Retail industry in the UK is experiencing significant growth and as a result of high food prices, high customer demands, retail giants like Marks and Spencer and other well known supermarkets are facing extreme challenges in current economic condition. In the UK there is extreme competition in retail industry where every organization is fighting for its survival in harsh economic conditions. As retail organizations are under intense competition they are seeking competitive advantage to achieve long terms goals and growth. The UK competition commission (2000) investigated weather retail business practices, among which new mechanisms, involved an element of market power. The analysis referred to different practices such as, payment delays, break of contract, wastage, underperformance, listing, shelf space etc. The commission suggested that some of these practices occur with some frequency and some of these practices are considered anti-competitive. Retail organizations like Marks and Spencer face competition from food to clothing. Due to current market condition organizations are seeking alternatives to face these challenges and to gain competitive advantage for long term goals. Due to environmental changes food prices are going high and customers are seeking better quality with good value of money.
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Retail organizations need well-built and skilled work force to bring their products in the market to meet customer expectations and maintain their food prices. Therefore it becomes vital for organizations to well manage their employee's performance to survive in competitive retail business environment. Varley (2006), suggest that in an aggressive market, retailer must ensure that employee's are being manages in a way that is consistent with their overall objectives, service to customers and provide good levels of return for the retailer, both in short terms as well as long-term basis, are the desirable outcome of performance management. Today managing performance has become main concern for retail organisations for their long term survival. This research document also conducted detailed analysis of SWOT and PEST to investigate performance.
1.2 M&S and employee performance management
Rivals like Tesco, Sainsbury's, Primark, Marks and Spencer is also a key player in retail industry with good brand name and store across different countries. Like other competitors, M&S is also surviving in changing business environment. organization is well aware of the heat of competition and finding different resources to compete in the market. It's not only about rising food prices or tight economic environment but also competition in working environment and human resources where companies are seeking new technology and skilled workforce to improve performance. Mathis & Jackson (2007), argue that human resources around the world is facing challenges such as increasing global competition for human resource talent, growth in technology and shortages of skilled workers.
As stated on marks and Spencer website, (2007) it is important for the company to have a workforce which reflects the communities in which it operates and proud of the diversity of its workforce. Company is also planning to welcome changes with streamline and simplify legislation in this area.
1.3 Strategic issues regarding performance management
Human resources and organisational development professionals are likely to be responsible for the design and implementation of the strategic performance management program. However, these professionals need the active commitment of the employees and managers who will use the program. There are several concerns involved in performance management program such as
Eliciting the active involvement and buy-in of executives and managers to the design and outgoing use of the program elements
Linking the components of the program to the strategy of the organization while maintaining relevancy departments and individuals throughout the organisation
Keeping performance management program current so that managers and employees will find it valuable and will be motivated to use it
Making managers and employees more able to focus on performance issues and creating environment which is acceptable to everyone
in able to solve above mentioned issues an organisation must have a clear corporate strategy. According to Sutton, (1980) a corporate strategy is concerned with the long-term survival and growth of business organisations. In involves the choice of objectives, the search for developments which may help to meet those objectives, and the identification of those developments which are more likely to be feasible with the organisation's existing resources.
Always on Time
Marked to Standard
In changing economic environment, retail organisations seek valuable changes as well in terms of technology, skills, improving productivity and maintaining company's brand. Marks and Spencer has been through several structural changes and faced several human resources issues in decision to create business units in order to adopt to structural change. In such situation employee involvement becomes crucial to successful change, especially when that requires attitudinal and cultural change. M&S went through rapid organisational transformation, which was based on a vision imposed on the company in a mainly directive fashion, by its management and CEO, but this could potentially lead to a widespread change of attitudes and behaviours in the company. This change was a risky action and would bring a confusion for the staff, putting a high pressure on their performance. It was an emergent change where staff had to develop and adjust to new ways of flatter organisational structure.
1.4 Research aims and objectives
The aim of research is to identify and suggest ways to improve employee's performance at Marks and Spencer by focusing on its HR strategies to manage, develop, and managing their performance more effectivly to gain employee satisfaction and organization's presentation. I will be investigating the effectiveness of employee's performance management by highlighting following objectives;
To identify how to determine the effectiveness of employee performance management at Marks and Spencer
To identify the different factors involved and highlighting different issues and how to deal sufficiently with new waves of change in the business environment
To measure the impact of performance management on employees and their job satisfaction.
In this chapter, I will be focusing at the different theories, views and perspective from different authors. I will look at the history of performance management and will comment on how it has evolved with the timeline. The literature review will also highlight the issues faced by the retail industry in modern days. I will write literature review by reading and analysing material from books, journals, newspapers and other relevant sources. I have become very aware about updates and changes in global strategies and approaches about this topic. Performance has been always been a boiling topic in retail industry. Performance management has wide purposes such as, identifying and enhancing desirable or effective work behaviour, reinforcing this behaviour by linking rewards to determine the performance and developing desired competences and building human capital within organizations. Performance management serves a key integrating role within organizations human resource processes. It provides a checking mechanism for resourcing policies and procedures, evaluating the quality of employees and the underlying decision making process. According to Mathis & Jackson (2007), performance management is a series of activities designed to ensure that the organization gets the performance it needs from its employees. the effective performance management system should be able to make clear that what the organization expects from its employees. it must also be able to provide performance information to employees, identify the areas of success and needed development and document performance for personnel records
2.1 Human resource management
Human resource management function includes a variety of activities, and key among them is deciding what staffing need an organisation has and weather to use independent contractors or hire employees to fill those needs, recruiting and training the best employees, ensuring they achieve high goals in their performance, dealing with different performance issues and ensuring that HR practices conform to various regulations (management help, 2009). Basically human resource has a restricted pattern of functions such as benefits, recruitment and training but at times management end up in doing paper work and getting people signed on different contracts. To set up an excellent HR department within organisation its vital that HR managers must have proper knowledge and training about their work.
Kirkpatrick et al, (2002) argue that an organisation can achieve its objectives by using the resources available to it. Those resources include the human resource, the people who staff the organisation. Thus the essential task of HRM becomes to manage staff so as to facilitate the achievement of the organisation's objectives. These must be a present of strategic integration of the organisation's objectives and its HRM policies. This can be demonstrated from the following figure adapted from Kirkpatrick et al, (2002)
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Fig: Fig: Strategic integration in HRM model
Storey (1989), argues that HRM can be problematic at two levels. First, at the surface level, the value of integration that it promotes contains a logical contradiction, given the dual usage of concept of 'integration'. Secondly in a deeper level, it may suggest that HRM, no less than a personnel management and is confronted by a contradiction of capitalism. Bartlett and Goshal (1991) quoted in Armstrong (2006), argue that the main issue for multinational companies is the need to manage the challenged of global efficiency and multinational flexibility. The dilemma facing all multinational corporations in that of achieving balance between international consistency and local autonomy. Laurent, (1986) quoted in Armstrong, (2006) comment that in order to build, maintain and develop a corporate identity, organizations need to strive to consistency in their ways to managing people on a worldwide basis. Yet, and in order to be effective locally, they also need to adapt those ways to the specific cultural requirements of different societies.
2.2 Performance management as an integrative process
Performance management is a force for both vertical and horizontal integration. Hartle, (1995) quoted in Armstrong, (2000), argues that performance management should be integrated into the way the performance of the business is managed and it should link with other key processes such as business strategy, employee development and total quality management.
2.2.1 Vertical Integration
Integration is achieved in two ways. First, it facilitates the integration or alignment of business strategic plans and goals with individual and team objectives. Agreed objectives support the achievement of corporate goals. They unlock the objectives from the corporate level to the functional or business-unit level and down to the individual level. Steps taken need to be ensured that these goals are in alignment. Objectives must be agreed not set, and the agreement should be reached through the open dialogues that should take place between managers and individuals continually.
2.2.2 Horizontal integration
Horizontal integration means aligning performance management strategies with other HR strategies concerned with valuing, paying, involving and developing people. It can actually act as a powerful force in integrating these activities. The impact of performance management on organisational efficiency is improved because, along with the growth of competence frameworks, it is the most important means of helping to integrate the various approaches that organisation can adopt to improve effectiveness through their process for managing, motivating and developing people (Armstrong, 2000)
2.3 Performance management as focal point of HR activities
The phrase Performance management first coined by Beer and Ruh in 1976, but it did not become recognized as a distinctive approach until the mid-1980s, growing out of the realization that a more continuous and integrated approach was needed to manage performance. (Armstrong, 2000)
Fig 2.3: Performance management as a focal point of integration of HR activities. (Adapted from Armstrong, 2000)
According to the figure performance management strategies are aligned with other HR strategies concerned with valuing, paying, involving and developing people. It can act as powerful force in integrating these activities.
Performance management is not only about one approach but a mix of approaches supported by an underlying philosophy about the importance of whole organization management. (Jones 1995 cited in Edenborough, 2005) talks about managing the context rather than performance while Armstrong and Baron (1998) cited in Edenborough (2005), argue about a range of concerns in the field, including planning, continuous development and improvement and satisfying stakeholders needs.
Performance management is considered as a mean of valuing people. According to Mayo (2001) organisations must make attempts to value people as assets. This applies accounting valuation principles to people and is known as asset accounting. People bring their own worth of capital to an employer, and that employer has the opportunity to develop it for mutual benefit. In a value creating organisation, it is vital to have some way of systematically distinguishing the worth of each individual and also of teams.
Organisations that don't develop an employee communication system, where management has no culture to freely share information with employees end up facing low productivity from their employees. a plan must be prepared to value their staff where employees are open to challenges and confident to discuss their problems freely. Employees who believe that organisation doesn't value their contributions are less invested in its success, become less motivated, are uncertain about their future with the organisation, and feel vulnerable. When employees feel this way, they generally spend more time talking about their dissatisfaction than they spend actually doing their jobs. As a result productivity can fall, which contributes to organisational problems. Giving value to employees and maintaining healthy working environment for them keeps them motivated and productive and benefits the organisation by involving them in solving problems (Bogardus 2004).
A key function of good performance management is to develop people and enhance careers. This should highlight on individual growth and future performance. If there is a supervisor in involved to coach and develop employees, it must be by the means of shared trust. The supervisor must be vulnerable and open to challenges from the subordinate while maintaining the position of responsibility for what is in subordinate's best interests. To create an effective development, supervisor must also be a expert, considerate listener who encourages the employee to talk about hopes and aspirations. Employee must also be able to take active responsibility for the future development and growth. This can be challenges to a supervisor's vision about future development as well as expressing individual preferences and goals. (Nelson & Quick, 2007)
Marr (2006), highlights the importance of involving people in organisational success. He argues that, assessing performance for strategic planning means that people have to believe in indicators and use them to inform their decision making. Therefore, involving people both internal and external is critically important. Not only should organisation involve people in the selection of possible indicators but also in the assessment of performance and the collection of data. It can provide richer insights into the real level of performance.
A reward system expresses what an organisation values and is prepared to pay for. The overall aim of employee reward is to support the attainment of the organisation's strategic and shorter-term objectives by helping to ensure that it has the skilled, competent, committed and well motivated workforce. The employee reward system consists of an organisation's integrated policies, processes and practices for rewarding its employees in accordance with their contribution. (Armstrong, 2002). The reward system interventions are used to elicit and maintain desired levels of performance. To the extent that rewards are available, long-lasting, appropriate, evident and performance contingent. To leverage the reward system, it must be visible. Organisation members must be able to see who is getting the rewards. Visible rewards such as placement must be able to see who is getting the rewards. (Cummings & Worley, 2008)
2.4 Key features of performance management
Armstrong (2007), argues that at every stage the aim of performance management is to obtain agreement between managers and individuals on how well the latter are doing and what can be done jointly to develop strengths to deal with any weakness. Discussions play vital role in the process and discussions between managers and individuals should take the form of dialogue, managers must not attempt to dominate the process at any time. The stages of performance management can be demonstrated by following figure
Fig: stages of performance management (adapted from Armstrong, 2007)
Performance management is largely about managing expectations where both managers and individuals recognize and agree what they expect of one another, thus by creating an enhanced working culture and developing a more positive psychological contact. People can be motivated by using constructive feedback and recognising their achievements and potential. Process of performance management is forward looking process and does not dwell on the past and the dialogue is about what can be done in the future to give individuals the prospect to develop and grow by using different means of motivation.
Performance management is an ongoing process, not an annual event. Managers and individuals are there to manage performance throughout the year
2.5 The performance management cycle
the above mentioning key features are considered essential for performance management cycle. The characteristics that differentiate performance management are demonstrated by the following figure.
Fig: the performance management cycle (adapted from Armstrong, 2000)
2.5.1 Role definition
Under role definition the key result areas and capability requirements are agreed. Armstrong & Murlis (2002), explain the difference between job description and role management. They argue that a distinction should be made between job description and role definition. A job description sets out the purpose of a job, where it fits in the organisation structures and the principle accountabilities of job holders. A role definition additionally describes the part to be played by individuals in fulfilling their job requirements. It refers to broader aspects of behaviour, such as, working flexibility, working with others as a team member, and styles of management.
2.5.2 Performance agreement
Paauwe (2004), argues that the HRM functions as one of the organisational functions are also involved in the process of rendering professional services and establishing a sense of corporate citizenship. Taking a closer look at different HRM functions and different activities involved in it, it shows that many activities carried out simply have to do with rendering of services, preferably in professional way. Many of those activities such as complying with the regulations of health and safety, taking care of individuals are by no means strategic and do not relate to performance of the firm. They must b carried out in a proper way because of all kind of legislation, collective bearing agreement regulations and administrative practices. Phillips (2007), explains the importance of performance agreement. He states that, one of the best ways to communicate and build a productive relationship with employees is through a well-written performance agreement. This spells out exactly what a manager expects of them, and the consequences of failing to meet these expectations. In such case, with a well written performance agreement in place, each employee will have a clearer understanding of what standards he or she is required to meet his or her position. It's important to try and get the employees involved as much as possible when creating a performance agreement.
2.5.3 Personal development planning
personal development planning emphasizes that it is not only just about identifying training needs and suitable courses to satisfy those needs. Training courses may form part of a development plan, but a monitor part; other learning activities are much more important as well. It also emphasizes that the individuals themselves are primary responsible for progressing the plan and for ensuring that they play their part in implementing it but on the other hand people will need encouragement, guidance and support. Managers have a role to play in helping, as necessary, in the preparation of the plan. Managers team leaders all need to learn about personal development planning. They should be involved in deciding how the planning process will work and what their roles will be. They benefits to them should be understood and accepted. (Armstrong, 2000:163)
Armstrong (2008), explains the development and stages of personal development plan. He argues that, the development plan is carried out by individuals with guidance and encouragement and help required from managers. The plan sets put the actions people propose to take to lean and develop themselves. They take responsibility for formulating and implanting the plan but they need continues support from their managers in doing so. There are different stages involved in personal development plan. The stages of personal development plan are modelled in figure below and content of each stage is described below:
Fig: stages in preparing and implementing a personal plan (adapted from Armstrong 2008)
First step is to analyse the current situation and development needs within the organisation. This can be done as part of performance management process
Setting goals is a crucial stage in order to gain effective development. This can include improving performance in the current job, improving and acquiring skills, extending service relevant knowledge, developing specified areas of competence and preparing changes in the current role.
Next step brings the need to prepare an action plan. The action plan sets out what needs to be done and how it will be done under the outcomes expected, the development activities, the responsibility for development (what individuals are expected to do and the support they can get from their managers and timing. Different activities expected from individuals must be included in the plan by observing what others do, their project work, monitoring performance and coaching them. Formal training to develop knowledge and skills may also be the part of planning process.
The final step. This is the ending step and time to take actions as planned.
2.5.4 Managing performance
Armstrong (2000), states that strategies for managing performance aim to achieve increased organisational effectiveness, better results for individuals and teams, and higher level of skill, competence, commitment and motivation. Managing performance is an ongoing responsibility for managers and team leaders in order to achieve organisational goals. This cannot be achieved by a one year performance appraisal meeting. Employees are responsible for managing their own performance but may need help and support in doing so. Purcell (1999) quoted in Armstrong (2000), argues that in circumstances of lean production, employees increasingly come to hold knowledge and skills that management lacks. Employees need to be stimulated to apply these skills through unrestricted effort. The organisational strategy can only be achieved when this discretionary effort contributed. Following figure represents the structure of effective performance management
Fig: effective performance management model (adapted from Armstrong, 2000:210)
Kaplan and Norton (1992) quoted in Armstrong (2000) explain that strategies for managing performance are concerned with how the business should be managed to achieve its goals. Such goals will refer to performance measures such as the balances scorecard which direct attention to four related questions
How do customer see the organisation
How can it excel it
How can organisation improve itself
How does it look to shareholders
Performance comes from people, and performance management process focuses on how the performance of individuals and teams can improve through performance and personal development planning
2.5.5 Performance review
Grote and Grote (2002), define performance review as the final phase of an effective performance management system. It involves the individual and the manager discussing the performance appraisal and other performance related documents that the manager has created. The performance management process both ends and begins a new with the performance review meeting. At the beginning of such meeting, an individual's past year performance is reviewed and the success of development plan is evaluated. At the end of the meeting, the appraisal and the individual set to date to create the plan for next year's goals, objectives, and development. Armstrong (2008:169) argues that, performance reviews are not just about criticizing people. They are opportunities to recognise achievements as well as agreeing any areas where improvement is required and planning how this should take place. A review should be rooted in the reality of the employees performance. It should allow the managers and individuals to take a positive look together at how they can improve the performance in the future and how they can solve any problems in meeting performance standards and achieving objectives. It's important to encourage individuals to asset their own performance and become active agents for change in improving their results. The true role of performance management is to look forward to what needs to be done by people to improve productivity, their knowledge, skills and abilities by establishing a self managed learning agenda and to reach agreement on any areas where performance needs to be improved.
A formal, active, and directive performance management system typically involves a series of prescribed steps which can be demonstrated by the following figure.
Fig: prescribed interactions within a formal performance management system during a year (adapted from Zoltners, et al 2001)
In the annual performance review, past performance is assessed and goals for the future are laid out. The review has a retrospective component, assessing performance related plans, and a prospective component, creating goals and plans for the future. Once goals are determined, either alone or jointly with the sales manager, the salesperson must develop plans to achieve her or his goals. The periodic progress review occurs two or four times a year and focuses on the recent past and on a success plan for the rest of the year. If some kind of correction is needed, then this step included the creation of an improvement plan. In terms of breaching the standards of the performance, this step can also lead to probation or the discharge of relevant employee. The regular feedback sessions occur in person, during field rides, over the phone or via email. They focus on assessment coaching and guidance. (Zoltners, et al 2001)
2.6 The performance management practice
2.7 The need for performance management
In today's business environment there is a presence of increased global competition. Huber (2006), argues that managing the performance of people is an important organisational strategy designed to exceed expectations of consumers in today's competitive business environment. There are many complex processes and strategies involved in managing employee performance. Management team need to be clear in defining roles and expectations that are required in the variety of settings in which individual provide their efforts in return for compensation. It's vital for managers to get involved in different performance management activities that will enable the staff they employ to achieve goals. to achieve such goals, such as providing a sustainable source of motivation; communication is the main issue that affects performance. A manager must be capable to problem-solve issues that arise for the individual who may experience conflict or difficulty following established rules and procedures and using critical skills in providing fair assessment for the individual's skills, abilities, talents and opportunities for improvement.
2.7.1 Performance challenges in retail industry
Marks and Spencer and poor performance
Reasons for poor performance management in retail industry
Role of performance management in organisational development
HRM at Marks and Spencer
In this chapter the focus will be on factors responsible for the poor performance management generated from poor policies. It will emphasize and describe the employee vision of performance and issues related to it. This research is aimed to identify the factors involved in poor performance and to overcome such problems. This chapter is divided into different segments in order to discuss methodological issues related to development and structure of this research. The first chapter will discuss the justification of adaption of different research methods. Second part is focused on primary and secondary data explanations. The next part will describe research preparations details highlighting sampling process and data gathering process. Next part provides explanation of research analysis. Final part concludes the research limitations and ethical issues.
3.2 Research Methodology
There are different research methodologies used by the practitioners and researchers. The aim of good research methodology is to find the sufficient answers to research questions and also convince the objectives of the research. There are several approaches used by different researchers but the most common are inductive and deductive approach. According to Creswell (2003), the knowledge claims, the strategies and the method all contribute to a research approach that tends to be more quantitative, qualitative or mixed. Mauch & Park (2003), explain the characteristics of a successful research methodology. They explain that the correct research methodology should fit smoothly into its place in the research plan sequence to move from what one seeks by doing research to how one goes about seeking it. There are two research types commonly used in a research documents by researchers. They are called inductive research and deductive research. These types are established by following figure
Fig 2: different research types (Creswell, 2003)
Deductive approach works from general to specific tasks. Deductive approach emphasis on the derivability of a judgement. This judgement is interpreted as it being derivable in the object logic (Dyckhoff, 1994). Deductive approach is suitable for the research where hypothesis is stated and methodology is designed to test it. Misra (2006), argues that the deductive approach to investigation implies the deduction of a series of events or states from a set of pre-established axioms, and often a comparison of observed phenomena with the deduced events or stages. It is demonstrated by the following figure.
The alternative to the deductive approach is to start to collect data and then explore them to see which themes or issues to follow up and concentrate on. Inductive approach may be a difficult strategy to follow and may not lead to success for someone who is inexperienced researcher. It is also likely that this approach will combine some elements of a deductive approach as researcher seeks to develop a theoretical position and then test its applicability through subsequent data collection and analysis (Saunders, et al, 2009). The inductive approach in contrast, starts with observation of a set of phenomena and concludes with attempts to recognise patterns and logical structures, often with some suggestions or conclusions as to their cause (Misra 2006). The methods of inductive approach are established by the following figure
Fig 4: Inductive research methods (Misra, 2006)
3.3 Data collection methods
Data collection is an important aspect of any type of research study. Like different research methodologies and aims, there is various data collection methods used as well, depending upon the nature of the research and data requirement. The most commonly data collection methods used in a research work are interviewing, questionnaires, observations, document or artefact and analysis (Jacobs, et al 2009). According to Grove (2005) data collection occurs simultaneously with data analysis and the process is complex. The procedure for data collection is not a mechanical process that can be completely planned before initiation.
3.3.1 Primary data collection
This research will be using qualitative data. Qualitative data consists of different views, opinions or attitudes which cannot be obtained through quantitative data. According to Baker & Hart (2007) qualitative research is an overall term to describe the work researchers do in formulating their interpretations of the subject of their studies and giving representations of these interpretations in order to add to a body of knowledge. Qualitative research helps building new ideas that can clearly determine the objectives of an organisation. Since I have chosen a topic of employee performance management at Marks and Spencer, it is very important that focus must kept at the core values of organisation and how organisation reacts to change and employee performance issues accordingly. Marks and Spencer is well known organisation in the UK and has successful brand name, it also faces different issues regarding human resources and employees productivity. Therefore interviews with management as well as employees will put forward various implications which are being carried out during the research.
For this research, M&S employees as well as management team in different departments' especially human resources were also interviewed. At marks and spencer human resource department plays a vital role that is responsible for recruitment and selection and then giving employees all sort of training they need to enable them to work productively. I am currently working for marks and Spencer and it's easier for me to access employees within different departments and get to know their views about different issues within the organisation. I have specifically chosen a store of Victoria Cardinal in order to gather information and for interviewing purposes. After spoken to different employees i managed to gain their consent for interviews and answering questionnaires.
3.3.2 Secondary data collection
Secondary data refer to data that have already been collected but are still related to the research question. This data might come within the organisation or outside the organisation (Shank, 2004). In order to gather secondary data of an organisation the company's internal data bases provides a good starting point. However, the company can also tap a wide variety of external information sources, including commercial data services and other related sources (Saunders, 2008). According to Hodges et al (2005) secondary data is primarily done through a review of existing documents and records. The potential challenges are to identify whether current, useable data already exist, where they might be located and how to get access to them.
Secondary data include both quantitative and qualitative data. Patzer (1995), comments on advantages and disadvantages of secondary data. Secondary data is a source of time saving. Since researchers need only to locate a provider of the data rather than perform the initial research. However, even though, for secondary data to exist someone must perform marketing research, the total time expanded is still less than if researchers performed the research themselves. The total time saving is more prominent when researchers realise that some research activities are dependent on other efforts and people. For example the speed with such data collection forms are printed and questionnaire completed.
Since secondary data, both internal and external is generated for some purpose other than to answer the research question in hand; care must be taken in their application. There are some disadvantages of secondary data as well because researcher has lack of direct control of the date, type and procedure for collecting the data. A secondary data can also be classified as a 'poor fit', because secondary data collected for some other research objective or purpose may not be relevant to the research question at hand. In most cases, secondary data collected from different sources will not be in the right intervals, units of measurements, or categories for proper cross comparisons. The secondary data may not be collected from the correct or most representative sample frame. As the result, some secondary data may be little or no value or even negative value if they misinform (Wrenn et al 2007)
. Researcher reviewed and evaluated literature written on performance management from different sources like existing company reports, journals, library, internet resources such as company's website, press releases etc.
3.4 Sampling technique
Grove (2005) discusses that sampling involves selecting a group of people, events, behaviours, or other elements which to conduct a study. A sampling plan defines the process of making the sample selection; sample denotes the selected group of people or elements included in a study. Sampling decisions have a major impact on the meaning and generalize the ability of the findings. Research is focused on the participants holding management level responsibilities at Marks and Spencer as well as other employees working in company for permanent or temporarily basis. Some employees are working in the company for more than a decade while some just joined the company. That gives a better understanding of what performance means to different employees working in different departments and sharing different levels of experience.
3.5 data design
3.5.1 Interview preparation and scheduling
According to Rozakis (2007) interviews allow researcher to conduct primary research and acquire valuable information unavailable in print and online sources. By including questions from people who have direct knowledge of a particular subject, research adds considerable authority and immediately to research paper. Interviews can be conducted by telephone, by email, or in person.
As mentioned earlier I gained permission from different employees working for marks and Spencer Victoria cardinal store. After gaining the permission I was allowed to have pre-interview chat with all participating members in their own convenient and explained them the purpose of research. I also emailed them research disclaimer by explaining formally the purpose and data protection policies for this research. After that I prepared structured interviews mostly with open ended questions. A questionnaire was provided to all participants where they were allowed to make a decision about their relevant answer. All participants filled in the questionnaire and returned it back in almost two weeks time. All participants were extremely helpful and freely discussed their concerns regarding research material.
3.5.2 Questionnaire design and justification
As mentioned above, survey and interviews will be conducted at the Victoria Cardinal branch of Marks and Spencer. The permission from participants has been taken and the scheduling has been done where surveys and interviews will be conducted. Also, I will explain the reasons and justification for the entire questionnaire asked which will help me to analyse the situation. Questionnaire made is very planned and complete from very basic questions towards more broad questions. The questionnaire focuses on research topic and provides relevant answers. At the start of each question, a small table is made indicating the purpose of research work as, effective employee performance management. During handing in questionnaire, participants were also informed about their right to hide their name or any other information if they do not feel ready to disclose. Table also presents the date and time of the interviews. I tried my best to make participant as confident as possible to get most of the detail in confidential manner. Questionnaire is very direct and gives participants the chance to answer every question freely and honestly.
Please describe your chosen area of work in this organisation
This is a direct and very basic question by engaging participants in a friendly conversation to make them feel comfortable to build the base for a more instructive interview. This question aimed to gain general information about the employee and their field of work.
Do you understand what is expected of you at work?
This is very important question and directly relates to research topic. This question is based on employee's performance within their work field. The aim of this question was to gather information that if employees at marks and Spencer are aware of their work pattern and company's expectations from them to get things done.
Do you have the material and equipment you need to do your job properly?
Employee working with relevant material and equipment plays a vital role in their performance. This question will help participant to comment on company's policy when it comes to basic material and equipments that employee needs to get their work done properly.
Do you have the freedom you need to meet customer needs?
This question is also linked with employee's performance and how organisation manages it. This question is related with employee's sense of freedom while he/she is working in the company. Having no freedom or too much freedom can play significant part in their performance levels.
Does your supervisor and yourself held progress reviews to discuss your performance in your job at least 3 times in the last year
This question is very important with a strong link to the research topic. Employee's relationship with their manager/supervisor can affect their performance in positive or negative way. I wanted to find out if all employees are comfortable about the level of review or discussions they have about their performance. Participants were expected to answer about how many reviews or discussions they have had with their supervisor/manager about their performance in last year
Do you receive regular feedback on your good or bad performance?
This question relates to the importance of regular feedback at the work place. It's very important that employees receive a regular feedback if their performance has been good or bad because this is directly related to their performance improvement. The question was aimed to ask participants about regularity of feedback they receive from management about their performance at work
Does your organisation have a fair system for evaluating an employee's performance?
This question is also directly related to the topic of the research. This question will help to explore the overall perception employees have about company's system for evaluating employee performance. This question can be a bit challenging when it comes to comment on fairness of the system but very important question at the same time.