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Zappos’ Corporate Culture Research Paper

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Updated: Apr 22nd, 2022


This study analyzes Zappos, which is a company in the online retailing industry. The corporate culture at Zappos is distinct from other organizations’ corporate culture. This study will focus on Zappos’ corporate culture, the reasons why this culture is implemented at Zappos, the effect Zappos’ corporate culture has on customer satisfaction levels and the best type of leadership for the organization. Furthermore, it will focus on the most appropriate steps which should be taken in situations when there is a decline in demand due to cultural aspects.


Zappos is an online retailing company which was founded by Nick Swinmurn. He quit his job and decided to launch an investment by creating a shoe website (Kurtz & Boone, 2011). The company’s initial objective was to act as a link between shoe vendors and the customers. Later on, the company obtained the name Zappos, which was derived from the Spanish name for shoes “zapatos” (Rainer & Cegielski, 2011).

The company has gone through tough times, which led to employee retrenchments, low sales volumes and lack of adequate profits, although it later managed to overcome these challenges and presently it is a very profitable organization (Schermerhorn, 2011). It was bought by Amazon, which retained the management and staff, but made changes in the company’s structure (Staley, 2013).

Corporate Culture of Zappos

The aspects that comprise Zappos’ corporate culture are; adaptation to change, delivery of appropriate services to customers, high levels of creativity and adventure and enhancement of optimism and teamwork (Staley, 2013). In addition, Zappos advocates for expansion and acquisition of knowledge, higher levels of professionalism and ethics, high levels of innovation and portraying humility at all times. Furthermore, the company always aims to create a positive drive among its employees in all instances (Kurtz & Boone, 2011).

Criteria Used in Ascertaining Zappos’ Corporate Culture

Zappos’ main objective is to ensure that high customer satisfaction levels are attained since the well-being of the customer is given priority at all times (Rainer & Cegielski, 2011). In contrast to other organizations, Zappos puts more emphasis on the satisfaction of the clients and company staff. The corporate culture at Zappos is based on the aspect of the customers’ wellbeing (Schermerhorn, 2011).

In addition, Zappos puts more emphasis on the quality of service being offered to the customers. Making of profits is the main aim of any enterprise, but a balance has to be created since the moment customer satisfaction levels decrease the effects become adverse to the firm. The formulation of Zappos’ corporate culture is based on the customer’s happiness (Staley, 2013).

Factors that Caused Zappos to Embody their Corporate Culture

The customer is always the boss in any transaction and the needs of the customer have to be addressed fully always. The first factor that led to the establishment of Zappos’ corporate culture is its aspect of uniqueness (Kurtz & Boone, 2011). In order to be successful in business, uniqueness is essential and things have to be done in spectacular ways. The customer always looks for something new that other firms are not offering. Secondly, the aspect of employee motivation comes into play (Rainer & Cegielski, 2011).

Zappos always keeps employees passionate and determined, this motivates them at all times and in the process there is improvement in the quality of services offered to customers. More so, a happy customer will always come back, the aspect of customer satisfaction levels contributed enormously to the formulation of Zappos’ corporate culture (Schermerhorn, 2011).

Suitable Leadership for Zappos

Participative leadership is the appropriate leadership style that needs to be implemented at Zappos since it ascertains the thoughts of the employees and all involved stakeholders, but the management makes the final decisions (Staley, 2013). Thus, management decisions that affect the employees have to be made after consultations between the management and the employees (Schermerhorn, 2011).

It will also ensure that the employees’ needs are addressed hence they will be motivated to work harder and offer superb services to customers (Kurtz & Boone, 2011). Employees play a very crucial role in any organization and Zappos needs to ensure that their employees’ motivation levels are high. Participative leadership style acts as an aid to the company management and is the most appropriate leadership style for Zappos as it is in line with the company’s corporate culture.

Adaptation of Zappos’ Corporate Culture to Decline in Demand

Customers’ tastes and preferences are not static and if things are done the same way for a long time the customers get bored, and thus high levels of creativity and innovation have to be implemented by the firm (Schermerhorn, 2011). Decline in demand is caused by government policy, demographic changes, climatic changes and customers’ perceptions and attitudes (Staley, 2013). The corporate culture of Zappos has to be flexible and formulated in line with the government policy.

The corporate culture has to adapt to the customers’ perceptions and attitudes (Schermerhorn, 2011). Adequate and consistent research about the customers’ tastes and preferences needs to be carried out since this enables amendment of the company’s corporate culture. In addition, the corporate culture should try to adapt to the prevailing demographic and climatic conditions, although the firm has no control over changes in climate and demography. It is imperative to be prepared for these changes (Staley, 2013). Zappos’ corporate culture has to be flexible so as to ensure the high levels of profits attained presently are maintained.


Kurtz, D. L., & Boone, L. E. (2011). Contemporary business. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Rainer, R. K., & Cegielski, C. G. (2011). Introduction to information systems. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Schermerhorn, J. R. (2011). Organizational behavior. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley.

Staley, E. (2013). Nick Swinmurn, Tony Hsieh, and Zappos. London, UK: McGraw Hill.

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