With close to 400 shops, 11 million customers a week and 66,000 workers, Marks and Spencer is a respected organization and one of the High Street’s most recognized brands. Nevertheless the days when M&S was uncontested have long gone as clothing sales have come under stress from other high street brands like Topman and River Island and food revenue has been hit by Tesco. Over the last 15 years, Marks and Spencer have experienced a succession of changes in management and organizational culture following a massive decline in sales. What used to be a leading store in excellence food and clothing retailer has now become an out-of-date, passive company fighting to survive in a very aggressive market. Below the organizational culture of M&S will be discussed and how that culture needed to change to allow M&S remain competitive. Organizational culture refers to the collective way of life within a company. Edger Schein a famous and respected theorists dealing with organizational culture says that the definition of organizational culture has to be wide-ranging, or else part of what makes up that cooperate cultures gets eliminated from the get-go. He has described organizational culture as: “A pattern of shared basic assumptions " invented, discovered, or developed by a given group as it learns to cope with its problems of external adaptation and internal integration" that have worked well enough to be considered valid and therefore, to be taught to new members as the correct way to perceive, think and feel in relation to those problems”. Norms might be described as traditions, structure of authority, or routines. Another more straightforward way of looking at organizational culture is to see it as a group’s broad response to a certain situation. An organizational culture is a group of people who have been taught, or who simply have learned by those around them, how to react to a given circumstances. In this way, corporate culture functions just as any public culture would.
Organizational culture becomes the identity of a company, and because the people, who work there, become so closely involved with the company they themselves take on the identity of the company. This is very important to keep in mind, as culture becomes very much like an infinity loop. The people end up changing the culture as much as the culture is changes them. Because culture is so deeply rooted in an organization’s history of success or failure, and because of its communal knowledge, any group that needs to work to change it will be facing a long fight and vast amounts of time, resources, and work. To analyzes the culture and the changes that happened within Marks and Spencers a culture web will be used to Illustrate the key points. The Cultural Web identifies six interrelated elements that help to make up what Johnson and Scholes call the "paradigm" What the organization is about; what it does; its mission; its values.. The six elements are:
1. Stories – The past actions and people talked about inside the Marks and Spencers. Who and what the M&S chooses to immortalize says a great deal about what it values, and perceives as great behaviour. 2. Rituals and Routines – The everyday actions and actions of people that show suitable conduct. This determines what is expected to happen in given situations, and what is valued by management. 3. Symbols – The visual representations of the company including logos, how plush the offices are, and the formal or informal dress codes. 4. Organizational Structure - This comprises both the structure defined by the organization chart, and the unwritten lines of power and influence that shows whose contributions are most valued. 5. Control Systems - The ways that the company is controlled. These include financial systems, quality systems, and 6. Power Structures – The People who really have the power within M&S. The key is that these people have the greatest amount of influence on decisions,...
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