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Amazon, the giant online retailer, routinely experiences a surge in demand for its offerings during the Christmas holiday period. It is difficult to fill temporary holiday positions at its Campbellsville, Kentucky facility. Thus, the company turns to the new migrant workers – able-bodied individuals with recreational vehicles (RV) willing to travel the country in search of employment – to meet its need. In addition to modest-paying jobs, Amazon provides for RV parking either at a temporary lot near its facility or by paying for hookups in nearby parks. Workers fully understand their status with the company. Come Christmas Eve they will no longer be employed and many will be back on the road again.

QUESTIONS:

1. Your text identifies six key categories that define working today. After reading the article, how well do the workers described fit this profile? Does the information presented suggest there might be one (or more) category(ies) that should be added?

2. Based on their work strategies, would you classify work campers as independent contractors or part-time temporaries? Why?

3. Clearly Amazon is an organization. Consider this organization with its 1,000+ full-time employees and up to 500 work campers. Is this a good strategy? Address productivity and performance effectiveness/efficiency (Figure 1.2 might be useful).

4. Imagine yourself as a manager on the graveyard shift (i.e., where most of the work campers are employed). How would you manage this group effectively? Does the upside-down pyramid apply to Amazon?

SOURCE:
J. Downs, “Workers Hopscotch Across USA for Temp Checks,” USA Today (Retrievable online at http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/employment/2010-11-26-amazon-temporary-workers_N.htm)

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