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J.C. Penney’s Management Style and Innovation Report

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Updated: Aug 18th, 2020


Management styles entail ways of making deliberations in a team or organizations (Lussier, 2008). Styles of management can be grouped into two major different styles, permissive and autocratic. Styles of management can also take the form of democratic and consultative (Lussier, 2008). This paper discusses the management style at J.C. Penney. The paper will touch on the use of celebrities, the ability to adapt to the changing needs of clients and other issues relating to management.

Radical management style to Iterative management style

Radical management style was previously adopted by J.C Penney. The style was highly advanced and then removed by Johnson, the general manager of the company. The manager started by offering sales discounts on products. Not enough, he also introduced other marketing tools such as coupons to attract more clients. One of the things that the general manager did wrong is that he made radical changes yet merchandise in store had not finished. He also did not consult other people especially the customer relations section to know what exactly customers wanted. In other words he failed to introduce new brands in line with his strategy.

Iterative management style

In recent times, J.C Penney has adopted a new brand identity that entails new models of pricing its products, a new policy of attracting back its customers as well as restructuring of the layout of its shops to make it more attractive shopping at its stores (Daft, 2012). Mainly, the current, management adopted this style as a way of strengthening the position of the company in the market whilst maintaining links with the existing clients and appealing to a new clientele.

Personal opinion

J.C Penney is not managed properly. Taking the example of its processes in recent times like in 2010, the company was not able to traffic on its websites and social sites making it hard to serve its customers. Other competitors like SARA have managed to deal with this issue, so, it is specific for J.C. Penney. In fact, this lack of preparation clearly indicated that the management overlooked or failed to manage its systems well forcing potential clients to look for alternative stores (Daft, 2012). In terms of management, J.C. Penney failed to implement or translate its key business approach for its new an online business.

Another case, in the 1990s, the company was also trapped in the same problems. The company was unable to control its operating costs and was unable to operate in the tough middle market for women clothes due to high competition (Daft, 2012). That is, it was not able to meet the need and preference of its clients the way other competitors like Wal-Mart were doing. Another thing that proves the company is not managed well is its organizational alignment. The management usually source products from suppliers who do not have regard for their employees.

Management role in transforming the company from catalog-based system to internet-based system

The management has a big role in changing the company from catalog-based system to internet-based system. For instance, at J.C. Penney, the management had to oversee the process of metadata mapping between the catalog-based system and internet-based system (Swerdlow, 2003). This was to ensure that all essential metadata fields as well as their values are not affected by the migration process. The management also had to oversee the process of migrating record management controls (Lussier, 2008).

In general, record management controls are usually security classifications, disposal authorities as well as tools used to classify records (Daft, 2012). A lot of things may be lost and a lot of resources used to restore the functionality of the systems if some of these tools along with their functionality are not identified well in order to fit them in the new system.

The management also helps in identifying the different aggregations and varieties of records particularly in the new online system as well as relationship that exist between the two systems. This is based on the fact that the aggregations as well as the relationship that exist between the two systems must be protected during the process of migration as these connections are important in the context of the data and records (Lussier, 2008).

The transition was problematic. This is because both the employees and clients had the challenge fine-tuning to the new branding plan (Lussier, 2008). For instance, in relation to their new pricing model, a good number of workers especially in lines that deal with jewelry where price discounting is the tradition, found the current processes of using the Internet complex. Over and above the confusion of clients and workforce, some call centers and customer relations departments have been closed due to the transition form the catalog-based system to Internet-based system.

Management’s decision to use celebrities

For many years, companies have been using famous personalities to endorse their offerings (Swerdlow, 2003). In the case of J.C. Penney, the company uses celebrities to endorse its products for two major reasons: first, capture the viewer’s attention and second, increase product awareness. In a world that is dominated by generic products, J.C. Penney has favored celebrity endorsements as an approach of capturing the attention of the target market.

Once the attention of potential clients is captured, the content of the advert and the appeal of the celebrity simply sell the product (Swerdlow, 2003). For instance, J.C. Penney uses Nina Garcia as it is fashion celebrity. Nina is not just known but also followed by many people on social networks. She takes advantage of these sites to appeal to potential clients or people who would want to appear like her. The celebrity adds excitement into the brand hence appealing to people.

Another reason for using celebrity by J.C. Penney is to increase awareness of the product. As Daft (2012) indicates, awareness or familirairty of the product is the initila step in the purchase process. The use of celebrity by J.C. Penney is always to increase the probability of product recall on top of infusing their offerings with the success and charisma associated with the chosen personality. Although, it is not easy to quality success that associated with Nina Garcia at J.C. Penney, it is easy to recognize that the amount of sales at the company has been increasing since she was attached to the brand.

Innovative idea as manager at J.C. Penney

Since the company relies heavily on world-class designers and world class celebrities to market its brands, it could do away with all these by simply imitating celebrities or designers. This would save the company a lot of money. Instead of relying on traditional marketing strategies, the company can rely on an established network of end-user-feedback to fashion their own product designs (Swerdlow, 2003).

It could set up a section that is entirely dedicated to receiving the feedback and comments from potential clients and sends them in real time to manufacturers to convert them into their designs. In other words, the company should employ an approach to designs or fashion that is user-generated. A similar approach has been used at ZARA although with little variation (Swerdlow, 2003). Whilst at ZARA the emphasis is only fast fashion that at J.C. Penney would be a fashion that is user-generated.

Ability of J.C. Penney to adapt to the changing needs of end users

The ability of the company to adapt to any situation such as the changing needs of clients entirely rests with the management (Daft, 2012). Given that the current management is already implementing different price models such as “fair and square” which employees and clients in some departments are not accustomed to, it is logical that adapting to the changing needs of clients will be challenging.

In addition, existing clients are not buying into the idea as previously anticipated. In fact, the existing customers hold that by leaving or changing from coupons three-tier pricing system created an experience that is more costly and less enjoyable. In addition, communication is very important when adapting to any change (Lussier, 2008). Given that J.C. Penney does not have any proper form of communication and flow of information between the management, employees and customers, it goes without saying that the company is not prepared or in the position to adapt to the changing needs of its clients.


Daft, R. (2012). Management. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.

Lussier, R. (2008). Management fundamentals: Concepts, applications, skill development. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.

Swerdlow, R. (2003). Celebrity endorsers: Spokesperson selection criteria and case examples of FREDD. Web.

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