Lululemon and Organizational Theory

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Introducing Lululemon
Lululemon Athletica Inc. is a Vancouver, BC based designer and retailer of athletic apparel, operating primarily in North America. Its line of offerings include yoga-inspired apparel and accessories, including fitness pants, shorts, tops and jackets designed for athletic pursuits. As of February 2009, the company's branded apparel is sold in 113 stores across Canada and United States. This paper intends to study Lululemon Athletica from the point of view of Organizational Theory and analyze its structure, culture, value generation functions and understand what efforts and strategies have contributed to Lululemon's exponential growth in the highly competitive athletic apparel market. Furthermore, the strategic objectives of Lululemon and how they are aligned with the company's mission and vision will be discussed and an evaluation of the environmental factors and risks and uncertainties that the company faces presented. Assessing Lululemon's Current Mission

    Lululemon’s products are associated primarily with physical wellness, however, there is the aspect of mental and spiritual wellness associated with their brand name. Lululemon, like any for-profit corporation, exists to maximize profits but as importantly, it exists to provide value to its customers and shareholders. Lululemon has experienced steady growth, which allows the company to capitalize on the opportunities of a large-scale organization such as specialization, cost savings, better management of the external environment as well as the ability to exert power and control.()     The corporate mission of Lululemon is “Creating components for people to live longer, healthier, more fun lives”, which is further evidence that their aim and purpose is to sell products that affects customers on a more personal level. Lululemon believes that their products are able to profoundly affect the customer and will ultimately lead to improvements within their lifestyles in accordance with the Lululemon ideals.  This is achieved through instilling their mindset into all those associated with the company, and by ensuring that their mission is engrained in the corporate structure. They are able to create value by creating quality products that consumers want to buy, but also by associating these products with the core values of Lululemon which include integrity, greatness and fun. The ultimate goal of their value creation model is to create a society that is healthy in all aspects of life and that is well balanced. (Appendix A) The goal of each individual store is to achieve this ultimate goal for the area in which it is located.     The vision of the company is “Elevating the world from mediocrity to greatness”, which is in itself, a very bold statement. Lululemon uses this and their mission to shape the behaviour of their employees, as well as all associated parties, such as customers and manufacturers. They have created a defined culture through the development of their infamous manifesto, which speaks of self-empowerment and positive thinking as a “healthier” way of life. Lululemon is able to perpetuate their corporate ideals and control the organizational culture by ensuring that each employee shares the values and norms which are associated with the Lululemon brand. Intrinsic rewards and personal growth are used as performance indicators, while the manifesto helps to coordinate and motivate their employees, and to standardize employee behaviour. Using these techniques with their employees, the goals and ideals of Lululemon are then transferred to the customers with whom the employees interact. Through this approach, Lululemon has been able to create brand recognition, sustain and evolve their corporate culture and attract and maintain a variety of customers.     There are certain ways to measure the organizational effectiveness of a company, and how well they create value. The value-driven organization measures their performance based on how...
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