Strategic management: focus on Louis Vuitton - Essay Example

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The concept of luxury is a throwback to the days of the aristocracy and the separation of the classes,itself an anachronism the vestiges of which nevertheless exists today in the brand names Rolls Royce,Prada,Armani,Gucci,Burberry,Richemont,Mercedes Benz,and Louis Vuitton,among others…
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Download file to see previous pages In the study of business organizations and strategic management, there is probably no undertaking more replete with paradoxical undercurrents than that of the luxury retail industry. The concept of luxury is a throwback to the days of the aristocracy and the separation of the classes, itself an anachronism the vestiges of which nevertheless exists today in the brand names Rolls Royce, Prada, Armani, Gucci, Burberry, Richemont, Mercedes Benz, and Louis Vuitton, among others. Of these brands, it is probably the Louis Vuitton name that has penetrated nearly all major product classes in the consumer retail industry, and successfully launched itself on a global scale while maintaining its exclusivist image. In this paper, the business of Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH) Group will provide a context for the application of strategy paradox theory. However, before a discussion of the application of organizational paradoxes may be embarked upon, it is useful to gain some familiarity with the theory of the strategy paradox. The strategy paradox In a paradox, two apparently contradictory ideas are held to work simultaneously (Storey & Salaman, 2010). In a strategy paradox, the divergence in strategic contexts faces the company as an inescapable dilemma – that is, the nature of the business in question calls for the strategic planners to reconcile two contradictory requisites in order for the business to succeed. There are several paradoxes that, over time, have been observed and articulated by various theorists. In the examination of these so-called paradoxes, however, it is useful to keep in mind the observation of Harmer & Abbott (2002) that these theories are not pure or true paradoxes, but are only counterintuitive. The apparent contradictions are not truly so, and upon rationalization are shown to be reconcilable. Mintzberg’s paradox of deliberateness and emergence. Vieira da Cunha, Clegg, and Pina e Cunha (2002) cited Mintzberg & Waters (1982) and Mintzberg & McHugh (1985) as seminal works articulating the close linkage between deliberate and emergent strategy. The paradox of deliberateness and emergence states that “realised strategies are not always intended” but rather fall within “the continuum of deliberate and emergent strategies” (Ehnert, 2009:45). De Wit and Meyer’s paradoxes are several and distinct, and lucidly articulated in their book Strategy Synthesis: Resolving Strategy Paradoxes to Create Competitive Advantages (2005). In this seminal work, Mintzberg’s paradox of deliberate strategizing and strategy emergence is dissected and resolved into apparently component parts highlighting various aspects of the deliberateness-emergence continuum, namely: (1) the paradox between logic and creativity; (2) the paradox of balancing revolutionary and evolutionary change processes; (3) the paradox between leveraging resources and market adaptation; (4) the paradox of profitability and responsibility; and (5) the paradox of control versus letting go. The Whittington-Khanna/Palepu debate. This is an ongoing debate on the viability of organizational forms. Whittington (1999) takes the stand that based on empirical evidence, holding companies in developed countries are giving way to smaller organizations with more focused divisional strategies. On the other hand, Khanna and Palepu (1999) espouse the contrary, that in developing countries business enterprises are consolidating into more efficient groups. (Pettigrew, Thomas and Whittington, 2002:273). Weber’s Paradox of unintended consequences. Under this paradox, human intent and agency is often subverted by the law of unintended consequences. Argument: the external world is inherently a highly complex phenomenon or set of phenomena and is ultimately incomprehensible in any complete sense (Storey & Salaman, 2010). It is the paradoxical relation of man and fate, that man is a uniquely rational being, and yet is rendered subject to the self defeating nature of his own rational action ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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