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Business Operations of Marks and Spencer

University: Regent college

  • Unit No: 4
  • Level: High school
  • Pages: 19 / Words 4799
  • Paper Type: Assignment
  • Course Code:
  • Downloads: 290
Organization Selected : Mark and Spencer
Question :

This assessment will cover - 

  1. Give effective differences between manager and leaders.
  2. Analyse appropriate theories of management.
  3. Role of leaders with functions in operations.
Answer :

Introduction

The business operations of a company are dependent upon the management and leadership as existent in the company and the level of dedication and expertise of the workforce also. How the employees will perform is also determined by the leaders who lead them. Development and manufacture of high quality products are ensured this way which in turn brings increased profitability to the company itself. Various management styles and leadership approaches are applied in various companies to enable them perform best. The workplace environment that the company provides its workforce with is also important in establishing a workplace culture where the company executives would perform (Suddaby, 2010).

The following assignment is prepared on the company Marks and Spencer (M&S) which, with more than 450 stores across around 30 countries worldwide stands as the oldest company of Britain retailing in food, clothing, home wares, gift items etc. The company started off as a ‘penny bazaar’ where everything cost only a penny. The founder Michael Marks was joined by Tom Spencer in 1894 and the company got the name of Marks and Spencer. In 1926, M&S got the status of a PLC and operated accordingly. It was not only until 1931 that food departments were made a part of it. However, the company actually ran on family values as long as the leadership was running within the family. Around late 90’s the leadership changed into a more distributive form and from that need Luc Vandevelde, Stuart Rose and others were employed.

As for management style, a consultative style has been followed in M&S where the leader consults with everyone concerned before coming to a final decision. For the purpose of successful business operation, M&S management and leaders often implement a mixture of management and leadership style. For this, sometimes consultative style of management and democratic style of leadership are combined and implemented. Laissez-faire or the medium status is also often put to use where the managing director also acts as the marketing director and vice versa. The managers placed on the higher scale of hierarchy often adapt autocratic leadership and thus guide the employees. All of these are very minutely monitored by the shareholders as they hold the right to put democratic votes on the particular specimen of what the managers, autocratic or medium, are planning to do (Larson, 2013).

LO1 

P1 

The saying goes that managers do things right but the leaders are into doing the right thing. Within an organisation managers are responsible for designing working process and managing them accordingly so that the prior set goals and objectives of the company can be achieved. They formulate new policies and strategies to enable the staffs perform their duties. They are also involved in performance appraisal. The leaders are not into planning rather they are involved in getting the work done by the employees in proper manner so that the objectives are met. Thus they increase the productivity of the organisation to maintain profitability (Briggs, 2012).

The difference between the managers and the leaders are presented in the tabular form

Comparison factor

Manger

Leader

Meaning

Responsibility of managing

Responsibility of leading

Vision

Attaining prior set visions

Creating visions an communicating them

Strategy

Competencies and behaviours copied

Bringing uniqueness to working

Power

Directive

Instructive

Focus

Structures main focus

Stakeholders are main focus

Risks

Controlling and minimising

Accepting and converting to challenge

Effectiveness

Directs employees to follow

Works along with employees and increases credibility

For M&S the managers partake in monitoring the employee performance and the leaders, with the cooperation of the stakeholders make the employees work in the directional of objective achievement. When innovations are needed to tackle a challenge, the M&S follows an action centred leadership style. Both managers and leaders are attentive towards building successful human relations so that they build a cooperative and trustworthy relationship with the employees and the customers as well.

The Section Manager at Marks and Spencer manages the various departments and put their retail talent to test. They are practically in the responsibility of managing the company turnover which often sums up to millions of pounds. These managers are often in charge of teams of as many as 25 people whom they not only lead, but coach and inspire also. The innovation and maintenance of quality of products are sometimes given to them also. Food, Clothing and Home, Visual Merchandising, finance and Operations etc are commonly managed by Section Managers. As for the Store Managers or Commercial Mangers, ensuring great customer service and innovative product quality are under their vigilance. Chalking out a business strategy is also among the responsibilities of the M&S managers. M&S currently launched interactive shopping experience facility for their virtual customers. Commercial managers look after that. Commercial visions and business management abilities are two basic criteria that must be present in the M&S managers.

M1 

Classical theories of management: Scientific & Administrative

Frederick Taylor proposed the scientific theory with the aim to maximise the level of efficiency with which the employees perform. This theory is about improving the economic efficiency so that the productivity increases. There are four basic principles of the same. These are:

Developing standard method for job performance

Workers’ selection as per their skills

Effective work planning for eliminating interruptions

Giving employees incentives in addition to wages as a token for encouragement (Fleming, 2014)

On the other hand, administrative management theory, proposed by Fayol is based on 14 principles and aims at developing efficiency by management training etc. The principles are:

Division of work

Authority and Responsibility

Discipline

Unity of command

Unity of direction

Subordinate of individual interest

Remuneration

Degree of centralisation

Scalar chain

Order

Equity

Stability of tenure of personnel

Initiative and

Esprit de corps (Spicer, 2014)

For the management in Marks and Spencer, the leaders and managers combine the basic principles of scientific and administrative approaches for implementation. During recruitment of managers or other executives, the management puts high emphasis on the skills and experience of the applicants. Once they are selected with the company, the responsibilities are differentiated and the remuneration is decided accordingly. All managers at Marks and Spencer work for a certain tenure.

Behavioural theory

It highlights the fact that the teams and workplace offering growth and development is more preferred. Besides financial factors, social factors (relationship, attitudes etc) also affect performance. As for M&S, the management focuses on the employee behaviours and motivational factors. Conflict situations are mitigated at the company and with the implementation of higher group dynamics, the M&S management ensures higher productivity.

Leadership theories: Transformational, Transactional and Action-centred

Transformational leaders possess the ability to change an individual and place himself as a model whom the followers look up to. Individualised consideration, intellectual stimulation, inspirational motivation and idealised influence are the four basic elements of this style.

Transactional leaders are believers in reward and punishment policy and motivate the employees accordingly without giving much thought to innovations. This way the organisation’s and the leader’s interests both are served.

Action-centred leaders follow six steps namely planning, initiating, controlling, supporting, informing and evaluating to achieve a task and manage both individuals and teams. As mentioned earlier M&S applies a combination of such theories in their management. No leader at M&S is completely transformational or transactional. The leaders are trained in such ways that they possess the ability to influence the workforce and motivate them to work towards the organisational goal achievement. At the same time the leaders are never harsh on the staffs for failure to achieve the targets but repeated failures call for warnings. Sometimes the leaders analyse the reasons of failure and then assess the employee for identifying areas of improvement.  at (Phillips, 2012).

LO2 

P2

The role of leaders and the function of managers in the operation of M&S are as follows:

Planning

The managers of M&S set goals to achieve increased profitability by increasing demand of the products among customers and earn more revenues. The leaders communicate these goals among the staffs and focus their effort in the accomplishment of those and increase efficiency (Lawrence, 2012).

Organising

M&S managers identify the available resources and organise them for effective utilisation. The leaders delegate these resources among the employees and motivate them to perform accordingly so that organisational objectives are achieved and positive results are obtained. 

Directing

The managers at M&S, after planning and organising resources, direct the tasks for the employees to perform. After the leaders get access to that, they identify employees with similar abilities and form teams and direct them about the accomplishment of the tasks (Locke, 2011).

Staffing

The M&S managers recruit employees and give jobs according to their abilities and skills present. The leaders actually allocate the tasks and motivate them in all possible ways such as listening to complaints, solving issues etc (Vogel, 2012). 

Coordinating

The managers at M&S coordinate inter- departmental functions and ensure that best quality products are produced for delivering to the customers. The leaders are responsible for implementing such coordinating practices among the employees and achieve the goals. 

Controlling

The managers formulate the policies and the leaders implement them. Then again the whole process is controlled by managers and supervised. Leaders check for the level of accomplishment of given tasks and mangers see whether they match the objectives.

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P3 

The M&S implements the various theories and models in accomplishing the organisational target of increasing the customer base by meeting their demands and satisfying them.

Situational leadership, as proposed by Blanchard and Hersey, concentrates on leader-follower relationship and allows the leaders to change his styles according to the situation. Diagnose, adapt, communicate and advance are the leadership competencies here. It is helpful in M&S for adverse situations and challenges are likely to occur at any point of time and following this style, the leaders can opt for other tools in operation, change in team management etc (Vinkenburg, 2011). Also, the leaders are able to stay committed to employees and their dynamics. Such leaders can determine the maturity level in their employees. M&S employees are highly experienced, skilled and mature.

The MBO model is used by the system leadership approach followers. Here the employees are believed to perform more efficiently when allowed to express views in decision making process. The leaders this way become highly successful in motivating them. M&S leaders particularly apply this when they are faced with change propositions. Asking employees’ opinion makes them feel important and thus new ideas are also developed. Also, by taking into account the opinions of the employees, the leaders can understand the attitude of them towards the problem or change situation and assess their decision making abilities.

The contingency theory of Fiedler calls for the ability of a leader to control a situation along with the styles he follows and actually indicates towards the personality trait of a leader. Marks and Spencer has a number of outlets all around the world and new branches are coming up also. For all these outlets as well as the online shopping facilities, the company requires a huge number of employees also. Hence the leaders choose this style from time to time so that the staffs are managed appropriately in all branches of all countries (Hoel, 2010).

M2

Situational approach is the strongest and the most appropriate one for being applied to the M&S workplace. It enables the leaders to develop leadership qualities in them in better levels as by the application of this, the leaders get to know other styles and approaches and are enabled to apply all of them as the situation calls for. Another point is its prescriptive characteristic by which leaders achieve more effectiveness and efficiency. Leaders’ flexibility is imposed upon them as it is undoubtedly a fact that irrespective of a leader’s position in the spectrum of leaders none can be all-in-one. But it is also problematic as the focus is fixed on immediate situations and thus long term objectives often take backseats. The managers following this may miss the future picture and fail to plan accordingly. This might prove to be fatal for M&S (Angus-Leppan, 2010).

Transformational style allows the users to assess the situation at hand and inspire the employees to achieve optimal performance. The energy level of leaders is carried down the hierarchy. It enables the leader to look at the big picture but on the downside often they fail to cope with the detail orientation. Such leaders are at the risk of giving emotion much importance instead of logical reasoning and thus hinder the company growth (Clarke, 2013).

The contingency leadership approach allows the incorporation of flexibility in the leadership and management style within M&S. For giving employees similar importance they also get influenced by the organisational culture and work more dedicatedly. It also contradicts to the concept that leaders are born and incorporates leadership qualities in everyone and makes them potential leaders. But this possesses some weaknesses also. The approach is by nature reactive instead of proactive and also quite complex while put to use.

D1 

Marks and Spencer has become such a brand name over the years that its management and leadership has immense responsibility on them in order to manage the employees and the company reputation as well. The organisational culture is completely customer oriented. The style of management and the leadership is important in this regard that they are the pioneers who are involved in the decision making process. They include the employees of all levels of hierarchy in the decision making process also and thus implements a combination of various styles and approaches. For example, democratic style and situational style are often teamed up in the performance of a particular work (Jogulu, 2010).

The organisational structure of M&S armed with its experienced managers and leaders and their management styles direct the company to progress in the directional of organisational objective achievement of increasing the sales and satisfying the customer needs and demands. The leaders motivate the employees to work with more effort to achieve targets which in turn add to the company’s profitability only as the productivity is increased.

Tanith Dodge, the ex HR Manager at Marks and Spencer (currently working with Value Retail and at Marks and Spencer, she was replaced by David Guise in 2016), correctly pointed out that the style of an individual as a leader affects the style of the team he works with and eventually the style of the organisation itself. At M&S, the leadership and management follow the message of ‘yourself, your team, your organisation’ and thrive to top the competition.

LO 3

In Marks and Spencer, operation management plays important role in administering the activities and improving the production quality so that it matches the standard which has made the company popular among the customers. The M&S utilises the available resources most effectively so that with the implication of last resources, most and the best outcome can be achieved.

P4

The operational management at the M&S is an example of how both management and leadership actually performs hand in hand and both are necessary for successful organisational objectives achievement. For this, the following are understood and followed in M&S:

Six Sigma

This is especially dealt with regarding the quality management of the company. The quality managers at M&S follow the DMAIC or DMADV steps and ensure quality of the products and services. For  DMADV-

Designing customer oriented strategy for their satisfaction

Measuring quality ensuring parameters

Analysing available alternatives to the existing plan

Designing organisational processes

Verifying the advantages and disadvantages of the process and afterwards implement them

For DMAIC-

Defining organisational problem

Measuring the available data relevant to the situation (David, 2011)

Analysing the gathered data and information to look further into it

Improving existing processes so that improved quality of products and customer satisfaction is guaranteed

Controlling the whole procedure to ensure no further damage and problems are encountered

Besides this six sigma process, the managers and the leaders aim at maintaining the quality management and follow the TQM policy i.e. Total Quality Management by the implementation of PDCA Cycle.

Planning phase deals with problems regarding production or other organisational challenges

Doing phase involves strategy formulation by the managers so that effective solutions can be sought out

Checking phase engages the managers and leaders analyse and compare the data collected so far along with the results obtained

Acting, the final phase, deals with recording and documenting the experience for future reference and also for being ready to handle similar situations if any arises in future.

Thus the managers and leaders at M&S keep an eye on the responsibility maintenance regarding quality control, customer service, attending customer complaints and also stay prepared beforehand to handle an adverse situation tactfully and strategically (McNeil, 2015).

P5

Retail business like the Marks and Spencer utilise transformation in their operations. Here inputs are collected, values are added to those inputs and the final product is up for the availability of others. By means of proper operation management, M&S maintains the target of earning profit and maximises the shares of the shareholders. Wastes are reduced by the reduced use of both tangible and intangible assets and thus cost of production is also kept under control. M&S also maintains the quality management of their products by the use of operation management. the means of benchmarking and reengineering are adapted by M&S management which ensures further evaluation of the products and the business process overall. Product evaluation, distribution of it, promotion and advertising of the products, sales and services all add to the value of the production and operation. In this way the company ensures that their position in the minds of the customers and the clients are steady even in the environment of uncertainty and extreme competition in the market. The items on sale are manufactured in the various manufacturing units of M&S and then these products reach to the various outlets around the globe for the customers to avail it. Thus it involves –

Manufacturing the product

Transporting the products

Supplying the products through retailing

Serving the customers with the products and satisfy their needs

Inventory management is another part of operation management that M&S leaders and managers partake in to evaluate the stocks of the product and in the process also determines the manufacturing unit performance. Record of stock along with product returned to the stock all are documented so that cost of inventory can be reduced.

Supply chain management includes logistics management also which again is a part of the responsibilities that the managers and the leaders has to perform. This actually ensures that products and service are delivered to shop outlets and in turn the customers (Cron, 2010).

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M3

For ensuring that the business objectives of Marks and Spencer are achieved in terms of increased customer base, expanding the business in the various sectors and the ensuring of customer satisfaction, the managers and the leaders have to follow their responsibilities more seriously. For making this a success, the variables need to be evaluated properly and carefully. Factors responsible for both improving the company performance and hindering it should be taken into consideration. Current trends, changing customer demands, consumer behaviours and attitudes towards the products on offer, complaints and grievances, employee remuneration, financial exchanges, operations in macro and micro environment, production record keeping, logistic design development, raw materials availing and gathering, handling items etc all are to be kept in mind while controlling and supervising the teams of employees and the organisational culture (Goetsch, 2014).  

As for inventory management function, the managers will decide the amount of discounts to be offered when stock clearance needs to be done. Sales during festive season increase and to match that the products should be adequately enough in stock so that every customer can avail what they want. ‘Out of stock’ will be a negative phrase for the enthusiastic buyers. Gain, the perishable items that are in stock should be taken extra care of as stale items, if once reach the customers, will bring huge damage to the brand name and the reputation. Severity can even cause closure of business (Pritchard, 2014).

Maintaining customer service should also be emphasised upon and collecting feedbacks from the customers and asking for their inputs regarding the business performance is also necessary. Thus by taking into account all the factors, the M&S can ensure that their business performance is improved and customer satisfaction is ensured.

LO4

P6

It is not the external factors only which determine the organisational performance. Cultural sustainability, entrepreneurship development and intrapreneurship development are some such effective factors. M&S has its social responsibilities to perform and is quite associated to the operational management process. M&S has its own manufacture units and hence has the potential to contribute to the environmental pollution. The wastes of the units and the manufacturing process itself consume huge energy and only add to the environmental wastage. Operational managers and successful leaders need to take care of this and work accordingly so that environmental hazards are not incorporated into the procedure and it contributes to the responsibility towards the society it performs in terms of CSR activities (Farahani, 2011).

Customer welfare is another issue that is included in the operation management to be successful as undertaken by the managers and leaders. With social responsibilities come ethical responsibilities also and incorporates sustainability. If ethical issues ever arise regarding health problems after consuming food from M&S, getting damaged products after delivery etc it would affect the company’s face value. As M&S also has cosmetic products in their manufacturing units that involve usage of chemicals, the operational managers and the team leaders must ensure a safe workplace environment and also ensure that no workers are harmed in any way while working in the units. Nobody should be exposed to the harmful reagents as that would turn out to be fatal for them. Taking care of all these will only ensure the company’s progress towards the successful achievement of the organisational objectives (Bertino, 2011).

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M4 

The leaders and the managers should include the interest of the stakeholders in their plan of operational management of the company. The main stakeholders of the company would be customers, employees, shareholders, consumers, staffs of various departments, regulators etc. Developing entrepreneurship among the existing staffs is also of similar effect regarding the management of the company M&S. The reason this is important and effective is due to the fact that these employees, having worked for long with the company and under the influence of transformational and situational leadership develop into individuals with positive visions and become ready to take risks. These actually make them plausible for developing into leaders in the future (Davis, 2014).

D2

The leaders, project managers and the operational managers all are directed towards the achievement of goals as set by the organisation and the board of executives and the founders when the business initiated. They aim at delegating responsibility and communicate the plan and processes to the employees effectively. A particular formality is maintained while communication is on with the stakeholders. The effort to understand their demands and the processes they want to incorporate are clearly understood. The decision making process involves the engagement of the stakeholders as well for this purpose of developing understanding only. Entrepreneurs are the ones with whom new ideas and policies incorporate the organisational structure. M&S has already been performing for more than 130 years and with the exception of few incidents like facing huge loss in 2004, it has been able to maintain its position at the head of the market. If entrepreneurs are made a part of the operational management then the company would function more effectively as that would mean incorporation of entrepreneurial mentality in the operations. Thus the company would be able to perform equally successful manner when the factors affecting are considered properly (Benn, 2010).

Conclusion 

The above assignment is prepared keeping in mind the various tools and measures of the operational management of the chosen company Marks and Spencer. In the course of doing so, the leadership styles and management approaches have been evaluated throughout the project. With respect to the context of Marks and Spencer the project evaluates various nooks and corners of the management and operations sector of a business firm along with evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the various leadership theories and managerial approaches. The operational management is also explored here.  Tools like TQM, six sigma, DMAIC etc have been utilised to full extent to understand how the company management and leadership performs. Recommendations in the form of critically analysing the operational management have also been included.

You can also check more about Marks & Spencer from the below links - 

Management and Operations Report on Marks and Spencer

A Case Study on Marks and Spencer

Operational Management of Marks and Spencer

Marketing Strategy & Analysis of Marks and Spencer

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