A Question of Order: An Exploration of Womenswear Retailers’ Strategies to Cope with Demand Uncertainty



Schulz, Susanne (2012) A Question of Order: An Exploration of Womenswear Retailers’ Strategies to Cope with Demand Uncertainty. Poetics. (Submitted)

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Abstract

Though strong branding and a distinctive product range are often identified as important factors for companies’ economic success (e.g. Robinson 1999) many UK womenswear retailers offer surprisingly similar products. The author argues that limited cultural innovation and product sameness amongst most high street womenswear retailers is not merely the ‘by-product’ of collective taste (Blumer 1973), but that limited product choice is a deliberate strategy employed by the industry. Based on an empirical study of UK high street womenswear retailers the author argues that the fashion industry, like other industries operating in markets faced by high demand uncertainty (Crane 1992), has adopted an organizational structure that is both conducive to minimising risk and that imposes a certain level of orderliness and stability on the fashion system. In particular the author explores the role of gatekeepers (Hirsch 1972) and the practice of copying significant others in the fashion industry to shed light on the origin and the development of fashion workers’ collective taste, its influence on their working practices and, ultimately, its role in coping with demand uncertainty and establishing some orderliness in the fashion system.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: School of Arts, Social Sciences and Management > Psychology and Sociology
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2012 10:03
Last Modified: 28 Feb 2013 11:47
URI: http://eresearch.qmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/2935

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