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zappos case writing analysis


This assignment is an opportunity for you to practice strategic management by putting yourself in a decision maker’s position and allowing you to grapple with a real life business scenario facing actual managers in the workplace.


This assignment is an opportunity for you to practice the following skills that are essential to your success in any organizational setting:

  • Analytical thinking skills: This assignment is an opportunity to practice consolidating data and information from articles and videos in order to make and justify specific recommendations.
  • Decision making skills: You will consider alternative courses of action, evaluate the alternatives, and select the most appropriate course of action. You will also justify why that course of action is the most appropriate.
  • Application of course concepts: This case study is an opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of theoretical concepts and frameworks covered in this course by applying these concepts to the information in this case.
  • Communication skills: This assignment is an opportunity to practice synthesizing and succinctly summarizing the most important parts of the case in order to make a persuasive argument that your recommendations are the most effective.


You will carefully examine the issues confronting a particular organization, Zappos, by reading the articles and watching the videos posted on Canvas. All of the information you need to complete the case analysis is contained in these articles and videos. It is not necessary to conduct additional research on Zappos.

Your case analysis of Zappos will include six areas:

  1. The history, development, and growth of Zappos over time
  2. The identification of Zappos’ internal strengths and weaknesses
  3. The nature of the external environment surrounding Zappos
  4. Zappos’ strategy
  5. Zappos’ structure and culture and how they match its strategy
  6. Your recommendations

To analyze Zappos, you will apply the concepts covered in this course to each of these six areas. Below is a summary of the steps you can take to analyze the case material for each of the six areas:

  1. Analyze Zappos’ history, development, and growth. What are the critical incidents in Zappos’ history—that is, the events that were the most unusual or the most essential for its development into the organization it is today?
  2. Identify Zappos’ internal strengths and weaknesses. Once the historical profile is completed, you can use the incidents you have charted to develop an account of the company’s strengths and weaknesses.
  3. Analyze the external environment. Of particular importance at the industry level is Porter’s Five Forces model. In addition, what are the external threats and opportunities?
  4. Analyze the strategy. To analyze Zappos’ strategy, you will consider the Zappos’ mission and vision, its competitive advantage, and its specific activities. Is Zappos’ strategy appropriate given the environment the company is in? Could a change in corporate strategy provide Zappos with new opportunities or transform a weakness into a strength? Other issues you might consider include:
    • How and why has Zappos’ strategy changed over time?
    • What is the rationale for any changes?
    • Often, it is a good idea to analyze the company’s businesses or products to assess its situation and identify which divisions contribute the most to or detract from its competitive advantage.

All of these factors provide clues about the company and indicate ways of improving its future performance.

  1. Analyze structure and culture. Identify what structure and culture Zappos uses to implement its strategy. Evaluate whether that structure and culture is appropriate. Different strategies require different structures and cultures. For example, does Zappos have the right level of vertical differentiation (e.g., does it have the appropriate number of levels in the hierarchy or decentralized control?) or horizontal differentiation (does it use a functional structure when it should be using a product structure?) Are managers appropriately rewarded? Are the right rewards in place for encouraging cooperation? These are some of the issues to consider.
  2. Make recommendations. What are your recommendations to solve Zappos’ strategic problems and increase its future profitability? Your recommendations should be in line with your analysis; that is, they should follow logically from topics 1-5 (above).


After you have read the articles, watched the videos, and conducted a thorough analysis of Zappos, please formally write up the results of your analysis. Include your analysis of each of the six areas described above.

Write-ups should be:

  • in 12 point font
  • with 1 inch margins
  • single spaced
  • 1.5 pages minimu

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