Amazon’s Bruising, Thrilling Workplace

The article’s main premise is about the culture at the amazon workplace. The company is steering little-known experimentation on how far it can push the white-collar workforce toward excellence, redrawing the boundaries concerning what is acceptable. The article explores the different thoughts and concerns of workers during their careers working at Amazon. Some workers interviewed argued that they were overwhelmed, and it was the toughest work experience of their lives, while others felt that the company’s rigorous work culture shaped their career.

One employee, for instance, recalled that recruits are told to “forget the ”poor habits” they learned at previous jobs.” “When they hit the wall from the unrelenting pace, there is only one solution, climb the wall,” other employees further reported. The statements are suggestions that Amazon is truly trying to redraw the boundary of what is acceptable within the workforce. To achieve their best, the Amazon employees must be guided by leadership principles laid down by the company, the 14 rules inscribed on laminated cards. An ideal employee at Amazon is termed as an “athlete endurance speed.” The employees are assessed occasionally, and the ones with excellent scores earn a virtual honor declaring, ”I’m Peculiar,” Amazon’s phrase for redrawing workplace traditions (Kantor & Streitfeld, 2015). Bezos believed that an employee must work long, hard and smart as neither of the options can operate without the other, which has served as the company’s manifesto from the start.

The focus of Amazon, which is so much embraced in its culture, is the relentless strive to please the customers, which is described as the customer obsession, and employees must be part of this strive. Employees who cannot give their all working at 80 hours a week are regarded as weakness or problems. One employee, Molly, recalled that she received high ratings throughout her work until she started traveling to care for the ailing father. Her status immediately changed, and she was even blocked from transferring to a less-demanding job. She had to quit.

Amazon Company has specific tactics that leaders use to motivate employees to contribute towards the company’s relentless strive to satisfy customers. Two specific tactics are outstanding: “motivating the Amabots” and “a running competition.” The “motivating the Amabots” tactic is where the employees are supposed to drive their performance. An employee recalled that “If you’re a good Amazonian, you become an Amabot,” implying that excellent Amazon employees become at one with the system. The company adopts a self-reinforcing set of management, psychological tools, and data to spur employees to achieve more. For instance, a former Kindle marketer said that Amazon runs a continuous performance improvement algorithm on the workforce. Every aspect of the company is designed to amplify others to inspire and discipline the employees from marketers, finance specialists, and engineers. As for the “running competition” tactic, Amazon has adopted a technique where employees can give feedback or rate their peers’ performance. ”I can’t stand here and defend you if your peers are saying you’re not doing your work,” Elizabeth Willet’s boss said after her colleagues left negative feedback criticizing her for leaving work too early (Kantor & Streitfeld, 2015).

The strategies help promote Amazon’s distinctive organization culture that nurtures a performance-driven setting that fires up workers to innovate to pursue an exceptional, continuously improving client experience (Schein, 2017). The “motivating the Amabots” tactic, as the leadership principle is built on rigorous, continuous feedback on performance alongside peer competition among workers who fear missing an improvement or a potential problem, and the desire or a race to be the first to answer an email. As mentioned earlier, employees monitor and give feedback on their peers’ performance through a running competition tactic. Everyone at Amazon is ranked according to their performance, and those at the bottom are eliminated annually (Kantor & Streitfeld, 2015). Hence, it is in every employee’s interest to outperform the other, creating a self-management system. The approach contributes immensely towards Amazon’s high-octane and fiercely consumer-centered environment where everyone is striving for excellence (Kennedy, 2016). A colleague could be demanding, supportive, competitive, and a time backstabbing.


It is hard to refute that leadership tactics employed by Amazon leaders are effective because the same strategies have seen the company rise to be among the best in the world. The leadership tactic used by the company can generally be described as task-oriented and transformative. Employees are pushed to their limits to give their best and serve the customer better. Workers are also encouraged to critique their colleagues’ ideas and even rate their performance. The model boasts employees’ imaginational and intellectual stimulation by encouraging diverging views on the board and driving the workforce to view issues from different angles by arguing their ideas(Schein, 2017), resulting in an innovating and highly performing workforce at Amazon.

Even though Amazon’s leadership tactics and corporate culture have proven effective in driving innovation and productivity, some areas require improvement. First, Amazon should lower expectations of employees who have personal problems, including health issues and maternity or child management responsibilities, and treat them as humans. Employees have complained of harsh treatment and challenges of getting paid leave when they have problems, which is demotivating. The company should also incorporate other rewards systems besides the stock option to cater to lower-level employees. Currently, only the middle managers can draw salaries for stock increase, which is unfair to other workers in the lower levels.


Kantor, J., & Streitfeld, D. (2015). Amazon’s bruising, thrilling workplace. New York Times16.

Kennedy, D. (2016). The Bezos effect: how Amazon’s founder is reinventing the Washington Post–and what lessons it might hold for the beleaguered newspaper business. Shorenstein Center.

Schein, A. (2017, September). Taylorism and Amazon: Scientific management at the world’s most successful retail company. In 10th Annual Conference of the EuroMed Academy of Business.