The Organisational Difficulties Faced By Debenhams Business Essay

The following article talks about an organisation (Debenhams) the author's company, its account, culture and the way the current economic environment has influenced its profile and culture

What can be an organisation?

"Organisations are interpersonal arrangements for attaining controlled performance in pursuit of collective goals", Buchanan and Huczynski (1997). The collective goals at Debenhams are targeted at, discovering, creating and maintaining satisfying interactions with customers leading to value for both customer and the organisation.


Debenhams Plc is a public limited company. Founded in 1778 as Flint & Clark, Debenhams run as an unbiased company until its hostile takeover by the Burton Group in the late 1980s. In 1998 Debenhams regained its independence when it was "demerged" from the Burton Group, which consequently improved its name to Arcadia Group plc. The Groupings main activity is reselling of fashion clothing and accessories, makeup products and products for use in the house. It retails womenswear, menswear, homewares, health and beauty, accessories, lingerie and childrenswear. The Group deals from department stores and small store types. Brands include Designers and Debenhams, including third-party brands. The Group has 161 department stores including 10 Desire by Debenhams stores, across the United Kingdom and Ireland with roughly 11 million square foot of trading space and around 27, 000 employees.

The Group has a profile greater than 55 own brands such as Debut, Maine New England, Red Herring and Thomas Nash including 25 Designers of Debenhams brands. Company brands take into account about 70% of sales. Debenhams offers a wedding present service, in-store restaurants and cafes. The business has 51-plus international franchise stores in 19 countries including, Bahrain, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey and can soon be starting 8 in Denmark. Debenhams also stretches its customer reach by making direct sales through its website. Debenhams is company that is registered and trades its shares on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). Its authorized office reaches

1 Welbeck St

London W1G 0AA

United Kingdom

The company's key people will be the Chairman: John D. Lovering, CEO: Rob Templeman and Deputy CEO and Director: Michael Clear.


An organisation framework matching to Mintzberg (1979) "is the sum total of the ways that it divides it's labour into particular jobs and then achieves coordination between them" An company structure determines process allocation, confirming lines, and formal coordination mechanisms and interaction patterns. Matching to Basset and Carr (1996) "an organisation's structure should emphasise overall flexibility of response to advertise and environmental forces, this is achieved by appropriate variability in the management role to fit the circumstances. " To be a retail organisation, Debenhams emphasises its structure in response to advertise and environmental forces by determining and producing new talents to match what's happening in the market and the retail and business environment generally.

Wright and Burns (1998) declare that, organisation structures essentially depend on the type of business the organisation is e. g. major (e. g. removal of raw materials, supplementary, (e. g. change of recycleables to done goods) and tertiary (e. g. services). The structure of an company is also affected by possession and amount of employees available. Debenhams is a public had company. Its practical organisation based on product/brand but has a flat organisational structure going by a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and organises employees into different departments reselling different products "The functional structure communities employees together based mostly upon the functions of specific jobs within the organization. " Melissa Bushman (2007). The author is one of the Home section where they deal in home wares including wedding gift ideas. Other departments include Men's wear and Women's wear. The dividing of employees according to departments in Debenhams allows managers to exert control on a smaller volume of employees, making it easier to control, be more successful and permits easy communication between employees and management.


The culture of organisation identifies the unique construction of norms, values, beliefs, ways of behaving and so forth that characterize the manner in which communities and individuals incorporate to get things done, Eldridge & Crombie (1974). At Debenhams they may have a unique settings of norms, values and values that characterize the way in which in which they work as an organization to get things done. They may have a means which packages them apart from others. Drennan (1992) identifies culture as, 'how things are done around here'. It really is how things are done at Debenhams that makes them who they are. Its about their brand, their people and exactly how they market themselves. Schein (1990) implies a view of organisational culture predicated on distinguished three degrees of culture, from the shallowest to the deepest artefacts and creations, beliefs and basic assumptions. The Debenhams culture is about excellence, its about design and innovation. The culture at Debenhams goes with the days but its traditions remain intact and have been so for just two centuries.

Debenhams culture is dependant on being a premium department store merchant. A family friendly store who supply designer labels at affordable prices. The best declaration to Debenhams culture is its people.

Retail is a fast-moving, fascinating business where teamwork really makes a direct effect. At Debenhams they think everyone can have an impact on the success.

Wherever you go in Debenhams you will meet friendly, welcoming people who will value your wellbeing and support your development but also expect you to be always a valuable member of the team. If you want to push your restrictions and take the initiative, they help you do it.

Whether you are a sales consultant or merchandiser, Debenhams expansion and breadth of opportunity and concentrate on personal development makes it the ideal location to develop your career. In the sales floor where people can influence customers to behind the scenes roles, every person can affect the performance of Debenhams. Our mature management team listens and serves on reviews.

At Debenhams they need people who have a real enthusiasm for what they do, folks who are self-motivated. Individuals who will use their initiative to act on the independence they receive and will drive their own development.

Sutherland & Canwell (1997) say "if employees share the cultural beliefs of the organisation then they could be more apt to be focused on it. " At Debenhams employees are committed to the organisation as they consider and show in its culture and values.

Certain organisations stress the value of personal effort and accomplishment; indeed they compensate employees for personal performance. Alternatively, other organisations favorably encourage competition between departments or sub-division of the company, Sutherland et al (1997). The Debenhams culture strains personal initiative and success and at the same time positively encourages competition between departments of the company. Both individual and team initiative and progress are encouraged.

The culture in Debenhams is one that is nurturing, daring, enabling and encourages posting.

According to Blanchard and Bowles (1998) and their Gung Ho culture, an organisation should aim to produce a culture of determined employees who love what they do by sticking with the next three key points

Worthwhile work influenced by goals and worth- An company should give attention to useful work, use of circumstance studies, review goal criteria for individuals and associates.

Putting workers in control of achieving the target.

Cheering one another on- the energy of feedback, rewards and reputation and action planning.

The Gung Ho process aims to address the following

Improve morale and productivity

Reduce staff turnover

Develop a sense of purpose

Improve imagination and innovation

Improve service to inner and external customers

Empower individuals and teams

The writer feels Debenhams their workplace, fulfils concepts as identified in the Gung Ho process by Blanchard et al (1998). This is so because the work is motivated by goals and worth. Good requirements are preserved through regular training and overview of individuals and associates. By setting reasonable and realistic targets workers are put in control and have the ability to achieve place goals and even outdo themselves by going beyond. The organisation recognises the power of responses by retaining regular meetings where everyone participates. It also recognises the value of rewards and action planning. Rewards help enhance morale and production while action planning and create a sense of purpose.

Current Economic Climate and how it could affect account and Culture

The past eighteen months has seen the economy of the UK and all of those other world badly struck and very seriously bruised by the credit crunch. The current financial climate may have great impact on the account and culture of Debenhams as an company. These influences could be Politics, Economic, Sociable, Technological, Environmental and Legal, shortened to PESTEL.

PESTEL Examination of Debenhams

Political changes-E. g. an alteration in government or an alteration in government insurance plan.

Government ideas to apply the slated VAT increase (back to 17. 5 per cent) on New Year's Day. To change every price in every of its 161 stores in those days would take 250, 000 man hours.

Debenhams has been motivated by government's decision on Local Work Partnership Structure (LEP) to produce employment and can create 1200 careers between 2010 and 2011and receive authorities assistance in reaching its training needs.

Economic changes-Relate to changes in the wider economy such as increases in living standards or the overall degree of demand, increases or falls in interest levels, etc.

UK marketplaces have been affected by economic concerns through the credit crunch. Lower available income will impact and tactical focus may need to change to lower charged basic products with less focus on higher priced brands suggesting a switch in cost architecture.

The current economic climate is predicted to develop out of downturn in the year ahead. As the united states market, the worlds biggest has began growing the development of exports compared to that country will generate more jobs in the united kingdom economy and as a result more consumers will choose the Debenhams brand.

The continuous land in the worthiness of the Pound Sterling contrary to the Euro is likely to generate more holidaymakers from the EU and beyond who will purchase Debenhams products at a competitive price.

As the majority of the world recovers from the existing economic turmoil. Debenhams will probably spearhead their expansion into the international market, introducing new customers to new brands within an interesting retail environment.

Social changes-Relate to changes in wider contemporary society such as changes in standards of living e. g. more women venturing out to work, changes in preferences and buying habits.

Debenhams has added customer scores and reviews to its online store to improve its customers' online shopping experience and drive sales. Debenhams' customers don't just have to rely over a brand's professional view - they'll also now have the ability to listen to what fellow shoppers think.

The group is also improving its internet site, adding features such as sociable networking capability, video tutorial and catwalk/attire projection, an online outlet that contributes to current offers and special offers, a facility which allows customers to look by size, as well as product critiques and studies.

The demand reasonable trade is also another thing that Debenhams has to observe. For example Debenhams restaurants now stock only Douwe Egberts Good Original Espresso. Every cup of Good Original Espresso can be traced back to the plantation where it was harvested and has been qualified by Utz Kapeh, a worldwide non-governmental organisation. This is ensuring we could helping farmers look after their workers, their own families and the surroundings where they live and work.

Technological changes-Relate to the use of new inventions and ideas such as the development of the web and websites as business tools.

New internet and television technology designed to use special results in advertising will make Debenhams products known and appealing to more customers as more people are now taking a internet.

Debenhams has opened up online stores credited to progression in technology of the internet and can now sell its products without needing shop space. This will allow it to contend favourably in this severe environment.

Positive performance online is assisting lift yearly earnings at Debenhams, this is regardless of the harsh economical turmoil in the home and international market

Environmental changes-Relates to what is happening with respect to the ecological and environmental aspects.

Debenhams also have joined calls to lessen impact on global warming by travelling a Store energy preservation plan, reviewing timings for lighting, escalators and air-con. Overnight shifts have been reduced with light focussed only in the areas it's needed. As a result of these work the company has achieved the Efficiency Accreditation given by the vitality Institute.

Debenhams is now contributing to a national finance which can only help to develop specific WEEE (Waste material Electrical and Electric Equipment) collection centres to ensure that more WEEE gets recycled.

Debenhams provide a collection service on the like for like basis, for example if you buy a washing machine we may take away your old one. All of the appliances we accumulate are then delivered to be recycled.

More eco friendly measures have to be implemented, for occasion Debenhams are suffering from a far more eco-friendly packaging for the bra collars on Bustiers, by using a new kind of board and can now maintain the print out quality, whilst launching 20% recycled content.

Legal changes-Relate to changes in legislation. This may impact employment, usage of materials, quotas, resources, imports/exports, taxation etc.

Debenhams has been afflicted by the WEEE (Waste material Electrical and Electronic Equipment) directive from the federal government and is doing its little bit to help look after the environment.

The directive areas that as a retailer we are responsible for increasing the amount of WEEE (Waste material Electrical and Electric equipment) that is recycled in the UK.

Debenhams reactions to the current economic climate

Trigger situations like the market meltdown have an effect on organisations in many various ways. Towards the end of 2008, Debenhams struggled as customers were no longer buying a lot of their products as the economy slid into tough economy.

The current financial climate will probably effect on Debenhams' profile and culture. The survey by Graeme Wearden, in the Guardian of (21st October, 2008) gives a clear example of how the current economic weather has influenced Debenhams.

"Debenhams has slashed its dividends after a sharp show up in sales in the past couple of weeks as the overall economy deteriorates, "

"Debenhams is planning cost-cutting methods to reduce debt of 994m, which it admitted was causing uncertainty over its future. "

"It also plans to remove out 15m of costs, and is cutting almost 40m from its capital expenditure. "

The profile of the organisation might change as maybe it's more difficult to improve funds for new ventures or expansions and also might reduce the current size of the company as there may be downsizing. The negative tendencies in the economy also might have an impact on the culture of Debenhams as its employees will be functioning in a culture of doubt.

However, the negative developments in the economy experienced some positive effects on Debenhams as reported in the Waterford Today (6th January, 2009).

"On your day (6th January 2009) Debenhams released its interim management declaration for the 18 weeks to the 3 January 2009, it also reported that sales of designer gear normally associated with growth times alternatively than bust, are back vogue because of a new type of shopper, the recessionista. "

"Spring/Summer time 09 at Debenhams pulls the latest affects from catwalks around the world with a solid concentrate on wearability all with famous name creator affects but with traditional prices. "

ClickPress (14th January 2009)The shop reported double digit sales growth across its Custom made at Debenhams offer in the run up to Holiday, as well as finding sales and profits increase and market talk about gains in every major clothing categories, while reducing its credit debt.

The current economical weather has shaken Debenhams, however the Debenhams culture that encourages effort has seen them shake off the initial fall season in sales which shrunk the organisations profile and helped bring a culture of doubt as Debenhams battled to survive. Whilst Debenhams is reduced department store store the exterior factors of finance institutions going bust, increasing unemployment adversely influenced their operations. The general public could no more manage their products.

The organisation strategized and developed the thought of selling designer product labels with famous name affects but sold at high street prices.

Despite the credit crunch Debenhams has had the opportunity to keep its culture of effort and brilliance through its people. The outgoing Chairman's words summarize the Debenhams culture.

John Lovering said

"I am proud of what Debenhams has achieved over the last six years whilst I've offered as chairman. We've set way for a sensible future. Debenhams is a proper handled, properly financed company with a and successful plan and a number of fascinating development opportunities. I hope my successor likes the role as much as I have. "

Debenhams has taken advantage of the recession; its mixture of quality, price and design in its products has persisted to get customers. Sky Reports (17 March, 2009). The business's profile will extend as in 2010 2010 they'll open eight new stores providing the total amount to 161 stores across the UK and will employee 1200 new people. The culture of the company has altered slightly as the perceived credit crunch problems initially shook the organisation and drastic measures needed to be implemented, the problems helped bring a culture of uncertainty across Debenhams. The procedures implemented have seen the UK's second biggest division store chain continue to take market talk about from its competitors in every major product categories. Sky Reports (March, 2009).

The culture change which has taken place at Debenhams is exactly what Brown (1998) terms, specific evolution, which is the adaptation of particular organisational functions (such as research and development, data processing and marketing), to match the surroundings. People at Debenhams were required to adapt to the credit crunch and found working ways to go up above the crisis. The Debenhams culture has been sustained through new routine- maintenance symbols, beliefs and set ups.

Debenhams has been able to weather the storms of the market meltdown because of proper planning and effectively taking care of today's business hazards. Reuvid (2005) highlights that organisations should spend some time researching the possibility of the risk happening and the likelihood of that risk occurring and interrupting business's flow, then find ways to lessen and mitigate these hazards. The organisation should constantly be evaluating the overall risk management infrastructure and assets essential to look beyond financial record, risk to enterprise and exterior risks should not be undervalued and cannot be underscored enough. The company must protect itself from high risk. This will be priority for management and the audit team. They should comprehend the extent to which the company is exposed to financial, functional or strategic dangers. Because of its preparedness and strategic use both of its financial, creative skill and its individuals capital Debenhams has survived the worst recession in decades and remains ranking strong.

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