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Please refer to the marking grid produced at the end of this document.

Meeting the marking criteria will require the following:

  • Read extensively and use a wide range of theories
  • Demonstrate an understanding of these theories without describing them in detail
  • Detail aspect of theories with evidence of why and how these apply to the examples from your experience.
  • Demonstrate critical thinking. This means making clear arguments that emphasise the relevance and importance of particular insights. For example:

Develop a line, or lines, of reasoning or argument

Make points that are evidenced with details from examples from your experience and discuss relevant aspects of your chosen theories/ approaches

Question the applicability and usefulness of the theories and literature: did it help you to analyse ‘yourself’ and your situation?

Compare and contrast the relevance of your chosen theories/ models. Are they useful in answering the question about your learning?

Comment on the limits and relevance of different theories and models to help you answer the question

  • Use Harvard Referencing and check your work for structure, clarity and flow.

Based on the case study of Marvels and Monsters of Amazon (found on Blackboard), critically discuss one of the statements below, drawing on two of the following topics: Power & Politics; Leadership; Organisational Culture.

(1) The way Jeff Bezos is leading Amazon has been characterised as effective by many as he’s inspiring and motivating employees for goal achievement. However, the destructive potential of his actions can’t be underestimated when we consider the workplace culture it led to.

To what extent would you argue that Jeff Bezos is either a transformational or toxic leader? In your analysis draw on the literature on leadership and organisational culture.

(2) While the culture of debate at Amazon alludes to a pluralistic organisation, other workplace practices cast doubt on whether the experience of employees match with that. To what extent does Amazon represent a pluralistic organization? What relevance do unitarist or radical perspectives have when analysing the culture and supporting practices within Amazon? In your analysis draw on the literature on power & politics and organisational culture.

Behavioral Theory in Jeff Bezo's Leadership

The leadership of Jeff Bezos in Amazon.com has been seen as an effective way to lead and manage a business by many. The position of the organization as the best online retailer in the world, has made people admire the management and the leadership of the company. Also, over the years the company has picked, and the current market evaluation shows that the company is the second best in the world. Therefore, Jeff Bezos's leadership can be termed as transformational leadership despite the few destructions that it causes to the employees (Meyer, 2017, n.p). Some employees find it a hostile working place while others view it as a place where they can develop and grow their career. The fact that things are done differently from what the people are used to do, does not necessarily make the leadership toxic but can be perceived as a different style that builds up a unique culture of the business. Various theories have been adopted by the organization to form the current leadership that is embedded in the organizational culture.

The first theory that Jeff Bezos use in his leadership is the behavioral theory. Under the method, it assumes that leaders are not born, but they made. Additionally, it is clear from this style of leadership that people can learn from the others and also develop specific behavior that lead to success and operation of the firm (Landis et al, 2014, p. 97). Jeff Bezos recruitment interview tells the candidates to forget all they have learned from the other firms for preparation to learn new things. Also, a person is given a timeframe where they are assessed how much they have learned and how they can help in achieving the firm's goal. The new employees are supposed to be guided by the leadership principles of the company but not what they learnt in their previous organization. It is an indication that Jeff Bezos believes in the behavioral theory where he can mould the leaders in the organization to what he wants them to be without necessary following what other may refer as a norm.

Participative leadership is traceable in the Amazon company where all the leaders are engaged in discussions and challenge others ideas. Though the theory emphasizes much on having a collaborative opinion or being less competitive during decision making, every leader at Amazon is expected to challenge the colleagues (Northouse, 2018, p. 34).  Also during the decision making process, Jeff Bezos, the CEO, participates in the decision to challenge other leaders and show them that they need to work extra hard. Participative leadership is witnessed in the case where the manager leads their followers in the table of decision making and offer their best opinion for the promotion of their employees. That shows that there is participation in different units as they try to make their manager succeed in providing evidence on the decision that helps them to get promoted.

Jeff Bezos also can be seen as a transformative leader through the use of the path-goal theory. The theory suggests that a good leader set the path that the rest must follow and removes the roadblocks or any hindrances in the way (Cote, 2017, p.28). Amazon is excellent since they have a clear path which is their leadership principles. As mentioned in the case, the barriers to accomplish the goal is thinking or applying the principles that one has learnt previously. So to fit and work in Amazon, one needs to be guided by the principle provided in the organization. Also, the theory also suggests that there are rewards along the path of success which is the case with Amazon (Choi et al, 2014, p. 214). The newly recruited employees and rewarded and for their mastery of the new principles. Besides, once a manager provides sufficient evidence in support of a decision, the employees are rewarded through promotion.

Participative Leadership at Amazon

Some of the transformational leadership theory that proves that the leadership style is of importance and aim to achieve success is the Bass transformational theory. The method says that people are motivated by the awareness of tasks that they are performing.  All the employees are tasked to concentrate on the customers and make sure that they solve the problem of accessibility to their stores. Therefore, they need to be ahead of competitors. This leads them to be on course every time they are on duty. Minimizing the complaints from the customers also motivates them to improve on their tasks and give the best that they can (Naranjo-Valencia et al., 2016, p.23).  Additionally, the CEO makes sure that the email is open to the public to pass complains, so employees and other managers make sure that they are competent and up to their tasks to avoid explaining their failure.

Despite a lot of criticism from some people on the hostile working conditions in Amazon, there is always the best that come out of the leadership that makes them the best online retailers (Meyer, 2017, n.p) .In support of the administration in Amazon as transformative, Jeff incorporation of different theories portrays him as all rounded person and a person who can quickly adopt change. Theory suggests the character of a leader since Jeff can incorporate several approaches proves that he has a wide range of characteristics that work best for the organization (Latham, 2014, p.13). Additionally, a single theory may not work in all times due to the diverse needs in the competitive world, that keep pushing the employee to do more and to have more than one idea in the solution of problems to keep them a step ahead in the industry.

From the analysis of the case and the Amazon.com, it clearly does not have overachievers as they believe that there is always a room to do more. In summary, the culture does not create room for over achievers and try to challenge other employees from other organization into new and unstructured way of working. For instance, what other companies take as norm or way of doing things is not tolerated in the organization. The organizational culture of Amazon.com influence employees' behavior where they are ready and willing to challenge the idea before they come into conclusion. This makes it better to give ideas or to give undoubtedly the reason why an approach should be accepted and implemented. Additionally, the culture does not employ a single theory of leadership. Several theories like transformational, behavioral and participative theory have been employed to ensure that the executive and the employees give their best. Also, the culture helps to solve problems with brighter ideas that go beyond traditional limits and conventions (Hussain, 2016, p.144). The culture together with the leadership style helps in realizing the new opportunity and exploring the available information to fill the gap in their operations. The idea of peculiarity is also common where people are expected to think outside the traditional conventions and take the risk to come up with more updated ideas that cannot only solve the problem but which can be sustainable.

Amazon.com tries to create a different environment to enable thinking and exploring different ideas that seem unfamiliar to other organizations. The leadership of Jeff Bezos is unique and has helped the organization perform excellently and stand to be the best online retailer. On the other side, the destructive part of the leadership can be scary to the new employees or those people who have never been in such a command. Additionally, when people are stressed and less free, they may be reluctant and exhausted to make better decisions (Northouse, 2017, p.34). Amazon Company is ever in search of new competent employees, and the level of turnover can work to their disadvantage since people will be cautious why the rest are leaving. Engagement in discussion during the decision-making process, it becomes time-consuming before they come into conclusion. Also, due to the harsh comments during the meeting, the people with the best idea may shy away from giving their contribution. In such a case, the best decision may be left out, and the adoption of other designs may not have a lasting problem-solving ability (Christian, 2017, p.33). In spite of the cons and the weakness posed by Jeff's leadership, there is a positive side of customer centricity that makes the customer trust their services. Also the employees’ nature and the way of working is in the organizational culture that directs people on what need to be done. The leadership can be viewed as the one that gives the uniqueness in their culture that contribute to the best of the company.

Reference List

Meyer P. 2017. Amazon.com Inc.’s Organizational Culture Characteristics (An Analysis).

Landis, E.A., Hill, D. and Harvey, M.R., 2014. A synthesis of leadership theories and styles. Journal of Management Policy and Practice, 15(2), p.97.

Latham, J. R. 2014. Leadership for quality and innovation: Challenges, theories, and a framework for future research. Quality Management Journal, 21(1), 11-15. Northouse, P.G., 2018. Leadership: Theory and practice. Sage publications.

Cote, R. (2017). A Comparison of Leadership Theories in an Organizational Environment. International Journal of Business Administration, 8(5), 28.

Naranjo-Valencia, J.C., Jiménez-Jiménez, D. and Sanz-Valle, R., 2016. Studying the links between organizational culture, innovation, and performance in Spanish companies. RevistaLatinoamericana de Psicología, 48(1), pp.30-41.

Northouse, P.G., 2017. Introduction to leadership: Concepts and practice. Sage Publications.

Hussain, A.N., 2016. Advertising and Promotion and Its Impact on the Increase in Sales of Private Companies (A Field Study in the Amazon Company). International Journal of Research, 3(8), pp.147-152.

Choi, S., Jang, I., Park, S. and Lee, H., 2014. Effects of organizational culture, self-leadership and empowerment on job satisfaction and turnover intention in general hospital nurses. Journal of Korean Academy of Nursing Administration, 20(2), pp.206-214.

Christian, J., Merian-Strasse, P. and Felfe, J., 2017. Dual Commitment in the Organization: Effects of the Interplay of Team and Organizational Commitment on Employee Citizenship Behavior, Efficacy Beliefs, and Turnover Intentions.

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