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Analyze and evaluate the strategic decisions made by Marks and Spencer (M&S) in different periods in the last ten years or so.

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Introduction

Introduction The purpose of this assignment is to analyze and evaluate the strategic decisions made by Marks and Spencer (M&S) in different periods in the last ten years or so. The analysis focused on the relationships between decision making and organizational structure, culture and management styles. Some other factors on decision making, such as the individual factors and stakeholders expectations were also discussed and related to the case respectively. Force field analysis model is applied and evaluated in the analysis. The report is made up of five main parts: introduction, case study, literature review, analysis, conclusions and recommendations. Case Study Marks and Spencer, one of the most recognizable brands in the UK, has been the focus of media quite often for the last few years. It was not because of its excellent performance or amazing profitability, which has become strange to M&S long ago, but the company crisis, the declining customer satisfaction, the shrinking sales volume and market share, etc., all those negative stuff a business can expect. It is maybe exaggerating, but one thing is certain that M&S has waved farewell to its 'golden era'. The changes in the company conditions can be roughly described by the curve below: Profit 1991 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 ( Liu Shen 2003) M&S had been successful in terms of profit and market share until the late 1990s, but in 1998 its profit dropped 23% which caused its shares fall drastically. The situation had been continuously worsened until the year of 2000 when it reached the bottom. What was going on at M&S? A look at three key decision makers and their decisions will help understand the situation. Richard Greenbury ( CEO& Chairman, 1991-1998) Greenbury inherited the management style of the previous chief executives, which is a 'top-down' management style. They paid great attention to details. They controlled almost every aspect of the business including the supplier control, merchandise and store layout. ...read more.

Middle

In effect this is a specialized method of weighing pros and cons. Where a plan has been decided on, force field analysis allows the decision makers to look at all the forces for or against the plan. It is feasible to assign a score to each force so as to weigh them. It helps decision makers to plan or reduce the impact of the opposing forces, and strengthen and reinforce the supporting forces. Analysis Numerous decisions are made at different levels in an organization. Different people have their own roles in every level of decision making. Top management should lay their emphasis on the strategic decision making. If they focus too much on the daily operation and decisions, on one hand the company will be run without a clear direction, on the other hand the middle level managers and employees will be confused. That is one of the key reasons why Greenbury failed to lead M&S. The decisions he had made in the context of the organizational structure and culture proved ineffective or even wrong. His management style and personal perception is definitely an important attribute to his failure. The traditional way of management in M&S had seemed to work successfully, but in today's rapidly changing environment, its ignorance of changes invited risks. The disadvantages of its highly centralized hierarchy and autocratic management style emerged and hindered effective decision making and thus affected its management; while its competitors reacted quickly to the changes and improved their performance to become competitive. The centralized structure didn't allow the store managers and employees to participate in the decision-making process. There was only one-way flow of communication. Employees' opinions on a strategy or plan and customers' feedback were barely received to the top management. Although Greenbury visited stores frequently to supervise the operations, he could only get false message due to the fear of him among the staff. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is desirable to have a better and clearer differentiation strategy. M&S is in the middle of the clothing retail market, which made it lose competitive edge to both ends. M&S can consider moving to either end. However, before any focus shift takes place, it will be wise and valuable to conduct a customer survey to listen to what their customers' thinking. They had been incredible customers because to them M&S is more a lifestyle than a retailer. Due to the feeling, genuine and valuable opinions and advice can be guaranteed from the customer, which M&S should value. References 1. Bazerman H. M. 2002, Judgement in Managerial Decision Making, 5th ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York. 2. Johnson G.& Scholes K. 1997, Exploring Corporate Strategy, 4th ed., Prentice Hall Europe. 3. Lynch R. 2000, Corporate Strategy, 2nd ed., Pearson Education/Prentice Hall, London. 4. Jennings D. & Wattam S. 1998, Decision Making: An Integrated Approach, 2nd ed., Pearson Education, England. 5. Carnall A. C. 1999, Managing Changes in Organizations, 2nd ed., Prentice Hall Europe. 6. Gilligan C., Neale B. & Murray D. 1983, Business Decision Making, Philip Allan Publishers Ltd., England. 7. Lewin K.1951, Field Theory in Social Science, Harper and Row, New York. 8. Thomas J.1985, Force Field Analysis: A New Way to Evaluate Your Strategy, Long Range Planning, Vol. 18, No. 6, pp. 54-59. 9. Dorner D. 1996, The Logic of Failure : why things go wrong and what we can do to make them right, Metropolitan Bks., United States. 10. Hickson, D.J. et al. 1986, Top Decisions : Strategic Decision-Making in Organizations, Jossey-Bass, United States. 11. Garten J. E. 2001, The Mind of the C.E.O., United States. 12. Tse K. K. 1984, Marks & Spencer : Anatomy of Britain's Most Efficiently Managed Company, Pergamon Press, United States. 13. Mullins J. L. 2002, Management and Organizational Behaviour, 6th ed., Pearson Education, London. 14. Gale B. T. & Wood C. R. 1994, Managing Customer Value : Creating Quality and Service That Customers Can See, Free Press, New York. ...read more.

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