The Role of Leader and Functions of Management


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Organization Selected : Marks & Spencer


Management and Operations are two different branches or specializations within a specific field. The term management refers to setting up of strategic goals, to make decisions on how the overall organization would be operated. Whereas, operations is defined as a particular task or job done to achieve a certain target. This report will discuss, about the role of leader and functions of management and how they are applied to the different contexts of organization. The importance of operation management for achieving objectives of business entity.

Different theories and models or approaches of leadership like System and Situational Leadership and how its applied by M&S Marks & Spencer is a multinational British Company that deals in home products, luxury food items and clothing for men and women. It was established in year 1884 and it operates worldwide including prominent markets of Asia and Europe.


1. Introduction of Marks & Spencer and its management structure

Marks & Spencer was originally established with “M & S” name; company gains it reputation after it made strategy of selling only British made product. Marks & Spencer used to sell only food and clothes under name of “St. Michael”. It slowly gained popularity and became the highest clothing brand in UK and Europe.

It follows flat management structure. In this form, there is less or limited number of management between front line employees and upper level management. Flat organisational structure is of pyramid shape but due to limited level of management between employees and top management due to this organisation structure is flat and broader.

Marks & Spencer have different department heads and managers managed by different executive managers. This structure is followed by company to reduce bureaucracy and involves employees to make decisions and improve their skills. It helps in making communication between base line employees and top-level managers easy which promote faster changes and quick solutions to company's problems. This form of structure help in getting loyal and dedicated staff, which help organisation to achieve it goals and objectives in given time (Jacobs and et. Al 2014).

2. Define managers and leader and compare their roles and characteristics

  • Manager: A person who is responsible for administering or guiding a group of people or an organisation. He is responsible to complete a certain group of task with provided skills.
  • Leader: Any individual or person who leads or commands a group, an organisation or country. In an organisation, a term leader refers to any person who influences group of people to achieve goals of organisation (Song and et. al 2015).

Characteristics of Manager and Leader



  • In M&S Ltd performing of task is more important than people.
  • It focuses more on effectiveness of work performed by an individual.
  • The managers of company set goals which are to be achieved with the collective efforts of individual.
  • It helps in controlling the risk associated with certain operations of company. Example; a risk occurred in food business of company which was controlled by introducing HACCP technique.
  • The leaders of company give importance to their people.
  • Leader brings best out of a person. It is difficult to learn good leadership skills.
  • It helps to set a vision for people and inspire them to turn into reality. Vision of company is to achieve “sustainable” retail business.
  • Leaders are willing to try new things by taking risk, even they may fail.

Role of Manager and Leader



  • The prime responsibility of manager is to support business growth.
  • Manager communicate effectively. Manager should properly explain the goals of Marks & Spencer to their employees.
  • Managers of M&S are responsible to train their employees for their specific jobs.
  • Effective leader help employees in representing a good image of organisation to public and in industry.
  • In a company managers who are leaders take support from employees.
  • In M&S The effective leadership of mangers are seen at top level of organisation

3. Roles of a leader and functions of a manager apply in given situations

Situation 1:Sales of company are drowning due to intense competition in market.

In the above case, manager of Marks & Spencer would make strategies to boost the sales. He will assist employees on how to achieve goals. However, leader of company would motivate employees to achieve set targets. He will act as a guide and mentor to people to overcome from the above situation.

Situation 2:Company has decided to close it 100 stores all over UK.

The function of manager will be to formulate plans to open new stores in other parts of country to increase sales and earn revenues. Manager will help in delegating roles and responsibility to employees for new market. However, leader would solicit support from employees and also ask for their reviews on this decision.

4 Different theories and models of approach to support growth and sustainable performance

  • Situational Leadership: In this form of leadership, the leader adjusts his development level to an individual whom they want to influence. Changes in style is based on the circumstances or situation (Ng and Sears, 2012).

There are four types of situational leadership:

  1. Directing:Leader takes decision and informs employees about the same. Employee performs in a same way as they are been told. This applies when a new person joins company.
  2. Coaching:Employees are involved in decision-making process. This helps in creating self-confidence and esteem in employees. This style is followed in M&S Ltd to motivate existing employees.
  3. Participating:More authority and responsibility is given to follower in this style. Leaders also provide feedback and guidance in relation to tasks. Company involves participation of employees in matters related to operational activities.
  4. Delegation:It is done at lower level of management, where employees itself chooses which task they want to perform and directions they will take. This helps to reduce burden on leaders in relation to small matters prevailing in company.
  • Systems leadership:It means to create a condition where all members of organisation works effectively. This means leaders are need to perform certain duties beyond the set limits of authority and responsibility. How they perceive to particular information and evaluate gathered data. M&S has made new leadership approach to improved the functioning of it clothing department (Giltinane, 2013).
  • Contingency leadership: It is opposite of situational leadership as it states that effectiveness of leadership is achieved when the style of leaders should be matched with given situation. According to this theory styles of leadership cannot be modified or influenced (Plambeck,2012).
  • Transactional leadership:it is a traditional theory where leadership uses punishment and rewards to motivate employees. It is an effective tool which helps in getting non performing employees to work, achieve short-term goals of organisation.

5 The strengths and weaknesses of different theories and approaches

Situational leadership:



  • It is one of the oldest theory of leadership.
  • Theory focuses on flexibility of a leader and reminds him to treat each subordinates equally.
  • This theory can be applied to various context.
  • It is difficult to find how much commitment of managers are required for work.
  • It is easy to understand, sensible and have practical approach.
  • Very little research to support assumption of this theory.
  • It cannot be applied on group problems. It is meant to solve only one on one situation.
  • It is difficult to find how much commitment of managers are required for work.
  • The styles of leaders cannot be changed or influenced.

Contingency leadership:



  • It has widened the scope of leadership.
  • Theory provides data to organisation in relation to leadership styles which can be utilised for human resource planning.
  • It teaches the importance of different styles of leaders.
  • Theory fails to explain what should be done when styles of a leader dose not match situation.
  • It is a complex approach.
  • This approach is difficult in empirical testing.

Systems leadership:



  • Adaptive and dynamic in nature.
  • Theory focuses over multiple dimensions of management.
  • It helps in achieving both individual and organisational goals of company.
  • It leads to delay in decision-making process.
  • This theory is not applied to small organisation.
  • Does not respond to contingencies.

Transactional leadership:



It uses effective motivational technique.

Employees may be dissatisfied with punishment given to them.

This help in increasing productivity and cutting down cost.

Subordinates dose not show active participation.

Theory help in achieving the vision of company.

High motivational perks can lead to increase in cost.

7 How managers and leaders make impacts on the organization

The manager and leader plays a crucial role in an organisation. They are important tools through which performance of business can be improved. Managers set targets and help each individual to effectively contribute towards the achieving the goals of organisation. Poor performance by them can affect the perception of employees, values and vision of business which results in high turnover of staff. But, if managers perform it duty effectively it will help in attracting top talents to company(Cuadrado, Navas, Molero, Ferrer and Morales, 2012).

Leaders directly influence an individual, it determinates culture, values and motivate employees to achieve both organisational and individual goals. They help in evaluating the gathered information and applying of different approaches to improve thinking skills of employees. It helps subordinates to create a vision and achieve them.


1. Introduce operation management and the key approaches adopted by the organization

Mark & Spencer gains popularity not only in it home country but internationally. Large operation of country all over world shows a great success to company. But in late 1990's company saw a downfall and business went on decreasing. To improvised the situation company has opted strong operation management i.e. Company has decided to improve it clothing production line by introducing plan to focus on core customers who want to spend money and are interested in classic fashion. It has introduced changes like simplifying the ranges, focusing on quality and uniqueness of it each food item produced by them. It has included three supply chain strategies i.e. lean, hybrid and strategic, due to different product lines. Key approaches adopted by Mark & Spencer are:

  • Budgets of company should be made operationally and not centrally.
  • Marks & Spencer is shifting it focus to integrated products.
  • Innovation in practices of operation management.
  • Company has adopted a key approach of lean strategies.
  • It has adopted strategic approach and improves sustainability at every level of operation.
  • Company has introduced sustainability in values and mission.

2. The roles and responsibilities of managers and leaders in the successful management of the operation

Roles and responsibility of managers are as follows:

  • They are linked to individual customers and serves products/service of company to them. It acts as bridge between customers and organisation, managers tell about the needs and demands of consumers to business and in turn company act and produce according to it (Tahan and et. al 2015).
  • It serves as link between top level authorities and base line employees, manager translate all the higher level strategies into operations which results in achieving of set target.
  • Manager are directly related to front line employees thus they act as guider, mentor and support system. Also, they help top level authorities in order to know the needs of employees (Luria, Cnaan and Boehm, 2017).

Roles and responsibility of leader are as follows:

  • Leader in organisation is responsible to formulate strategies to achieve objectives/ goals of company.
  • Company leaders effectively managed day to day operations within business.
  • They listen to feedback of employees and support in active participation.
  • Provide any training required by subordinates to operate or conduct specific job.
  • They influence employees through it skills and time management techniques (Lian and Tui,2012).
  • Leader of M&S Ltd uses a proper motivation technique for individual employees.

3. Importance and value of the key approaches to operations management in achieving organizational objectives successfully

The key approaches adopted by Mark & Spencer help organisation to achieve great success in there operations. Importance of key approaches are:

  • By adopting value chain process company has earned back the loyalty of it customers. They are attracted to company products.
  • Adopting of strategic approach help company to reduced down it cost and increase it productivity and gets sustainable development. It helps in achieving desired results.
  • It has made changes in it supply chain by introducing lean supply chain which ensures company to get product at lower cost with high quality, and sell it to customer in low price.
  • M&S has adopted approach of carbon neutral. This help company in reducing it food wastage up to 40% and improves it energy efficiency by 26%. This innovation in operation management help company to produce eco-friendly products.
  • Introducing of sustainability in companies value, services help it to produced accordingly. Achieve it mission successfully.

4 how managers and leaders could be effective in improving operational efficiencies

The leaders can improve operational efficiency by:

  • Quality of work:To check how well employees are working, what impact dose it has on business. If an employee is doing poor quality of work then it should be checked and informed the employee about same.
  • Knowledge of Employees:A leader should know about there subordinate it should have a basic information regarding to them. It will help to address leader properly.
  • Developed effective Communication :To get to know about work of employees and to make them aware about business objectives it is important to have an effective communication with them.
  • Know about there Skills:Leader should know about the skills of there various employees. It will help leader to know there abilities and make the best use of it. If ta subordinate lack certain skills he can assist or train them for same.

The managers can improve operational efficiency by:

  • Keep a check on performance:Managers should check the performance of employees, this would help in appraising good and competent employees and punishment to unskilled employees.
  • Provide Information:They should provide employees with all the information in relation to there work. It will help in responding quickly to any threats or to strategies of competitor.
  • Quality Standards:Manager should set a quality standard to measure the performance of employees. These standards will help company to know what changes can be made to reach these standards (Hilton and Sohal, 2012.).

5. The impact of external business environment factors on operational management

There are various factors that do affect the business environment of Marks and Spencer by its operational management and these are described below:

  • Global Competition: Marks and Spencer have increased global market in the existing market because the company expand their business to foreign markets. In order to survive in this global world, Marks and Spencer must have more than one competitive and with rise in global economy.
  • Quality and customer service: this is the main factor which creates great impact on a company. As operational management focus more in quality of goods supplied and process in creating the best customer experience (Shahdany and 2018). This is done by customer flow and make them aware and establish good relation with customers.
  • Rapid expansion of advanced technologies: with the development of new technologies and applied it on the business activity will help to expand the business because there is a wide scope of technologies and operational management of Marks and Spencer has used this from the development of products into design and help to improvement in many operational system. Using this into a business will help to reduce the cost and improve the quality and delivery process by creating good values for the customers (Chandra and Wella, 2017).
  • Cost challenges: Marks and Spencer provide products in such a low rate as compared to its rivals but it may affect the profit of the business as operational management provide direct supply to the customers but fix prices to that product is quite difficult and that is why consider it a biggest factor.

6. Critically evaluPlambeck, E. L., 2012ation of the application of operational management

It is evaluated that Marks and Spencer must have more than one competitive and with rise in global economy the company must make or buy their products from Europe by combining two locations and should not produce less than 15 countries from all over the world. According to quality and customer service sometimes Marks and Spencer do not fulfil the needs of customers and some time it may provide good quality of product with lower rates (Nakajima and 2018). It is evaluated that rapid expansion of the latest technologies would help to attract more customers and sell that product in lower the price will attract more and more customers and maximizes the sale.

7. Suggest recommendations for future improvements

  • Provide training to managers: Training should be provided to managers in order to increase the operational efficiency of organisation. Managers should be trained through actual situation so that they can apply them afterwards in organization.
  • Utilisation of Resources: It should be seen that resources of organisation should be properly utilised so that maximum benefits can be achieved.
  • Effective Plambeck, E. L., 2012Communication:Adopt an effective and strong communication mechanism so that employees are well aware about decision of top level authorities. Also, quick decision can be taken in relation to any problem.
  • Proper Allocation of Resources: Available resources within organisation should be properly allocated to each department. It will help in reducing conflicts within different departments.
  • Improve Marketing Strategies: The manager should work to formulate new marketing strategies to increase productivity and sales of organisation.

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From the above report it is concluded that management and operations plays a vital in business. By summing up the above report, it is analyses that leaders and managers of Marks and Spencer have different roles and characteristics. It also examines the role of a leader and functions of manager in various situational leadership. The report also present different theories and models such as situational, system and contingency leadership and assess its strength and weakness. The report also evaluate how the leaders and managers can improve their efficiencies of operational management in order to meet the objectives. The report shows the importance and value of operation management of Marks and Spencer. The report assess all the factors within the business environment that impact upon operational management and help in decision making. It also evaluates the application of operation management to manage the factors in order to expand the business.

You may also like: Being A Successful Leader


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