case study zappos 2

Video Case: Zappos

Located in Las Vegas, Nevada, with its fulfillment center situated next to the UPS hub, has $1 billion in annual revenue. In 2010, was ranked #6 by Fortune Magazine as one of the best places to work in


. The origin of Zappos was an entrepreneurial effort by Nick Swinmurn called Swinmurn launched this company during the dot-com boom. The concept emerged as a result of Swinmurn’s inability to locate shoes that he was looking for in malls. Swinmurn took photos of the shoes from various shoe stores and uploaded them onto his website. He would take orders, go to the shoe store and purchase the shoes for the customer, and ship the shoes the next day. At the time, there was no single place online to purchase shoes in that way.

Today, Zappos is owned by who purchased the company for $1.2 billion in 2010. Zappos’ CEO Tony Hsieh remains at the helm of the company, and the culture of the firm remains intact. In short, has allowed Zappos to continue to operate as it had in the past.

The emphasis on customer satisfaction and employee happiness permeates the culture of Zappos. The name “Zappos” is a derivative of the Spanish word for shoes, “zapatos.” Its culture is driven by 10 core values, the first being to “wow” the customer. Two important core values influence the planning, organizing, leading, and controlling functions at the firm. They are (1) to pursue growth and learning; and (2) to have passion and determination. These and the other core values emphasize teams and employee empowerment, so much so that team leaders (management) are required to spend at least 20 percent of their time off the job with their team members.

Relationship building helps drive a management approach that focuses on the primary goal of the company—that is to provide the best possible experience for the customer. The four functions of management are discussed in the video, and members of the Zappos team indicate how these functions are practiced at Zappos.

Discussion questions and answers

  1. What are the four functions of management described in the video?

  1. At Zappos, the management function of “leading” is implemented in a very specific way. What are the characteristics that are valued by Zappos in terms of management and leadership?

  2. What is the logic behind the 10 core values at

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