"The people who do well at Amazon are often those who thrive in an adversarial atmosphere with almost constant friction." - BLOOMBERG BUSINESS WEEK, October 14, 2013, as excerpted from "The Everything Store" by Brad Stone.
In the cover story for the current BBW, the article "The Secrets of Bezos" describes in detail the organizational culture at Amazon.com. Here you can read it. Essentially, it's volatile, confrontational, and quick to judge and reprimand. That's what its founder Jeff Bezos put in-place to create what could become the most powerful enterprise in the world.
We bumped into a similar one at Apple. Steve Jobs seemed to be a more Machiavellian leader. Bezos tends to be transparent in his the rationale for and how he operates his adversarial style of leadership.
This article confirms what experienced organizational players have known for decades. And that that is that there is no one best culture. There are diverse models for producing the outcomes needed at the time. IBM was 100% employee-oriented, complete with no layoffs. Then it hit the skids in the early 1990s. Since then, it's all-business but conservative. If it doesn't make investors happier, then it might have to return to the drawing board and make its culture radically risk-taking.
For employees, contract workers, and the self-employed, with so much diversity of culture, we may have to kiss a lot of frogs before we find our prince. And what kind of prince we want may shift with our confidence in our talents and how much civility we are willing to trade off for more money. Anyone who contends there is one best way of conducting business looks, well, foolish. We know better, don't we.