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Decathlon Organization for the International Environment

Since 1992, Decathlon, the world’s largest retailer of sporting goods has been on the move objectified to attaining a global expansion. At the start, the company opened several department stores on the outskirts of the European major cities (Rebière & Mavoori, 2022). To attain this objective of internationalization, Decathlon has applied multiple entry modes inclusive of greenfields, alliances, and partnerships with the host countries. Currently, the company supply its products across approximately 69 nations and operates in three business lines dealing with online and in-store distribution, designing of sports product, and manufacturing of the same product from the scratch (Rebière & Mavoori, 2022). To begin with, in an effort to stimulate the internationalization process, the organization first began by designing a cloud-based ordering platform that would facilitate the sale of its prime products. This platform would mainly be applied in selling the reusable products that the company dealt with. Secondly, the company has adopted autonomous inventory robots, especially in its Bay Area in the United States stores. These bots serve the international clients by guiding them where they can easily find the product in question, and among other information. The bots also play a key role in conducting daily counts on the inventory. Currently, the company is committed to improving the effectiveness of the application network, especially through the addition of nodes. These are not only important in improving the operation experience but also in improving customer satisfaction in the international market. However, despite these efforts, the internationalization process of this company has been at a lower rate due to the lower price initiative that is built on efficiency (Rebière & Mavoori, 2022).

In terms of global structure, since its establishment, Decathlon has operated traditionally, with a hierarchy characterized by multiple layers of management, top-down decision-making, and fixed-job descriptions (Yang, 2021). However, at a later stage, the company underwent radical changes that yielded its current global structure. These transformations were mainly aimed at doing away with the unnecessary layers of management. The resultant radical shift in organization structure was inspired by companies such as Buurtzorg and Zappos. When undergoing this change, the management of this organization put high considerations on radical decentralization that made the company have four fewer management layers; the store leader, the sports leader, the local CEO, and the overall worldwide CEO. Even though the company has consistently applied the traditional solid structure in selling its products in countries like China, there have been inevitable efforts of linking the offline selling structure to the online one, especially with the explosion of Covid-19 (Yang, 2021). This has been its new way of securing the survival of its business in such nations. This marks a shift in the company’s sales structure.

In the market context, being a French company operating in different international markets, cultural differences is one of the factors that have retarded the successful operation of Decathlon in these markets (Wohlfart et al., 2021). This implicates that the company has had tough moments and challenges in winning international customers to their products especially those that are resistant to cultural changes. However, the organization is currently working on improving this situation through increased product promotion and advertisements of their products. Conversely, within the organization, just like in any other organization, the culture of internal coordination and control in Decathlon Company is dictated by several factors that include its history, market, technology, management styles, types of employees, and among many others. In a broader term, this is referred to as the organizational structure. Contrastingly, the corporate culture is specifically aimed at attaining a specific strategic target. In this organization, Dnison Organizational Culture Model is considered an important tool in the evaluation of variations of the organization culture.


Rebière, P., & Mavoori, H. (2022). Decathlon: International Audacity and Customer Seduction. SAGE Publications: SAGE Business Cases Originals.

Wohlfart, L., Groganz, J., Manefeld, S., & Fröhlich, F. (2021). Frugal Innovation for Developed Markets: Target Customers, Characteristics, Success Factors. In Frugal Innovation and Its Implementation (pp. 141-164). Springer, Cham.

Yang, C. (2021). Sports retailing (Decathlon) changes under covid-19 in China.


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