Aug 25 2015

What Are the Implications of Amazon’s Brutal Work Culture?

GUEST: Simon Head, senior and associate fellow of the Rothermere American Institute, Oxford. He is the author of ‘The New Ruthless Economy: Work and Power in the Digital Age’ and his latest book is called ‘Mindless: Smarter Machines Are Making Dumber Humans’.

A lengthy expose by the New York Times last week about Amazon.com’s work environment has made serious waves. Journalists Jodi Kantor and David Streitfeld wrote the piece, entitled Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace. After interviewing more than 100 current and former employees working for the online retail giant, the Times concluded that “The company is conducting an experiment in how far it can push white-collar workers to get them to achieve its ever-expanding ambitions.”

“Amazonians,” as employees are referred to, have a brutal culture of snitching on one another to management, a practice they are formally encouraged to engage in. And, those struggling with unexpected illnesses or care-giving needs, or even childbirth, are often pushed out for not being committed enough. Regular performance evaluations are designed to weed out weaker employees, and work-life balance is frowned upon. One former worker said, “Amazon is where overachievers go to feel bad about themselves.”

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, whose culture of work ethics apparently drives how the company treats its workers, responded to the article saying, it read like a description of “a soulless, dystopian workplace where no fun is had and no laughter heard.” He added, “I don’t recognize this Amazon and I very much hope you don’t, either… anyone working in a company that really is like the one described in the NYT would be crazy to stay. I know I would leave such a company.” Mr. Bezos is one of the richest people in the world and his company is the nation’s largest online retailer.

Click here to read the New York Times article.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “What Are the Implications of Amazon’s Brutal Work Culture?”

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