|Type of paper:||Essay|
|Categories:||Leadership analysis Amazon Organizational behavior Covid 19|
Organizational behavior (OB) emphasizes how humans behave in an organization and involves how organizations' structures get their work done and how employees interact with one another. Managers of an organization can easily explain why individual employees engage in some behaviors, predict how employees will respond to individual decisions, and motivate employees. Therefore, this paper will look at Amazon and its organizational behavior and how the company operates following Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and McClelland’s need theory.
Amazon.com Inc. is an American worldwide technology company that focuses on e-commerce, digital streaming, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence. Jeff Bezos founded the company in 1994 and has its headquarters in Seattle (Hall, 2020). The company is one of the biggest online retailers, with more than 800,000 employees across the world (Hall, 2020). Amazon has managed to stay relevant over other online retail and technology giants. Its incomparable and diverse organizational culture, which aims to motivate employees to achieve a high-performance rate. Amidst Corona Virus pandemic, Amazon seems to be doing well in terms of its sales and revenues, unlike other organizations. It is characterized by its recent hiring of over 100,000 staff to deal with help in addressing food and medical needs whose demand is on the rise (Hall, 2020).
Despite its significant achievements and recommendable growth since its inception, Amazon continues to face challenges. These challenges are intense government scrutiny, keeping up with such a fast-paced online retail growth, maintaining its competitive advantage, improving customer service, and, most importantly, the employees safe and motivated. To promote exceptional performance through employee’s motivation, the company operates following Maslow’s Hierarchy and McClelland’s need theory.
McClelland Need Theory
This theory by David McClelland appreciates that every human, regardless of gender, age, or culture, have three motivating factors. These three motivators are; the need for power, the need for affiliation, and the need for achievement. Therefore, in an organizational structure, every employee likes to receive regular feedback on their progress, wants to be loved and belong to the organization, and also enjoy status and recognition. Amazon's C.E.O Jeff Bezos fits very well in the McClelland theory of needs since his primary motivating factor for employees is the need for achievement. The company pushes its employees to work smart in terms of innovation to achieve excellent performance. Additionally, the company employs the need for power through pushing and motivating employees to make customers happy as they purpose to reach new goals in terms of production and development. In the early years, a bell would ring every time the customer made a purchase, and every employee would gather around to see if they knew the customer (Hartmans, 2019). The empty chair method by Amazon is a perfect example of motivating the employees to focus on making customers happy (Hartmans, 2019). During Amazon's most important meetings, Jeff Bezos leaves one seat empty, which is for the most critical person in the room-the customer (Hartmans, 2019). It is meant to illustrate to employees how customers are very vital for the company. It thus motivates them to make customers happy as much as they strain to achieve other organizational goals. By pushing to ensure customers are delighted with the company's products and services, it ensures that Amazon has a competitive advantage against other competitors in the market.
The company also employs group behavior and work teams to implement McClelland's theory of needs. Over the many years of its existence, Amazon has remained one of the few and top companies that have been less affected by the recession and bad economic times, including the current COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen many organizations do poorly in terms of revenues and employee's retention. The company has improved the number of products and currently sells a projected 480 million different products (Hartmans, 2019). It is attributed to the company's group behavior and work teams that work together every day towards achieving the organization's goals. The work teams are expected to reach the demands of Amazon by providing quality work that meets customer needs and satisfaction. They are driven by the need for achievement, which has seen the company develop new products and services that suit customer needs.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a principle of need by Abraham Maslow, which states that people are often motivated by the five types of needs: physiological needs, safety needs, love, self-esteem needs, and needs of self-actualization (McLeod, 2020). In the theory which is presented in a pyramid form, the needs lower down in the hierarchy should be fulfilled first before the needs up the pyramid are attended. The psychological needs under the theory are food, water, air, and sleep. Therefore, to ensure a comfortable working environment, the employees should be provided with these needs. If the psychological needs are not met, then it is hard for the workers to advance to the next level of the pyramid since they won't have the motivation.
Amazon has strived in fulfilling the psychological needs of its employees through the provision of timely and enough salaries. All Amazon employees have access to health benefits from the day of employment, which ensures the employees and their families. It has been a great motivation for the company's employees, evidenced by the company's growth. If amazon has demotivated employees, then it is unlikely to grow. However, the company has had its lows when it comes to fulfilling these needs. It is evidenced by several strikes experienced by technology giant employees (O'Donovan, 2019). The workers have had to work under very extreme weather conditions, which sparked a go-slow by the employees. The employees feel demotivated because Amazon has not come up with a permanent solution about the occasional rise in temperatures at the Chicago branch, such as excessive heat watch, closing the office, and other motivating solutions to the employees (O'Donovan, 2019).
Amazon has also ensured to meet the safety needs of its employees, especially during this period of COVID-19 pandemic that has majorly affected the industry and destabilized the economy. The company has disinfected all its premises, which is done regularly and also provided masks and gloves to protect its workers from contracting the deadly virus. It has partly motivated the employees. However, the company has not come up with enough measures to ensure that the employees are fully protected. It is evidenced by the Amazon employees' strike towards the inadequate efforts by the company to protect its employees against the coronavirus pandemic. The employees felt that the company was carrying business as usual, and employees are working throughout to address the day by day rise in orders due to lockdowns. The company provides masks, but employees use them for days rather than getting new pones every day to cut down the spread of COVID-19, which already has some of the company's employees. The company has not provided job security for its employees, which is a demotivating factor for the Amazon workers. During the COVID-19 protests, the company fired one employee believed to have led the strike, which has caused unrest among the company's employees.
A study on the manager's motivation was carried to determine which need under McClelland's theory is more motivating to the managers (Andersen, 2018). It was realized that managers whose need for power is met are more motivated and, therefore, significantly enhance organizational effectiveness (Andersen, 2018). However, it does not imply that the higher the power motivation, the more the effectiveness. Somewhat, the main idea is that managers' need for power should be focused upon by the organization more than the lack of affiliation. Another study was done to validate the McClelland theory of demand by using neuroscientific methods where reward tests were run. It was determined that a closer matching between the type of reward and the individual needs results in energetic neural activations, the reward circuity (Rybnicek et al., 2019). Therefore, a need-tailored reward system for an organization is sufficient motivation for the employee.
A study was conducted to determine the validity of Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory in a working environment context in four community colleges in North Carolina (Rex, 1977). The outcome of this study suggested that a job offering opportunities to satisfy the employees' basic needs will break down the hierarchical order of Maslow's theory of demand (Rex, 1977). Therefore, even upper-level needs are equally vital, and the organization should capitalize on them. Yet, another research was conducted to test Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory in the 21st Century and its effectiveness across 18 different professionals (Uysal, Aydemir & Genc, 2017). It was determined that the idea of fulfilling the needs progressively in the hierarchical order is not applicable in the 21st Century and the theory was not valid in 88% of the occupational groups involved in the study with the significant differences found in the order of the needs (Uysal et al., 2017).
Amazon should focus on ensuring the needs of its employees are met through offering job security, ensuring employee safety, and, most all, providing proper working conditions. During this COVID-19 pandemic, the company should adhere to all set measures by the World Health Organization (WHO), such as ensuring proper usage and disposal of masks. The employees should be provided with new disposable masks every day since they should not be recycled. Additionally, the company should create a permanent solution concerning the high temperatures in some of its working units, which majorly affects the employee work input and demotivate them due to an unfriendly working environment. It should come up with strategies like Google, which prioritizes employee working environment where the company has created a serene and comfortable working environment by possessing nicely designed offices with a lively green atmosphere (Munsighe, n.d). The company should not violate employees working rights such as dismissal because of standing up to strike for fairness as the employees of the company. In short, it should stop retaliation culture towards its employees. It should, in return, adopt Google's strategy where the company provides insecure compensation for its employees to cover for salaries and job security, which encourages retention of very motivated and productive employees (Munasighe, n.d). Furthermore, the company should ensure to motivate its employees to make customers happy, which will improve their work results. It should review the employee's progress and give them feedback regularly by even awarding the best.
Andersen, J. (2018, April 27). Managers' Motivation Profiles: Measurement and Application. Sage Journals. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2158244018771732
Hall, M. (2020, April 9). Amazon.com. America Company. Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Amazoncom
Hartmans, A. (2019).15 Fascinating Facts you didn't Know about Amazon (AMZN). Business Insider. https://www.pulse.com.gh/bi/tech/15-fascinating-facts-you-probably-didnt-know-about-amazon-amzn/63fhrng
McLeod, S. (2020, March 20). Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Simply Psychology. https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html#:~:text=Maslow's%20hierarchy%20of%20needs%20is,hierar...
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