Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos asked employees to report to human resources any "shockingly callous management practices" like those described in a New York Times article published over the weekend.
The Bezos request came in a memo to employees refuting how the Web retailer's culture was portrayed in the Times' article, for which more than 100 current and former Amazon employees were interviewed. The story, which mentions employees crying at their desks, included references to an evaluation process that encourages employees to criticize co-workers. It also tells of a worker who was said to have been given a low performance rating after returning from cancer treatment.
"The article goes further than reporting isolated anecdotes. It claims that our intentional approach is to create a soulless, dystopian workplace where no fun is had and no laughter heard," Bezos wrote. "Again, I don't recognize this Amazon and I very much hope you don't, either." The full text of Bezos's memo was posted by the Times and tech news site GeekWire.
As competition intensifies among Web retailers -- from Wal- Mart Stores to startup Jet.com - Bezos has poured Amazon's revenue into the business to try to differentiate its offerings. He's added new choices like two-hour delivery, a marketplace for services and online video offerings.
Lisa Currie, a spokeswoman for Amazon, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.