Amazon Leadership: Visionary Leadership Focusing on Customer Service

Amazon LeadershipAmazon leadership style has been classified as pragmatist. Pragmatist leaders “set high standards and unapologetically expect those standards to be met by themselves and by their employees”[1] The company’s founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos is an exceptional and proven business leader. Bezos efficiently exercises visionary and servant leadership styles and places exceptional customer service at the core of Amazon’s business practice.

Moreover, Jeff Bezos leadership style is unique in several ways. For example, it has been noted that “while you might find other internet firms focusing on a fun, relaxed atmosphere for their employees, no-frills Bezos is proving the potency of another model: coddling his 164 million customers, not his 56,000 employees.”[2]

Jeff Bezos’ leadership style can be analysed through the prism of contingency leadership theory. According to contingency leadership theory, “leader’s effectiveness is contingent upon with how his or her leadership style matches to the situation.”[3] Jeff Bezos leadership style has been characterized as harsh, cutthroat and demanding.[4] It can be argued that such a leadership style fitted the situation o the onset of the business, when the company had to strengthen its position on rapidly expanding industry.

Amazon leadership principles found in official company job site consists of the following 14 points:

  1. Customer Obsession
  2. Ownership
  3. Invent and Simplify
  4. Leaders Are Right, A Lot
  5. Learn and Be Curious
  6. Hire and Develop the Best
  7. Insist on the Highest Standards
  8. Think Big
  9. Bias for Action
  10. Frugality
  11. Earn Trust
  12. Dive Deep
  13. Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit
  14. Deliver Results

Amazon Board of Directors comprises 9 members, who are experienced business leaders in a wide range of industries. The company ‘s senior leadership is aided by three committees – Audit Committee, Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee and Leadership Development and Compensation Committee. Amazon senior management team has been criticized for the lack of diversity. Specifically, “almost all of the top executives at its consumer-facing businesses, like retail, cloud, and hardware, are exclusively white men — only four of the 48 executives in those roles are women.”[5]

Amazon leadership challenges include sustaining the profitability of the business despite the current thin profit margin. Up to date, the company has been able to deal this challenge through process innovations, deriving maximum benefits from human resources and constantly entering new business segments.

Amazon.com Inc. Report contains a full analysis of Amazon leadership. The report illustrates the application of the major analytical strategic frameworks in business studies such as SWOT, PESTEL, Porter’s Five Forces, Value Chain analysis, Ansoff Matrix and McKinsey 7S Model on Amazon. Moreover, the report contains analyses of Amazon business strategy, organizational structure and organizational culture. The report also comprises discussions of Amazon marketing strategy, ecosystem and addresses issues of corporate social responsibility.

[1] Murphy, M. (2015) “Would Your Leadership Style Fit At Amazon?” Forbes, Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/markmurphy/2015/08/18/would-your-leadership-style-fit-at-amazon/#5d1674c3ebef

[2] Blazek, K. (2016) “JEFF BEZOS: HOW HIS UNIQUE LEADERSHIP STYLE SET AMAZON APART” The Booth Company, Available at: http://www.boothco.com/360-feedback-resources/jeff-bezos-leadership-style/

[3] McKenzie, L. & Love, K. (2016) “CONTINGENCY THEORY OF LEADERSHIP” in Organization and Administration in Recreation, Sport and Leisure Management, Editor Oakleaf, L.

[4] Cain, A. (2017) “9 Shocking Anecdotes That Reveal Jeff Bezos’s Cutthroat Management Style” Business Insider, Available at: https://www.inc.com/business-insider/amazon-ceo-jeff-bezos-leadership-management-style-work-culture.html

[5] Kim, E. (2019) “Amazon’s executive org chart, revealed” CMBC Markets, Available at: https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/23/who-are-amazons-top-executives-2019.html