I am sure by now you have read the New York Times article (it has been shared 128,000 times on Facebook, so I am sure you have!) on the reported working practices at Amazon.
It has certainly opened up a broad discussion about how employers typically create an environment that ensures that cream rises to the top.
But it was two words in a follow up piece on NYTimes.com that really caught my attention.
There are two types of competition in this world, peer versus peer within the professional environment and competitive events such as sports.
Both encourage individuals to strive to gain or win something by maintaining dominance over another person or group.
Competition in a fair environment should enable those who provide the smartest ideas and who work effectively to empower others to be recognised as the true leaders they are.
Competition in the skewed work hard, play hard world results in people having to navigate office politics and outmuscle other people on their team for the top positions.
There is a key difference there. Competition used to mean we understood how to compete within the rules of the game, now competition means the winner takes all no matter who it affects and how they get there.
Let’s face it that’s not a new issue that has resulted from one feature article about a well-known online retailer.
But it is the effect it can have on a business’s strategic position, enabled by unfair competition which promotes the less qualified to executive positions, which can be the primary issue at hand.
You only need to look as far as companies such as Kodak to see what a dramatic effect it can have on the sustainability of a business.
I think when you look at the bigger picture of unfair competition it actually goes all the way back to how graduate employers actually plan their recruitment strategies for new university graduates.
In a report for High Fliers 83% of the 1,200 UK graduate employers surveyed confirmed that they are planning to recruit for graduate positions in London.
That should tell you more about why unfair competition in the workplace is starting to become the new norm then anything else could.
Let me just explain why I think that is the case.
The average graduate, according to most employers, is still grossly inexperienced in terms of commercial awareness, teamwork and communication.
Compare this fact to where graduate employers are mainly recruiting for (London and South East) to the fact that most universities outside the top 50 in most university league tables are located in the North and are often the lowest rated for quality of teaching.
Now are graduate employers unfairly favoring graduates from the South or have the Northern universities just not caught up in terms of how they prepare graduates?
No-one can say for sure.
But what I can tell you from my experience is that when you get graduate employers hiring mainly from the South you are already creating an unfair advantage that can result in smart people from elite universities creating a macho winner takes all environment.
This prevents those graduating from other universities who are taking the more traditional route of internships or applying through job advertisements from moving up within the organisation.
And that in itself is a problem.
Culturally speaking, we are always going to be driven by competition. But it is about how we frame the nature of competition and how we empower others that I think needs to be the focus of an organisation within the next 5-10 years.
Winner takes all needs to end, now!