Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos defends their corporate culture

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos defends their corporate culture

It seems that it’s open season on Amazon since The New York Times’ (NYT) exposé last August.

“You walk out of a conference room and you’ll see a grown man covering his face. Nearly every person I worked with, I saw cry at their desk”, said Bo Olson, who worked at the company as part of the book-marketing division, to the paper.

Jason Merkoski, a former Amazon Engineer, added that the Big Brother culture emanates from the Boardroom and is reportedly spurred on by Jeff Bezos, CEO of the company: “Heaven help if you got an email from Jeff. It’s as if you’ve got the CEO of the company in bed with you at 3am breathing down your neck.”

At the time Bezos said in an internal memo that “the article doesn’t describe the Amazon I know or the caring Amazonians I work with every day”, and now he has defended the corporate culture in a letter to shareholders, although there are no specific references to NYT’s exposé.

He wrote in the letter to shareholders: “A word about corporate cultures: for better or for worse, they are enduring, stable, hard to change. They can be a source of advantage or disadvantage. You can write down your corporate culture, but when you do so, you’re discovering it, uncovering it — not creating it. It is created slowly over time by the people and by events — by the stories of past success and failure that become a deep part of the company lore.

“If it’s a distinctive culture, it will fit certain people like a custom-made glove. The reason cultures are so stable in time is because people self-select. Someone energised by competitive zeal may select and be happy in one culture, while someone who loves to pioneer and invent may choose another. The world, thankfully, is full of many high-performing, highly distinctive corporate cultures. We never claim that our approach is the right one — just that it’s ours — and over the last two decades, we’ve collected a large group of like-minded people. Folks who find our approach energising and meaningful.”

The NYT’s full exposé can be read here. Subsequently, a website called The Former And Current Employees (FACE) was set up to help Amazon staff unionise in face of “scary” HR, and reports of 'scare tactics' designed to prevent employee theft emerged

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