Management Case Study

Case Study Analysis: Going to Extremes

Read and respond to a case study to demonstrate your understanding of, and ability to apply, the most important concepts of the module.

Review a case study of Zappos. You will find the case study in the attached files.

Write an integrated essay that addresses the following items:

  1. Find a list of all 10 of Zappos’ corporate values. Pick two of the values and explain how you think those values would influence the way employees do their work.
  2. Explain which areas where Zappos’ culture is very high (or typical).
  3. Describe how did Zappos’ corporate culture began and how Zappos’ corporate culture is maintained.
  4. Discuss what other companies could learn from Tony Hsieh and Zappos’ experiences.
  5. Describe what could be improved in Zappos’ corporate culture.

Your well-written proposal should meet the following requirements:

  • Be 3-4 pages in length.
  • APA formatted
  • Cite a minimum of three scholarly sources, at least one of which is not provided in, or linked from, the course.… Going to Extremes Number one best e-retailer: For those of you who have shopped on, that ranking probably isn’t a surprise. For those of you who haven’t shopped on, it wouldn’t take long for you to see why Zappos deserves that accolade. And it’s more than the fact that Zappos has a great selection of products, super-fast shipping, and free returns. The real secret to its success is its people, who make the Zappos shopping experience truly unique and outstanding. The company, which began selling shoes and other products online in 1999, has put “extraordinary effort into building a desirable organizational culture, which has provided a sure path to business success.” As part of its culture, Zappos espouses 10 corporate values. At the top of that list is “Deliver WOW through service.” And do they ever deliver the WOW! Even through the recent economic challenges, Zappos has continued to thrive—a sure sign its emphasis on organizational culture is paying off. Zappos … delivering the WOW through service. Zappos is not only the number one e-retailer but also one of the 100 best companies to work for. Okay. So what is it really that makes Zappos’ culture so great? Let’s take a closer look. (Also, look back at Case Application #1 in Chapter 1 about Zappos’ move to a holacracy.) Zappos began selling shoes and other products online in 1999. Four years later, it was profitable, and it reached more than $1 billion in sales by 2009. Zappos was named Business Week’s Customer Service Champ and was given an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau in 2009. Also, that year, Amazon (yeah, that Amazon) purchased Zappos for 10 million Amazon shares, worth almost $928 million at the time. Zappos’ employees divided up $40 million in cash and 50… 2 of 4 7/6/2018, 10:33 AM PRINTED BY: Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher’s prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted. restricted stock and were assured that Zappos management would remain in place. Tony Hsieh (pronounced Shay) became Zappos CEO in 2000. His personality has been best described as a blend of “weirdness and humility.” And those same characteristics are what Hsieh wanted Zappos culture to look like. Before joining Zappos, Hsieh had been co-founder of the Internet advertising network LinkExchange and had seen firsthand the problems that crop up when you have a company where people’s technical skills are the only thing that matters. He was determined to do it differently at Zappos. Hsieh first invited Zappos’ 300 employees to list the core values the culture should be based on. That process led to the 10 values that continue to drive the organization, which now employs about 1,400 people. Another thing that distinguishes Zappos’ culture is the recognition that organizational culture is more than a list of written values. The culture has to be “lived.” And Zappos does this by maintaining a culture that’s focused on creating ways for employees to interact. At Zappos, social media is used liberally to link employees with one another and with the company’s customers. For instance, in one recent tweet, an employee wanted to know if anyone had brought a hairdryer to work that day. (Must have been a bad hair day!) This kind of camaraderie can maintain and sustain employee commitment to the company. Also, at Zappos, the company’s “pulse” or “health” of the culture is surveyed monthly. In these happiness surveys, employees answer questions such as whether they enjoy their jobs, whether the company is too focused on profits, whether they feel their job is meaningful, if they feel they make the decisions about their own career path, and if colleagues are friendly and like family to them. Survey results are broken down by department, and opportunities for “development” are identified and acted on. For example, when one month’s survey showed that a particular department seemed isolated and cut off from other departments, actions were taken to show employees how integral their work was to the rest of… 3 of 4 7/6/2018, 10:33 AM the company. Oh, and one other thing about Zappos: Every year, to celebrate its accomplishments, it publishes a Culture Book, a testimonial to the power of its culture. Zappos feels strongly that when you have an appropriate culture with appropriate values, that’s when you achieve the best organizational performance. And such confidence about what and how it’s doing business is ultimately what Zappos is all about.


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