Case Study: L.L. Bean

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Introduction
When looking at the United States, we see technology applied daily in many different forms. We wake up to our alarms set on our smart phones, make our coffee with a Keurig® machine, and then we take our cars to work. Some may believe that once you get to work, technology goes on the back-burner and human capital takes over. Now in the year 2012 businesses are changing and adapting not only in our nation, but globally. For the hopes that the U.S. will keep up with these global technological changes, there has to be much research to be done.

One may be asking when did these changes begin, and why did they begin? That brings us to the history of the retail industry and how it has shaped how MNC’s communicate, trade, and conduct business. Brief History of Retail in the USA

Multinational Corporations (MNC’s) are extremely dependent on the technological innovations that have occurred and reoccurred over the century. If we take a look back at the Pre-WWII era in America we can see that most stores were just local “mom-and-pop” stores. These stores relied simply on human capital and would succeed based on how hard they, the owners, would work. Until 1859 this was true, but then the idea of a “retail chain” sprang into action with the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company. This was the first of our national retail chains. Confined to the A&P HQ in New York City they still had a footprint that stretched from Virginia to Minnesota. By 1930, A&P had over 15,000 locations nationwide and accounted for almost 40% of all retail industry in the United States. This is just one example of how quickly National Corporations began, but where does technology play its role in all of this?

Retail in the U.S. grew substantially after the Great Depression; agricultural jobs decreased drastically, while retail/wholesale stores began to superseded the rest of the small businesses. This can be seen in this graph, taken from a report by Art Carden:

As you can see, around 1942 retail and wholesale production began to increase and surpass agricultural production. This shows us that the U.S. economy will soon become dependent on retail and wholesale throughout the country.

After seeing this research, it is now apparent that the United States has become reliant on business practices across the nation. The Post-Great Depression era will become even more industrialized than ever before and will have to become more competitive in the global market. Now that the U.S. is marketing products not only nationally, but globally there has to be a form of communication from one area to the next. This form of globalization is key to the success of many, if not all businesses from after the Great Depression onward.

If you jump forward from the Great depression to the present, the demand for quality U.S. products sky-rocketed and therefor needed to be marketed overseas to other businesses around the world. Innovation in retail has lowered the costs of transporting goods and communicating information from one corporation to another. These innovations in travel include the use of aircrafts and cargo ships to transport goods across the vast oceans. Communication has become easier as the decades have passed; the internet has been created and in this sense made it more possible for MNC’s to communicate on a regular basis. Before the internet MNC’s were relying on international postal services, the telephone, and face-to-face interaction. The internet opens up a new line of communication including e-mail, wiki’s, and all forms of social media. Managers not only need to know how to speak to their employee’s, but also how to communicate to international interests. Barriers set by the environment and also by language can be a challenge, but to keep international interest managers need to know how to communicate across borders. Again, technological advances have helped in the communication between MNC’s because now it is as simple as holding...
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