Susan notes: Readers respond to the NY Times article about the way Amazon treats its workers. Ohanian ties this to what Gates/Business Roundtable/US Department of Education want for public school classrooms. One even recommends reading a little Marx.
These readers respond to the detailed Times article depicting the demanding, competitive environment promoted by Jeff Bezos at Amazon. There is more than a little similarity to the demanding, competitive environment being promoted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Business Roundtable cohorts, and US Department of Education as necessary for selecting the best candidates for teaching in public school.
But of even greater import is the connection to the demanding, competitive environment school deformers want teachers to push onto their students. Whether they call it rigor, 21st century skills, or the means for success in the Global Economy, it is ugly; it is ruthless; it is soul-destroying. And the New York Times editorial board applauds it.
And who would believe that the New York Times would ever print a letter recommending that maybe technology-savvy go-getters should read a little Marx!
Whether or not the management style is as harsh as depicted in Amazon's Bruising, Thrilling Workplace (front page, Aug. 16), the public debate it has sparked is to be celebrated. That Jeff Bezos, Amazon's chief executive, himself has spoken out ( Bezos Says Amazon Has No Room for 'Callous' Acts, Business Day, Aug. 18) is proof that we no longer automatically associate exploitative, fear-driven leadership with strength and vitality in business.
The latest research shows that a bullying management style can yield short-term gains, but sustainable growth is founded on managers who exemplify integrity, inspiration and, above all, kindness. When I studied organizational psychology four decades ago, this idea was dismissed. It is a testament to progress that it is finally getting a fair hearing.
WILLIAM F. BAKER
The writer is president emeritus of WNET, director of the Bernard L. Schwartz Center for Media, Public Policy and Education at Fordham University and the author of Leading With Kindness.More letters here.