Journal of International Business and Law


This paper examines business decline in relation to department stores and recent technological shifts in retail. Our perspective describes how management's failure to properly utilize technology and the resulting decline of international brick and mortar department stores was significantly influenced by emotional posturing disguised as strategic choices. To track the changes in the retail landscape based on new technological business models, we chronicle the shift from department store culture to online e-commerce by exploring a primary case, JCPenney, and the following exemplary cases: Macy's, H&M, Amazon, and Walmart. We also conduct a systematic research synthesis on a small sample of news articles to illicit underlying themes for our discussion. We use the retail industry as an appropriate context to examine the bridge offered by strategic misalignment theory between deterministic and voluntaristic approaches. We also extend the strategic misalignment perspective by adding an emotional posturing explanation that interprets the influence of executives' emotional states on strategic choices and provides guidance for avoiding a cycle of emotional posturing.

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