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Jeff Bezos Case Study

Essay by   •  August 3, 2016  •  Case Study  •  4,273 Words (18 Pages)  •  1,125 Views

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Chapter 1

Introduction

At a whopping net worth of $46.3 Billion (as of February 16, 2016) according to Forbes, Jeff Bezos ranks number 17 in the list of the most powerful people in the world. Born to a teen mother in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Jeff Bezos always showed interest in entrepreneurship. As a young high school student, Bezos “developed the Dream Institute, a centre that promoted creative thinking in young students” (Britannica, 2016). Bezos went on to attend Princeton University and graduated Summa Cum Laude. Being Fascinated with space, entrepreneurship and the growth potential of the internet from a young age, Bezos went on to create a company named Amazon in 1995 and a startup known as Blue Origin in 2000.

Amazon.com, aptly named after the largest river in the world, also became the largest e-commerce business in the world. Amazon was just a small online business whose purpose was to sell books. However, Jeff had bigger plans for his company and now Amazon, being the top online retailer, sells everything from food and electronics to hair products and sporting goods.

Bezos’ company, Blue Origin, created in 2000 with his childhood interest in mind; to be a space entrepreneur. Bezos wanted to treat space as we do the earth. He wants to make it possible for people to travel to and from space, using his services and to provide different attractions such as theme parks in space.

Chapter 2

Leadership Practices

There are many things to take into account when it comes to one’s leadership style. In this chapter, we will cover Jeff Bezos’ Leadership behavior, actions, decisions, plans, efforts, and activities. “If you want to be inventive, you have to be willing to fail” (Bezos, 2012) is one of Bezos’ many leadership quotes that set the pace for his leadership style. Bezos is imbalanced in his leadership behaviors. He is directive, participative, and achievement oriented but sometimes unsupportive when it comes to his employees. Bezos definitely provides structural guidance to his employees every step of the way. He often attributes his success with Amazon to this tactic. Everyone who works for Bezos understands that he sticks to timelines and is always looking for more ways to be innovative and to deliver or sell their products in a better and faster way. Bezos is very clear across the board when it comes to what he is looking for from his employees at every tier of his company. Bezos is a leader that is management oriented. He cares about the tasks and getting the product out and moving into the hands of consumers as quickly as humanly or robotically possible.

Being very task oriented as opposed to having a balance with relationship orientation, Bezos’ company, Amazon, belts out products to customers at lightning speed, often within two days of ordering a product. Bezos cares more about the numbers than the amount of stress that a large workload can place on any one employee that is responsible for getting products boxed and ready for shipping. When it comes to control versus delegation, Bezos prefers to delegate the duties and be hands off, only looking at stats and where his company is as far as goals and timelines. Truthfully, as a CEO of the largest online store in the world, it would be difficult to be continuously hands on and still maintain the level of success that Amazon has reached.

While Bezos is trying to maintain lower spending costs for his company to maximize profits, he finds an alternative way to reward his employees. Instead of rewarding them monetarily, he provides them with stock options. Bezos uses this alternative because not only does it save the company money, however it essentially gives the employees a minute portion of the company to call their own. Bezos’ style of punishment for employees is not exactly the type of punishment that others would divvy out in large companies or corporations. Instead of just getting rid of who is responsible of the mistake. Bezos will allow the employees to come forth and explain the thought process behind the decision. Bezos chooses this style because he is all about the customer and their satisfaction. Therefore, when a customer emails him about an issue, Jeff often forwards the message and adds a question mark at the end of it so that the employee can answer what the customer wrote. Bezos’ communication style is both assertive and aggressive. He believes that a leader should “have backbone; disagree and commit” (Hernandez, 2014). While this can communication style is often harsh for most, this has yielded Bezos some great results and his company is still very successful and he can be this way because he truly believes in everything that he does and that there is no limit. This communication style in leadership is certainly not for the faint of heart.

Chapter 3

Five Leadership Theories

The five leadership theories are situational, style, leader-member exchange, transformational and servant leadership theories. Hersey and Blanchard created the situational leadership theory. This approach has to do with the leader being able to adjust their leadership style or dynamic to suit the needs of their followers (p. 93). The style theory as Ohio and Michigan State researched refers to what the leaders do in regards to their behaviors. According to Michigan, there are two different leadership behaviors, classified as employee orientation and production orientation (p. 73). Employee orientation focuses on human relations while production focuses on the technical side of things. Leader-member exchange focuses on a leader having a dyadic relationship with their followers. The transformational leadership theory has a lot to do with the leader making leaders out of their followers. At some point in a company, some of the followers will reflect these attributes and grow with the company as new leaders and transformational leadership would help greatly. A leader that practices servant leadership has these ten characteristics: listening, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion, conceptualization, foresight, stewardship, commitment to the growth of people and building community. Essentially, servant leadership has to do with the Leader serving the followers and actually taking care of their needs, which helps to build morale and happier employees. This often helps in work environments that are high stress

Leadership Styles

The four main leadership styles consist of directing, coaching, supporting and delegating. The directive style has to do with giving direction by establishing the roles of the individuals and their goals. This style works best

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