Holacracy at Zappos




Case Details Case Introduction 1 Case Introduction 2 Case Excerpts

Abstract

This case is about online shoe and clothing retailer Zappos (a part of Amazon). The company was highly popular for the culture of service it had promoted since its inception. Its success was attributed to its unique culture, where the employees were given complete freedom to fulfill the needs of the customers. Its culture helped Zappos attract a lot of talented people. In 2013, the CEO of Zappos, Tony Hsieh, announced that he was looking at adopting ‘Holacracy’ across the organization, which aimed at replacing the conventional structure of command and control in the organization with a self governing process by distributing power. Zappos was the largest organization to implement Holacracy and its results are yet to be seen.

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Issues

The case is structured to achieve the following teaching objectives:

  • To discuss the role and importance of culture in organizations.
  • To highlight the role of a leader in building an effective culture.
  • To understand the impact of organizational culture on organizational performance.
  • To discuss the concept, element, and benefits of Holacracy.
  • To discuss the challenges that can occur when organizations initiate change.

Contents
ZAPPOS GOES FLAT
BACKGROUND
ZAPPOS' CORE VALUES
CULTURE OF SERVICE
SUSTAINING THE CULTURE
TIME FOR CHANGE
HOLACRACY AT ZAPPOS
LOOKING AHEAD
EXHIBIT

Keywords

Organizational Culture, Corporate Culture, Holacracy, Zappos, holarchical, flat organizational structure, structuring, governing, distributing power, circles, teams; lead link, dynamic roles, distributed authority

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