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MA in Management – Strategic Analysis Module

Analysing Culture and Stakeholders

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SAA 1 – Cultural Web for Marks & Spencer in 1998

Rituals & Routines

“Buy British”

Buyers (in Head Office) decide clothes ranges rather than rely on feedback from the tills

Staff checking stock or counting cash in tills

“M & S way of doing things” – difficult to question


Success stories from past – machine washable pullovers and chilled convenience foods

Reputation for quality at slight price premium


Traditional (old fashioned?) stores with rows of clothes racks

Head Office - Michael House, Baker Street, London

Store on most British high streets

Own store card not credit cards

Control Systems

Top-down, rigid management approach and systems

No system of notional rents to evaluate store performance

Few senior appointments from outside the company as managers start as graduates and work way up through the ranks

Power Structures

Sir Richard Greenbury – Autocratic chairman & chief executive

Senior management team and head office-based buyers take key decisions

Organisational Structures

Hierarchical – importance of Head Office

Decisions taken at centre with little devolution of responsibility to stores and store management

Traditional & long-standing relationships with key suppliers

The Paradigm

“Head Office knows best” based on long record of success

Traditional approach to retailing – the “British” store – national icon

SAA 2 – Paradigm Change at Marks & Spencer

The story of Marks & Spencer over the past few years is perhaps the most vivid example of the Icarus Paradox.  With a long history and presence on every British high street, the company was looked upon as the example of British retailing at its best.  It seemed to be successful at whatever it did and had survived, even prospered, through the ups and downs of retail trends.  This makes the shock of their recent problems more prominent and much has been written about them.

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