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Organisation

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Organisation

Postby Alfred » Mon Dec 05, 2016 2:39 pm

What comparative advantages did Macks and Spencer enjoyed?

ANSWER: HERE  IS SOME  USEFUL  MATERIAL.

REGARDS

LEO  LINGHAM

========================================

COMPANY BACKGROUND

In 1894, Michael Marks formed a partnership with Tom Spencer to venture on the retailing business. The first shop opened in 1904 at Cross Arcade in Leeds, West Yorkshire. In 2004, the organization celebrates their 120th anniversary, appoints as the Chief Executive of Marks & Spencer and the head office staff started to move into their new registered office at Waterside House, Paddington, originally headquartered in Baker Street, London for many years. At present, they have over 600 stores worldwide, 450 of which are located in UK and the remaining 150 outlets operating in 30 countries around the globe, with sales amounting to U.S.$ 14.6 billion and a market value of U.S.$ 11.6 billion and profits posted at U.S.$ 1.1 billion and assets totalling to U.S.$ 8.1 billion(2005).  is the current Chairman while  is the Director of Human Resources for the organization and is mainly responsible for personnel management. The executive directors compose of the Chief Executive(), Group Finance Director() and the Executive Director for marketing, e-commerce, store design and development(). The non-executive team includes the Chairman(), Senior Independent Director(), Non-executive Directors() and Group Secretary and Head of Corporate Governance(). The various directors of the British retailer include Director of Womenswear & Girlswear(), Director of Menswear & Boyswear(Andrew Skinner), Director of Lingerie(Matthew Hudson), Director of General Merchandise Planning(), Director of Food(), Director of Home and Beauty(), Director of Retail(), Director of Human Resources(), Director of Property(), Director, International and UK Outlets(), Director, IT(), Director of GM Supply Chain and Logistics(), Director of Sourcing(), Director of Far East Procurement() and Director of Communications().

COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE          Being in retailing for over a hundred years, one of Marks & Spencer’s competitive advantages over their counterparts in the business 1.--is the reputation that they have established with their customers, employees and suppliers. 2.-Their customers have long associated the company with total dependability and value for money;

3- the internal architecture of the company was cantered round permanent employment relationships, 4-strong organizational routines, and a shared sense that there was a Marks and Spencer way of doing things, which the employees benefit from; 5-and the suppliers relationship with the firm in that the external architecture of Marks and Spencer’s organisation was built around an almost Japanese relationship with suppliers – detailed influence on product specification and design as part of relationships sustained over many years. 6-.They also have strong environmental and community responsibilities,(1 part of their corporate responsibility. 7.-‘Marks and Spencer have pioneered and excelled themselves in a whole range of 'modern' management methods, notably strategic marketing, consumer research, product innovation and development, personnel management, staff training and management development, quality assurance and technological-oriented purchasing’ . Overall, the strong and identifiable corporate culture of Marks & Spencer that operates to get the best out of relatively ordinary employees have continued to produce exceptional corporate results over many years and through many changes in the economic environment . Although there have been downfalls for the hardy retailing perennial over the years largely due to economic crises, they have managed to surmount all the stumbling blocks through an resilience that their competitors view as unnerving. EXTERNAL ENVIRONMENT

Businesses do not exist in a vacuum, they exist within an external environment consisting of the actions of other players who are outside the business, some of which are the competitors, the economy, the social system and the environmental system(.). The primary competitors of the company are department store industry. Marks & Spencer also competes in the apparel & accessories retail, grocery retail, and home furnishings & house wares retail sectors(2006). Worth mentioning are the Associated Dairies(ASDA) Group Limited, British Home Stores(Bhs) Next, Tesco, Sainsbury and Arcadia. A slowing economy, rising unemployment and hefty personal debt that eats into the consumer purse in a system within which the firm operates contributes to the slowing down of retail sales across the United Kingdom(2005). This affects not only the company in discussion but also the retailing industry as a whole.

The social system is the ‘fabric of ideas, attitudes and behaviour patterns that are involved in human relationships. In particular, businesses are influenced by consumer attitudes and behaviours that depend on such factors as the age structure of the population, and the nature of work and leisure’(). In order to meet the changing lifestyles of their customers, Marks operates different store formats located where the customers are most convenient, have a central customer services team, commissions a monthly monitoring of opinions and starting in 2003 conducts extensive research into what the customers expect from them on corporate social responsibility. They have found out that their customers deem the following important: meeting customer needs, being a good employer, being fair to suppliers and their workforces, selling responsible products and operating in a considerate manner.With respect to the environmental system, an environmental policy was formulated as a guide for the whole company to follow in the conduct of business that takes the natural environment in consideration. Mike Barry, head of Corporate Social Responsibility, was quoted as saying, ‘Climate change is still a relatively new issue in our sector. Our contention is that, for retailers, the footprint of stores and lorries probably accounts for less than 10% of your actual carbon footprint. The true impact lies in your supply chain, and in the use and disposal of products. Although I am cautious about positioning Marks & Spencer as a ‘leader’ we are certainly taking the initiative in considering these wider implications’.

INTERNAL ENVIRONMENT          In the 2005 count, there were 70,500 Marks employees around the globe(2006). The firm wanted the employee composition to be diverse in order to reflect the nature of the people that patronize them, exactly as diverse. They have written commitments to equal opportunities covering age, disability, race, marital status, political opinions, colour, gender, hours of work, national origin and religious beliefs. They also provide a mix of flexible working arrangements including leave for paternity, adoption and IVF treatment, as well as child breaks and career breaks that help encourage workforce diversity. They operate employee representation forums called Business Involvement Groups(BIGs) in every store and office area that encourage employees to share knowledge and promote debate about the business. Regarding the pay and benefits, the firm has reward packages that include elements of fixed pay, a wide range of benefits and variable performance related pay. As for the training and development of their employees, the trainings they offer are designed to develop individual talent and capability. In 2005/06, Marks provided over 102,000 days of training. The company also claims to operate a system to ensure workplace health & safety is safeguarded and we provide a range of occupational health services. To provide guidance on the behaviour of the members of the organization, they have developed a new consolidated Marks & Spencer Code of Ethics that sets out values and the responsibilities they have to their customers, employees, shareholders, suppliers, government, communities and the environment.

The various departments within the organization are driven to perform their individual responsibilities in contribution to the overall growth of the company. Marks & Spencer works closely with various external partners to ensure that the environment within the confines of the organization is at the optimum level conducive to high performance and harmonious working relationships. ‘Each business unit develops its own corporate social responsibility strategy based around the brand value of trust. The issues tackled in the strategies are identified from a combination of customer research, understanding within the business and by talking with other key stakeholders, NGOs, government etc. For each issue an action plan is developed which balances customer and stakeholder expectations and other commercial pressures’(2005). To this end, it is evident that the organization places high value on their corporate social responsibility and takes it seriously. The corporate culture of Marks revolves on how they respond to the environment, the customers and their own employees.          The Marks & Spencer organization is dedicated to providing products in ways that help protect the environment, their employees and the people who use them. The competitive advantages, the external and internal environment in which they operate show evidence that the firm is striving to maintain their dedication. Granted that there are critics to the company, as there is always the presence of groups who are not very satisfied with the business’ performance, available figures and statements from business experts give evidence to Marks & Spencer’s continuing commitment in making sure that they are will be the standard against which others are measured, which is the company’s stated vision. One of their greatest competitive advantages lies in their ability to maintain a high performance staff that contributes to the overall development of the company. The company’s strategy in providing their employees with an internal environment favourable to maximizing the individual’s potential and growth is one of the key factors why they are able to keep the types of people who are willing to do most anything to help the organization grow. ‘Marks & Spencer placed ergonomics at the heart of a major design program for new retail equipment, resulting in an innovative design which not only ensures the safety and comfort of customers and staff but also meets exacting business requirements. Overall, the company displayed a keen interest in getting the most out their human resources through designing a management system in which the employees could, as a result, give impetus to Marks & Spencer’s progress.    THE  GREATEST  ADVANTAGE  OF  MARKS& SPENCER’S  IS  ITS  MANAGEMENT  OF  HUMAN  RESOURCES.

As an organisation develops, it creates working practices within the business that reflect its way of doing things. These practices become embedded in decisions and operations. The

way of doing things guides and influences employees as they carry out their work. However, when organisations develop a new business strategy this creates a process of change.

This leads to different ways of working.

With more than 120 years of heritage, Marks & Spencer is one of the best-known British retailers. The company has more than 450 stores within the UK and employs more than

65,000 people. It also operates outside the UK where it has a developing business in places as far afield as Hong Kong. In recent years, the UK’s retailing industry has been characterised

by intense competition. Customers are more aware of where and how they want to shop.

They also know what sort of shopping experience they require. This has made it much more difficult for retailers to survive.

The result was that Marks & Spencer had to develop a new business strategy.

This created a period of change for the whole organisation. The

period of change involved refocusing the business upon

the basics. This included the three business values of

Quality, Value, and Service.

Marks & Spencer developed a promotional campaign that emphasised ‘Your M&S’. This helped the company to connect customers with the heritage in the business. It also linked the

business in the minds of customers with its two other values of Innovation and Trust. The process involved three key features:

• developing products that customers wanted

• investing in the environment within stores

• providing good customer service to look after customers.

These changes have created a business environment with more challenges for employees.

Managers had to prepare employees for whatever role they would be asked to undertake in this new environment. The answer was to develop career paths for the employees. This case

study looks at the processes of training and development at Marks & Spencer. It shows how this helped employees to cope with the challenges they faced and created a career path

for them.

Organisational structure and careers

The changes within Marks & Spencer have created a business that now has a flatter organisation structure. The business lost a number of layers of authority through a process of

delayering. This means that 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.

The Marks & Spencer Head Office in London employs around 3,000 people. These employees have specialist roles within the organisation. There are the buyers of stock, people

involved in managing stock and its layout within stores, and staff working in marketing or accounts. More than 60,000 employees work in the Marks & Spencer stores, many in

management roles where they lead and motivate a team of people. The company also has many franchise outlets overseas. These employees also have training needs.

Identifying a training need In a flatter organisational structure, 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. There is also a need for

succession management. When individuals either retire or move from one job to another, managers have to plan their replacements so that experienced staff with the right

skills and competencies are selected.

It is important to develop a career path for people that meets their needs as well as the needs of the business. To match its business strategy, Marks & Spencer develops existing staff from

within the organisation. It also recruits managers at three different levels:

• trainee managers with A-levels undertake 24 months of training

• graduates who join the organisation from university have 12 months of training

• experienced managers who have retail experience undertake up to 3 months of training when

they join Marks & Spencer. This helps them understand how Marks & Spencer operates.

Each management post at Marks & Spencer requires a number of technical skills and business competencies. These are related to the job’s level in the organisation. Employees need these

competencies and skills to be successful in each post. For example, technical skills are relevant to areas like team management, financial management and sales management. Business competencies include areas such as business leadership, decision-making, and communicating and influencing.

Marks & Spencer uses competency profiling to identify gaps in skills. In the example, Jane is a Commercial Manager in a large store. The standard profiles  show what technical

skills and business competencies are necessary for that role. Jane’s personal profiles  are compared to these standard profiles to assess what training and development she needs. This example shows that, for technical skills, Jane needs to improve in most areas except Financial Management. In business competencies Jane’s skills are a better match but she

needs additional skills in People & Resource Management, Commercial Acumen, and  Communicating and Influencing.

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.

The line managers and employee then discuss and agree on a plan for further development for the following year. 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. This performance cycle helps

Marks & Spencer to maintain an efficient, effective and motivated workforce.

Training and development

All managers at Marks & Spencer are able to create a career planning profile. This enables them to focus on their next target role. They can then develop a career path to support this

ambition. Staff identify specific training needs based upon the technical skills and business competencies for that role. The profile also highlights what programmes of training

Marks & Spencer needs to plan for. There are two forms of training:

• On-the-job training. This takes place while employees are carrying out an activity in their

place of work.

• Off-the-job training, as its names suggests, takes place away from the workplace.

On-the-job training might include having an attachment to a section manager responsible for

inspiring and motivating a team. An employee gets to see first-hand what it would be like to work in that role. On-the-job training also involves practical learning. This could mean being involved in

a range of projects to improve technical skills and business competencies. The key to this training is to get Marks & Spencer employees ‘to enjoy their work and feel they have all the skills they need to do their job to the best of their ability’. An important way of increasing skills is performance

coaching. This is a form of coaching by line managers. They review a person's performance and

give feedback on their strengths and any development needs. Together, they agree how to improve

and identify the opportunities to demonstrate these skills in their own jobs. The coaching gives the trainees confidence and is a successful element of the training programme.

Areas highlighted during a performance review

Business Leadership Managing Ambiguity

Decision-making

Resource Management

Communicating Setting Direction

and Influencing

Innovation and Change

Commerial Acumen

MARKS AND SPENCER

Marks & Spencer uses a range of different methods to help its employees with off-the-job training. For example, within the organisation there is an intranet. Staff can find learning

materials on this that enable them to develop their technical skills and business competencies.

Other resources for training and learning include workbooks that are used by staff, often for open learning. Workshops and other more formal activities provide opportunities for

employees to practice their skills with the opportunity for feedback from other staff.

Benefits of training and development

Training and development brings benefits to both Marks & Spencer and its employees.

Training provides a series of planned learning experiences for individuals and builds their technical skills and business competencies. Training also helps to improve efficiency and can

motivate employees to do well. This helps to make positive changes to the way in which they work and make decisions. Development helps individuals use the training to meet their

individual needs and ambitions. By training and developing its staff well, Marks & Spencer is in a position to develop a competitive advantage over its competitors.

Marks & Spencer’s new business strategy focuses on three main areas:

• Developing value-for-money products that customers want. Training and development brings new skills which help to add value to its products and services, for example by

cutting costs. This enables the company to keep prices lower to benefit the customer.

• Investing in the environment within stores. Better technical skills in sales and stock management mean that staff can use the store to better advantage resulting in higher sales and profitability.

• Providing good customer service to look after customers. If staff have improved skills in,

for example, communication, this can have a positive impact on customer service.

Although training is a cost to a business, it is also an investment. It helps Marks & Spencer to

link the people who have the right technical skills and business competencies with the roles they are best able to do. It ensures that, as a person moves from a post, he or she is

succeeded by the best possible replacement. This is at the heart of succession management.

By acquiring technical skills and business competencies, employees can plan their career

path. This gives them responsibility for achieving their career ambitions. Training and

development equips individuals with the skills they need to achieve their targeted role in the

business. It also helps to create the future leaders of the organisation.

################################################# ---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

What do you think is the source of Marks & Spencer’s competitive advantage?

Marks & Spencer has managed to maintain its competitive advantage in British retailing for over fifty years. Why, do you think, have rival firms found Marks & Spencer’s competitive position so difficult to attack?

ANSWER: Marks & Spencer is in a position to develop a competitive advantage over its competitors.

Marks & Spencer’s new business strategy focuses on three main areas:

• Developing value-for-money products that customers want. Training and development brings new skills which help to add value to its products and services, for example by

cutting costs. This enables the company to keep prices lower to benefit the customer.

• Investing in the environment within stores. Better technical skills in sales and stock management mean that staff can use the store to better advantage resulting in higher sales and profitability.

• Providing good customer service to look after customers. If staff have improved skills in,

for example, communication, this can have a positive impact on customer service.

Although training is a cost to a business, it is also an investment. It helps Marks & Spencer to

link the people who have the right technical skills and business competencies with the roles they are best able to do. It ensures that, as a person moves from a post, he or she is

succeeded by the best possible replacement. This is at the heart of succession management.

By acquiring technical skills and business competencies, employees can plan their career

path. This gives them responsibility for achieving their career ambitions. Training and

development equips individuals with the skills they need to achieve their targeted role in the

business. It also helps to create the future leaders of the organisation.

THE   THREE  MAIN  STRENGTHS   WHICH  THE  COMPETITORS  ARE  FINDING   IT  DIFFICULT    TO  BREAK  ARE:

1.THE  PRODUCT  RANGE  SELECTION   AND  THE  OFFERING  OF  THE    ‘’RIGHT  VALUE’’   FOR  THE  CONSUMERS.

2.THE  RETAIL  CULTURE   IN  MARK  &  SPENCERS  IS  UNIQUE.

3.THE  HUMAN RESOURCE  MANAGEMENT   OF   THE  EMPLOYEES   IS UNIQUE.

########################################

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

Is an organization is a social arrangement? Do all social arrangements make up an organization?
Alfred
 
Posts: 44
Joined: Tue Apr 01, 2014 2:28 pm

Organisation

Postby ScIymgeour » Thu Dec 08, 2016 5:40 am

organization is a social arrangement working for collective goals We can describe arrangement of people is a social a arrangement, and to that any organization is a social arrangement. But it must be clear that though organization exist within the societies, these are not created collectively by the societies. Also, though the success or failure of an organization may be affected by many characteristics of the society or societies and culture within which it operates, the society does not regulate the conduct of an organization.

Coming to the second point of the discussion topic - "working for collective goals", the situation is somewhat complex. An organization has its own goal which may be absolutely independent of the goals of the individual working for the organization. It can be argued that the individuals working for the organization also have their own goals, and without such individual goal, they would not work for the organization, and therefore organization cannot exist. But, in any case, these individual goals are not common or collective goals. As a matter of fact frequently there are conflicts within the organization because goals of clash between goals of individuals. AS a matter of fact, making the goals of individuals working in the  organization pull in the direction required for achieving goals of the organization is one of the most important tasks of managers. There are a variety of legal types of organizations, including: corporations, governments, non-governmental organizations, international organizations, armed forces, charities, not-for-profit corporations, partnerships, cooperatives, and universities. A hybrid organization is a body that operates in both the public sector and the private sector, simultaneously fulfilling public duties and developing commercial market activities. As a result the hybrid organization becomes a mixture of a government and a corporate organization.

In the social sciences, organizations are the object of analysis for a number of disciplines, such as sociology, economics, political science, psychology, management, and organizational communication. The broader analysis of organizations is commonly referred to as organizational structure, organizational studies, organizational behavior, or organization analysis. A number of different perspectives exist, some of which are compatible:

•   From a process-related perspective, an organization is viewed as an entity is being(re-)organized, and the focus is on the organization as a set of tasks or actions.

•   From a functional perspective, the focus is on how entities like businesses or state authorities are used.

•   From an institutional perspective, an organization is viewed as a purposeful structure within a social context.

SOCIAL Arrangement NOT  ALL SOCIAL  ARRANGEMENT   IS  AN  ORGANIZATION.

SOCIAL  ARRANGEMENT   COULD  BE

An agreement among the members of an organized society or between the governed and the government defining and limiting the rights and duties of each.

The act of arranging or putting in an orderly condition; the state of being arranged or put in order; disposition in suitable form. The manner or result of arranging; system of parts disposed in due order; regular and systematic classification; as, arrangement of one's dress; the Linnaean arrangement of plants. Preparatory proceeding or measure; preparation; as, we have made arrangement for receiving company. Settlement; adjustment by agreement; as, the parties have made an arrangement between themselves concerning their disputes; a satisfactory arrangement. ###########################################  
ScIymgeour
 
Posts: 39
Joined: Sun Feb 23, 2014 5:18 am

Organisation

Postby emo » Sat Dec 10, 2016 8:56 pm

What comparative advantages did Macks and Spencer enjoyed?

ANSWER: HERE  IS SOME  USEFUL  MATERIAL.

REGARDS

LEO  LINGHAM

========================================

COMPANY BACKGROUND

In 1894, Michael Marks formed a partnership with Tom Spencer to venture on the retailing business. The first shop opened in 1904 at Cross Arcade in Leeds, West Yorkshire. In 2004, the organization celebrates their 120th anniversary, appoints as the Chief Executive of Marks & Spencer and the head office staff started to move into their new registered office at Waterside House, Paddington, originally headquartered in Baker Street, London for many years. At present, they have over 600 stores worldwide, 450 of which are located in UK and the remaining 150 outlets operating in 30 countries around the globe, with sales amounting to U.S.$ 14.6 billion and a market value of U.S.$ 11.6 billion and profits posted at U.S.$ 1.1 billion and assets totalling to U.S.$ 8.1 billion(2005).  is the current Chairman while  is the Director of Human Resources for the organization and is mainly responsible for personnel management. The executive directors compose of the Chief Executive(), Group Finance Director() and the Executive Director for marketing, e-commerce, store design and development(). The non-executive team includes the Chairman(), Senior Independent Director(), Non-executive Directors() and Group Secretary and Head of Corporate Governance(). The various directors of the British retailer include Director of Womenswear & Girlswear(), Director of Menswear & Boyswear(Andrew Skinner), Director of Lingerie(Matthew Hudson), Director of General Merchandise Planning(), Director of Food(), Director of Home and Beauty(), Director of Retail(), Director of Human Resources(), Director of Property(), Director, International and UK Outlets(), Director, IT(), Director of GM Supply Chain and Logistics(), Director of Sourcing(), Director of Far East Procurement() and Director of Communications().

COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE          Being in retailing for over a hundred years, one of Marks & Spencer’s competitive advantages over their counterparts in the business 1.--is the reputation that they have established with their customers, employees and suppliers. 2.-Their customers have long associated the company with total dependability and value for money;

3- the internal architecture of the company was cantered round permanent employment relationships, 4-strong organizational routines, and a shared sense that there was a Marks and Spencer way of doing things, which the employees benefit from; 5-and the suppliers relationship with the firm in that the external architecture of Marks and Spencer’s organisation was built around an almost Japanese relationship with suppliers – detailed influence on product specification and design as part of relationships sustained over many years. 6-.They also have strong environmental and community responsibilities,(1 part of their corporate responsibility. 7.-‘Marks and Spencer have pioneered and excelled themselves in a whole range of 'modern' management methods, notably strategic marketing, consumer research, product innovation and development, personnel management, staff training and management development, quality assurance and technological-oriented purchasing’ . Overall, the strong and identifiable corporate culture of Marks & Spencer that operates to get the best out of relatively ordinary employees have continued to produce exceptional corporate results over many years and through many changes in the economic environment . Although there have been downfalls for the hardy retailing perennial over the years largely due to economic crises, they have managed to surmount all the stumbling blocks through an resilience that their competitors view as unnerving. EXTERNAL ENVIRONMENT

Businesses do not exist in a vacuum, they exist within an external environment consisting of the actions of other players who are outside the business, some of which are the competitors, the economy, the social system and the environmental system(.). The primary competitors of the company are department store industry. Marks & Spencer also competes in the apparel & accessories retail, grocery retail, and home furnishings & house wares retail sectors(2006). Worth mentioning are the Associated Dairies(ASDA) Group Limited, British Home Stores(Bhs) Next, Tesco, Sainsbury and Arcadia. A slowing economy, rising unemployment and hefty personal debt that eats into the consumer purse in a system within which the firm operates contributes to the slowing down of retail sales across the United Kingdom(2005). This affects not only the company in discussion but also the retailing industry as a whole.

The social system is the ‘fabric of ideas, attitudes and behaviour patterns that are involved in human relationships. In particular, businesses are influenced by consumer attitudes and behaviours that depend on such factors as the age structure of the population, and the nature of work and leisure’(). In order to meet the changing lifestyles of their customers, Marks operates different store formats located where the customers are most convenient, have a central customer services team, commissions a monthly monitoring of opinions and starting in 2003 conducts extensive research into what the customers expect from them on corporate social responsibility. They have found out that their customers deem the following important: meeting customer needs, being a good employer, being fair to suppliers and their workforces, selling responsible products and operating in a considerate manner.With respect to the environmental system, an environmental policy was formulated as a guide for the whole company to follow in the conduct of business that takes the natural environment in consideration. Mike Barry, head of Corporate Social Responsibility, was quoted as saying, ‘Climate change is still a relatively new issue in our sector. Our contention is that, for retailers, the footprint of stores and lorries probably accounts for less than 10% of your actual carbon footprint. The true impact lies in your supply chain, and in the use and disposal of products. Although I am cautious about positioning Marks & Spencer as a ‘leader’ we are certainly taking the initiative in considering these wider implications’.

INTERNAL ENVIRONMENT          In the 2005 count, there were 70,500 Marks employees around the globe(2006). The firm wanted the employee composition to be diverse in order to reflect the nature of the people that patronize them, exactly as diverse. They have written commitments to equal opportunities covering age, disability, race, marital status, political opinions, colour, gender, hours of work, national origin and religious beliefs. They also provide a mix of flexible working arrangements including leave for paternity, adoption and IVF treatment, as well as child breaks and career breaks that help encourage workforce diversity. They operate employee representation forums called Business Involvement Groups(BIGs) in every store and office area that encourage employees to share knowledge and promote debate about the business. Regarding the pay and benefits, the firm has reward packages that include elements of fixed pay, a wide range of benefits and variable performance related pay. As for the training and development of their employees, the trainings they offer are designed to develop individual talent and capability. In 2005/06, Marks provided over 102,000 days of training. The company also claims to operate a system to ensure workplace health & safety is safeguarded and we provide a range of occupational health services. To provide guidance on the behaviour of the members of the organization, they have developed a new consolidated Marks & Spencer Code of Ethics that sets out values and the responsibilities they have to their customers, employees, shareholders, suppliers, government, communities and the environment.

The various departments within the organization are driven to perform their individual responsibilities in contribution to the overall growth of the company. Marks & Spencer works closely with various external partners to ensure that the environment within the confines of the organization is at the optimum level conducive to high performance and harmonious working relationships. ‘Each business unit develops its own corporate social responsibility strategy based around the brand value of trust. The issues tackled in the strategies are identified from a combination of customer research, understanding within the business and by talking with other key stakeholders, NGOs, government etc. For each issue an action plan is developed which balances customer and stakeholder expectations and other commercial pressures’(2005). To this end, it is evident that the organization places high value on their corporate social responsibility and takes it seriously. The corporate culture of Marks revolves on how they respond to the environment, the customers and their own employees.          The Marks & Spencer organization is dedicated to providing products in ways that help protect the environment, their employees and the people who use them. The competitive advantages, the external and internal environment in which they operate show evidence that the firm is striving to maintain their dedication. Granted that there are critics to the company, as there is always the presence of groups who are not very satisfied with the business’ performance, available figures and statements from business experts give evidence to Marks & Spencer’s continuing commitment in making sure that they are will be the standard against which others are measured, which is the company’s stated vision. One of their greatest competitive advantages lies in their ability to maintain a high performance staff that contributes to the overall development of the company. The company’s strategy in providing their employees with an internal environment favourable to maximizing the individual’s potential and growth is one of the key factors why they are able to keep the types of people who are willing to do most anything to help the organization grow. ‘Marks & Spencer placed ergonomics at the heart of a major design program for new retail equipment, resulting in an innovative design which not only ensures the safety and comfort of customers and staff but also meets exacting business requirements. Overall, the company displayed a keen interest in getting the most out their human resources through designing a management system in which the employees could, as a result, give impetus to Marks & Spencer’s progress.    THE  GREATEST  ADVANTAGE  OF  MARKS& SPENCER’S  IS  ITS  MANAGEMENT  OF  HUMAN  RESOURCES.

As an organisation develops, it creates working practices within the business that reflect its way of doing things. These practices become embedded in decisions and operations. The

way of doing things guides and influences employees as they carry out their work. However, when organisations develop a new business strategy this creates a process of change.

This leads to different ways of working.

With more than 120 years of heritage, Marks & Spencer is one of the best-known British retailers. The company has more than 450 stores within the UK and employs more than

65,000 people. It also operates outside the UK where it has a developing business in places as far afield as Hong Kong. In recent years, the UK’s retailing industry has been characterised

by intense competition. Customers are more aware of where and how they want to shop.

They also know what sort of shopping experience they require. This has made it much more difficult for retailers to survive.

The result was that Marks & Spencer had to develop a new business strategy.

This created a period of change for the whole organisation. The

period of change involved refocusing the business upon

the basics. This included the three business values of

Quality, Value, and Service.

Marks & Spencer developed a promotional campaign that emphasised ‘Your M&S’. This helped the company to connect customers with the heritage in the business. It also linked the

business in the minds of customers with its two other values of Innovation and Trust. The process involved three key features:

• developing products that customers wanted

• investing in the environment within stores

• providing good customer service to look after customers.

These changes have created a business environment with more challenges for employees.

Managers had to prepare employees for whatever role they would be asked to undertake in this new environment. The answer was to develop career paths for the employees. This case

study looks at the processes of training and development at Marks & Spencer. It shows how this helped employees to cope with the challenges they faced and created a career path

for them.

Organisational structure and careers

The changes within Marks & Spencer have created a business that now has a flatter organisation structure. The business lost a number of layers of authority through a process of

delayering. This means that 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.

The Marks & Spencer Head Office in London employs around 3,000 people. These employees have specialist roles within the organisation. There are the buyers of stock, people

involved in managing stock and its layout within stores, and staff working in marketing or accounts. More than 60,000 employees work in the Marks & Spencer stores, many in

management roles where they lead and motivate a team of people. The company also has many franchise outlets overseas. These employees also have training needs.

Identifying a training need In a flatter organisational structure, 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. There is also a need for

succession management. When individuals either retire or move from one job to another, managers have to plan their replacements so that experienced staff with the right

skills and competencies are selected.

It is important to develop a career path for people that meets their needs as well as the needs of the business. To match its business strategy, Marks & Spencer develops existing staff from

within the organisation. It also recruits managers at three different levels:

• trainee managers with A-levels undertake 24 months of training

• graduates who join the organisation from university have 12 months of training

• experienced managers who have retail experience undertake up to 3 months of training when

they join Marks & Spencer. This helps them understand how Marks & Spencer operates.

Each management post at Marks & Spencer requires a number of technical skills and business competencies. These are related to the job’s level in the organisation. Employees need these

competencies and skills to be successful in each post. For example, technical skills are relevant to areas like team management, financial management and sales management. Business competencies include areas such as business leadership, decision-making, and communicating and influencing.

Marks & Spencer uses competency profiling to identify gaps in skills. In the example, Jane is a Commercial Manager in a large store. The standard profiles  show what technical

skills and business competencies are necessary for that role. Jane’s personal profiles  are compared to these standard profiles to assess what training and development she needs. This example shows that, for technical skills, Jane needs to improve in most areas except Financial Management. In business competencies Jane’s skills are a better match but she

needs additional skills in People & Resource Management, Commercial Acumen, and  Communicating and Influencing.

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.

The line managers and employee then discuss and agree on a plan for further development for the following year. 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. This performance cycle helps

Marks & Spencer to maintain an efficient, effective and motivated workforce.

Training and development

All managers at Marks & Spencer are able to create a career planning profile. This enables them to focus on their next target role. They can then develop a career path to support this

ambition. Staff identify specific training needs based upon the technical skills and business competencies for that role. The profile also highlights what programmes of training

Marks & Spencer needs to plan for. There are two forms of training:

• On-the-job training. This takes place while employees are carrying out an activity in their

place of work.

• Off-the-job training, as its names suggests, takes place away from the workplace.

On-the-job training might include having an attachment to a section manager responsible for

inspiring and motivating a team. An employee gets to see first-hand what it would be like to work in that role. On-the-job training also involves practical learning. This could mean being involved in

a range of projects to improve technical skills and business competencies. The key to this training is to get Marks & Spencer employees ‘to enjoy their work and feel they have all the skills they need to do their job to the best of their ability’. An important way of increasing skills is performance

coaching. This is a form of coaching by line managers. They review a person's performance and

give feedback on their strengths and any development needs. Together, they agree how to improve

and identify the opportunities to demonstrate these skills in their own jobs. The coaching gives the trainees confidence and is a successful element of the training programme.

Areas highlighted during a performance review

Business Leadership Managing Ambiguity

Decision-making

Resource Management

Communicating Setting Direction

and Influencing

Innovation and Change

Commerial Acumen

MARKS AND SPENCER

Marks & Spencer uses a range of different methods to help its employees with off-the-job training. For example, within the organisation there is an intranet. Staff can find learning

materials on this that enable them to develop their technical skills and business competencies.

Other resources for training and learning include workbooks that are used by staff, often for open learning. Workshops and other more formal activities provide opportunities for

employees to practice their skills with the opportunity for feedback from other staff.

Benefits of training and development

Training and development brings benefits to both Marks & Spencer and its employees.

Training provides a series of planned learning experiences for individuals and builds their technical skills and business competencies. Training also helps to improve efficiency and can

motivate employees to do well. This helps to make positive changes to the way in which they work and make decisions. Development helps individuals use the training to meet their

individual needs and ambitions. By training and developing its staff well, Marks & Spencer is in a position to develop a competitive advantage over its competitors.

Marks & Spencer’s new business strategy focuses on three main areas:

• Developing value-for-money products that customers want. Training and development brings new skills which help to add value to its products and services, for example by

cutting costs. This enables the company to keep prices lower to benefit the customer.

• Investing in the environment within stores. Better technical skills in sales and stock management mean that staff can use the store to better advantage resulting in higher sales and profitability.

• Providing good customer service to look after customers. If staff have improved skills in,

for example, communication, this can have a positive impact on customer service.

Although training is a cost to a business, it is also an investment. It helps Marks & Spencer to

link the people who have the right technical skills and business competencies with the roles they are best able to do. It ensures that, as a person moves from a post, he or she is

succeeded by the best possible replacement. This is at the heart of succession management.

By acquiring technical skills and business competencies, employees can plan their career

path. This gives them responsibility for achieving their career ambitions. Training and

development equips individuals with the skills they need to achieve their targeted role in the

business. It also helps to create the future leaders of the organisation.

################################################# ---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

What do you think is the source of Marks & Spencer’s competitive advantage?

Marks & Spencer has managed to maintain its competitive advantage in British retailing for over fifty years. Why, do you think, have rival firms found Marks & Spencer’s competitive position so difficult to attack?

ANSWER: Marks & Spencer is in a position to develop a competitive advantage over its competitors.

Marks & Spencer’s new business strategy focuses on three main areas:

• Developing value-for-money products that customers want. Training and development brings new skills which help to add value to its products and services, for example by

cutting costs. This enables the company to keep prices lower to benefit the customer.

• Investing in the environment within stores. Better technical skills in sales and stock management mean that staff can use the store to better advantage resulting in higher sales and profitability.

• Providing good customer service to look after customers. If staff have improved skills in,

for example, communication, this can have a positive impact on customer service.

Although training is a cost to a business, it is also an investment. It helps Marks & Spencer to

link the people who have the right technical skills and business competencies with the roles they are best able to do. It ensures that, as a person moves from a post, he or she is

succeeded by the best possible replacement. This is at the heart of succession management.

By acquiring technical skills and business competencies, employees can plan their career

path. This gives them responsibility for achieving their career ambitions. Training and

development equips individuals with the skills they need to achieve their targeted role in the

business. It also helps to create the future leaders of the organisation.

THE   THREE  MAIN  STRENGTHS   WHICH  THE  COMPETITORS  ARE  FINDING   IT  DIFFICULT    TO  BREAK  ARE:

1.THE  PRODUCT  RANGE  SELECTION   AND  THE  OFFERING  OF  THE    ‘’RIGHT  VALUE’’   FOR  THE  CONSUMERS.

2.THE  RETAIL  CULTURE   IN  MARK  &  SPENCERS  IS  UNIQUE.

3.THE  HUMAN RESOURCE  MANAGEMENT   OF   THE  EMPLOYEES   IS UNIQUE.

########################################

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

Is an organization is a social arrangement? Do all social arrangements make up an organization?
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