HRM Case Study


Answer the following questions based on the case:

1) What course themes do you see present in the case from the PowerPoint given? and

2) What recommendations might you have to manage the situation even better? To get the full 10 points you should:

     1) Identify as many course themes, terms, or theories as make sense to you (from the PowerPoint slides attached)

     2) The references should be explained and described in context, so that I know you understand them. Don’t just list terms, rather define them and apply them to the details of the Case if applicable,     3) Terms and theories should be in BOLD or underlined to make sure they pop off the page.



Teams can be very advantageous to companies that are into the development of new products as it helps foster creativity, productivity, commitment and participation. A team, in this case, can be defined as a group of people in an organization who share a similar purpose and performance goals for which they are accountable. Its members are often chosen by the individuals in a leadership position. The leader may use the five-stage team development model when putting together a team and seeing it through. The five stages defined in the model include forming, performing, norming, storming and adjourning. For instance, in 2009, Amazon leadership divided their employees into several teams in charge of different activities as part of efforts to create a team tasked with the development of a new product, the Fire Phone.


There are several types of teams, among them cross-functional, multiple-skills and employee involvement teams. Cross-functional teams represent arrangements where members are from different departments while multiple-skills teams are made up of members who can do more than one thing with regard to the job. The employee involvement team, on the other hand, is a team that holds regular meetings to discuss any arising issues. In the Fire Phone project, Amazon had teams for all activities, including marketing and camera tracking. Thus, the company may be said to have used cross-functional teams. Moreover, since the teams have to exchange notes in order to come up with a great product, the team members have had to meet regularly both among themselves and with the other teams, meaning that they must have adopted the employee involvement team structure as well.

It is also worth noting that teams have different compositions in the sense that they can either be homogeneous or heterogeneous. Homogeneous teams are those whose members share many qualities while heterogeneous teams are those in which its members are very different from one another in many ways including sex, age, or race. For example, Amazon hires over 1600 people from different backgrounds. In choosing the team, therefore, the company adopted the heterogeneous composition method, which by far more effective than homogeneous one as it creates room for growth and diversity.

Meanwhile, for teams to perform well, they need to be cohesive. Being cohesive entails the ability to work together in unity in order to make the end result better than what initially expected. For this reason, I recommend that Amazon leaders take their time to train their selected team members on the meaning of team spirit and what they can do to improve the company’s current level of performance. Moreover, I have found that having team norms, whether implicit or explicit, goes a long way in making team members disciplined. Team norms are simply the rules or values that guide the behavior of the team members, thus enabling them to react appropriately to different situations.

In conclusion, I believe that every team is as strong as its weakest link. Therefore, all team members and leaders have a role to play in ensuring that no one is lagging behind and that everyone is making his/her best contribution to the project. The Amazon case shows that the process of developing a high-quality phone takes a lot of time, financial resources, and commitment. For this reason, the company needs an effective taskforce that can foresee compromises whenever the need arises to ensure that the overall objective of the project is achieved.

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