Jyotsna Bhatnagar, Shweta Jaiswal
Leadership & Managing People
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?
Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Leadership, Managing people, Organizational culture, Public relations
Christopher A. Bartlett, Vincent Dessain, Anders Sjoman
Technology & Operations
Traces the history of IKEA’s response to a TV report that its Indian carpet suppliers were using child labor. Describes IKEA’s growth, including the importance of a sourcing strategy based on its close relationships with suppliers in developing countries. Details the development of IKEA’s strong culture and values that include a commitment “to create a better everyday life for many people.” Describes how, in response to regulatory and public pressure, IKEA developed a set of environmental policies that grew to encompass a relationship with Greenpeace and WWF on forest management and conservation. Then, in 1994, Marianne Barner, a newly appointed IKEA product manager, is surprised by a Swedish television documentary on the use of child labor by Indian carpet suppliers, including some that supply IKEA’s rugs. She immediately implements a strict policy that provides for contract cancellation if any IKEA supplier uses child labor. Then Barner is confronted by a German TV producer who advises her that he is about to broadcast an investigative program documenting the use of child labor in one of the company’s major suppliers. How should she react to the crisis? How should the company deal with the ongoing issue of child labor in the supply chain ?
Cross-cultural management, Emerging markets, Ethics, Growth strategy, Human resource management , Operations management, Public relations, Social enterprise, Social responsibility