Macy’s Departmental Stores: Management Interview


The organization chosen is Macy’s departmental stores. The company was founded in the year 1858 by Rowland Hussey Macy in Massachusetts. It has seven divisions in forty five states within the country except five. It provides a wide range of retail products that include cosmetics, furniture, clothing, jewelry and other household items. It is owned by Macy’s Inc. as of 2007.

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Management is universal and cuts across all organizations, Macy’s is no exception. There are five managerial functions that will receive a lot of emphasis in the subsequent discussion. The first function is planning-it can be defined as the process of developing the objectives and mission of the organization. (Cherrington, 1995) A manager must also organize-this involves coordinating and dividing tasks among members of the organization. Here, the manager assigns responsibilities to team members. Staffing is another managerial function and can be defined as the filling and maintaining of all the positions available in a company. Some of the activities involved in this function include: recruiting, training, hiring, evaluation and compensation. Managers are also expected to control members of staff. This involves measuring performances, setting performance standards and taking corrective or preventive measures to ensure that the standards set are adhered to. Communication is another vital element in management and involves the transfer of information from management down to other members of the organizational structure (Kenneth, 2003).

Lastly, managers are expected to motivate their team members, this involves influencing or channeling people’s behavior to accomplish the missions and objectives of the organization.

The person chosen for the interview is a line manager. He is a store manager in one of Macy’s retail stores within the City and is called Paul O’Neil. His main function is to oversee the daily operation of the retail store. He ensures that the store is run efficiently by taking charge of both employee and customer needs. He started as a clerk then became an associate manager after which he was promoted to store manager.

Management functions

Paul says that the hardest thing he has had to do is to dismiss an employee but he had to ensure that only those who deserve to stay do so. He released this individual after he exhibited very poor work etiquette. The manager has sent a number of his employees to training programmes as prerequisite to admission in the company. He claims that this will give them a platform to serve the company better. It is not a piece of cake to get accepted into Macys’s store. After applications have been received from job seekers, employees are subjected to a series of interviews conducted by the manager. After employees have made it to Macy’s, he ensures that they remain there by providing them with a number of benefits like health insurance, All the above activities fall under the staffing function of management (Dessler, 2003).

Paul sets targets for his employees. He then checks on them to ensure that they meet these targets through performance appraisals. The manager then issues verbal warnings to his employees when they are below their target. He also ensures that targets are met by giving incentives to his people. These include allowances. Finally, Paul also reviews some financial reports and ensures that everything adds up. Macy’s would not be where it is now if its management does not exercise control. This is a role of management which Paul plays everyday.

Paul holds a lot of discussions with his employees. In these discussions, he exchanges ideas about how to improve performance of individuals. The store normally experiences an influx of customers during the festive season. To cope with this increase in activities, Paul normally designates more work to a particular employee. He also hires part time employees to work for that season alone and retains full time workers afterwards. There are plenty of activities that need to be done by the employees at Macy’s and these should be delegated (Kenneth, 2003). This is done by assessing employee’s interests and talents if there are several candidates who can do a variety of tasks. This is the organization function of management (Adrian, 2005).

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Paul’s role is to ensure that staff members get their dues in time thus getting motivation to do more for the company. He is quick to admit that there have been problems in this section because money matters are always a sensitive issue. He solves these problems through dialogues and mutual understanding. Paul strongly believes that to have maximum performance, then employees should be motivated. He does this by offering end year bonuses for the best employee. (Nadler, 1986). In addition to this, staff members who have exceeded their targets are normally given commissions depending on their output. Macy’s offers benefits to workers like health and insurance schemes. This is the motivation function of management.

As a manger it is crucial for one to set organizational goals and objectives (Ulrich, 1996) i.e. performing the planning function of management. Paul does this through setting objectives for the store and communicating them clearly to his subordinates. In addition to the above, he works hand in hand with his seniors when setting goals in order to harmonize departmental and corporation goals. This is because it is important to uphold Macy’s reputation in retail. He prepares a budget within which the company will operate and it is normally done on a daily basis.

Paul says that he has an open door policy for all his employees. Members of staff do not necessarily have to schedule a meting to discuss any issue that may be disturbing them. (Dessler, 2003) He communicates frequently to customers through interviews where he asks them about their shopping experience or what kind of products they would like to see when they come to the store. (Kenneth, 2003) Managers are the wheels that drive an organization. (Mandy, 1996) They need to be in constant communication with the outside environment and the internal one too. In addition to this, he also handles any customers who may be unhappy with an employee’s work or who may simply have asked for the manager. Paul also communicates to his subordinates through formal meetings which they hold every week. In these meetings, they normally review their weeks output and discuss ways of improving it. He also stays in touch with his superiors. This is necessary in order to make sure that changes made by top executives are implemented on the ground. In case anew product has been introduced in the market, it is Paul’s duty to enlighten his employees about it. He does this as soon as the product has been received. (Kenneth, 2003)

Overly, Paul feels that he enjoys his job. He is motivated by the fact that he can be able to influence people’s activities through his position. He comes across as a very down to earth leader and describes his management style as laid back but uncompromising on quality. The interview was an enriching experience for me as I put a face to management skills and knowledge through this great store manager.


  1. Interview
  2. Dessler, G. (2003): Management: Principles & Practices for tomorrow’s leader, revised 3rd editing; Prentice Hall Publishers
  3. Kenneth, B. (2003): One minute manager; HarperCollins Publishers
  4. Cherrington, D. (1995): The Management of Human Resources; Prentice-Hall Press
  5. Ulrich, D. (1996): Human Resource Champions; Harvard Business School Press
  6. Mondy, R. (1996): Human Resource Management; Prentice-Hall.
  7. Nadler (1986): Managing Human Resource Development; Columbia University Press Adrian, W. (2005) Human Resource Management at work; London CIPD

Appendix A: Questions and responses


  1. How do you direct expenditure for the store? This is done on a daily basis. I examine all the sales reports submitted at the end of the day and make sure that they add up.
  2. What features are similar between the store and the parent company? Our goals-Macy’s main goal is to provide high quality service in a welcoming environment with personalized service. This is a portion of what our goal is in the store. This means that we have something in common.
  3. How do you ensure the store maintains Macy’s reputation? This is done through establishing store goals. I work hand in hand with senior managers because we are simply a branch of the bigger corporation and we must include top managers in our decisions and actions.
  4. What mission have you set for this store in Florida? To be the best retail store now and in the future through friendly service delivery.


  1. When there’s a vacancy in the store, how do you fill it? We examine all the candidates available. We asses ones talents, productivity and interest to determine which candidate fits a particular post.
  2. What kind of activities do you have to divide among your staff members? Clerical duties, sales activities, kitchen duties and supplies.
  3. What kind of issues do you discuss with employees? We discuss their performance. This is done on a weekly basis after doing the performance appraisal
  4. What do you do about seasonal upsurges in work and how do you divide workload during peak seasons? During the festive season, especially Christ mass, there’s a high turn out, so we hire part time workers to handle the numbers.


  1. How many people do you recruit per year? Ten to twelve
  2. What was the hardest thing you have had to do and what made you do it? Firing a staff member. This occurred after the employee kept reporting to work late, showed disrespect to customers, prolonged low productivity and poor work etiquette like coming to work drunk.
  3. What does management offer to applicants before they are admitted to a job? Because the retail business is a bit complex, we offer training ranging from one week to a month depending on the type of job. This is normally applicable to salesmen and women.
  4. How can you ensure that employees do not run away to the next best offer from a rival company? We offer a lucrative pay package with health insurance and benefits; we also listen to our employees and settle any discrepancies as soon as they occur.


  1. How do you ensure that your workers perform to their maximum? We give them incentives to facilitate maximum output like commissions, bonuses and other health policies. In addition, we offer
  2. What kind of conflicts or discrepancies have you had to deal with and what did you do? Some of my subordinates have had pay discrepancies and we sat down and discussed the issue.
  3. What kind of insurance schemes are offered to your employees? We offer health insurance, life insurance and retirement benefits
  4. What is your basis for giving pay rises or promotions? When an employee continuously exceeds their target.


  1. How and when do you communicate with your with your employees and why? I normally schedule formal meetings with them. This is done weekly where everyone hands in a report/. This is done to keep an eye on the store’s progress.
  2. What do you do about new products? I normally update my subordinates as soon as a new product is introduced. The timing normally depends, because they come at different intervals. But we let them know as soon as we get them
  3. How do you ensure that the services the store is providing are in line with customer needs? This is done through customer interviews and surveys.
  4. How often do you communicate with your superiors and what prompts you to do that? This is done after three to four days and it normally prompted by an incident.


  1. How do you ensure that all the money obtained from the day’s sales is accounted for? I ensure that receipts are issued for every payment made, after which the system is checked by our computer experts and clerks to make sure that transactions are balanced. My work is to make impromptu checks on these workers to ensure accountability.
  2. How do you asses’ employee performance? I have set targets – they all have a specific amount which they must meet.
  3. What do you do when an employee does not meet his/her target? Serve a verbal warning, then a letter if there’s no change and when six months elapses, dismissal
  4. What incentives have you and top management provided to the staff members in order to assist them in meeting their targets? We give them allowances to aid in service delivery.


  1. How did you get to your position? I started as a clerk after doing accounting in college, and then l worked as store manager for another company, laws admitted to Macy’s as an associate manager. I worked for two years then l became store manager in the year 2002.
  2. How would you describe your job and responsibilities as a manager? I take care of the daily operations in the company from sales, customer care, supplies and storage.
  3. How many people do you oversee?
  4. What is your volume responsibility? I handle all the workers that deal with sales, customer care, supplies and storage.
  5. What is the most difficult issue? Firing workers. Why? Because one puts themselves in their shoes; they have a family to support but you have to take care of management.
  6. How have cultural differences impacted the internal environment? There are many cultures at Macy’s so we have to learn how to get along.
  7. How has diversity shaped your organization? We have a variety of products and we are always venturing into new ones every now and then.
  8. What personal traits shape your management style? I am approachable, I frequently communicate with staff and customers but l am strict on performance
  9. What kind of leader do you consider yourself to be? I am down to earth and a good organizer.
  10. What do you like and dislike about your position? I like the fact that l can influence people’s actions through my position positively. But I dislike the fact that most employees misunderstand managers and think that we are out to get them!

Appendix B

The store manager-Macy’s,

On behalf of my university, lecturer and myself, I would like to send my gratitude for allowing me to interview you. I realize that you had to take time off your busy schedule and this is highly appreciated. The knowledge l gained from this interview was priceless and it has helped to bring a practical aspect to all the management information we have received in class

Yours faithfully

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