Zappos: Holocracy Style of Organizational Management

by Ally Knapp

Zappos is being defined as a “holocracy” style of organizational management which is defined as a “complete, packaged, system for self-managements in organizations (Bernstein, 2016).” Zappos, being an online shopping website, where they sell about every name brand idem and much more online. Being a website where you buy the idem on the one day and the very next day it is on your doorstep with free shipping. This type of strategy of holocracy, is being used by over 300 userzappos-team1s.

When in a normal job setting, each person has one job and is assigned that job in traditional companies while in a holocracy, roles are defined around the work and not the people (Bernstein, 2016). Getting a better understanding of what this type of strategy is, is when your able to take forces with one customer and be able to say what needs to be said and what you want  to say to that specific customer at that time. It’s a one on one conversation with this type of company. You’re just working with the one individual who is buying the product or products. You have no title, and or no boss to tell you what your tasks are. It is just up to you. Traditional job setting, you would have a boss, and a manager and you would be able to move up by positions as you go about getting better at your job and became more accountable for the tasks you were and are doing.  Photo Credits:

Strengths given about this type of work of holocracy are you being able to feel you have just as much power and one or another person and no one can be better at your position (Denning, 2015). Weaknesses found in this strategy is it being a job where things might get out of line just due to the fact you don’t have a boss or someone who is in charge to bring forth what needs to be dome and keep everyone in line which can get I believe a little unorganized at times. For me I couldn’t work in that type of job setting knowing that I don’t have a specific boss. Yes it would be great to be my own boss but I feel in a work force you have to have some type of organization and form of communication to make sure all your employees are on the right track.

Tony Hsieh, chief executive of Zappos has been pushing this holocracy strategy for years now trying to make Zappos the best it possibly can be. He wants to make his workplace where everyone has a voice and bureaucracy doesn’t stifle innovation (Gelles, 2015).  Using the form of holocracy a lot of employers are not used to this type of work and it’s a major adjustment from them probably working at say a store like Old Navy then coming into a company like Zappos transitioning from two different styles of work.

Many different styles of management are obviously out there and holocracy isn’t just the only one used in the work force. Talking about many different other strategies and how work can be done within classes we went over a couple of others. Another one that I believe could be used within the Zappos Company is an organizational culture called Contagion. This is the process through which attitudes and or behaviors are either adopted or barred by people, based on the number of others who have created similar attitudes or engaged in similar behaviors, as they make both collective and individual decisions. Being a different strategy yet though so very  similar with the people having their own stance on specific things within their company.



Bernstein, E., Bunch, J., Canner, N., & Lee, M. (2016). How it works. HOLACRACY. Retrieved from


Denning, Steve. (2015, May 23). Is Holacracy Succeeding At Zappos?. Forbes. Retrieved from



Gellles, David. (2015, July 15). At Zappos, Pushing Shoes and a Vision. The New York Times.

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Reingold, Jennifer. (2016, March 4). Fortune. Retrieved from



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