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With more than 120 years of heritage, Marks & Spencer is one of the best-known British retailers.

Marks and Spencer went through structural changes. This is because the power culture used by the company was not matching with its new objectives. Due to the several management levels involved in the decision-making process, the structure was not the swiftest way to react to competitors. On the other hand, it hampers the innovation as only selected people can take part of the decisions.

As a result, the company has had to make adjustments. Now employees throughout the business have more responsibility. This enables them to make quick decisions when required. At the same time, these employees have more accountability than before. This means that they must be prepared to explain and justify the decisions that they take. Many employees have bigger jobs. There are higher expectations that staff can contribute more to the organisation. Marks & Spencer needs to keep its staff well-trained and able to respond to the business needs.

Marks and Spencer is committed to direct employee engagement and participation through democratically elected Business Involvement Groups and Works Councils.

At the end of every 6 months a performance review or appraisal takes place. Employees discuss their progress with their line managers. Employees are given ratings for the skills and competencies they have shown over the past year. These are compared with expected skills profiles for these areas. This feedback helps employees identify how they are performing in relation to the expected technical skills and business competencies and reveals any gaps.

All staff have a personal development plan in which they set objectives based on the feedback from their performance review. This helps them to construct a realistic and focused career path. They use training and development to improve the technical skills and business competencies they need in order to undertake particular management roles.

  1. What is the organisational structure of Marks and Spencer (e.g. flat or tall) and why has it adopted this structure?
  2. Using Charles Handy model, Explain the corporate culture at M&S.
  3. Which ONE of the three management styles does M&S have and how does it influence itsmanagement activities? 
    • Autocratic
    • Laissez Faire
    • Democratic
  1. Explain these two HRM functions and relate to M & S.
  • Performance Management
  • Training and Development

Marks & Spencer's Flat Organizational Structure

Human Resource Management (HRM) helps employees to hone their skills so that they can be productive in the workplace and achieve the targets that are set by the organization. It helps the organization to get better returns on the time and money invested to train the employees to achieve high targets. It helps in managing the people in an organization in a structured manner. This field includes the hiring, retention, performance management, which is directly proportional to the perquisites that the employees receive and taking care of the exits of the employees from the company (Fee 2014).

1. Marks and Spencer follows a flat organizational structure in their business operations, which helps in reducing the authority layer so that it increases the individual responsibility of the employees towards their departments. The employees need to take decisions quickly on a regular basis and if any changes are made the employees need to provide an explanation, which will justify the rationality of the decision. This structure helps in increasing the accountability of the employees without incurring any expenses from the point of view of the organization. The organization currently employs around 3000 people in their head office that is located in London. These employees are specialist in their work and are involved in management of the stocks within the stores, marketing management and the management of the account within the organization (Albertin et al. 2012). The flat structure of organizational management helps the whole organization in working with ease and with little resistance. This helps in increasing the productivity of the company and decreases the brokerage cost and the barriers in the communication process. The structure has helped in increasing the demand for training as it is helping the staffs to develop within the organization. The managers who are appointed in the organization have good skills in team management, leadership and financially (Purce 2014).

2. The corporate culture of Marks and Spencer with respect to power is that it has a top-down management where the power of making the decision is centralized. The employees in the company have the power to make decision, which can be implemented in the organization if a proper justification is provided where the company can benefit from the change (Islam et al. 2013). The employees have the option to express their ideas on an open platform. The employees are given specific responsibilities that help in carrying out the function in the organization in an efficient manner. The company allows the employees to work in small teams, which helps them to achieve the targets of the company (Parumasur 2012).

The employees in the company are made to feel important because the company feels that the employees need to be content so that the company can prosper in the market. the employees in return are loyal towards to the company and gives priority to the company over other things (Berend 2016). The company specifies the roles to the employees so that they can exercise their skills that they are good at and help the company to grow. The employees are accountable for all the sales that are generated for the company.

Marks & Spencer's Top-down Power Culture

3. The management style of Marks and Spencer mainly follows the Laissez-faire style, where the employees are free to make the decisions, which they think are correct. This style helps the management to gather information from the outsiders so that the employees of the company can achieve the task with ease and the expert information gathered externally. The employees are experts in their roles they play in the company, which helps in making the decisions very easily (Ezennake 2017). The company follows different styles of management whenever it is needed. The top level of the company follows an autocratic style, which is based on the hierarchy that is to tell the staffs what they have to do. The middle status of the company follows the laissez-faire style of management as they can exercise their skills in an efficient manner. The top management uses the autocratic style as they have the capability to control it and the shareholders keep an eye on them an exercise their voting powers to control the management in a democratic way. The shareholders have this power so that they can keep a check on the power and movement of the company (Berend 2016).

4. The performance management in Marks and Spencer helps in improving the service of the employees by making use of the full capability of the employees, which improves the relation between them and the company. The supervisor and the employees in the company jointly do the process by identifying the common goals, which are linked to the company. The appraisals in the company are done at the end of a year where the company discusses about the improvement and the development that is required in the company with the employees. The managers of the company on behalf of the employees do the meeting and the information is kept confidential (Khan 2013).

The managers of the company do the training and development of the employees. The managers help the employees to focus on the next target and plan the ways accordingly so that it can be achieved easily. The employees help in identifying the training that they require to sharpen their skills. The company offers two types of training namely on-the-job and off-the-job training. On-the-job training is responsible for inspiring and motivating the employees to work together as a team. It includes the training that is based on practical knowledge. Off-the-job training in the company involves the employees to develop their skills through the workbooks that are provided by the company. It also organizes workshops to provide opportunities for the employees to practice it on a practical level (Wilson and Gilligan 2012).

After analyzing the management of Marks and Spencer it can be concluded that, the company follows a very simple chain of management system. It helps the company to maintain a good relationship with the employees who are the assets that help the company to achieve its targets. The employees of the company have the power to take part in the decision-making of the company, which they find is best suited for the company to maximize its profits. However, it is recommended that the employees need to be in check because they can sometimes turn against the company and may lead the company in danger. Some restrictions need to be put on them by the superiors who controls the company and maintains a hierarchical system of communication. In this way, the powers of the employees are kept within limits and the top management is also under the close watch of the shareholders of the company. Thus, it is seen that all the members in the company work in the best interest of the company.

Reference

Albertin, C.B., Bonnaud, L., Brown, C.T., Crookes-Goodson, W.J., Fonseca, R.R., Cristo, C., Dilkes, B.P., Edsinger-Gonzales, E., Freeman, R.M., Hanlon, R.T. and Koenig, K.M., 2012. Cephalopod genomics: a plan of strategies and organization. Standards in genomic sciences, 7(1), p.175.

Berend, I.T., 2016. An economic history of twentieth-century Europe: economic regimes from laissez-faire to globalization. Cambridge University Press.

Ezennake, M., 2017. Comparative Study of the Leadership Style of Expatriate and Indigenous Managers (Doctoral dissertation).

Fee, M.C., 2014. Human resources management.

Islam, T., ur Rehman Khan, S., Norulkamar Ungku Bt. Ahmad, U. and Ahmed, I., 2013. Organizational learning culture and leader-member exchange quality: The way to enhance organizational commitment and reduce turnover intentions. The Learning Organization, 20(4/5), pp.322-337.

Khan, O., 2013. Managing risk by internalising product design in fashion retail: An exploratory case of Marks & Spencer. Manchester School of Management, Manchester.

Parumasur, S.B., 2012. The effect of organisational context on organisational development (OD) interventions. SA Journal of Industrial Psychology, 38(1), pp.1-12.

Purce, J., 2014. The impact of corporate strategy on human resource management. New Perspectives on Human Resource Management (Routledge Revivals), 67.

Wilson, R.M. and Gilligan, C., 2012. Strategic marketing management. Routledge.

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[Accessed 29 February 2024].

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