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HRM in Marks and Spencer

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People Management and Development BSPG204 Module Tutor:Dr. Dennis Wright HRM in Marks and Spencer Words Count:2,056 Award Title: MGM (2003-2004) Student: Hao Chen (Colin) Registration Number: 03904301 19/01/2004 HRM in Marks and Spencer Introduction and Background Marks and Spencer, established 1894 in Leeds,UK and as one of the most recognized brands in the UK and worldwide, had been hugely successful in terms of both profit and market share until the late 1990s. However, after that it suffered a reversal in its fortunes. Correspondingly, its organizational structure and culture also underwent certain transformation. The set of dramatic changes include changing top executive and their managerial philosophies. Now, it seems to be on the road to recovery after these radical changes. This article focuses on human resource management in M&S, analysis ranges from its traditional paternalism culture to new HRM practices. Paternalism & Unitarist Characteristics Under paternalism, employers and employees view the company as a family. It's different from traditional manufacturing culture. The separation between the shop floor and management and feelings of 'them and us' are what might be expected within a traditional manufacturing culture, where the employment is full-time, long-term and relatively stable and the typical workplace is a large firm or store. The corporation is a stable sovereign organization with a clear division of labors and everyone abides by the social contract. Similarly, Unitarist deems the business organization as a team united by shared interests and values with senior management as the sole source of authority and focus of loyalty, conflict is seen as irrational and unnecessary. ...read more.


Further, their approach is also rely on and highly trust the quality of British suppliers and M&S play as a bulk buyer who even buy up all the stock of specific suppliers, whereby conducting mass-selling to earn profits. In addition, as the Channel 4 programme stated at 25th Feb,2001 that operations of the organization within M&S is focused on short-term strategy rather than long-term one and they were firmly placed in the 'middle ground', emphasize getting generalized view of the market instead of trying to target various segments market. The overall strategy is risk-aversive and traditional. Hence, they are adapting typical cost-reduction strategy, meanwhile, with somewhat emphasis on quality aspect. In general, cost reduction pursued through increasingly using of part-time employees, subcontractors, work simplification, measurement procedures, automation, work rule changes, job assignment flexibility. Therefore, according to this competitive strategy, the expected employees behaviors should be followed the key cost-reduction strategy characteristics illustrate as follow: Low-cost leadership strategy (Greenbury) Needed Employees Behaviors Human Resource Practices Relatively repetitive and predictable behaviors Relatively fixed and explicit job descriptions A rather short-term focus Narrowly designed jobs Primarily autonomous or individual activity Narrowly defined career path, unitarism Modest concern for quality Externally, reliable suppliers; internally, QC function High concern for quantity of output Lean production, JIT system, fully participation Primary concern for results Minimal levels of employee training and development Low risk-taking activity Short-term, result oriented performance appraisals Relatively high degree of comfort with stability Close monitoring of market pay level 2. ...read more.


In addition, 'excessive fit' can be disadvantageous to gaining competitive advantage since it can make a company inflexible and incapable of adapting quickly to the external environment. Recalled that when Greenbury insisted on its cost-reduction strategy and its quality criteria, the environment of the whole market has gradually changed. Competitors targeted at niche market and adopted differentiation strategy to attract and gain credibility among numerous consumers, whereas M&S still keep its traditional or risk-aversive way to do business. Recommendation Other HR strategies suggestions for M&S: At individual level, employees' motivation can be stimulated through appropriate job design and rewards. Also, emphasizing employees' participation or empowerment, and it could be reinforced through encouraging front-line staff to solve customer problems on the spot, without constant recourse to management approval. At organizational level: Development through changing the paternalism structure and corresponding traditional culture to a culture of the individual and of teams. The organization should focus on building its growth valued (such as brand revitalized by Vandervelde) and rewards excellence. Meanwhile, strategy-focused organizations like M&S can apply the balanced scorecard to align their employees to their strategy. This strategy can be implemented through communication and education, personal and team objectives, and incentive and reward systems. They should extensively use self-managed teams and decentralization. Also, paying attention to reducing status differentials and encouraging willingness to share information. Finally, when individuals understand how their pay is linked to achieving strategic objectives, and set personal objectives to met and help to achieve the strategic objectives, organization's effectiveness will expect to be achieved. ...read more.

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