Management and operations of Marks and Spencer


Management can be referred to as the procedure of dealing with or controlling things. Operations and management are important business activities. Operational management can be defined as the field in business which is mainly concerned with creating as well as controlling the procedure of production of goods and services. It mainly includes various activities such as planning, organizing, directing and controlling production process. Operational management is very much important in order to prevent wastage of resources. It helps an organization in ensuring that inputs are successfully transformed into output. Operation management supports an enterprise in increasing productivity and also supports in improving quality of products or services. The report on operations management will have a focus on identifying the role of leader and function of manager in context of marks and spencer organization. It will also have emphasis on developing the understanding about factors which has effect on operational management.

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P1. Define and compare roles and characteristics of a leader and a manager

Leader is an individual that hold a dominant or superior position within the field who influences group of people towards attainment of goals. A person in charge who convinces, controls, motivates and guides other people to follow him through inspiring confidence in others to move the in action for achieving personal or organizational goals (Patel, Guedes and Pearce II, 2017).

Manager is a person who is responsible for managing and controlling or administering resources, employees or group of an organization. A responsible individual of an organization who exercises managerial activities, controls departments and guides people or employees in a company with an aim of achieving goals or profits.

Basis of differences




Leadership is the activity, ability and action of leading a group of individuals or organization that involves establishment of a clear vision, sharing it with others to make them follow willingly along with rendering information, knowledge and methods to realize, coordinate and balance interests of all members and stakeholders (Naidoo and Gasparatos, 2018).

Management is the process of dealing, controlling, managing and getting things done through others who are formally organized into groups. It is the controlling and organizing of a business organization that involves deployment and manipulation of staff, resources, financials, technological assets and natural possessions.

Decision making

Leadership of an organization facilitates decision making.

Management are involved in every decisions made by the organization.


Leadership have followers who are controlled and guided by them.

Management have subordinates who have been assigned with certain duties and responsibilities which they need to perform.


Leadership are risk takers and works with the goal of attaining shared vision of organization.

Management avoids or controls outcomes that may affect performance and productivity of organization with a risk averse attitude (Hill and Hill, 2017).


Leadership follows a transformational, consultative and participative leadership styles to lead and direct their followers.

Management uses directorial, authoritative, transactional, consultative and democratic management styles to direct and control employees of organization.


Similarities and Differences



Managing people

For a leader people are the reason and cause for whom an effort is taken and a vision is attained or for completing aa project.

Manager considers people as the significant means to achievement or accomplishment of tasks or completion of a project.


Leaders assist people or employees to create a shared vision that they believe and communicates it back to them to attain agreement (Ramanathan, Subramanian and Parrott, 2017).

Managers help people in making vision actionable by dividing it into incremental goals, tasks and rendering required resources to move forward in direction of attaining shared vision.


Leaders intention is to help people or employees believe in vision of a solution to their reality.

Managers motive is to motivate employees or people on a gradual way to attain vision of organization.

Approach to tasks

Leaders investigates issues or problems and devise new innovative solutions using their commitment and charisma to motivate and focus others to solve them and proceed further.

Managers creates strategies, policies and methods to develop teams and combines ideas to smoothly operate the activities of organization. They empower people by examining their views, values and principles.


Leaders emphasis on leading people and is a people oriented activity.

Managers give importance to manage work and is a task oriented process.

Traits and behaviors of a leader

Acting strategically: An efficient leader must be forward thinking, open minded and must be prepared to adjust strategies to capture opportunities or tackle challenges. A leader must possess curiosity and have a flexible mind to experiment new creative ideas and approaches.

Effective communication: Powerful leaders must be able to communicate effectively, clearly and succinctly to explain followers at all levels to make them understand organizational goals and specific tasks (Gandhi, Shaikh and Sheorey, 2017).

Traits and behaviors of a manager

Technical capability: Managers requires technical knowledge, skills and ability to add value to their teams by empathizing challenges faced by them and devise necessary solutions.

Effectiveness: To make people motivated, value and support them a manager must be efficient that can make employees work in a well-organized manner which will render productivity and profitability to organization.

Analyze and differentiate between the role of a leader and function of a manager by applying range of theories and concepts

Planning: managers of Marks and Spencer performs this significant function to plan and set goals of organization to increase revenues and sales thereby attain a competitive advantage. The goals and objectives or strategies prepared include KAIZEN that contributes to continuous improvement in production process to bring efficiency. Leaders of M&S communicates these strategies and roles set by managers to employees and focuses on their effort in accomplishing set targets and goals.

Organizing: Managers of M&S organizes and utilizes resources available in the organization in an effective manner to fulfill organizational goals. Leaders efficiently allocates resources and motivates employees to perform by utilizing resources to achieve the best result.

Directing: Managers of M&S direct tasks that are to be performed to staff and leaders creates a team or group and directs them the work accomplishing methods (Obayi, Koh and Ebrahimi, 2017).

Staffing: It is the function of leaders and managers to recruit and get best out of the employees in M&S. Leaders motivates employees continuously and allocates work to staff according to abilities and communicates it with them to solve any grievances at the same time evaluating performances.

Coordinating: Managers of M&S coordinates the functions of organization for better results by combining roles of several departments like; production, finance etc. to benefit the firm in high quality manufacturing. Leaders in M&S conducts implementation of best practices to develop coordination in activities with good communication and leadership (Jacobs, Chase and Lummus, 2014).

Controlling: Strategies formulated by managers of M&S and their implementation by leaders are controlled by managers of organization. Leaders authenticates outcomes of employee performances with respect to standards laid down by managers and guides staff accordingly.

Scientific management theory: These approach uses data and measurements to make organizations effective by observing and evaluating processes in quantitative aspects which enables managers to refine information that are beneficial for operations of business and make it more efficient and profitable.

Human relations theory: This approach is focused on workforce and personnel of organization where emphasis is given on capacities and abilities of individuals to act creatively and drive management towards bringing out potential of staff employed. It aligns the needs of employees and workers with organization’s necessities and adopts various policies that are aimed at combined advantages.

P2. Role of a leader and function of a manager in different situational contexts

Functions of a manger and role of leaders in M&S make the organization work in a direction to attain fulfillment of objectives. Various functions of manager and traits and styles of leadership help in proper functioning of organization. M&S is undergoing a situation where the prices of raw materials, resources and personnel are changing rapidly where an effective implementation of skills of leaders and functions of managers for planning and applying strategies is required to handle cost of manufacturing, reduce operating costs, utilize resources efficiently to raise sales and revenue (Voss, 2010). M&S focuses on certain management theories and combines efforts of leaders to solve the current issue faced by organization which are as follows:

Contemporary theory of management is followed and applied by M&S to deal with current situation of increased cost of production where the managers can plan strategies like selecting suppliers who can render raw materials at low cost. Leaders in M&S can motivate employees and followers to adopt advance technologies to reduce operating and manufacturing costs thereby creating an environment of trust and eliminate conflicts and changes in interests of staff.

Classical management theory is also applied by M&S where the managers can make policies to enhance productivity where KAIZEN strategy is implemented in which efforts of employees and management are continuously improving production processes (Kuruppuarachchi and Perera, 2010). A participative leadership style is followed by leaders of M&S in order to improve production and reduce cost of operating.

Management by objective theory is applied by M&S that is focused on combining efforts of managers and employees for accomplishment of goals. Managers and employees work in association and sets several standards or benchmarks of performances and leaders of firm delegates duties to staff and motivates them to perform their best for attaining productivity and efficiency.

Behavioral theory of management followed by M&S includes managers who follows policies that considers skills and abilities of employees and workers. Leaders follows a transformational style of leadership where they communicate with staff by defining policies in an effective manner.

P3. Different theories and models of approach including situational, systems and contingency leadership

Different theories and approaches to leadership

Situational leadership: It is the leadership style that is depended on the skills and capabilities of employees which the leaders are required to influence for accomplishment of tasks or objectives. Situational decisions taken by leaders of M&S are influenced by motivation and capability of followers or employees in organization which is affected by factors within the particular situation (Ahuja, 2017). Relationship between leaders and followers are another factor that impact behavior and decisions of leader in M&S that may also include their stress level and mood. Operations department of M&S may be affected due to implementation of this leadership style as its fluctuating in different conditions. In the present scenario M&S is facing issues regarding increased production and operation costs that might be affected negatively with implementation of this approach or theory.

Systems leadership theory: This type of leadership theory recognizes various systems that affects employees in M&S and how workers impact systems around them. It is the type of leadership where leaders of M&S controls the workings of employees and communicates conditions of organization and motivates staff to work according to the needs of organization. Systems leadership is made of several parts that works together in achieving goals and objectives of M&S. M&S needs to make alterations in operations and production by implementing strategies including KAIZEN and make employees and operational department improvise activities and processes regarding manufacturing or production thereby making it less costly (Baldwin, Allen and Ridgway, 2010). It is a broad perspective that allows leaders to examine patterns and events in M&S helping them in coordinating programs to work collectively for the overall achievement of goals and objectives.

Contingency theory: This theory emphasizes managers to make decisions on the basis of situations rather choosing a strategic theory for all. Leader of M&S takes appropriate actions that are based on aspects that are relating to the present situation. This is similar to situational theory considering broader views that consists contingent factors of leader’s capability and other attributes within the present situation. This theory relies on the fact that there is no best way of leading and leadership style that are effective in some situations might not be suitable or successful in others. It is the extension of trait theory where human behaviors are related to situations where leaders exercise their leadership and is generally accepted that they express more authority and governance when employees are responsive.

Strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to situations within work environment

Leadership and management theories and approaches applied in M&S with the motive of gaining better improved results consists of various advantages and limitations which are as follows:

  • Systems leadership theory is useful in adopting various strategies and renders organization and leaders of M&S a holistic approach to view the complete value chain and impact of organization in developing a favorable environment to attain stated goals (Chevalier and, 2015). Weakness or disadvantage of this theory is that all variables have some equality in extent of impact and control over business environment conditions.
  • Contingency theory is an effective way of explaining how efficient leadership can be achieved and it widens understanding of leaders and links to situations. Weakness or disadvantage of this theory is that it doesn’t explain wholly why some individuals are effective leaders and how to adapt to situations.
  • Situational leadership theory is practical, easy to understand and has perspective value of explaining what should be done and puts emphasis on leader flexibility. Weakness of this theory is that it has only few research studies conducted to justify assumptions and propositions.


P4. Key approaches to operational management and role of leaders and managers

The various approaches to operational management are:

Just in time – It is considered to be as a strategy which is adopted by an enterprise for managing or controlling inventory. Firm with Just in time approach, places order for raw material only at the time when it is required during production process. This approach can be adopted by marks and spencer company, as it will assist business entity in increasing working efficiency (Patel, Guedes and Pearce II, 2017). Just in time approach will also support an organization in minimizing waste as well as inventory costs. Marks and spencer company can use this approaches to recycle and reuse the products.

Big drawback of this approach is that it can hinders the production procedure. Due to delay in obtaining the raw material, firm might face challenges in maintaining the balance between demand and supply of goods or services. Role of purchase manager in marks nod spencer is to identify the req1uirement of raw material and they have responsibility to place order (Naidoo and Gasparatos, 2018). Function of leader is to provide the list of resources required by workers for performing operational activities.

Six sigma- It is considered to be as data driven approach. Six sigma approach assists an enterprise in eliminating the defects in goods or services. It assists business entity in improving the quality of products or services. Six sigma approach can be used by marks and spencer organization, as this strategy will help business entity in reducing the cost of production.

Total quality management- This approach is effective as it enables firm to provide high level of satisfaction to customers. Total quality management approach allows all members in an enterprise to participate in improvement procedure. It also helps an organisation in improving business performance (Gandhi, Shaikh and Sheorey, 2017). Role of manager is to set quality standards for products. Function of leader in marks and spencer is to ensure that all the workers are performing task as per standards. They have responsibility to provide training and guidance to employees.

Lean management- It is considered to be as an effective approach to operational management. This is the approach which is already adopted by the marks and spencer company. Lean management approach assist business entity in bringing positive change in procedure. It supports firm in increasing efficiency and helps in improving quality of products. Role of manager is to make plans for bringing change in the procedure (Ramanathan, Subramanian and Parrott, 2017). Function of leader is to inform employees nod motivate them to participate in change or improvement procedure.

Evaluating the way leaders and managers can improve efficiencies of operational management to successfully meet business objectives

Leaders by providing proper training, guidance and coaching to workers can encourage them to increase their operational efficiencies. Manager by taking decisions related to implementing technology can assist marks and spencer organisation in improving operational efficiency. In addition to this, manager in an enterprise can develop an effective plan for increasing the effectiveness of their operation process. It is important for manager in marks and spencer company to provide sufficient resources to workers, as this will help in smooth functioning of business operations (Obayi, Koh and Ebrahimi, 2017). Manager or leader in a firm can monitor the process at regular interval of time and they can motivate employees to increase their working efficiency. Anoperations managerneed to ensure that concentration remains on the business objective, rather than the narrow focus of different department and division goals (Hill and Hill, 2017). Leaders in an enterprise need to formulate and execute supply chain strategies, as it will help in maximizing productivity.

P5. Importance and value of operations management in achieving business objectives

For an organization to survive in the long term it is necessary to supply customers effectively which is the role of operations management that involves designing, producing and delivering goods and services that satisfies market demands. Operations management is the process of combining and transforming various resources used in operations subsystem of M&S into value added products and services in a controlled manner (Yang, Hong and Modi, 2011). It is important for M&S to be efficient and effective which has an impact on profitability of organization which deals with product and service development function to sustain cost, quality, time and flexibility of offerings. It ensures accurate supply of raw materials in timely manner and builds a strong relationship with suppliers. Customer relationship management renders best quality goods and services to potential clients with an aim to satisfy their needs and demands of market. Some of the importance of operations management are as follows:

  • Minimizing time taken in conversion processes by reducing delays, waiting time in operations of M&S.
  • Reduce cost incurred in producing or manufacturing products and services of M&S with a cost objective
  • Maximizing efficient utilization of resources including machinery, manpower etc with a capacity utilization motive.


Figure 1: Operations management
(Source: Daily Operations Management, 2018)

Application of operations management and factors that impact on wider business environment

Operations management is applied to create high level of efficiency concerned with materials and employee conversion into products and services efficiently for improving profitability of M&S. Tactical and operational forms of operations management can be applied to M&S’s business which will help managers and owners to enhance productivity (Gandhi, Shaikh and Sheorey, 2017).

Project management: M&S’s project managers spends time to plan their product line that includes various tools and methods to effectively create budgets or devise strategic plan. It considers supply acquisitions, employee scheduling, costs of shipment and tariffs in detail to get a product manufactured and reach it in hands of consumers.

Quality and inspection: It is the essential part of operations management that involves assessment of measuring outcomes to check whether business is delivering quality products that meets requirements and demands of market and consumers.

Product scheduling: operations management uses this to develop products and services by scheduling them to point of sales to consumers. It is followed by M&S’s operations management to plan long term projects and overall goals throughout the year.

There are certain factors that affects business environment and objectives of M&S which are as follows:

  • Natural factors that affects M&S which may include flood, fire, typhoons or hurricanes that disrupts manufacturing and supply chain of organization causing loss to the firm. This type of risks cannot be avoided but can be controlled to some extent (Jacobs, Chase and Lummus, 2014Voss).
  • Government policies regarding business policies, tax rates, health and safety issues, laws and regulations might affect operations of M&S. They can participate in political processes by operating in within the confined and established law.

P6. Factors within business environment that impact operational management and decision making of leaders and managers

M&S operates in a business environment that is filled with competition and to gain competitive advantage in market, establish superior position in economy it should adopt a sustainable business model. Corporate social responsibility adopted by M&S’s managers and leaders plays an important role to control the impact of external factors on organization. The leadership styles and management functions influences the CSR activities of firm where the managers adopt policies and prepares strategies to consider factors which can affect CSR activity towards community (Kuruppuarachchi and Perera, 2010). Policies relating to environmental protection, customer satisfaction, rendering high quality goods and services at relatively low costs are some factors that affects the business and environment of M&S. Managers in organization communicates policies to the all personnel of M&S and directs work accordingly whereas, leaders ensure that plans and strategies have been communicated to workers effectively, clearly and inspires and motivates them to perform for attaining target or objectives of organization.


Figure 2: Factors Affecting Business Environment
(Source: Environmental Factors in Strategic Planning, 2018)

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Management and operations report explained the decision making process of leaders and managers in M&S for the improvement of production process and operations of organization to reduce costs while maintain quality. It also discussed several theories of management and leadership styles to eliminate wastage of resources, improve performance of M&S to fulfill goals and objectives and motivate and inspire employees to attain high performance work that can contribute to overall success and growth of company.

You May Also Like: Reflective Journal


  • Patel, P.C., Guedes, M.J. and Pearce II, J.A., 2017. The role of service operations management in new retail venture survival.Journal of Retailing.93(2). pp.241-251.
  • Naidoo, M. and Gasparatos, A., 2018. Corporate Environmental Sustainability in the retail sector: Drivers, strategies and performance measurement.Journal of Cleaner Production.
  • Hill, A. and Hill, T., 2017.Essential operations management. Macmillan International Higher Education.
  • Ramanathan, U., Subramanian, N. and Parrott, G., 2017. Role of social media in retail network operations and marketing to enhance customer satisfaction.International Journal of Operations & Production Management.37(1). pp.105-123.
  • Gandhi, A.V., Shaikh, A. and Sheorey, P.A., 2017. Impact of supply chain management practices on firm performance: Empirical evidence from a developing country.International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management.45(4). pp.366-384.
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