"The curtains just went up on the windows on Amazon," says  Harvard Business School's Nancy Koehn in response to a Sunday New York Times article.

The question at hand, according to Koehn, turns on whether "there's a value to creating a climate where confrontation is welcomed-- even nurtured." But the bigger question is how to balance the assets and liabilities in a culture that emphasizes confrontation over collaboration, and "what Bezos likes to describe as a very careful and structured meritocracy."

The article highlights some employees who found the corporate culture motivating, challenging and one that encourages growth. But it also points to the many, many employees who found the company culture thoroughly humiliating and deeply exhausting.  Employees are encouraged to "rat each other out." It amounts to what Koehn calls "a coursing river of intrigue and scheming," adding "it has a Lord of the Flies feel to it."

It's a place where, as Koehn describes, "you have to do more than survive." It's a very harsh, very male world. Bezos fosters a "culture of disagreement, not harmony and consensus" where there are no senior women in the top ranking level. "I couldn't survive a week there," Koehn concludes.

But could you, for lack of a better word, hack it at Amazon?

Amazon's goal is to build a culture that is "supple but focused," but it has resulted in a turbulent community of employees.  "The premise is that good stuff comes out of combat," Koehn says, but the Amazon universe is almost Hobbesian. The article, and many of it's 5,000 commenters, describe people sobbing at their desks and holding notebooks up to their tear stained faces when they come out of a meeting. "No one gets through a year at Amazon without crying. There's something of the view that individuals are completely expendable."

That may be true, but how indespensable will Amazon be moving forward? Will a consumer base that has actively undermined company behavior like Walmart's, and praised that of Whole Foods and Trader Joes forgive Amazon?

That, Koehn says, remains to be seen.