Managementand Organization Behavior Introduction Leadershipand management is a broad subject that have been discussed through various studiesand theories with many different opinions. Over the years, to identify theinteraction between leaders or managers and their employees, different managementconcept has been created such as the Contingency Theory (ref) and SystemsTheory (ref) or the Trait theory (ref) or furthermore the Theory X (ref) andTheory Y (ref).
However,according to Miles (2012), the comparison between these management andleadership theories are not suitable as different theory will have differentapplication and unique set of circumstances. Focusing on applying the possible relevantaspects of different theories to create a unique suitable management approachand style will be more beneficial for the organization. Inthis report, to analyses the management approach and style of Amazon, the politicalsystem in Morgan’s organization metaphor will be use. Morgan (1997) believethat the interaction and relationship between the manager, leader and theemployees in the organization can be portray as a political system where the levelsand nature of political activities is shaped by the existed political rule (Evans,Hassard & Hyde 2013).
Organization as a political systems focus on humanassertiveness in the realms of “interest, conflict and power” (Morgan 1986). Moreover,using Morgan’s model will help to provide an insight look into the organizationstructure and behavior and its management practice. There is different type ofPolitical systems will be examining in this report including: Autocracy, Bureaucracy,Technocracy and Direct Democracy. Theanalysis made in this report will be based on the article: “Inside Amazon:Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace” published by the New YorkTimes. The article provides a deeper view on an Amazon employee’s life by highlightingthe company’s culture and management.
Base on the information in this articleand further research, this report will try to prove the existence of apolitical system in Amazon’s management approach. Autocracy Autocracyrefer to the situation where most of the power in the organization is hold byan individual or a small group of people as they have control on the criticalresources, ownership rights or having personal privilege (ref). Autocraticleader decision-making is based on his/her beliefs and influenced by non oronly a bit of others suggestions or advices. Furthermore, according to (ref) theautocratic leader tend to think of them as transcendent and it would be a reproachto take any aids. The decision made by autocratic leader can be unethical as itoften doesn’t consider the reason behind the incident (ref). Inthe case of Amazon, the company has been reported about the annually fires ofworkers that fail to adapt to the company’s corporate philosophy which theycall the “purposeful Darwinism”. (Kantor & Steitfeld 2015) believe that thelay-offs of these employees are ruthless as the company did not consider thesituation where the worker having health issues and did not allow them time to recover. It’sa fact that the founder and the CEO of the company – Jeff Bezos is runningAmazon in autocracy as he dictates the organization’s management philosophy.
Furthermore,the poor working environment for packing boxes worker is a perfect example forthe existence of autocracy in Amazon. Those workers were forced to work in a hightemperature storage facility without any solution to reduce the heat like airconditioning which lead to the pass out of some workers. This is also a resultof the strict of outflow information from the company as only authorized managerare able to speak to the media which mean there is limited freedom of speechfor the workers which also eliminated the chance for them to raise their voiceabout any unfair treatment. The recruiting process at Amazon can also be anexample. In the job interview process, candidates either fit the profile ofAmazon and get a job or they will not have it (Kantor & Steitfeld 2015).
Inanother word, they either embrace the Amazon way or no way which shown outrightof autocracy in Amazon. DirectdemocracyIna direct democracy organisation, regardless to their position in the company,all the employees had the right to contribute to the decision making process inthe organisation (Morgan, 1997). According to Kane (2012), direct democracysystem will encourage the employees to take action, responsibility andself-organise rather than waiting for the guidance from the senior managers inthe daily business operation.
Incase of Amazon, the existence of direct democracy can be demonstrated throughsome example. Take a look at Amazon’s policy, they encourage worker tocommunicate their ideas during the meeting without getting criticize as theybelieve these exchange of information and opinions will create the creativityin the workforce (Kantor & Steitfeld 2015). Technology based companies isheavily depended on the direct democracy as it nature will help firms to generatemore creativity which are the fuel for success (ref). Moreover,Amazon does not restrict but encourage any possible contribution from theworkforce. This can be proved by the development of Amazon Prime Air where theideas and indication was majorly coming from the junior workers. Essentially,this project was reportedly a brainchild of one of the lower subordinateengineers called Daniel Buchmueller (Kantor & Steitfeld 2015). The AnytimeFeedback Tool system can also be used to demonstrate the direct democracy inAmazon. The feedback from the employees to the management team either positive ornegative remain anonymous.
This encourage the workers to speak up freely withhonestly which would be beneficial for the improvement of the working environmentand the management process.Amazon also create a social structure where there is competition between theemployees about generating new ideas where worker with the best idea will win.This encourage and motivate the workforce to challenge each other openly andcreate a fair environment. The ideas will be evaluated and asset fairly dependon the company policy and thus allow them to earn the opportunity for promotionas a form of reward without any barrier. The social structure also allows theemployees to defend themselves or their colleagues if they are criticisedunfairly (ref). The article mentioned about the case where managers and supervisorsdefended their team members and employees when they were facing the firedcharge from the company (Kantor & Steitfeld 2015). Bureaucracy Thebureaucratic structure theory was developed by Weber (ref). According to Weber,there are two fundamental characteristics in a bureaucratic structure of the organisation.
Firstly, the structure of the organisation will be hierarchical. It demonstratedthat there will be clear different levels of management. The lower levels of hierarchywill be subordinate and the higher levels hierarchy will give orders. Secondly,there will be a set of strict law, rules and procedures that illustrate theobjective, direction and how the organisation function. In addition, Morgan(1997) state that organisation with bureaucracy system tend to have less roomfor flexibility in the business operation. Similarto autocracy and direct democracy, the existence of Bureaucracy can bedemonstrated through Amazon’s guidelines for the employees. As mentioned aboutthe strict outflow of information from the organization, only controlled and authorizedmanagers who had to follow through several convention of the company are allowingto share any information on behalf of the company. Taking information from the “leadershipprinciples” of Amazon, Jeff Bezos were putting several rules which also limitedthe flexibility of the workforce.
Theexistence of bureaucracy can also be draw from the company’s performanceimprovement plan. This program is used to identify the non-productive workerand put them on strictly supervision on a daily basis in order to assist them (Kantor& Steitfeld 2015). However, it seems to be that the program even put morestress on the employees thus not increasing the productivity but reduced itfurther. The manager and supervisor in the program does not tend to look up tothe problem with the employees such as unavoidable problem like health issuesbut still punished them indiscriminately (Kantor & Steitfeld 2015). Moreover,when the problem was aware by the superior managers, they are not seeming towilling to change or adjust the management policies. Technocracy Ina technocracy system, the decision-maker will be based on their technical expertise.Regardingto this system, Morgan believe that the authority of technocracy systems usesthe application of knowledge, experience and a method of data-driven managementin making decision.
Furthermore, (ref) support Morgan’s view by stating thatthe leader in a technocracy system tend to make the decision based on theinformation they have from methodology rather than their own belief andopinion. Basedon the Amazon corporate philosophy, Technocracy seems to be the most suitablemode for the political rule in Amazon. Amazon is heavily depended on thedata-driven type of management (ref). The founder and the CEO of Amazon, JeffBezos is really confident in the power of metrics. This is a consequence of theuse of algorithms disrupted within the Wall Street in the early 90s where JeffBezos was gaining large amount of experience through it. Moreover, generatingsolution through technology application is a company policy as every employee needto specialize in the field of business. The positive result of this is thecapabilities of Amazon employees in exploring the possible issues in depth anddevelop a creative knowledge-based solution to address the customers’ problems(Kantor & Steitfeld 2015).
Theinnovation of the company’s technology in delivering their products can be usedto illustrated the appearance of technocracy in Amazon. The use of drone wasput in use and automated resupply of toilet paper is an example. All thedeveloping process of the two example above is developed by the company’semployees. According to the employees in Amazon, the fast pace of Amazon inreacting to change had a big influence from the use of technology.
As the dataof the performance of each individual employee and manager will be record andmonitor by the system, the employees of Amazon, both present and at the pastagreed that Amazon have the advantage of technology and it is the main factorthat will drive them to success by now and in the future. Conclusion Overallthroughout this report, it is clearly that the founder and the CEO Jeff Bezoshad applied different political rule in the daily operation of Amazon. Most ofthe information was taken from the article: “Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideasin a Bruising Workplace” published by the New York Times which given aninsight look into both past and present employees of Amazon. To sum up, therewere appearance of use of Autocracy, Direct democracy, Bureaucracy, andTechnocracy in the operation of the organization. The limited in outflow ofinformation from the low hierarchy position show a high level of control ofinformation thus suggest a high level of autocracy from the firm. Moreover, theconfession some worker made in the article is the regard to the existence of bureaucracyin the management cycle. The company have some strict rules about level of sufficientproductivity, however the high level of turnover of workers suggest that it ispossible that some of the rules are counterproductive. Theuse of Technocracy is the clearest among of the four political system.
Itapplication can be shown everywhere in the company operation. For example, therequirement of specialization in Amazon is very high as employees are expectedto handle the complicated process of their work and on the other hand keeping ahigh level of creativity to suggest the possible innovation in the organizationoperation. Toconclude, through the discussion made in this report, Amazon undoubtedly usingseveral Political System in the Morgan’s Organization Metaphor in theirbusiness management practice. The use of political system helps Amazon tocreate a strong reliable business structure that allow them to retain their successfor years, including became the largest E-commerce business in the world (ref).