Zappos: An Experiment in Holacracy (Authors: Bryan Golden, Anusheel Pandey & James S. O’Rourke )

If you have not done so recently, read the first few pages of this module to learn what is expected from a case analysis.

Here are the details for this case analysis assignment:

I encourage you to review the materials for Module 7, 9 and 10 The case title is

Zappos: An Experiment in Holacracy (Authors: Bryan Golden, Anusheel Pandey & James S. O’Rourke )

As in previous cases, please go to Library --> Databases A-Z --> SAGE Business CaseLinks to an external site. and search for the

The section in the case analysis are as follow:


This section should be a short summary of the situation. The point is to summarize parts of the story that are most important for understanding the rest of the analysis. Specifically, be sure to answer the key W questions related to the case: when, where, who.

Problem Statement

In one or two sentences, state the central issue to be resolved in the case. This part is worth spending time on. If you have a clear and specific explanation of the problem, all of the other sections of the case analysis are easier to do.

The best problem statements will demonstrate understanding of how the situation is an example of a more general problem. For example, a decent problem statement might be, “Maria does not like coming to work and does not get much done,” but a better statement would be, “Maria has low motivation at work.” This second statement helps you use ideas about motivation to think about how to address the problem.

Conceptual Analysis

In this section, use concepts from our class to describe what issues described in the case are most relevant for resolving the problem and why. Make sure to explicitly state (a) which concepts you are using, (b) how they apply to the case, and (c) why they are important to understanding what is going on. Be as specific as you can. For example, instead of using the concept of leadership, think of the specific part of the leadership that most applies to the case (e.g., task-oriented behaviors).

Be sure to answer these questions

A. Would you want to work at a place like Zappos before the transition to Holacracy? How about after? why or why not?

B. Why do you think Tony Hsieh is making the change?

C. What do you make of the fact that 14% of the employees took Hsieh up on his offer?

D. What do you think this process feels like as an employee?

C. How would you as Tony Hsieh as a leader? as a boss?

This section should lay the groundwork for the next two sections, which discuss solutions. This section should not say what your solution is; that goes in the Proposed Solution section. However, your proposed solution should refer back to the ideas from this section, because these are the ideas on which you are basing your solution.

This and the Proposed Solution section are the two most important sections of the case analysis.

Possible Solutions

There are many different ways to solve nearly any organizational issue. In this section, briefly describe the main possibilities. The idea is to consider the options before jumping to a conclusion. Specifically

What, if anything, should Tony/Zappos do?

Try to cover all the obvious solutions and identify one or more creative solutions as well. Briefly outline the biggest advantages and disadvantages of each. You do not need to go into much detail; just give the reader a sense that you have considered and understood these solutions on the way to making your final choice. That way, if someone else suggests one of these solutions, the audience will know that you already thought about that solution. Be sure to include your proposed solution (explained in the next section) as one of the possibilities here.

Proposed Solution

Describe what you think Mr. Hsieh/Zappos SHOULD do. Be as specific as possible with your recommendations. Argue why the proposed solution is a better choice than the alternatives. If there are obvious weaknesses in the solution, acknowledge them and explain why they will not doom the recommendation.

It is critical to use concepts from class, especially ones from the Conceptual Analysis section, to support your arguments. This shows that you are not just stating your opinion, but are basing it on ideas that have been developed and verified over time.

This and the Conceptual Analysis section are the two most important sections of the case analysis.