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Integrating Culture and Diversity in Decision Making: The CEO and Organizational Culture Profile Essay

Examine the culture of the selected organization. Explain how you determined that the selected organization showed the signs of the culture that you have identified. Determine the factors that caused the organization to embody this particular culture. Determine what type of leader would be best suited for this organization. Support your position. Imagine that there is a decline in the demand of product or services supplied by the selected organization. Determine what the change in culture would need to be in response to this situation.

Zappos, which started as an on-line shoe retailer in 1999, has grown into a multi –million dollar company and expanded past simply selling shoes to selling accessories, handbags and other clothing items carrying over 1,136 brands (Zappos IP, 2013). It was named one of Fortune Magazine’s “Best Places in America to Work” (Koetsier, 2013) and has extended their organization’s reach by developing Zappos Insights, which allows other companies a deep look into the organization, enabling them to adopt the same culture that has allowed Zappos to achieve immense success. Zappos is an organization committed to delivering happiness, not only among their employees and customers, but to other growing companies as well (Zappos Insights, 2013).

Zappos embodies a laid-back service-oriented culture and has fun doing it. This is apparent through their training program which requires all new hires, regardless of position, to complete four weeks of training in the customer call center (Zappos IP, 2013). The culture at Zappos can be immediately felt as CEO, Tony Hsieh, introduces himself as just “Tony” in a company welcome video on the Zappos Insights website. A virtual tour of the Las Vegas corporate office gives a peak into the laid back culture the company embodies.

With decorations hanging from the ceiling and writing on the walls, the open office space blends a fraternity house look with a mood that screams fun. “Monkey Row” is an area of the work floor that houses Hsieh’s and other executives desks, pushing an open door policy even further since no walls or cubicle barriers separate the leaders of the company from it’s customer call center employees (Zappos Insights, 2013). Hsieh, who strives to spread “happiness” as a business model, truly understands that company culture affects the performance of an organization and the job satisfaction of its employees (Schermerhorn, Osborn, Uhl-Bien, & Hunt, 2012). At Zappos, “customer service isn’t just a department—it is the entire company” (Zappos IP, 2013).

Organizational leaders set the tone for the culture of a company (Schermerhorn et al., 2012). Hsieh has established a strong culture for the Zappos organization by creating the Zappos Familky Core Values. These ten statements ranging from ‘create fun and a little weirdness’ to ‘be humble’ encourage employees to be themselves, work hard and seek positive change. Hsieh’s favorite core value, be passionate and determined, along with the remaining nine, are heavily referred to during the hiring process (Zappos IP, 2013). Zappos is so committed to maintaining their culture that, after the four week training course, they offer every new hire $2000 to quit if they don’t see themselves fitting in with the culture of the company (Koetsier, 2013), thus eliminating subcultures and countercultures (Schermerhorn et al., 2012).

The best type of leader for the Zappos organization is a transformational leader. Transformational leaders, who encourage employees to look out for the good of others (Schermerhorn et al., 2012), strongly align with the Zappos core values of ‘drive change’ and ‘build a family spirit’ (Zappos IP, 2013). The company also values growth and learning, another aspect of transformational leadership (Schermerhorn et al., 2012). Inspiration, another dimension in transformational leadership, lines the walls of the Zappos corporate office. Official signs and quotes hang next to team created posters, revealing that the culture lives deep within the organization and its members. The Zappos organization also benefits from having a servant leader (Schermerhorn et al., 2012).

Hsieh creates a positive impact on the community by inviting striving businesses to participate in a program called Zappos Insights which offers opportunities such as free tours, paid two-day seminars and dinner with the CEO (Schermerhorn et al., 2012). This opportunity to share knowledge and learn the culture that has helped Zappos reach success is one way the company serves their business comuunity.

Zappos, has expanded its market past internet sales and into the world of information sharing with Zappos Insights. With the program already paying for itself (Schermerhorn et al., 2012), it is doubtful that the organization would need to change their culture dramatically in order to respond to a decline in demand for the products supplied by their internet sales. Hsieh, a visionary, sees Zappos Insights representing ten percent of the company profits in the future (Schermerhorn et al., 2012). In the event of decreased shoe and accessory sales, Zappos, rather than change their culture, can be profitable by diving deeper into their existing culture and creating more opportunities similar to Zappos Insights to capitalize on their successful business plan and company secrets.

Dew, J., & Fisher, M. (2013, July 13). Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh Mentors Gamemaster. (T. Hsieh, Interviewer) Koetsier, J. (2013, Feburary 17). Zappos culture coach: how ‘squishy’ stuff like culture took us to a billion dollars in revenue. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from Ventrurebeat.com: http://venturebeat.com/2013/02/17/zappos-culture-coach-how-squishy-stuff-like-culture-took-us-to-a-billion-dollars-in-revenue/ Rosenbaum, S. (2010, June 4). Fastcompany.com. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from The Happiness Culture: Zappos Isn’t a Company- It’s a Mission: http://www.fastcompany.com/1657030/happiness-culture-zappos-isnt-company-its-mission Schermerhorn, J. R., Osborn, R. N., Uhl-Bien, M., & Hunt, J. H. (2012). Organizational Behavior. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons. Zappos Insights. (2013). Zappos Insights. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from zapposinsights.com: http://www.zapposinsights.com/ Zappos IP. (2013). Zappos.com. Retrieved July 20, 2013, from About: http://about.zappos.com/zappos-story/in-the-beginning-let-there-be-shoes

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