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John Lewis Partnership lessons in logical incrementalism and organic growth: A case study and interview with the Chairman, Mr Charlie Mayfield

Nicholas O'Regan (Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK)
Abby Ghobadian (Henley Management College, University of Reading, Henley‐on‐Thames, UK)

Journal of Strategy and Management

ISSN: 1755-425X

Article publication date: 17 February 2012

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how strategy is developed and implemented in an organisation with an unusual ownership model. Partnerships are not a prevalent form of ownership but as this case demonstrates they can be extremely effective. Furthermore this case demonstrates how logical incrementalism can be used to implement major strategic decisions.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws on company documentary evidence and a semi‐structured interview with Mr Charlie Mayfield, Chairman of John Lewis Partnership. A chairman has a helicopter view of business whose perspectives are rarely captured by strategy researchers. This case study offers an insight into strategic thinking of a chairman and chief executive of a successful company.

Research limitations/implications

The case study and interview offer a unique insight into the rationale behind strategic decisions within a successful partnership that has grown organically in a highly competitive retail market without high gearing.

Originality/value

This case study sheds light on strategic moves within partnership. Furthermore, very few case studies offer insight into the thinking of a chief executive who has successfully managed a business in a turbulent environment.

Keywords

Citation

O'Regan, N. and Ghobadian, A. (2012), "John Lewis Partnership lessons in logical incrementalism and organic growth: A case study and interview with the Chairman, Mr Charlie Mayfield", Journal of Strategy and Management, Vol. 5 No. 1, pp. 103-112. https://doi.org/10.1108/17554251211200473

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited