies the interests of these stakeholders through leadership development and an appropriate compensation policy based on the organization’s high growth potential. For example, the company provides high compensation, especially for IT personnel directly involved in developing and maintaining the technology assets of the e-commerce business. Amazon’s continuing growth and global expansion also creates career advancement opportunities for employees, especially in leadership and management positions. Thus, competitive compensation and organizational cultural support are the main thrusts in Amazon’s corporate social responsibility strategy to address the interests of this stakeholder group.

Communities. Amazon maintains a corporate social responsibility program for communities. These stakeholders are significant because they influence consumer perception of the company’s goods and services. The interests of communities include development support, such as through education, healthcare, and environmental conservation. These interests reflect relevant social and ecological trends, such as the ones noted in the PESTEL/PESTLE analysis of Amazon. The company’s corporate citizenship efforts address these interests through charitable contributions, like donations for various causes involving nonprofit organizations. This approach enables the broad reach of Amazon’s corporate social responsibility strategy in satisfying the interests of communities as a significant stakeholder group in the information technology and e-commerce business.

Amazon’s Corporate Citizenship Performance & Stakeholders’ Satisfaction

Amazon integrates stakeholders’ interests into its corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy. The company considers these interests as significant influences on the e-commerce business. Such a strategy supports Amazon’s mission and vision and their effect on organizational development. It is appropriate for the company to prioritize customers as the primary stakeholder group, considering the online retail nature of the business. The inclusion of employees and communities is one of the strengths of the strategy. The company’s corporate social responsibility approach is also flexible because it supports various charitable organizations and their diverse programs and causes. However, the interests of governments and investors as stakeholders are not clearly included in the strategy. Amazon’s corporate social responsibility efforts must consider investors’ interests regarding the financial performance of the business. The company must also address governmental interests linked to consumer protection and intellectual property protection. These considerations show that Amazon’s corporate social responsibility strategy is satisfactory but has room for improvement.