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Strategic Management Assignment: Case Analysis of Marks & Spence's


Task: Your task is to undertake a strategic planning exercise for your own organization, or for an organization with which you are familiar. For this strategic management assignment, you are required to conduct a detailed assessment of various components of the strategic management process and suggest which business strategy you believe will be the most appropriate for your chosen organization and explain why.

1. Clearly describe the chosen organization and industry. Description of organization and industry - (a) Provided a brief overview of the organization e.g. its origin/start, size, market share, ownership, growth stage etc. (b) Included information about the key competitors and industry (as a whole) to help the reader in developing a good understanding of the context in which the organization operates.

2. Identify the company’s key resources and/or capabilities (at least four) and assess the competitive power of each of those resources and/or capabilities using VRIN Test.

3. Analyze its competitive environment using Porter’s Five Forces Framework, assess the nature /strength of the competitive pressures and suggest whether collective strength of the five forces (in your chosen industry) is conducive to good value for the organization.

The scholarship article by Dobbs (2014), ‘Guidelines for applying Porter’s Five Forces Framework’, provides a comprehensive, structured and practical set of templates that can be used by managers to analyze the competitive environment in their industry.

You must use the templates provided in the scholarship article to strengthen your analysis in this part. Here is the Dobbs (2014) editable framework from Appendix 01 of the article.

4. Based on your analysis, recommend which of the five generic strategies will be most appropriate for your chosen organization and provide justification for your recommended choice.

5. Critically evaluate the following two components of strategy execution in the specific context of your chosen organization and discuss their appropriateness for the recommended strategy:

Organization culture


6. Provide an overall conclusion and recommendations


The business conditions are changing with the increase in the market competition. The companies are willing to expand their market share and are executing strategies to ensure smooth service execution. The current pandemic has a huge threat and developing a situation of uncertaintyamong the management of organizationsboth at national as well as the internationallevel. The evaluation of the market threats and identification of the key resources of the company is treated to be effective in building a positive attitude among the business. This is allowing the company to take up measures to ensure that the business is able tounderstand the market condition and take up decisions that are having the ability to develop a profitable approach to the business in the competitivemarket.

The report is a concern with the business of Marks & Spence’s. The business is executing its services in an effective manner in the UK market. Thereport seeks to implicate the measures of adopting a VRIN Test so that the key resources of Marks & Spence's can be identified.In the process of understanding the threats of the market, the use of Porter's Five Forces is conducted. The study seeks to recommendgeneric strategies that could benefit the leadership as well as build better organisational cultures in Marks & Spence's.

Background of the company
Provided a brief overview of the organisation

Marks & Spence's is one of the major British multinational retails, having its headquarter in London, England. The company has been founded in the year 1884 by the founder Michael Marks and Tomas Spencer. The company is serving at the global level. The annual revenues in the year 2020 havebeen $1018.9 million (, 2021). The operating income that the business has in the year 2020 is amounted to around $254.8 million. The net income of the company is $27.4 million. The business employs around 78000 staff (, 2021). M&S currently has 959 stores in the UK market, out of which 615 stores are engaged with the sales of the food products. The company has faced loss in the recent pandemic situation. On the 18th of August 2020, the company had to cut 7000 jobs. On the other hand, the company has been forced to close around 30 shops that have been produced as per the new turnaround planed of the company (, 2021). It has been evident that the business of M&S has been productive in developing ethical as well as environmental friendly environments. Plan A of M&S includes the increase in sustainable products that are expected to cost around $200 million in five years of time (, 2021). Key competitors

Market share of retail business in the UK in strategic management assignment

Figure 1: Market share of retail business in the UK
(, 2021)

The business of M&S is operating in tough market competition. It has been seen that the company has tough competition from the stabledcompanies like Tesco, Sainsbury, Morrison, as well as the ASDA. 29% of the totalmarket share in the UK market is captured by Tesco plc (, 2021). The business of ASDA has been able to adopt the digitaltransformation has been developing huge competitive adages. The business of ASDA has been promising in recent times with the adaptation of their effective capturing around 17% of the total market share in the UK. Sainsbury has been able to acquire only 16% of the totalmarket of the UK (, 2021). It can be stated that the M&S is executing their services in a market condition that is having a huge customerengagement. This it is essential for M&S to understand theirvaluableresources and understand the threats of the market to take proper action (, 2021). It is thus productive in building strangerapproachesand therefore allows the management of M&S to build a positive working environmentandthus build stronger approaches to ensure work palace stability even in the time of economicuncertainty.

Company’s key resources VRIN Test
Factors Analysis




·         Brand Image

·         Social responsibilities

·         Relationship with suppliers

·         Propensity for innovation

·         Capital investments


·         International presence

·         Problem-solving skills

·         Ability to take risks

·         Capacity of Adaptability



·         Quality of the products offered

·         Location of the stores

·         Prospects of product marketing

·         Competitive pricing

·         Experience of the customers


Non Substitutable

·         Financial strength

·         Advancement of technology

·         Train gin of the employee

·         Strong channel of distribution

·         Corporate leadership

·         Strong Human resources management

·         Valuable organisation culture

Valuable: The brand image the M&S has in UK markets is valuable. The brand is recognised by the people, and the social responsibilities like adopting sustainable business measures are helpful for the business to sustain its market position in highly competing market conditions. The implication of the automated CRM measures has been productive in building a positive relationship with the customers (, 2021). The resources are condition to be valuable in building a better opportunity to elevate the profit margin and thus build a better working attitude among the management M&S.

Rare: The business of M&S has an international presence. It has been seen that the ability to expand the company in international locations are very difficult. The business needs to be very particular about its strategies to engage international customers. Theinternal measures if the business expansion of M&S is rare in nature. The companyis having a strong team of management, and thus the aspects of problem-solving are also evident. The pandemic hasexecuted uncertainty, but the risk-taking and problem-solving skills of the company have helped the business serve even in the odd situation (Schleper et al., 2021). The business has a huge adaptability skill. This is rare as the flexible nature of the business implicates products as per the changing needs of the customers. Thereis no rigidness in productdifferentiation in the case of M&S.

Inimitable: As the businessof M&S is operating in the competitive market condition thus it is essential for the company to keep a watch on the imitative resources. Thepresence of substitute products is making it difficult for M&S to maintain the uniqueness of the quality of the product (, 2021). Theprice set by the company iseasierimitated by rival companies like ASDA and Sainsbury.

Non Substitutable: The recourses like HR as well as the excellent training staffs cannot be substitutes. The values of the business and theirrelationship with their trusted customers are efficient (al, 2019). It is contributing to the development of strategies that can use these identified resources as competitive advantages to serve the customers in an efficient manner.

The VRIN test has been effective in highlighting that the company has the entire essential factor which is required for a company to run a successful business in the competitive market condition. It has been thus effective in enhancing the strategy marketing measures. The huge capital investment of the company is allowing the business to adopt advancedmeasures as well as execute attitudes that might be risky to the company.

Competitive environment using Porter’s Five Forces Framework
As per the views of Dobbs (2014), the lack of depth in understanding Porter's five forces might lead to poor decision making and disaster for the organisation. The following is the inspection of the threats of M&S with the help of Porter's five forces. It is helpful in understanding the threats as well as opportunities of the business and thus allowing the company to take a decision for their better prospect.

The threat of Competitive Rivalry: The business of M&S is operating services in tough marketcompetition. A company like Tesco and Sainsbury, along with Asda, is capturing a huge portion of the market share (, 2021). The threat to the rival companies is high for M&S. As the switching cost of the industry in the UK is low, that is building an intense competing condition. A business like M&S has to face huge threats as the risk to decision-making increases.

The threat of Buyers/Buying Groups: The threat to the busying powers is moderated in the case of M&S. It has been identified that the buyers have a huge option to select their desired products. The presence of huge retail stores all over the UK is making it convenient for buyers to buy the products as per their interests (, 2021). The buyers switching cost is low as the brand image of M&S plays a vital role in developing a strong engagement has thus reducing the threats. A moderate threat is experienced by M&S due to the buying groups.

The threat of Suppliers/Supplier Group:The threat to the supplier is low as the business of M&S holds a stronger measure in building an excellent relationship with the suppliers. The excellent Networking and the link with the channels are reducing the threats associated with the supplier (Ranaand Shankar, 2020). The supplier's forwards integration is low, leading to low supplier substitutes. It has been thus produced in building better attributes about the low threats to the supplier in the competitive market of the UK.

The Threat of New Entrants:The threat to the new entrant in the case of M&S is moderate. It is so because of the flexible government policy. It has been seen that the benefit of the demand side is high, leading to the execution of the growth prospect within the country. The new companies entering the marketsand retail sectors are technicallyadvanced and thus are ensuring a better quality of services to the customers (Ranaand Shankar, 2020). The new entrances are tending to attract customers with uniqueness leading to the implication of threat to the business.

The Threat of Substitutes: The threat to the substitute is high as the market of UK has huge brands with similar products. The companies like Morrison as well as ASDA are producing similar products providing huge switching power to the customers (, 2021). The condition is developing a high-level threat to the buyer’s profile. The working environment is subjected to reduce developing threats to M&S.

The implication of Porter’s five forces has been productive in understanding the actual threat that is associated with the business of M&S [Refer to appendix]. The company is operating in the market with the tough market condition. It has been thus evident that the brand image and the experience of M&S about the UK market have been productive in building a positive working environment. It has been thus helpful in understanding the company needs to adopt strategic measures to develop better growth prospects with the reduction of the threat in the existing situation. The close idea about the threat to the new entrance has been helpful in developing measures in creating uniqueness in the company. This allows the business to acquire a bigger market share than that it is having currently.

• The implication of the transformational leadership style is to train the staff with technical skills.

The increasing competition of the UK retail business is urging for excellent teamwork by the staffs. As the business strategies and the working process are changing with time and changing market trends, the implication of the leadership measures is productive.The introduction of transformational leadership is considered to be helpful in building strong measures in guiding and training the staff (Ngewu, 2021). It is helpful in developing positivity among the employees and allows them to adopt the changes in the working environment of M&S. The use of transformationalleadershipis effective in reducingconfusion and chaos in the working environment leading to the execution of systematic services.

• Adaptation of the smart stores to build competitively advanced
Building smart stores with advanced technologies have been in trend. The Amazon Go has created a buzz among the customers. The customers are willing to experiencesimilar excellent services (Polaccoand Backes, 2018). The need for zero contact shopping has been promoted during the pandemic situation. It has been seen that the new store with smart technologies is attracting customer attention. Thus the recommendation of implicating the smart stores for M&S would be helpful in developing positive productivity to the business building a better brand value in the market.

• Adaptation of the perforce management by the managers
Theperformance management with the implication of the reward and appraisal strategies determined to be helpful. It has been evident that the threat of substitutes is high in the process of executing the services in the competitive market condition (Schleicher et al., 2018). A business like M&S needs to adopt an excellent performance. The reward and appraisal strategies are helpful in building a positive working attitude among the customer and thus are determined to be helpful in fetching positive researches. The rewards encourage the staff to serve the business in a well-organised manner.
• Introduction of digital technologies like AI , cloud technologies to improve service
Digital technologies are in trend. Industry 4.0, as well as the current pandemic situation, has developed the need for AI and cloud technologies (Gren?íková et al., 2021). The use of big data analytics are productive for M&S to under the current market threat and thus protect the business by presenting the correct decision making agenda. Thedigitalimplication is helpful in building a better work culture leading to the execution of the services in more advanced and systemic manners, fetching positive results.

• The implication of the HR training is to ensure a better work policy for employee welfare.
Thechanges in the exciting policy are needed to ensure that flexible work hours are presented for a better working environment. It has been evident that the training of the HR and informing them about the new strategies used in the business by changing the policies are advantageous (Kosterand Benda, 2020). A change in the decision making and making essential alterations in the working policy is needed. The improvement in the work and wage ratio would be helpful in developing working engagement of the staff leading to excellent service execution.

Appropriateness for the recommended strategy
The proposedstrategies have their own impact on the organisational culture and the leadership application of the business. M&S are having a huge experience in the market, and thus the proposed strategies are determined to be helpful in developing leadership measures excellently as well as build a positive organisational culture. The detailed demonstration is as follows.

Organisation culture
The stable and diverse organisational cultures are helpful in developing an excellent working environment. Measure like positive engagement with the help of the rewards and appraisal strategies plays a vital role in building a creative's work culture (Nocca, 2017). The development of friendly competition among the staff is evident. It is helpful in building a stronger application of cultural aspects. Employees from different cultural backgrounds work in M&S, and thus, the use of strategies like rewards and appraisal measures for performance enhancement is a useful measure. The strategy of adopting big data, cloud as well as AI technologies are productive in developing a positive working culture (Sestino et al., 2020). The shift from the traditional to the technological working application is helpful in building positivity among the customers. Thestrategies of implicating smart stores are the outcomes of the positiveresponses of the staff towards the identified changes. It has been evident that the staff able to adopt the cultural values have better growth opportunities. It has the ability to develop's a better competitive environment for the business of M&S. the building of the measures to change the HRM policy and to introduce a better working environment for the employees are determined to have positive working measures in developing a better work culture.

The development of efficient leadership measures is helpful in buildings better growth products for a company. Operating in the competitive market, M&S is in need of efficient leaders. It is evident that the selection of the correct leadership style is essential. It is productive in developing a better working agenda. With the use of the transformational leadership style as suggested to M&S, the company has the ability to develop strong approaches in developing better attributes in handling staff. The use of transformational leadership is best as per the current situation of rapid needs of digitalisation (Warnerand Wäger, 2019). The implication of training and feedbacks are also possible in the case of the M&S as the business is suggested to implicate the performer’s enhancement measures. The interpersonal relationship between the leaders and the employees is essential. Strategies like developing the new policies are productive in building a positive relationship with the employees (Martínez-Caro et al., 2020). It has been productive in encouraging the business to build positive measures to develop a better quality of services. It, at the same time, acts as the competitive advantage and is considered to be positive in building smart business reassures.

Thus, the suggested generic recommendation is considered to be helpful in building a positive internal business environment making the company fit to face external challenges. The identified risk can be easily handled with the help of the proper recommendation strategies.

Conclusion and recommendations
It can be concluded from the above discussion that the business of M&S is running efficiently in the competitive market. Thethreats to comparative business are high, and thus the company is in need of adoptingstrategies measures. The measures need to be taken to safeguard the recourses of M&S that can be easily imitated. It has been evident that the business is in need of developing better measures in adopting stringer employee engagements. The business with the use of digital transformation and leadership measures has the ability to develop better working attributes. The quality production with the use of AI technologies would produce comparative advantages’ to the business.

Some of the recommendations that the M&S can use to improve their market positions are as follows:
• M&S needs to work on the marketing strategies. The promotion of the sustainable measures that M&S are adopting has the ability to develop better prospects for growth.

• M&S needs to work on product uniqueness and implicate copyrights so that the products cannot be imitated by the rival business.
The use of the started suggesting would help the business of M&S to grow in both UK and other international locations as well.


Reference List
al Habibi, B., 2019. HR practices of Marks & Spencer, Selfridges, Primark, and Sainsbury’s (Doctoral dissertation, University of Science & Technology). (2021), Annual report 2021 Available at[Accessed on 7.8.2021] (2021) About Us Available at[Accessed on 7.8.2021] (2021) Financial report 2021 Available at[Accessed on 7.8.2021]

Dobbs, M.E., 2014. Guidelines for applying Porter's five forces framework: a set of industry analysis templates. Competitiveness Review.

Gren?íková, A., Kordoš, M., Bartek, J. and Berkovi?, V., 2021. The Impact of the Industry 4.0 Concept on Slovak Business Sustainability within the Issue of the Pandemic Outbreak. Sustainability, 13(9), p.4975.

Koster, F. and Benda, L., 2020. Innovative human resource management: measurement, determinants and outcomes. International Journal of Innovation Science.

Martínez-Caro, E., Cegarra-Navarro, J.G. and Alfonso-Ruiz, F.J., 2020. Digital technologies and firm performance: The role of digital organizational culture. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 154, p.119962.

Ngewu, N.A., 2021. The relationship between personality and transformational leadership in the retail industry (Doctoral dissertation).

Nocca, F., 2017. The role of cultural heritage in sustainable development: Multidimensional indicators as decision-making tool. Sustainability, 9(10), p.1882.

Polacco, A. and Backes, K., 2018. The amazon go concept: Implications, applications, and sustainability. Journal of Business and Management, 24(1), pp.79-92.

Rana, A. and Shankar, R., 2020. Crisis or opportunity: Marks and Spencer’s tryst with Indian retail. The CASE Journal.

Schleicher, D.J., Baumann, H.M., Sullivan, D.W., Levy, P.E., Hargrove, D.C. and Barros-Rivera, B.A., 2018. Putting the system into performance management systems: A review and agenda for performance management research. Journal of Management, 44(6), pp.2209-2245.

Schleper, M.C., Gold, S., Trautrims, A. and Baldock, D., 2021. Pandemic-induced knowledge gaps in operations and supply chain management: COVID-19’s impacts on retailing. International Journal of Operations & Production Management.

Sestino, A., Prete, M.I., Piper, L. and Guido, G., 2020. Internet of Things and Big Data as enablers for business digitalisation strategies. Technovation, p.102173. (2021), Market share in UK retail Available at[Accessed on 7.8.2021] Warner, K.S. and Wäger, M., 2019. Building dynamic capabilities for digital transformation: An ongoing process of strategic renewal. Long Range Planning, 52(3), pp.326-349. ?

Appendix: Porter’s five forces

Market share of retail business in the UK in strategic management assignment

Market share of retail business in the UK in strategic management assignment

Market share of retail business in the UK in strategic management assignment

Market share of retail business in the UK in strategic management assignment

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