Organisational rigidities and marketing theory: examining the US department store c.1910-1965
The Service Industries Journal, 31, (5), . (doi:10.1080/02642060902960784).
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By analysing the US department store during the period c.1910-1965, this article deepens our understanding of the nature of the transition to phases of 'maturity' and 'decline' that are fundamental to models of retail change (retail wheel, retail life cycle). By employing a close reading of key marketing and management writing of the period, it finds that 'lock-in' to an organisational structure associated with a single downtown store posed significant obstacles to suburban branched expansion. Only partial organisational centralisation occurred with the formation of holding companies in the 1920s, which contrasted with chains of general-merchandise and some department store retailers that were efficiently structured and better able to exploit suburban growth. When major department store companies finally embraced branched expansion, they were forced to significantly revise their operational structures
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