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Organisational rigidities and marketing theory: examining the US department store c.1910-1965

Wood, SM (2011) Organisational rigidities and marketing theory: examining the US department store c.1910-1965 Service Industries Journal, 31 (7/8). pp. 747-770.

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By analysing the US department store between 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 “lockin” 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.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Surrey Business School
Authors :
Wood, SM
Date : 1 January 2011
DOI : 10.1080/02642060902960784
Additional Information : This is an electronic version of an article published in Service Industries Journal, 31(7/8), 387-397 (2011). Service Industries Journal is available online at: <a href=""</a>.
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 03 May 2012 15:00
Last Modified : 31 Oct 2017 14:25

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