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Once a strong company; run into ground by MBA culture

  • Work/Life Balance
  • Career Opportunities
  • Comp & Benefits
  • Senior Management
Former Employee - Human Resources Manager
Former Employee - Human Resources Manager
Doesn't Recommend
Disapproves of CEO

Pros

For many years, the company culture was reasonably progressive and fair-minded, if somewhat lax. There was room for advancement within, procedures weren't overly rigid, and the depth of our product inventory was a distinct competitive advantage. Had these advantages been managed properly, Borders would likely be the dominant player in this admittedly highly-competitive retail segment.

Cons

The book-centric, service-centric, innovative tendencies of the company gave way to careerism, regimentation, a devotion to spin over reality, management fads, and a variety of other ills as the company expanded and management became dominated by MBAs. By the end, the company had evolved into a self-destructive parody of its former self, run by people who knew and cared little about their product, their clientele, or their employees. A scary cautionary tale of what can go wrong in a corporate culture.

Advice to Management

Even enlightened and capable management would have had a difficult time succeeding in this business. The revolving-door management of this company was consistently and dramatically not up to the task. Advice to them: too late now; the company is dead. Tens of thousands of jobs were lost on their watch. However much they may blame impersonal forces -- internet competition, the recession, etc,etc -- much of the responsibility lies squarely upon them and the board of directors who put them in place. In the future, please, unlearn virtually everything you think you've learned about business. Whatever your impulses dictate: chances are, the opposite is a better course. Above all, remember: spin does not equal reality.

Other Employee Reviews for Borders

  1. Too big to not fail

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Bookseller
    Former Employee - Bookseller
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Borders was a great place to work most of the time. My coworkers were knowledgeable and passionate, and most customers shared a love for books.

    Cons

    Management from the top on down were uni formally terrible. Not only did they sell away their online business to Amazon around 2000, dooming their presence on the web, but they were slow to catch on to eReaders, chose to support shoddy technology when they became too big to ignore, and ultimately never showed any foresight. Add to that over 1200 stores at the chain's peak, and there was no way they could sustain their business model. Management at the store level were mostly yesmen and those who dared try to make the place feel like a bookstore were promptly asked to step down.

    Advice to Management

    A bookstore is meant to be a bookstore, but a bookstore needs to turn a profit, too. Any bookstore that wants to be competitive will have to keep a small physical footprint and emphasize its online and eReader businesses.


  2. It's where I was meant to be.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Merchandising Supervisor
    Former Employee - Merchandising Supervisor
    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    A great place to work, retail yet intelligent retail. 90% of my coworkers had a B.A. if not a Masters degree.

    Cons

    As company began it's downward spiral...not enough payroll hours for tasks to be completed.

    Advice to Management

    Stick with books!!


There are newer employer reviews for Borders
There are newer employer reviews for Borders

See Most Recent

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