Just how big is Amazon’s ethics challenge?
Axios Harris’ 2019 poll of the 100 Most Visible Companies shows that just 41 percent of U.S.
respondents agree shares their values, 39 percent feel Amazon rewards its
employees fairly and only 19 percent feel the corporation speaks out on social issues
important to them.
Amazon dropped out of the top 10 rankings for Ethics and Culture in the study “amid a year
of tabloid attacks on its CEO, backlash from Whole Foods employees and rising reports of
fake products being sold online.” Fallout from the last-minute cancellation of its New York
City headquarters was also cited.
The overall study found Amazon dropped from the top spot in Corporate Reputation
rankings — albeit only to number two, behind Wegman’s. Amazon still ranked as the leading
company in trajectory, growth and vision.
Beyond labor, counterfeiting and headquarters issues, controversies in recent years have
included privacy concerns over its Echo devices, Ring doorbells and facial-recognition
technologies; its alleged discriminatory cashless stores; and accusations of monopolistic
behavior from Democratic presidential candidates.
In a recent Wall Street Journal article, “Amazon’s Size Is Becoming a Problem – for
Amazon,” Christopher Mims, technology columnist, argues that the company’s sheer size,
which includes not only dominating online selling, but cloud computing and logistics as well
as its extensive access to consumer data, will continue to draw the scrutiny of regulators.
“When Amazon not only provides your on-demand videos, toiletries and home furnishings
but also the cloud service your doctor uses to analyze your medical records, you might think
twice about buying that pint of gelato at Whole Foods,” wrote Mr. Mims.
Axios said its study “reveals Americans are torn between the ethical side-effects and the
elevated Prime lifestyle they’ve grown accustomed to from Amazon’s innovation. People are
often noted in research for saying one thing and doing another.

But how long will customers look away?”

How ‘ethical’ is Amazon?
NB: You should do your own research into Amazon’s ethical culture and practices!
Part 1: Amazon has been accused of ‘unethical’ practices. Describe, with examples, points in favour and against
Amazon’s stance that it provides a fully ethical, safe, and healthy environment for its stakeholders. Provide your
own conclusion, based on the evidence obtained.
Part 2: Critically using the concepts learned in class, make recommendations to Amazon
management to improve the parts of Amazon business that you believe must be improved.

Sample Solution