The Amazon Company’s Performance Management


The workplace culture of Amazon has often been observed with great contrast when compared to other tech giants such as Google or Microsoft. The trend of prioritizing employee comfort and well-being has become more popularised among tech companies, though Amazon does little to follow. For years, Amazon white-collar employees have criticized the business of employing opaque “rank-and-yank” performance evaluations to regularly trim its personnel (Soper, 2022). As such, this approach to the overall work culture illustrates the issues prevalent in the ways in which performance management is conducted at Amazon.


The current policies at Amazon depict that there is an issue with transparency in regard to performance management. For instance, it has been discovered that managers employed at Amazon are instructed to not disclose to office employees that they are on an official performance management plan that may put their jobs at risk. In the article by Ford (2017), it is articulated that transparency is demanded for the adequate process of performance management. Some organizations even have employees assist develop the lines that will be used to grade them, emphasizing ownership and openness in performance reviews. Thus, it can be suggested that there is an issue of the lack of transparency in Amazon, and a lot of crucial information regarding the exact operations of performance management is missing.

In fact, the lack of transparency in such a pertinent aspect as performance management is possible in Amazon due to the absence of U.S. Employment Laws that prohibit such a policy. In contrast, the EU legal system requires transparent and predictable working conditions. The current model for conducting performance management does not only pose organizational and legal concerns, but is also ethically flawed. In fact, this policy may be a reflection of overarching ethical issues at Amazon, which often result in the disadvantaged position of the employee. As such, the performance management model displays the overarching approach in which Amazon works to remove power from employees. The following study aims to assess the ethical and organizational issues of the current performance management system at Amazon and provide potential recommendations in order to reduce the detriment that is currently ongoing at the firm.


The four primary stakeholders of Amazon are the officers, directors, employees, and shareholders. In regard to performance management, officers, directors, and managers hold the majority of the power. Leaders within the firm have openly worked against employee interests such as unions, reasonable time-off, and increased wages, presenting challenges to the improvement of working conditions in the firm. This is often done to keep costs low and competitiveness high within the Amazon workplace.

The primary stakeholders of the organization present threat to the improvement of its performance management since they have opposing priorities from the majority of employees at Amazon. Due to the fact that officers and managers hold more influence, they shape ethical policy and performance management in a way that makes the employee vulnerable (Weatherly, 2004). While the economic responsibilities of managers, directors, and officers such as keeping low expenditure do not have to cause direct harm to employees, the current state of ethical principles at Amazon directly contribute to decreasing welfare of workers at the company (Weatherly, 2004). Amazon’s ethical concepts controvert integral ethical principles of business, with respect, fairness, honesty, and compassion being outwardly ignored. Current ethical ideas are secretive and managers do little to inform or uphold employees of their rights.

Although the economic responsibilities of Amazon management are high, the ethical responsibilities of the company are at a very low level. Generally accepted ethical principles are violated as a result of unprofessionalism, irresponsibility, disorganization and discipline towards employees (Weatherly, 2004). Ethical concepts in the company are also violated as a result of inattentive attitude towards employees. Amazon’s management ideas are not ethical as they consist in a focus on profit, not the creation of a holistic corporate culture. However, there are opportunities that the stakeholders of the organization present to its performance management. Since the role and authority of HR services become more prominent in multiple business, their activity provides profit to firms employing them (Shein, 2020). As a result, the profit-seeking stakeholders might revaluate their position through the insights given by the HRs.


While much of the internal operations and policies of Amazon require change, performance management systems require rapid improvement. A recommended model for personnel performance management that would benefit Amazon is the hybrid OKR-HR review model. The OKR system is a strategic approach that observes individual objectives and key results that relate to overall firm objectives (Alshmrani, 2020). Alternatively, Amazon could pivot its focus on company-wide results through management based on larger objectives. The OKR-HR Review method provides better insight into the performance of individuals and necessary paths for them to improve their professional skills but is more costly to actualize. The use of company-wide goals allows for better control over the performance of the firm but may not be able to distinguish smaller concerns and issues.

However, the effective use of objectives is not possible without ethical approach to the policy. According Weatherly (2004), transparency is a necessary ethical principle for conducting performance management. Transparency could be achieved through effective communication with the employees. As noted by Ford (2017), communication is not costly since it can be achieved through digital solutions. At the same time, it provides respect, another ethical principle. As a result, individuals are seen as ends in themselves rather than tools to other objectives.


The key learning outcome I reached as a result of studying and analyzing performance management in Amazon is the role of leadership. It comprises three main components: social, economic, and generalizing socio-economic effects. With the effective functioning of the social component, the company’s reputation significantly decreases, and it loses customers. I can apply this information to my current organization to improve the quality of working conditions and reduce occupational diseases.


Alshmrani, E. H. (2020). An analytical view of Amazon success in the worldwide. Life Science Journals, 18(6), 71-90.

Ford, M. (2017). 3 ways to improve performance reviews. Business Administration Information.

Shein, E. (2020). How HR can manage the ever-increasing remote workforce. TechRepublic.

Soper, S. (2022). Amazon is focus of push to curb ‘Rank-and-Yank’ worker ratings. Bloomberg. Web.

Weatherly, L. (2004). Performance management: Getting it right from the start. SPHR.