Sears Roebuck and Company

Sears, Roebuck & Company was once one of the largest retailers in the country. Their mission statement and cultural beliefs were something that they stood by firmly and gave their customers 100% customer satisfaction. Over the years, Sears have deviated from their original statements of what they promised their customers and employees. Because of this deviation their company perception and cultural views have completely changed.
Sears, Roebuck & Company
Sears & Roebuck, and Company was founded in 1893 as a mail-order catalog that based their entire business on the needs of rural American farmers. They were at the demands of their customers solely. They even compensated their customers for referring their neighbors. Their mission was “We sell everything by mail-order only. Your money will be promptly returned for any goods not perfectly satisfactory and we will pay freight or express charges both ways.” (www.searsholding.com) Then other retailers had a difficult time trying to reach the customer satisfactory that Sears were offering their clientele.

Then in the 1930s, Sears began to shift more toward the urban American population. Sears, Roebuck & Company is still the same mail-order along with a few stores but the same expectations. The customer could shop from home, and the merchandise would be shipped to his or her door front. After the Great Depression, Sears experienced an enormous tumble that led them to terminate the catalog. This started the spiral downfall for their customer satisfaction.
Nowadays, Sears & Roebuck Department Store mission statement is “We are committed to improving the lives of our customers by providing quality services, products and solutions that earn their trust and build lifetime relationships. To serve, delight, and engage our members while they shopn their way! The stores cultural beliefs are:
•Members First – I deliver a “wow” experience to each member by understanding their specific needs and offering them the right products and services.
•Own It – I take accountability to close the gaps as I See It, Own It, Solve It, and Do It.
•Embrace Feedback – I am open, honest, and respectful in my communications, and constantly seek, accept, and offer feedback.
•Show Pride – I am an engaged member. I demonstrate passion and pride by leading by example.
•Learn and innovate – I learn new ways to serve members and do my job better by embracing innovation and technology.
•Earn Trust – I work hard to earn the trust of every member I serve and every co-worker I interact with.
•Be Authentic – I am genuine in all my interactions, ask questions to understand and align my words and action to achieve the key results.” (www.searsholding.com)
Espoused Vs. Enacted Values
Since the early 1990s when Sears began to fall apart, their mission statement, and beliefs have been deviated from. They pay their employees the lowest salaries of all retailers that cause their associates to keep from enjoying their employment. Possessing employees who do not feel appreciated causes them not to do everything they have promised their customers in their missions and beliefs.
The misalignment between the espoused values and the enacted values of a store affects the perception because what the customer and employees have read and heard what he should be receiving from the store is not what he is getting. This makes the store seem to be unorganized and not professional. Organizations Culture
Sears culture seems to be very informal. Based upon what their cultural beliefs and mission statement (espoused values) is stated to be and what their behavior and customer relations (enacted values) are based on employee and customer feedback, it concludes that the culture is informal. Communication
Communication is determined by the culture of organization. Sears culture is informal so therefore the communication of the organization would also be informal. The communication of Sears follows the grapevine. It is “he says she says.” After completing research on the company and interviewing several employees, both former, and present, the chain of communication in the store is never given in the form of chain of command. If one associate hears any form of information, it is spread throughout the store by associate’s not upper management.
Perception
Communication plays a large role in the perception of the company and in its organizational culture. If there is no formal and direct means of communication, the employees, and customers will never know exactly what needs to be done and how the store is run. This leads to the customers losing trust in the salesman who makes it more difficult to make a purchase with him or her. This leads into a train reaction. From the lack of sales because of the lack of trust, leads into a lack of good morale in the store, causing the associates to become even more informal and not care less about their job and the entire culture and perception of the store consistently tumbles downward.
Conflict
Group communication will always have some form of conflict involved in it. Whether the group communication is formal or informal, conflict will always be there. Whether the conflict is handled appropriately or not is the major problem. Organizations that practice informal communication will have a more difficult time working through the conflict and find a solution.
Because Sears has an informal means of communication, handling conflict seems not to be one of their strong points. The more conflict in the store will only make the stores functionalities even more difficult and less functional. Conflict in Sears without better leadership will be a horrible situation.
Conclusion
Sears, Roebuck & Company once one of the most customers satisfied retailers. Nowadays that is no longer the situation. Although their previous and current mission statements are very similar in wording, they have deviated from the meaning so far. Because of this their cultural view and perception has changed tremendously in the eyes of their customers. When a company moves away from the goals, they have set to accommodate and satisfy both their employees and customers, it is not successful for the company. The major obstacle for any company is to maintain truth to their values and beliefs published for their customers and if this one obstacle is achieved there is longevity of success ahead of them.

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