What risks and challenges does Zappos face in implementing holacracy

general article writing


Zappos Shoes, led by young CEO Tony Hsieh, is well known for its non-traditional approaches to the workplace. From the background materials, you should be familiar with traditional organizational structures such as the hierarchical organization, the flat organization, or the matrix organization. But CEO Hsieh plans an even more radical approach to organizing his online shoe retailing company called holacracy. This is a radical new approach that involves eliminating hierarchies and even eliminating job titles.

Many of you are used to working in a hierarchical organization, so as you can see this new form of organization (or perhaps “lack of organization”) will be a huge change over what most of us are used to. But for purposes of this assignment, we must decide whether or not holacracy is likely to work for Zappos Shoes. This assignment reflects the radical new ideas of a younger CEO like Tony Hsieh as compared to more traditional structures found in the older and more established Fortune 500 companies.

Here are some readings on Zappos and holacracy to get you started:

Frean, A. (2014, January 6). How holacracy killed the hierarchy in companies going flat-out for success. The Times. Retrieved from ProQuest.

Cook, D. (2014, January 7). Ready for holacracy? Zappos says it is. Benefits of Selling. Breaking News. Retrieved from ProQuest.

Shiers, L. (2010). Touring Zappos. Footwear Plus, 52. Retrieved from ProQuest.

Case Assignment

  1. What risks and challenges does Zappos face in implementing holacracy? [Your answer to this question should be one to one and a half pages in length]
  2. Overall what do you think the chances are of holacracy succeeding at Zappos? [Your answer to this question should be one to one and a half pages in length]

When you have finished researching Zappos’ current business model and holacracy, then write a 4- to 5-page paper answers the following questions:

What advantages or disadvantages do you think holacracy has over more traditional structures such as a hierarchical or matrix structure? Of the structures, you have read about in the background materials, which one do you think would be the best match for Zappos? Explain your reasoning and make sure to cite Stanford (2014) and at least one other book chapter from the background materials as part of your answer. [Your answer to this question should be around two pages in length]

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