The New York Times had recently attempted a performance review of the lower ranking staff of Amazon’s white-collar workforce. It described a data-led performance management system which documented almost every action – including how long it took to reply to an email. A system called Anytime Feedback Tool was also made available for workers to leave anonymous comments about the performance of co-workers to the management. But some felt that it could be used to sabotage co-workers and exact revenge. It “promises to turn the annual performance review into a daily event”, the report said. The newspaper’s allegations were stoutly denied by Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon. The paper had grossly misrepresented the firm and does not describe Amazon workers nor its micro-management philosophy.
The “rank and yank” type of performance review had long been abandoned by major companies like Electric, Microsoft and Accenture Consulting because of the distrust it creates. As per the report of New York Times, Amazon has in place classic precepts of managerial capitalism which numerically records every human employee action in the workplace to create a “big data” to keep all under watch always and totally control the employees. Workers loathe such “scientific management” style because it keeps them anxious and will be more concerned about the process of assessment and getting the job done will become a secondary issue.