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Amazon.com, the world’s largest online retailer, was founded by Jeff Bezos in July 1994. The company proposes a wide range of products, fast delivery, and great customer services. Nevertheless, despite its strong customer focus, the company’s management is widely criticised. The corporate culture of Amazon.com is based on scientific management and digital Taylorism (Stefanova 2015). This approach results in a negative company image and a loss of customers while affecting its competitiveness in the market. Therefore, it is important to examine management practices at Amazon.com and determine how it can apply more innovative management techniques to improve its competitive advantage.
To provide a complete picture, it is necessary to obtain information on both current practices of the company and innovative management practices which could potentially help Amazon.com to improve its competitiveness in the market. Innovative management is a specific approach to managing innovations in all corporate spheres, including the creation of new products and services, the work with customers, as well as the work with employees, to generate competitive advantage (Gureva et al. 2016). In this management approach, the focus is on using innovative techniques and new opportunities to achieve positive changes and contribute to the company’s growth (Ejdys, Ustinovičius & Stankevičienė 2015). It is important to study how innovative management can be applied to Amazon.com.
Currently, Amazon.com is focused on the application of other approaches which can affect the company negatively. The article by Kantor and Streitfeld (2015) provided details about the mistreatment of Amazon.com employees obtained from interviews and surveys. Stefanova (2015), on the other hand, provided an overview of the practices used by Amazon.com to manage its employees to increase competitiveness. The author explained the basic principles of scientific management and outlined its key benefits and difficulties, arguing that scientific management impairs collaboration in the workforce and affects the establishment of a positive team dynamic. However, for the case of Amazon.com, the substitution of scientific management with innovative management would offer a significant competitive advantage (Stefanova 2015).
Other articles explain the key ideas behind innovative management and provide a rationale for using it to alleviate management issues and promote a company’s growth. For instance, the recent study by Barnard and Van der Merwe (2016) focused on the implementation of innovative management practices in higher education institutions to improve student performance and engagement. This article applies to the proposed study because, with a high level of staff turnover, Amazon.com has on-going training practices in place to introduce new employees to their duties. In this case, applying innovative management practices would help ensure the effectiveness of training, thus promoting the effectiveness of the workforce. Furthermore, Amazon.com operates in an extremely competitive market in which each creative idea can be used to develop a product or service to attract customers.
The article by Sadriev and Pratchenko (2014) offered an introduction to idea management in innovative management practices. The authors explained the importance of idea management and provided an overview of practices for companies to use. Finally, the article by Nedelko and Potocan (2013) reported on a study of innovative management that aimed to outline the role of this approach in the development of novel working systems for organisations. This study applies to the proposed research as it shows how the use of innovative management techniques can align employees with the company’s vision and standards, improving both their engagement and effectiveness.
Research Question and Objectives
The research question for this paper can be formulated the following way: How can Amazon.com use innovative management practices and associated activities to increase its competitiveness? Objectives for the research should be identified to guide the study process:
- to determine management practices which are currently used at Amazon.com to generate a competitive advantage;
- to identify gaps in the current management practices which can influence the company’s competitiveness;
- to propose innovative management practices to be used at Amazon.com;
- to determine approaches to using innovative management practices and associated strategies at Amazon.com to increase its competitiveness.
The case study based on analysing secondary data is selected as a research method. To complete the research objectives, it is necessary to focus on the explanatory case study analysis conducted for Amazon.com with reference to examining internal and external secondary data to find answers to the set research question. The case study based on secondary data is most appropriate for this research to address the formulated question and objectives. The reason is the necessity of analysing possibilities for applying innovative management practices at Amazon.com to increase its competitive advantage while evaluating the currently used managerial strategies and innovative techniques to replace the previously used strategies.
Internal secondary data to be collected for the case study will include the company’s reports, statistics, and other types of documents available online and in databases. External secondary data will include articles on innovative management practices to be used at Amazon.com, newspaper articles and other media sources, as well as scholarly investigations on the topic. The practical and ethical issues related to this study are associated with the accessibility of the required data. The publicly available information on management strategies used at Amazon.com will be accessed and analysed for this case study.
Barnard, Z & Van der Merwe, D 2016, ‘Innovative management for organizational sustainability in higher education’, International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 208-227.
Ejdys, J, Ustinovičius, L & Stankevičienė, J 2015, ‘Innovative application of contemporary management methods in a knowledge-based economy – interdisciplinarity in science’, Journal of Business Economics and Management, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 261-274.
Gureva, MA, Kirillov, AV, Vinichenko, MV, Melnichuk, AV & Melnychuk, YA 2016, ‘Management of innovations and innovative process: concept, essence, classification and diffusion’, International Review of Management and Marketing, vol. 6, no. 6, pp. 147-153.
Kantor, J & Streitfeld, D 2015, ‘Inside Amazon: wrestling big ideas in a bruising workplace’, The New York Times, Web.
Nedelko, Z & Potocan, V 2013, ‘The role of management innovativeness in modern organizations’, Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 36-49.
Sadriev, AR & Pratchenko, OV 2014, ‘Idea management in the system of innovative management’, Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, vol. 5, no. 12, pp. 155-158.
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Stefanova, V 2015, ‘Is Amazon’s ruthless management culture hurting its stock price?’, Forbes, Web.