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Amazon is one of the main beneficiaries of the current crisis. While other companies are counting losses, customers go to Amazon to such an extent that hundreds of things were in short supply and the Prime delivery service was overloaded. This has caused the internet giant’s warehouse workers to panic. Many employees have been diagnosed with the virus since the warehouse is an ideal place for the spread of the disease. However, it is impermissible to slow down the pace of work in such a load (Kim & Austin, 2020). The workers have a hard time, but they are only allowed to go home if they already have the symptoms of the disease. Amazon’s ethical issues of treating employees poorly not only affect their overall business strategy but also violate the biblical moral principles and ethics of work.
Amazon’s Mistreatment of Employees
For Amazon, anything that slows down delivery speed is unacceptable since the company is more popular now than ever. Through the site, tons of people order everything that would have been taken from offline stores. Amazon has repeatedly been accused of inhumane working conditions. After a flurry of criticism, in 2018, it finally raised the minimum wage to $ 15 per hour and promised to slightly improve the conditions for employees (Gosse, 2020). However, it turned out that for many, in fact, the salary even decreased, taking into account the reduction in bonuses. Moreover, Amazon has created a tight control system for its employees. In warehouses, a video surveillance system is used, which is designed to exclude theft and monitor every movement of the worker.
The company has also implemented an electronic task control system. The device tracks all activities, including the time between scans of orders during picking and packing. For example, if an employee lags behind the need for speed, which is automatically set by Amazon, then the system will reprimand, which can lead to a warning or even dismissal (Manuel & Herron, 2020). Moreover, employees are prohibited from bringing personal items to the warehouse, except for a bottle of water and a transparent plastic bag with money. At the end of the working day, they are carefully inspected for a possible theft (Gosse, 2020). Employees complain that they feel pressure from the company even in their free time.
Since Amazon does not mobilize the potential of its staff, employee abuse affects the overall business strategy of the company, namely high turnover, business instability, and even the likelihood of employees’ mistakes and defects. Moreover, Amazon is canceling promotions and discounts since the online retailer cannot cope with the growing number of orders. A company’s business strategy cannot be completely successful if customers are the only priority. Amazon must understand that high productivity depends not only on modern technologies but also on people’s attitude to work. Therefore, it is not the task control system that is important, but the reward system to ensure the achievement of the company’s goals through stimulating employees’ motives.
Biblical Ethics of Work
The ethical aspect seems to be an integral link in the formation of the management system of a particular organization. The spiritual component in the management system thus acquires significance and relevance. Therefore, it is important to clarify the ethical component of personnel management from the point of view of Christian doctrine. In examining the Christian position on management, it is necessary to note those controls that are unacceptable to the administrator, being a member of the Church, reflect the Christian leadership ideas that play a significant role in the leader’s work.
An important issue of the Old Testament legislative regulation is the instructions on remuneration for work. Fair remuneration and timely payment is a basic requirement for an employer. This provision is also repeatedly repeated in the legislative part of the Old Testament: “Do not rob. The wages of a mercenary should not remain with you until the morning” (The Holy Bible, Leviticus 19: 13). The importance of this position is emphasized in other verses, for example, “I will be quick to testify against […] those who defraud laborers of their wages […] (The Holy Bible, Malachi 3: 5). There are also several indications of the inevitability of God’s punishment: “Woe to him who builds his palace […], making his own people work for nothing, not paying them for their labor” (The Holy Bible, Jeremiah 22: 13). The Gospel approach to this problem is identical to that of the Old Testament, but the wording is stricter.
The Bible contains many important management decisions that any leader has to know. According to Christian eschatology, on the day of judgment, the results of everyone’s earthly life will be important for God, including how a manager treated his subordinates. Christ in the gospel proclaimed one of the most important principles: “So, in everything you want people to do to you, so do you with them” (The Holy Bible, Matthew 7: 12). That is why Amazon should remember that the company must care about workers as much as it cares about its customers.
Taking into account Amazon’s mistreatment of its employees and biblical principles of work ethics, it can be concluded that the organization’s management should properly treat the employees. It should provide their subordinates with a proper salary and the opportunity to implement their ideas. Moreover, it should raise them for their services to the organization along the career ladder instead of constantly controlling them. It is important to stimulate them for further work and cooperation. That is why Amazon should create a comfortable working environment, as well as take care of the leisure and emotional health of the team.
Gosse, J. (2020). Humans are underrated: Art and labor after Amazon: Editor’s introduction. Media-N, 16(1), 1-3.
Kim, S., & Austin, L. L. (2020). Employee mistreatment crises and company perceptions. International Journal of Communication, 14, 6133–6153.
Manuel, T., & Herron, T. L. (2020). An ethical perspective of business CSR and the COVID-19 pandemic. Society and Business Review, 15(3), 235-253. Web.
The Holy Bible. (2001). Authorized King James Version. London & New York, nd.