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Human Resources At Marks And Spencer

This paper aims to present and analyse the Human Resources Management at Marks & Spencer and the competitive advantages of the retailing giant. Additionally, it provides an analysis of how the external and internal environment affects the planning, recruitment and selection processes of the organisation, as well as performance management, training and reward processes.

Recommendations for improvement of how Marks & Spencer handle their human resources by taking into consideration the environments will also form part of this paper. The management of human resources within an organisation is an aspect of administration that is comparatively harder to imitate than such other a...

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...spects as technology, manufacturing processes, products, and strategy (Burke and Cooper 2004:10), therefore representing a unique competitive advantage (Pfeffer 1998:7) on the part of the firm exercising it effectively.

With the increasing amount of academic literature focusing on the subject of managing people within the organisation, there is the need to take an existing organisation, scrutinise how it carries out the management of their human resources and arrive at a conclusion whether such management practices are effective or not and how it contributes to the overall growth of the firm.

In this paper, the organisation in focus is Marks & Spencer. Key Features Of M&S’ Strategic Intent Being in retailing for over a hundred years, one of Marks & Spencer’s competitive advantages over their counterparts in the business is the reputation that they have established with their customers, employees and suppliers (Desarbo, et. al. 2001:855).

Their customers have long associated the company with total dependability and value for money; the internal architecture of the company was cantered round permanent employment relationships, strong organisational routines, and a shared sense that there was a Marks and Spencer way of doing things, which the employees benefit from; and the suppliers relationship with the firm in that the external architecture of Marks and Spencer’s organisation was built around an almost Japanese relationship with suppliers – detailed influence on product specification and design as part of relationships sustained over many years (Kay 1999:2).

They also have strong environmental and community responsibilities, (as cited in Kacker & Sternquist 1994:34) part of their corporate responsibility. As stated by Tse, ‘Marks and Spencer have pioneered and excelled themselves in a whole range of ‘modern’ management methods, notably strategic marketing, consumer research, product innovation and development, personnel management, staff training and management development, quality assurance and technological-oriented purchasing’ (1985:13).

Overall, the strong and identifiable corporate culture of Marks & Spencer that operates to get the best out of relatively ordinary employees have continued to produce exceptional corporate results over many years and through many changes in the economic environment (Kay 1995:73). Although there have been downfalls for the hardy retailing perennial over the years largely due to economic crises, they have managed to surmount all the stumbling blocks through an resilience that their competitors view as unnerving.

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