Essays on Organisational Behaviour - John Lewis Case Study

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The paper "Organisational Behaviour - John Lewis" is a perfect example of a management case study.   John Lewis is the UK’ s largest department store group with a network of 26 selling branches, plus distribution centres and production units, stretching from Aberdeen in the northeast of Scotland to Bristol in the south-west of England. As in most companies, John Lewis places their customers before self. Customer needs are their prerogative. Apart from the network of 26 exclusive selling branches of John Lewis, Waitrose is the supermarket division of the John Lewis Partnership, with over 180 branches across the country.   Offering outstanding customer service and a wide range of quality products, Waitrose was voted the nation's favourite supermarket in a recent 'Which? ' magazine survey.

Whether it’ s a John Lewis or Waitrose, customers benefit the same kind of hospitality and attention as its products. The company structure is such that whether its John Lewis or Waitrose, the policy has always been to recruit experienced professionals from a variety of backgrounds. In all cases, people who have good communication skills coupled with an outgoing and friendly personality, common sense, the ability to work in a team, commercial awareness, energetic, resilient and adaptable are traits desired (John Lewis Partnership, 2007). 2.0Business Culture Globalisation has made a tremendous impact on the way businesses are run today.

Competition is not just from within the country, but outside as well. Markets have become global and so too have standards and practices. Mergers and acquisitions in the name of the game. In today’ s highly charged global scenario, a wave of mergers is about the only remaining tactic for continued growth, as an integration of two organisations can cut costs, reduce competition and consequentially increase market share.

Leaders meticulously design the strategic intent, resources, systems and structures to propel a successful union. However, despite the scrupulous efforts and hard work, money and precious time go down the drain as most corporate marriages fail. In fact, recent surveys reveal that hardly 10-15 per cent of the mergers are successful; about half these result in culture clashes. During a merger or an association, as in the case of Waitrose, executives diligently assimilate the various synergistic features right from assets and equipment to technology and strategies but forget to discount the complexity of variant cultures.

Most conglomerates barge into the acquired company and obliterate the long-standing traditions, practices and policies to meld it into a faceless subsidiary. Even in case of an equal alliance, the combined entity loses the erstwhile individualistic charm and appeal as they overlook the people factor. Corroborating this theory is a recent ‘ Making Mergers Work’ study by the Society for Human Resource Management, wherein HR professionals listed incompatible cultures as the biggest obstacle to success in mergers and acquisitions.

They emphasised that the companies may look at all the financial matters, but it’ s really the cultural and people issues that can mean the demise of a successful merger. Therefore, despite staggering market opportunities and synergies, the amalgamations often lose ground due to the avoidance of culture conflict. So, what makes a partnership tick successfully? It’ s the people and the organisational culture. The recipe for getting a successful merger off the ground is shifting the spotlight from deal-making to merging-of-cultures. In fact, culture has been attributed to being one of the most important factors in building relationships.

Historians, believe it or not, have attributed the success of the Roman Empire in part to the successful merging of conquered cultures into itself. Therefore, the punch line is, pay more attention to people; not profits, as with people, profits will come in automatically.


1.0 John Lewis, John Lewis Department Store, Partnership,

2.0 The Hindu, Preventing culture shock key to successful mergers, National Newspaper, India, April 11, 2007.

3.0 Neville Lake, The Strategic Planning Workbook, The Sunday Times: Business Enterprise Guide, 2002, Kogan Page Limited, London.

4.0 Corporate Culture, Auxillium West –The HR Manager,

5.0 John Lewis Partnership, FAQ s about the Partnership,

6.0 John Benson and Philippe Debroux, HRM in Japanese Enterprises: Trends and Challenges

7.0 HRODC Ltd, Organisation Structure,

8.0 MGS Debenham, The Value of Organisational Culture and the Role of Competencies,

6.0 References

1.0 Lewis J, website, referred on 04.14.2007

2.0 The Hindu, print media, newspaper, referred on 04.14.2007

3.0 Lake N, book, referred on 04.14.2007

4.0 Corporate Culture, website, referred on 04.14.2007

5.0 Benson J and Debroux P, journal, referred on 04.14.2007

6.0 HRODC, website, referred on 04.15.2007

7.0 Debeham MGS, website, referred on 04.15.2007

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