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Amazon was the biggest Internet-based retailer in the United States and had frequently been featured on lists of the most admired companies. In 2015, The New York Times published an article that portrayed Amazon as a ruthless employer with brutal human resource management practices and a toxic work atmosphere. Employees were divided in their opinions: some found the culture invigorating and others found it hard to survive in. Leaders in the industry came to Amazon’s defence, while employees at other organizations began to disclose their own experiences of toxic work environments. Could Amazon continue to grow, thrive, and retain employees if it maintained its current employee management strategy? Did stress foster innovation, and, if so, at what point did that stress become destructive?
This case is suitable for use in courses on human resource management, organizational behaviour, and entrepreneurship. In studying this case, students will: ·Evaluate the significance of care and compassion in the workplace. ·Appreciate the importance of psychological flexibility and mindfulness. ·Understand the pros and cons of pushing employees to the edge and how it impacts business-related outcomes. ·Appreciate the importance of sustainable people management practices for an attractive employer brand and strong talent engagement.Learn the distinction between distress and eustress.