The quality of products at marks and spencers

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Marks and Spencer is one of the UK's most legendary retail businesses well known for its high quality, stylish and great value home products, food and clothing. According to them they are the country's largest clothing retailer. The business is working around the globe having 650 stores only in BRITON and over 300 in rest of the world. There are 2,000 suppliers facilitating the company to continue the journey of success. The business has two main pillars clothing and the food, where clothing and home appliances covers 49% of the whole business and the rest 59% business is in food. There are five main brand values including quality, value, service, innovation and trust. The organization launched plan A in January 2007 and is the business 5 years 100 point eco plan. Combat climate changes, reduce waste, safeguard natural materials, trade ethically and to build a healthier nation are the main features of plan A (M&S Web).


Marks and Spencer was established in UK about 125 years ago. Back in 1884 a market stall was began by a Russian born polish refugee in Leeds whose name was Michael mark. This stall was famous as penny bazaar because every item was of one penny. In 1894 when the business expanded Tom Spencer joined Marks as a partner by investing 300 pounds in the business. In 1901a ware house was build in derby street Manchester and was the company's first head office. In 1903 the business was established as a company with the capital of about £30,000 and per share value was 1 pound. Only 2 years later one of the founders Spencer was died. In 1914 M & S bought the London penny bazaar company. In 1924 the head office was moved from Manchester to London and 1926 was the period when company start buying directly from the suppliers. In 1988 first international store was opened in Hong Kong. 1999 was the time when the business introduced online shoping on the website. Plan A was launched in Jan 2007 and in June 2008 Stuart Rose became chairman and chief executive of the company (M&S Web).


The vision of UK's top retailer M & S is:

"To be the standard against which all others are measured"


Mission statement of M & S is:

"To make aspirational quality accessible to all"

(Marks and spencer website)


Before going in to the depth of the topic first I would like to explain the term leadership and management. We have some knowledge about the management but it is complex to define the term leadership as the nature of leadership is itself is complex. We can say it as a romantic myth based on a false hope that someone will come and solve our problems. Some of the definitions are coated as under:

"Leadership is an influentional relationship between the leaders and followers who intend real changes and outcomes that reflect their shared purposes"

Richard L. Daft, 2007

"Management is the attainment of organizational goals in an effective and efficient manner through planning, organizing, leading and controlling organizational resources"


In nut shell, leadership is myth that attracts followers towards their leader. It would be better if we will call it as an emotional relationship that creates a desire in followers to share the leader's vision and willingness to follow him. On the other hand management is a process in which purpose is to design and maintain a suitable environment the individuals can perform work in groups effectively and efficiently.


According to Richard L. Daft, 2007 "Without leadership our families our communities as well as our organizations would fall apart" So we can't underestimate the importance of leadership in the organizational success of M & S.

Mark and Spencer itself recognizes the importance of leadership and management in any business organization. According to the annual report 2009 M & S has accepted that "Leadership and governance go hand in hand in a successful company. For both to work well you need a clear plan of what you want to achieve." (Annual report 2009). That is why the company has used the term "leadership" several times in its statement of corporate governance.

It is very challenging to manage a business organization like M & S, where about 21 million people visit their stores each week, employs over 75,000 people around the world and sourced from 2,000 suppliers globally (M & S website). It is equally significant to satisfy the customers and the employees at the same time. It is very important that M & S should motivate its employees and create willingness to work because without satisfied employees it is difficult to have satisfied customers


According Abraham Maslow 1943 in hierarchy of need theory told that there are four levels of need that motivates a person. we can say that an employee of M & S can be motivated if we try to fulfil their needs as stated by Maslow but it more like a managerial approach a leader is a person who motivates someone through influentional approach. Fredrick Herzberg 2000 in his motivation theory said that there a two factors that can boost motivation

Motivator Factors

Hygiene Factors



Work Itself




Pay and Benefits

Company Policy and Administration

Relationships with co-workers



Job Security

Working Conditions

Personal life

In the organizations like Mark & Spencer due to the diversity in labour force managers should think and categorize their work force first, and then they should know that what factors can motivate their employees and try to behave with them according to their requirements.

In Adams equity theory 1965 it was defined that how an individual makes a comparison between his inputs and out puts with anyone else. Adams gave us a formula which is:

If he will find that his ratio is less than his relational it will leads towards demonization. So he should not feel that what he has put into his job: time, effort, ability, loyalty, tolerance , flexibility, integrity, commitment, reliability, heart and soul is less than output he has got. Output may includes pay, bonuses, benefits, security, respect recognition, reputation responsibility, praise e.t.c.

The management of Mark & Spencer should concentrate and try to implement this theory. I think that managers can influence their employees if they will struggle to create equity between the workers' inputs and outcomes. This theory covers all the aspects necessary to generate motivation as defined by all other scholars.


Now we will try to do the swot analysis of the Mark & Spencer. The quality and the brand image are the key strengths of the company. The management is refining itself since last 125 years so they have a strong edge for it. Product variety also provides strong grounds to the business. M & S is not only dealing in clothes there are several other lines as well, consisting of food, groceries, home appliances, furniture and financial services.

M & S can be discriminated on the basis of price and target market. The product's prices are relatively high if we compare them in the general British market. Target market of the company is limited up to the upper middle class and middle age people. Teenager's fashion and funky dresses are not on the priority list of the organization.

M & S can expand itself in the developing countries of south Asia like Pakistan. India, Bangladesh e.t.c. Decrease in prices may results in upward movement in Sales. M & S can focus to increase its limitation about the target market. Business can attract more customers by adding some funky and trendy clothes.

Competitors with low prices have always been a great challenge for the company. There is also a threat from other EU retailer who can, any time enter into the British market and may cause to give a strong competition to the brand. Rise in Taxation and unemployment can badly affect the business.


According to M & S they have diverse range of employees and trying to create equality among all and it is the part of their active equal opportunity policy. We are no implementing it only in recruitment process but there is also justice in training programs, promotions, opportunities and appraisals.

According to the company, "It is our policy to:

Promote a working environment free from discrimination, harassment and victimisation on the basis of:

gender, sexual orientation, marital or civil partnership status, gender reassignment

race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin,

hours of work

religious or political beliefs


age" (M & S website)

So we can see that M & S is struggling hard to give rise a discrimination free culture. Marks & Spencer regularly check their employee salary structure against other retailers to make sure they're competitive and in order to keep up with any changes in the market, they will review their employees' wages every year. M&S also offers extra performance rewards to recognize individual achievement.

The trainings they offer are designed to develop individual talent and capability. The company also claims to operate a system to ensure workplace health & safety is safeguarded and provides 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.


Organizational Behaviour forms an integral part of any organization for stability. Greater emphasis needs to be laid on controlling and monitoring of organizational behaviour because in the present environment employees are the key to success in any organization.

It has been observed that M & S has a centralized structure. This has caused higher conflicts and poor management of employees as decisions are made by the top level management without involving the employees. In addition, this leads to complexities in employee tasks as it takes more time to reach the information from top to bottom. Due to this bureaucratic nature of M & S, inefficiencies have crept in and morale of the employees has ruined over the years.

Delegation of tasks is minimal at M & S. The current status of employees is less control and authority over different tasks apart from their own assigned tasks, so employees feel distant as far as other issues and problems of the departments are concerned.

M & S has centralized hiring processes. However, M & S emphasizes on experience Therefore, the organization does not give chance young and active employees who may lack in experience but competence to serve the organization.

The meetings and suggestion boxes at M & S are ineffective; employees feel reluctant to voice their concerns in a meeting amid others and complaints in the suggestion boxes take time to reach bosses and therefore, action is postponed.

It has been observed that Marks and Spencer fears change. They fear that the system will become unstable, their security will be lost, and they will not understand the new process, therefore, will not know how to respond to the new situations. We can discuss limitations in target market here. Company turned its attention on employees when it faced competition. Otherwise, it was concentrating more on expansion and profitability: an outcome oriented approach.


M & S should decentralize its structure that would lead to the easy management, increased motivation, easy access to information and resolution of the conflicts (as they would be resolved by the immediate manger time span would then reduced). Since employees issues regarding their behaviour would lessen, so it would ultimately lead to more satisfied employees that would result in enhanced productivity of the organization.

Business should make efforts towards empowering the employees that is going to lead to more employee participation in the decision making process and also result in more employee satisfaction and enhanced motivation. Apart from this, employees would feel more independent to discuss the issues explicitly without hesitation. This would also enhance team work process at M & S as quality team and cross-functional teams. The employees will work with more commitment and dedication and every employee would work to his/her fullest due to increased motivation. However, with empowerment comes accountability, so it is suggested that while they empower their employees, there should also be a "controlled check'' on them to ensue the correct usage of power delegated to every employees within their circumscribed limits.

Marks & Spencer should also reduce its overhead costs that are it should manage its resources: labour more effectively, so that with less input, more output can be achieved and the saved resources can be utilized in other areas such as introducing more training courses for the employees so that the quality of the workforce could be increased. Hiring the services of expertise can improve the efficiency of their services, so by saving the overhead costs, they can utilize that money for the expertise services. So by analyzing the various segments of the organization and making the right corrections, it can substantially improve the standards of Organizational behaviour.

The suggestions of the employees can prove to be very effective in improving the operations as they are the ones who manage them. Therefore, a top-down approach should be replaced with two-way communications. In this way, the employees would feel motivated and valued as they would be included in decision-making.