Marks and Spencer–waiting for the warrior A case examination of the gendered nature of change management

Marks and Spencer–waiting for the warrior A case examination of the gendered nature of change... Purpose – This paper aims to explore the gendered narratives of change management at Marks and Spencer (M&S) and uses them as a lens to consider the gendered nature of the change process itself. Design/methodology/approach – Two extant stories: Sleeping Beauty and the Trojan War are taken, along with the cultural archetype of the American West gunslinger to explore the gender aspects of change. The Marks and Spencer case is analysed using the corollary patriarchal narrative of Sleeping Beauty, a story whose organising logic is revealed as one of concern for patriarchal lineage, and legitimate succession. The paper, draws on the Marks and Spencer principals' memoirs and biographies. Findings – Sleeping Beauty is shown as a narrative saturated in misogyny, aggression and violence. This violence, which is shown to characterise the Marks and Spencer case, is amplified in the second narrative, the Trojan War, in the highly personalised battles of the über‐warriors of The Iliad . The paper concludes that violent, hyper‐masculine behaviour creates and maintains a destructive cycle of leadership lionisation and failure at the company which precludes a more feminine and possibly more effective construction of change management. Originality/value – Demonstrates how M&S, gendered from its birth, its development through the golden years, the crisis, its changes in leadership and its recent change management has attempted to respond to its changing environment. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Organizational Change Management Emerald Publishing

Marks and Spencer–waiting for the warrior A case examination of the gendered nature of change management

Journal of Organizational Change Management, Volume 18 (6): 16 – Dec 1, 2005

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2005 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0953-4814
DOI
10.1108/09534810510628512
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – This paper aims to explore the gendered narratives of change management at Marks and Spencer (M&S) and uses them as a lens to consider the gendered nature of the change process itself. Design/methodology/approach – Two extant stories: Sleeping Beauty and the Trojan War are taken, along with the cultural archetype of the American West gunslinger to explore the gender aspects of change. The Marks and Spencer case is analysed using the corollary patriarchal narrative of Sleeping Beauty, a story whose organising logic is revealed as one of concern for patriarchal lineage, and legitimate succession. The paper, draws on the Marks and Spencer principals' memoirs and biographies. Findings – Sleeping Beauty is shown as a narrative saturated in misogyny, aggression and violence. This violence, which is shown to characterise the Marks and Spencer case, is amplified in the second narrative, the Trojan War, in the highly personalised battles of the über‐warriors of The Iliad . The paper concludes that violent, hyper‐masculine behaviour creates and maintains a destructive cycle of leadership lionisation and failure at the company which precludes a more feminine and possibly more effective construction of change management. Originality/value – Demonstrates how M&S, gendered from its birth, its development through the golden years, the crisis, its changes in leadership and its recent change management has attempted to respond to its changing environment.

Journal

Journal of Organizational Change ManagementEmerald Publishing

Published: Dec 1, 2005

Keywords: Change management; Gender

References

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