Decentralisation within a book retailer

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Introduction The largest specialist book retailer in the UK and Ireland is Waterstone’s. It has more than 200 branches and employs approximately 4,200 people. Organisations are as individual as nations and societies. Their widely different cultures are reflected in their values, ideals and beliefs. Within Waterstone’s, the belief is that each branch is part of the local community. In this context, the buying decisions of each branch should, therefore, directly reflect and respond to local customer demand, which gives each individual branch a sense of identity and local relevance. Waterstone’s is a familiar sight in high streets as well as in airports and on university and college campuses. All branches are tailored to meet the needs of customers in the catchment area and local market. Recent developments include an Internet bookstore, where books can be ordered electronically, and another superstore in Piccadilly that is 56,000 sq. ft. in size. Vision Sharing a vision enables everyone within an organisation to think ahead and be part of the plan for the future of that business. The shared purpose within Waterstone’s is simple, “To be the world’s best loved and most profitable Booksellers”. This provides direction for the organisation to form the basis…

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