Marks and Spencerveryard projects > business organization > case studies > m&s
|Marks and Spencer (M&S) is a well-known retailer
in the UK and elsewhere.
In 2004, M&S was subject to a take-over bid from another UK retailer: Philip Green. The bid has been withdrawn (at least for the time being), and M&S has a new boss.
Among other things, this episode provides a clear challenge to M&S. Shareholders will be looking for medium term value that significantly exceeeds Green's offer, while retaining the M&S management style.
The Green bid was a challenge to the identity of M&S as well as its viability. The proposition was effectively this: let me impose my retail and management style on M&S, and watch me deliver higher long-term profits.
|All organizations need both identity and viability. But
in some situations, there may be a trade-off between identity and viability.
Some organizations devote energies to preserving their corporate identity,
even when this represents a long-term threat to corporate viability. A
large retailer may maintain a strong, clear and consistent brand image,
but the customers may drift towards more fashionable brands, resulting
in loss of business.
One aspect of M&S corporate identity is in a strong (and widely respected) management system. We can learn a lot from the strengths and weaknesses of this system.
Analysing M&S - Suggested Anglesveryard projects > business organization > case studies > m&s > angles
|View the material on the M&S website about the company and its strategy. What is the company saying about itself and its future prospects? Compare with at least one other retailer.|
|Critically review the recent efforts by M&S to improve profitability. How successfully do you think M&S has balanced the needs of identity and viability?|
|If you know anyone who works for M&S, ask them what they think of the recent changes.|
|Do you think it possible that M&S could be more successful overseas? What are the implications for its corporate identity in overseas markets?|
|Could M&S have predicted that their management system would not always deliver results for them? How?|
|Search the Internet for comments and financial analysis about M&S. Has the recent take-over bid affected judgements about the viability of the company? (See if you can find what people were saying before the bid.)|
|See if you can relate key events and changes to the share price graph. Apart from the takeover bid, does this graph suggest any other time period for closer study?|
M&S and Corporate Identityveryard projects > business organization > case studies > m&s > corporate identity
M&S - Viability - Perceived and Actualveryard projects > business organization > case studies > m&s > viability
|M&S is a profitable UK company.
In recent years there have been many concerns expressed about the future profitability and growth of M&S. It has been suggested in some quarters that its corporate style and identity have constrained its financial results.
Stung by criticism, M&S made various changes to its image. It has recruited fashion "experts" (George Davies) to update its clothing range, hired celebrities (David Beckham) to endorse some of the products, and produced a controversial television advertisement featuring a blurred image of a rather large naked woman.
We should also note that, like many other UK retailers, attempts to grow overseas have been unsuccessful. It seems that the corporate identity does not travel well.
Which chart gives you more information?
M&S Management and Systemsveryard projects > business organization > case studies > m&s > management systems
This system has been regarded with respect across the retail sector and beyond; many M&S managers have been poached by other companies, hoping to gain something of the M&S management magic.
However the M&S management system, while impressive, has not always produced good results even for M&S. Sometimes when a system is regarded with such awe, people are blinded to any inadequacies or weaknesses, and accept its findings without a second thought.
The M&S management systems were developed over many years, and of course they became deeply ingrained in the culture. The culture was there to support the old, stolid M&S image and was not ready to change in support of a refashioned image. There was a limit to the management goals that the management systems were fit to pursue, and the management systems themselves came into crisis when they failed to deliver the expected financial results.
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