Management of People and Organisations (MBA) | Written Assignment

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CASE1 : The Secrets of Bezos: How Amazon Became the Everything Store CASE2: Too Big to Manage: JP Morgan and the Mega Banks

Text of Management of People and Organisations (MBA) | Written Assignment

  • 1. MBA 61HELLENIC OPEN UNIVERSITYWRITTEN ASSIGNMENT 01MANAGEMENT OF PEOPLE & ORGANIZATIONSMIKELA MANOLOUDAKINOVEMBER 2013Professor: Anastasia ConstantelouSubmission Deadline: 12 November 2013, Time 23:59Submission: http://study.eap.grAssignment Type: PersonalGraded: 9,2/10

2. CONTENTSCASE 1The Secrets of Bezos: How Amazon Became the Everything StoreURL Link: http://www.businessweek.com/printer/articles/159124-the-secrets-of-bezos-how- amazon-became-the-everything-storeQuestion 1.1: Based on the information included in the story, how would youdescribe Amazons organizational culture and organizational climate?Question 1.2: Select any of the known leadership models and theories found in thetextbook and use it to define Jeff Bezos leadership style.CASE 2Too Big to Manage: JP Morgan and the Mega BanksURL Link: http://blogs.hbr.org/2013/10/too-big-to-manage-jp-morgan-and-the-megabanksQuestion 2.1: Based on the information provided in the article, please identify theessential characteristics of an effective control system in a modern financialorganization.Question 2.2: According to the information provided in the article, and to the theoryon the nature and purpose of organizing, what does maintaining an effective controlsystem imply for the organizational structure of a company? 3. CASE 1Question 1.1:There are today a number of definitions of organisational culture, however it canbasically be said that, as suggested by Mintzberg et al, organizational culture is thecharacter of a particular business, the soul of the organization that holds the thingtogether and gives it life force1, the beliefs, the values, the shared assumptions andhow they are manifested. Similarly, others think of it as the organizations DNA invisible to the naked eye, yet a powerful template that shapes what happens in theworkplace2. When discussing corporate culture we are actually referring to theprevailing culture; that is, the fuel, the themes shared most widely by theorganizations members (p. 498). Without that fuel, the company car wont run3.Organizations differ in their cultural content. In Amazons case, practicing economyis clearly a corporate value. Amazon employees pay for their meals. Everyonesdesks are slabs of wood made from doors. Extra chairs are considered anextravagance. But as Amazon grew, the company culture stayed the same. Accordingto the Amazons CEO Jeff Bezos, there are a number of things that define a businessculture, but the most influential is an effective hiring process. He argues thatCultures are not so much planned as they evolve from that early set of people. Oncea corporate culture is formed, it tends to be extremely stable. It stays around. It endsup building on itself4. Besides, cruising inside Amazon its like a three-ring circus1 Sharing the Organizational Vision (part 4). Organizational Culture (chapter 10, p.353) [pdf].Available at:< http://connect.docuter.com/documents/397457557497f05f16f9f41233061361.pdf> [Accessed 4November 2013].2 Organizational Culture (chapter 16, p.498) [pdf]. University of Graz. Available at: [Accessed 4 November 2013].3 Jackson, L. 2012. Corporate Culture, Organizational Culture. Available at:[Accessed 4 November 2013].4 Blandino, 2012. Amazons Culture: How to Shape an Enduring Organizational Culture. Available at:http://stephenblandino.com/2012/03/amazons-culture-how-to-shape-an-enduring-organizational-culture.html [Accessed 4 November 2013]. 4. that adds more rings each day5. Companies shape culture very early on, establish thecode of behaviour and ethics and they get imprinted with a sense of right and wrongon the corporate generic information. Ebay s Meg Whitman declares the same notionclaiming that every single day there are teaching moments and opportunities tograpple with issues and that is how organizations are used to take in6.Amazons organizational culture is founded on two main concepts: the empty chairand the constant measurement. Bezos often leaves one seat open at a conference tableand informs all attendees that they should consider that seat occupied by theircustomer, the most important person in the room.7 Moreover, the company relieson metrics to make almost every important decision; that is, a data-driven not socialcohesion- culture. Yet random customer tales can also change Amazons course.Determine what your customers need and work backwards. If customers dont wantsomething, its gone even if that means breaking apart a powerful departmentBezos further debates (Jackson, 2012).In addition, whereas organisational culture is concerned with the way we do thingsaround here, organisational climate is actually interested in the way each individualof the staff considers and appreciates the relevant organisational culture, as the latestnotion, is strictly bound and dependent on the level of fairness, consistency andintegrity within an organization8. Based on the information included in the Amazonstory, employees seem to be experiencing a rough time at work judging from the factthat when the big Bezos question mark is popping up on their inbox huge waves ofpanic overrule the departments. Evidently, Bezos harshness towards his employees isremorseless as he treats them like expendable resources without taking into account5 Krantz, M. 1999. Cruising Inside Amazon. TIME Magazine. Available at:http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,992929,00.html#ixzz2kBIXkfeQ. [Accessed 3November 2013].6 eBay's Meg Whitman on Building a Company's Culture, 2009. Available at: [Accessed 3November 2013]7 Anders, G. 2012. Inside Amazon's Idea Machine: How Bezos Decodes Customers. Available at: [Accessed 10 November2013]8 Longo, R. 2012. Main differences between organisational culture and organisational climate.Available at: http://rosariolongo.blogspot.gr/2012/01/main-differences-between-organisational.html?[Accessed 2 November 2013] 5. their daily contribution whereas positive feedback from superiors is rare andpromotions even rarer9. Bezos frequently resorts to hyperbole and devastating insultstowards staff hurling legal threats to anyone who decides to leave company for a jobat a competitor. Given the dominant culture which is adversarial and very much aperformance-based affair, it is well known that most people do not last at Amazoneither from burnout or they under-perform and get fired. However, some peoplemight thrive in such a gladiator atmosphere, despite the fact that they might be firedany day. All things considered, we deduce that the climate is more of dog eatingdog and less of team-oriented since everything revolves around numbers,competitiveness and the customer centric philosophy.Following a diagnostic, kind of cocky quiz, helping you to understand if you fill inthe criteria to be a perfect match for Jeff Bezoss empire.Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/georgeanders/2012/04/06/could-you-work-for-jeff-bezos/9 Stone, B. 2013. Why It's So Difficult to Climb Amazon's Corporate Ladder? Available at:[Accessed 11 November 2013] 6. Question 1.2:Jeff Bezos is one of the founding fathers of customer-oriented e-commerce marketthat brought himself great success from the idea of online shopping. Today, hisbusiness, Amazon.com, is an Internet goliath that sells everything from books totennis rackets to laptops. Bezos modestly claims that the success of Amazon was duehalf to luck, half to timing, and the rest was attributable to brains10. In fact, theobsessive focus on the customer and the passion he brought to his business was whatset him off. What many people are not aware of is that every new employee has tospend time in the companys fulfillment centers within the first year of employment.In addition, every two years, they must do two days of customer service. Even JeffBezos must fulfill this requirement, he revealed in an interview published in theOctober 2007 issue of Harvard Business Review11.Jeff Bezos leadership of Amazon can be examined using one of the five leadershipstyles identified on the Blake and Mouton Managerial Grid, the authority obediencestyle of management as well as the achievement-oriented leadership type fromHouses Path-Goal Theory. Grid position 9,1 is characterized by a concern forproduction as the only goal. Individuals must do what is demanded of them withoutasking, including the elimination of the human element wherever is possible12 (p.3-4).Failure is not an option for this type of manager13 (p.95). Make no mistake, Amazonrewards its teams philosophy takes control while unsubstantiated reports or undueresistance to the wishes of the leader is met with a biting sarcasm and a series ofpiercing offenses, as noticed from the text. With reference to our story, it is alsoproven that Bezoss lofty working standards put severe strain on his employeeswhereas the pressure to keep ones rates up is great. According to evidence, Bezosdoes not tolerate stupidity even the accidental one. He is also the type of leader whosets high-level goals and constantly expects and requires high-level performance,10 Spiro, J. 2009. The Great Leaders Series: Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon.com. Available at: [Accessed 11 November 2013].11 Steiner, I. 2009. Amazon.com's Jeff Bezos, Culture Eats Strategy. Available at:[Accessed 7 November 2013]12 Hgskolen i Oslo, 2003. Organisation Development: Important Theories of Leadership andManagement in Organisations [pdf].Available at: vhttp://home.hio.no/~araki/arabase/emne/frncangel.pdf> [Accessed 11 November 2013]13 Mihiotis, A. 2005. Management (Volume 1). Management of People and Organizations. HellenicOpen University. 7. innovation and invention from his subordinates. That is how Amazon can become anabsolutely draining working environment that inspires a fiercely confrontationalculture.Last but not least, although we try to define Jeff Bezos leadership style we shouldalso bear in mind that no matter how far reaching his vision or how brilliant hisstrategy is, neither would be realized if not supported