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Book: The Rise and Fall of Marks & Spencer

Author: Bevan, Judi/ 2001, 2002, 2007/386
Genre: Nonfiction
Reviewed by: IMELDA T. SILVANIA MPA I

The Rise and Fall of Marks & Spencer is a piled up pieces of
information related to the birth and management of Marks and Spencer
until 2004. 1Marks and Spencer, also known as M & S, is a major British
multinational retailer headquartered in the City of Westminster, London,
with 703 stores in the United Kingdom and 361 stores spread across more
than 40 countries as of present. The founder of M & S was Michael Marks
with his co-founder Tom Spencer.
In the book, the author disclosed management strategies of the
different leaders of the M & S. It is also apparently laid down in the book’s
pages the comparison of management strategies that each former and
incumbent manager applied during their terms. Also, the writer evenly
emphasized how does each manager’s approaches affected the rise and
fall of the Business Organization’s stock market status.
Further, the book is simply a story about people where it reveals
huge differences in their behavior, human relations, and leadership and
managerial skills.
Though the author’s point of view perhaps is to inform the readers
about M & S inauguration and its market status until 2004, the writer

1 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marks_%26_Spencer).

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he certainly is stubborn because he was solely raised by his four eldest siblings when his mother died after giving birth to him. Additionally. who are those managers which make “leadership”. quoted statements written in the books highlight a greater understanding on how each chairman of M & S differ and have in common with one another. we could easily determine those chairmen who had fondly used the informal and formal organization concept of management. His father. Michael Marks. we could certainly pinpoint who used Democracy over Autocracy as Management Style or Autocracy over Democracy. the writer facilitates gathering of information through an interview with the concerned officials. He is described as a generous benefactor to the poor as well as of a remarkable businessman. through how they were described by the author. Moreover. a more humanistic approach of leading people. on the other hand. the real one who had exerted a lot of efforts in building the worldwide fame of M & S is its founder. Despite of this. Also. has been busy in earning a living from his tailoring and grain mill business.somehow unveiled deeper in her lines the positive and negative effects of each chief’s behavioral and supervising skills during their administration. Based from how the author depicts the characters in her book. we can ascertain. Nevertheless. Lastly. as their key weapon in dealing and leading their people. By having a thorough analysis on the similarities and differences of the management styles of the M & S Chairmen mentioned in the book. Marks as a founder and the first chairman of the famous M & S had left an incredible record in his management for four Page | 2 .

years. next to Marks’ administration. M & S was taken over by Israel. Then. and confident with a volcanic temperament. humble and he has been a master of running his own business back then. Simon and Israel had been together running the company they realized that the right persons who could give best and reliable information on the problems encountered by their customers are their employees in their stores. he was able to change his managerial style into a more humanistic style which is focused in his care for his people. arrogant. Israel Sieff. because of a sudden turmoil which stricken him in his being the chairman of M & S. Nonetheless. Page | 3 . the husband of one of Simon’s sisters. Like his father. He had simply lead his people humanely. As wholesome as he is since he was with Simon. through his longtime friend as well as his business partner. Simon is a business-minded individual who knows how to strategically lead and run M & S. His chief legacy as a chairman for three years was his attention to and care of the staff. his position was resumed by his son Simon Marks. Simon is autocratic. Thus. Israel is truly a person who is embraced with good qualities. His empathy for people was one reason he and Simon made such a good partners. Since. from then on. His tenacity had not been his problem since it was been strategically coupled with his ability to think critically in times of struggles. After Michael passed away. However. it has become an iron rule that staffs are encouraged to eat lunch in the company facilities. quick. unlike his father who finds his people like his own family whom he should cherish the most.fostering good human relations.

autocrat. M & S has been ruled by two more Sieff who are Edward Sieff. to become more involved with the communities with which M & S traded. If Marcus was a charismatic leader who charmed customers. to improve human relations within M & S and with suppliers. Marcus had chosen George Rayner as his successor when he moved down as the chairman of M & S. Israel’s younger brother. unlike Marcus who encourages human relations in his administration. Marcus saw that the company had grown to such a size that one man could no longer run everything. and Marcus Lord Sieff. second. who wanted to dominate all. He solely focuses on how he would run the Page | 4 . suppliers and staffs. Rayner is a very forceful man who always highlights his position in every discussion which gave him a label. From his memoirs. He had a vision for the company’s growth and saw the need to modernize the management of M & S. he mapped out a four-pronged plan: first. eldest son of Israel. Rayner was publicly cold and shy. Then next to Rayner was Richard Greenbury. he has mentioned that. Greenbury like Rayner. He is a person who gives little time to those he considered as his inferiors.to expand overseas. When Marcus became the chairman of M & S. ‘The development of able leaders and executives with delegated responsibility was essential. and fourthin hindsight a mistake. he is also an autocrat. unlike Simon. Lord Sieff as a chairman is a true leader who commanded respect and affection. After the Sieff’s administration. third. to develop production in the UK and so increase employment at home. Also.After. Israel.

Also. his inferiors were very much afraid from his way of managing. a great recession has just taken place during the management of Greenbury who has been very using Autocracy as his management style. his administration has just revolved in the concept of formal organization wherein he is the sole decision-maker of the company. In his chairmanship he failed to recognize the significant role played by his subordinates. it could be clearly depicted that Marks and Sieff families practiced democracy rather than autocracy. he will certainly fire the person. their way of asking their employees about their customers’ feedback makes their staffs feel like Page | 5 . Meanwhile. they were just those chairmen who were able to give attention on the importance of human relations in the success of the company. His subordinates has been totally demoralize during his administration since he does not to receive any suggestions from his employees. Hence. Also. Additionally. He does not encourage other ideas especially those that come from his inferiors. As reflected from the book. the first five administrations has really applied both formal and informal organization management concept. This is manifested when they know how to value their customers. being autocrat has affected the status of the company which resulted to a great recession. If somebody will try to voice out his idea contradicting his idea.company successfully. Thus. staffs. I think the best management would come from the Marks and Sieff families. From all the behaviors mentioned here. Among others. and suppliers. It was also during his term when M & S had been stricken by great crisis leading to the breakdown of the financial status of the company.

this book written by Bevan pictures the differences of management styles of every individual. To conclude.they are valued and their ideas are somehow important in the success of the company. Though all of the chairmen have been ruling the same company. Page | 6 . This is already a concrete manifestation of my claim. it is clearly shown that a culture of a company could change depending on the person who will reside as its chairman.