Laura Ashley Essay

2712 words - 11 pages

1) How have changes relating to management and organisational structural affected a global organisation of your choice, over the last 75 years. Relate your findings to growth, distribution, and various external influences and strategies.2) Undertake a SWOT analysis and explain its relevance in relation to your company and/or its sectorWord Count 1250. Harvard Style Referencing. Bibliography Required.Global organisation Laura Ashley Holdings Plc has suffered differing fortunes since Bernard and Laura Ashley founded it in the 1950s. It has been involved in the designing, manufacturing, distribution and selling of garments, accessories, perfume, gift items, fabric, wall coverings, bedding, lighting, and furniture. Famed for its floral prints, the chain was highly successful during the early and mid 1980s but things changed in the early 1990s when various management and structural problems as well as those relating to growth, distribution, and various external influences such as global recession surfacedLaura Ashley herself died in 1985. There is a notable difference in the organisation up to and after this year. Up to 1985, it was a simply structured, steadily expanding organisation operating in a non-complex environment (complexity arises when there are numerous complicated environmental influences [Johnson and Scholes, 1989]). In the months and years after, many changes took place. Laura Ashley went public in flotation, acquired other companies involved in areas such as knitwear and perfume, made heavier investments in manufacturing and information technology (IT), moved towards segmentation with Mother and Child shops, exclusively home furnishing shops and unit shops (franchise operations). The organisation moved gradually away from vertical integration (it had always manufactured and delivered all goods itself) - The Guardian reported that Laura Ashley was withdrawing from manufacturing by the end of the year in 1998. In order to facilitate growth, there was a shift from the simple functional organisational structure to a more complex divisional structure (which was re-organised with every change of leadership). The most notable chief executives of Laura Ashley who were in place whilst and after problems developed were Jim Maxmin (1991-1994) and Ann Iverson (1995-1997). Each of these people were responsible for major overhauls within the organisation. Vora (1998) states, "Laura Ashley has undergone various restructuring strategies and umpteen management upheavals, all to no avail, and all of which have decimated shareholder value and abused the brand name".As highlighted above, the major problems of Laura Ashley began to manifest in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The first fall of profits were reported in the year to January 1989. It is important, then, to look at its success before this - from its beginnings in the 1950s to 1985. One area to naturally consider is the key success factors of the organisation for this period i.e. what...

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