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Title: Organizational development, continuity and success in UK SME fashion e-retailing : a critical case approach
Author: Ashworth, C. J.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3430 6604
Awarding Body: Manchester Metropolitan University
Current Institution: Manchester Metropolitan University
Date of Award: 2008
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Retail in general and the fashion sector in particular have been slow to develop online despite the considerable opportunities and efficiencies offered by the marketspace. Sixty percent of established fashion stores are yet to move online (Herrod, 2007b) even though fashion products (clothing, footwear and accessories) are the third largest category sold over the internet. The case for smaller companies in this context remains unclear (Verdict, 2007). This research is therefore grounded in an era of conflict where retailing remains polarised between enterprises willing to 'embrace e-commerce for longer-term benefit' and those for whom cyber-operating 'is not seen as a desirable route to growth' (Reynolds, 2002: 530; Doherty ~nd Ellis-Chadwick, 2006). This thesis represents the first comprehensive exploration of the definitions and drivers of success for twenty-five independent SME fashion electronic retailers (SMEFEs) operating thirty-seven websites in the clothing, footwear and accessories sectors. Within this context this study also identifies the organizational development process and presents continuity strategies from a high-interest stakeholder (i.e. owner-manager/webmaster) perspective. Both first-movers and recent entrants into the marketspace enable a holistic view. The participating pure-players and clicks-and-mortars offer a rich, cumulative online retail experience-base equalling almost one-hundred and eighty years' online. The position of this thesis in relation to ontology and epistemology is that reality is socially constructed rather than objectively determined (Carson et aI., 2001). A qualitative critical-case approach exploring the online context of twenty-two successful cases with insight from three further devil's advocate ('not-yet-successful') enterprises is employed from a social constructionist perspective. Data is generated via in-depth interviews involving a combination of telephone and face-to-face methods. Findings are developed through thematic qualitative analysis and theoretical contributions are based on saturation ofdata. This research study asserts a contribution to knowledge on several levels: new synthesis of the literature; innovative methodology; and fresh findings which have enabled extension of the literature and new theory to be constructed and from this future research streams are considered. The findings have important implications to policy, practitioners and education.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available