Equality at the workplace ensures that each employee receives equal opportunity and not being discriminated due to differences in their characteristics. Diversity on the other hand refers to the differences among people working for the business organisation and reflecting positive values on those differences. The aim of this assignment is to critically evaluate and investigate about how the chosen business organisation of Marks and Spencer responds to the current issues of equality and diversity in the workplace. Marks and Spencer is a multinational British retailer which was founded in the year 1884 and is specialised in selling the products for clothing, home and food.
This assignment will be categorised into different sections and the first section will include the project management plan within which the project aims, objectives and time frames will be mentioned along with a work breakdown structure and a Gantt chart. The second section will involve a conducted small scales research for the chosen topic. The thought section will involve suitable recommendations based on the findings and analysis. The last section will include the personal reflection for supporting the sustainable performance of business organisation.
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LO1: Project Management
This section will reflect upon the importance of project management and its stages. Some crucial components related to the project will be discussed such as the scope, purpose, deliverables and many more along with the development of a project management plan.
Project management refers to the application of methods knowledge processes skills and experience for the purpose of attaining specific project objectives within the defined parameters. Project management involves the final deliverables which are to be constraints to the finite budget as well as the timescale. Project management include the following stages:
- Project initiation: under this stage the needs of the project are being justified and available resources are to be reviewed.
- Project planning: in this page a well executed plan needs to be enhanced and followed for understanding its crucial deliverables.
- Project execution: all the available resources are being allocated and tasks are being assigned to be performed by the project team members for accomplishing for project goals (Machart et al., 2014).
- Project monitoring and control: the stage require continuous monitoring and control over the progress of project and therefore key performance indicators are being tracked and managed effectively.
- Project closure: the final deliveries are being ensured and project life cycle comes to an end with the achieved objective of the project.
A vital role is played by the project management because it helps the businesses to use and implement repeatable processes techniques and guidelines for managing both people and work within the project. This tool increases the chances of success and enables the business organisations to deliver for their project in a consistent and efficient manner within limited time and budget (Machart et al., 2014). It possesses the following advantages:
- It helps in achieving desired results
- Business resources can be prioritised and efficiently used
- Project aims and objectives can be achieved within the reliable scope, budget, time and schedule
- Consistent communication is being encouraged among staff members
- Risks of project failure are mitigated
Scoping a project
Project aim and objectives: The aim of this project is to investigate about how Marks and Spencer implements well being practices for its employees and what strategies are being implemented by the organisation to respond to the current issues of diversity and equality (Bain, 2017).
The project will work on the following objectives:
- To reflect upon the understanding of equality and Diversity at the workplace
- To reflect the knowledge on the factors of sexual harassment, gender pay gap and gender divide in leadership.
- To reflect upon the personal and professional development.
- To conduct primary and secondary research.
- To communicate appropriate recommendations based on the findings and analysis of the project.
Project scope: The scope of this project is wide because the issues of equality and diversity will be e evaluated and examined by considering the impact of various factors including the sexual harassment, gender pay gap and gender divide.
Project purpose: The purpose is to conduct a small scale project and investigate the strategies being used by Marks and Spencer to effectively respond to the diversity and equality issues.
Steps and documentation required in the initiation phase
The phases of project initiation require the project managers to go through with the following steps:
- Creating a project charter: this step helps in outlining the requirements and needs of the project such as the business needs, stakeholders, objectives and goals (Bain, 2017).
- Defining scope: the project scope is to be determined through which the purpose and deliverables can be identified along with the resources for the project execution.
- Identifying project objectives: SMART objectives are to be determined based on the project theme.
- Inviting the right stakeholders: All those stakeholders are to be invited and communicated who might get impacted through this project such as the employees, business owners, business managers, etc.
- Setting expectations: Clear expectations from the project are to be set keeping in mind the different needs of stakeholders (Kizilcec and Saltarelli, 2019).
Project Management Plan
An effective plan for project management has been developed which will be followed during the project execution. The project managers of Marks and Spencer will be required to review and evaluate all the major deliverables of project before initiating it. Through this plan they can well co-ordinate among them for the actions to be performed and can manage huge risks against the project success.
Project timescale: It has been estimated that the total time to be consumed for project completion is one month. All the activities and research are to be performed and conducted within this period of one month.
To manage limited time all the project activities need to be prioritised properly so that the budgeted time may not get increased (Kizilcec and Saltarelli, 2019).
Project cost: The managers of Marks and Spencer will be required to meet the project expenditure for carrying out the deep research, performing the activities, ensuring the procurement of resources, enhancing greater control and monitoring and many more. The total budgeted cost for executive this project is 5000 pounds and the cost breakdown has been shown as below:
Cost (in Pounds)
Research and development
Collection of data (primary and secondary)
Procurement of resources
Controlling and monitoring
Project quality: To maintain project quality some quality control measures will be applied and the performance will be regularly monitored and compared with the help of using the key performance indicators.
Project change: For managing any change in the project research will be carried on to know the impacts of those changes over the project. The favourable changes will be applied effectively through appropriate strategies and then favourable changes will be eliminated (Anthias, 2013).
Project communication: A communication plan can be formulated for sharing reliable messages and information through the right modes of communication.
Project resources: Human, financial and technological resources.
Project risk: Some project risks might include the project failure, increase in time limit, increase in project expenditure and ineffective communication among members. Therefore, to manage all these wastes some significant strategies will be adopted and better coordination will be enhanced (Anthias, 2013).
Project issues: Some issues during the project execution might include lack of coordination, ineffective communication and lack of knowledge among team members.
Work break down structure
Source: By Author, 2020
Source: By Author, 2020
It can be concluded that project objectives are required to be accomplished within the period of 1 month and within the budgeted cost of 5000 Pounds.
LO2: Small scale research
This report will reflect the project execution phase within which some reliable methods will be collected for gathering the information and data related to the Chosen project theme. The reliability and validity of the data will also be reflected along with the discussion of sampling techniques.
Methods for information gathering
To collect reliable data and information the primary and secondary sources will be used for reflecting better understanding of the project. Qualitative and quantitative research methods will be applied for collecting the genuine information of Marks and Spencer. The quantitative method will help in evaluating all the aspects of project and collecting the data from large amount of samples. The qualitative method is used to identify the behaviours and qualities of the employees working in Marks and Spencer and will then the collected data will relate to the issues of equality and diversity (Anthias, 2013).
For collecting the secondary data, the Peer reviewed journal articles will be taken into consideration which have been published recently so that the information can be gathered for the strategy being used by the business organisations including Marks and Spencer for effectively responding to the diversity and equality issues. To collect the primary data, an online survey will be conducted with the employees working in Marks and Spencer for knowing their views and opinions regarding equality and diversity concepts. The survey will be conducted online by sending the close ended questionnaire to the selected employees or participants through email (Anthias, 2013). The random method of sampling has been used for choosing the employees randomly so that the project and results may not lead to any kind of biasness. The sample size is 50 which is standard and it has not been taken large so that maximum time may not consumed.
The probability sampling technique has been chosen so that each member can be given with an equal chance of being selected as a participant. This technique involves the Random selection of employees and allows in making the statistical inferences about the whole group of employees working within Marks and Spencer. After collecting reliable data and information some data analysis tools will also be adopted for ensuring the critical evaluation and analysis of the collected data. Graphical representation will be used for the analysis of collected data along with the use of trend analysis tools such as surveys, social analytics, web analytics and social listening (De Wulf, 2017). The collected data will be analysed through graphs and some critiques.
The following questionnaire will be sent to the chosen participants for collecting primary data:
- Are you well aware of the concepts of equality and diversity?
- Do you face the issues of diversity and equality in your workplace?
- In every two weeks
- Every week
- Never faced
- In which of the following areas you struggle a lot?
- Gender pay gap
- Gender-divide in the leadership
- Sexual harassment
- None of the above
- Does your organization have any strategies for these issues?
- Which of the following strategies are used by your organization for responding to these issues?
- Culture of fairness
- Prevention of biasness
- Core Company values
- Other strategies
- Are you satisfied with the diverse and equality culture at your workplace?
Ethnicity, accuracy and reliability
To ensure the ethnicity while collecting and analysing data the following ethical consideration will be taken into account:
- Informed consent of participants will be taken before collecting information.
- The data will be secured with high security technologies and will be free from any sort of biasness.
- Greater confidentiality will be maintained while data collection through end-to-end research.
- The Identity of all the participants answering the survey will not be disclosed at any cost and will be remained unrevealed (De Wulf, 2017).
It must be made sure that the reliable and accurate research methods are being applied because in the absence of these methods, the inaccurate and unreliable information may be gathered which can increase the overall cost of project. Therefore, to ensure greater reliability and accuracy of the data and research methods the simulation strategy has been adopted for receiving immediate feedback and reducing the budgeted cost as well as the time limit of the project without resulting into inaccuracy and unreliability. Also to enhance the reliability of data statistical approaches have been used within which the graphs and charts will be shown for reflecting the analysis and eliminating or avoiding discrepancies (Vaughan, 2017).
Mixed methodology of qualitative and quantitative methods will be applied for gathering primary and secondary data. The random and probability sampling methods will be adopted along with using a questionnaire. Some ethical considerations have also been provided for ensuring greater reliability and accuracy of research methods and data.
Update on research (including changes and new ideas)
15th Dec, 2020
On this date, I have decided to finalize the defined project aims and objectives and continue to lead further for conducting the research.
16th Dec, 2020
During this week, I have planned out for the activities to be performed such as conducting research, collecting information and methods which will be used for analyzing data.
21st Dec, 2020
I have framed up a questionnaire and selected participants to whom the questionnaire will be sent. Ethical considerations have also been made.
LO3: Findings, analysis and recommendations
This section will present findings of the collected data by analysing that data with the help of using effective tools and techniques. Some appropriate recommendations will be communicated to the necessary stakeholders with meaningful conclusions and using suitable modes.
Findings and analysis
Out of 50 participants, 80% of them are well aware about the concepts of equality and diversity at the workplace but remaining 20% of them are unaware and either possesses no or little information related to it.
The results reflected that 83 % of the total respondents have never faced any kind of inequality and diversity issues at their workplace and are very happy or satisfied with their managers at Marks and Spencer. 5% of participants struggle with these issues in every two weeks, 2% of them faces them every week and remaining 10 % have clicked the option of sometimes.
The majority of employees i.e. 55% have not faced any of the issues but the percentage of employees struggling with sexual harassment is high among all the issues which is 30 %. Another 10 % of them have experienced the issue of differences in their pay due to difference in gender and remaining 5 % have faced the issue of gender-divide in the leadership area.
70 % of respondents agreed that Marks and Spencer have some strong strategies against the issues of diversity and quality such as identifying and preventing biases, equality policies, etc. 10% of them have denied with this and remaining 20 % are not aware f these strategies.
Maximum participants i.e. 40% have reflected that their Company uses the strategy of culture of fairness to provide equal opportunities to all the employees. 30% have opted for prevention of biases, 20% for organizational values and other 10% have said that the Company uses some other strategies.
80% of the total respondents are highly satisfied with the diverse and equality culture at their workplace but 20% of them are not happy and demands for equality and diversity.
As per the report of Marks and Spencer gender pay gap, 2018 it has been founded that the company has the strong and flexible working policies and is continuously growing towards the gender equality network. Marks and Spencer had introduced the board diversity policy in the year 2012 and also updated this policy in the year 2015 with the commitment of maintaining at least 30% of the female representation within its business. In addition to this, the Company also holds a program of inspiring female members by providing them the representations at both the internal and external level. Recently, Marks and Spencer has decided to implement the following actions:
- Addressing the pipeline of women: the company e is deciding to identify the women who are ready to take on the responsibilities of senior managerial rules to whom leadership development training will be provided along with delivering them the inclusive workshops for leadership (M&S Gender Pay Gap Report, 2018).
- Encouraging favourable environment: through this action Marks and Spencer will encourage people to Grab the opportunity by increasing participation and also provide equal facilities to men as those which are already provided to the female's such as the parental leave.
Communication mode and recommendations
The written mode of communication will be considered and the online medium will be used so that it all the stakeholders can be informed with updated policies, strategies and results of conducted research within the least possible time (Vaughan, 2017).
Based on the evaluated results below are some appropriate recommendations which can be communicated to the business managers of Marks and Spencer:
- The company should develop a fair culture of equality and diversity.
- The managers should conduct awareness programmes for all those employees who are not aware about the strategies for equality and Diversity at the workplace (Neal and Vincent, 2013).
- High ranking employees should be encouraged to participate more and increase their active involvement.
- All the discriminatory policies should be eliminated and regular communication should be ensured with employees to know about the problems being faced by them in the context of equality and diversity (Neal and Vincent, 2013).
Accuracy, authenticity and justified recommendations
The tool of survey which has been conducted in the previous section has greatly help in reflecting the accurate as well as the authentic results related to the project research. All the respondents have been selected without any bias and by using right approaches of random method and probability sampling method. Accurate answers have been given by all the respondents based on which the strategies and recommendations have been suggested to the managers of Marks and Spencer. Survey was conducted online so that social distancing measures can be followed during this phase of covid-19 (Parker, 2016).
By conducting the survey online the researchers have been able to reach two large stakeholders within limited duration and the close ended questionnaire has enabled the respondents to answer all the questions quickly without consuming much time. Therefore, all the methods and tools which have been selected are accurate and reflected the authentic results. Based on these results and recommendations have been framed (Parker, 2016). For example, most of the respondents have selected the option of fair culture which has been recommended to the managers of Marks and Spencer for encouraging diversity and equality. Also it was evaluated that meaning of the respondents were not aware about the strategies existed at the workplace and hence it is recommended to the company to organise awareness programs for the same (Dobbin and Kalev, 2016).
Changes in project management plan
The budgeted cost of project needs to be changed and increased as 5000 Pounds are not enough to carry the deep research. Therefore, the cost needs to be increased and time limit may also get exceed up to two months for justifying favourable recommendation. The project has ensured the learning for equality and diversity importance along with the strategies and actions being adopted by the Marks and Spencer.
Results from primary and secondary sources have been analyzed. Project has reflected the learning for diversity and equality strategies. The recommendations have been justified and some changes have been reflected within the initial plan of project management.
LO4: Reflective practice
This section will include the reflection for learning and practice gained while conducting research for this project. The value of project management prospects will also be evaluated while supporting own learning.
Own learning and performance
The entire project has developed certain skills within me such as the research skills, investigation skills, knowledge of communication and many more which can enhance my professional career. I have learnt about developing the work-breakdown structure, preparing time schedules, collecting reliable data by using both the primary and secondary sources (Sang and Powell, 2013). Along with these I have also got to learn about the concepts of diversity and equality within the business organisation including some issues which can negatively impact the growth, success and employee retention rate of employees. I have realised the significance of conducting research and completing project within the targeted duration and budgeted project cost. My research skills and analytical skills have been improved as I am now aware about all the challenges which can be faced by me as a project manager (Sobering, 2015).
I have also enhance my capability of managing the issue of shortage of resources and some other changes which can be made during the project execution such as increasing the budgeted cost and exceeding time limit of the project. I have learnt to manage multiple tasks in accordance to different phases of project management and increased the learning for conducting primary research (Sang and Powell, 2013). The project has also made me develop the communication and interpersonal skills which has developed greater confidence with me as I have increased my capability of interacting positively and professionally with multiple stakeholders. I have increased my knowledge for applying different research methods including the quantitative and qualitative methods. Overall this project has not only developed me personally but also professionally and I have received a good learning experience while completing this project (Sobering, 2015).
Value of the project management process
Project management plays an important and crucial role in the business organisation in terms of attaining the defined objectives and goals within the stipulated budget and time. Time and budget are the two most important parameters which reflect the successful completion of the project. A project management plan is being developed by the project manager for reviewing all the project deliverables and some strategies for monitoring those deliverables (Ashe and Nazroo, 2017). Being the leading business organisation Marks and Spencer tends to ensure greater equality and diversity within its business for the continuous growth and expansion. The process of project management helps in developing project scope, developing budget, identifying risks and preparing a risk mitigation plan for the business. Apart from this, the process also helps in preparing milestones for each activity.
The desired and stated objective can be achieved by focusing on increasing the level of understanding for the diversity and equality strategies which can be implemented within the business organisation of Marks and Spencer. Entire process of project management has helped me to to increase the knowledge of conducting primary research with the help of using close ended questionnaire. Therefore, I have been able to enhance my research and analytical skills (Ashe and Nazroo, 2017).
Changes in project outcomes and decision-making process
The research has reflected some favourable project outcomes search has the increased awareness of equality and diversity among the employees of Marks and Spencer and some new strategies according to the views of workers which can be adopted by the Company. This resort project has improved my decision making process and skills as I now identify and evaluate multiple alternatives before taking final decision and then analyse their respective consequences and after that the final alternative is being selected as the final decision (Sanyal et al., 2015). I have manage the changes into project deliverables in the initial project management plan including the time and budgeted cost so that the standard quality of the project can be achieved. These changes have supported my learning during the project as I have become able to to increase my knowledge for both the concepts of equality and diversity. On that basis I have recommended to the managers of Marks and Spencer of increasing awareness for the equality and diversity programs among the workers (Sanyal et al., 2015).
In this section, critical reflection has been ensured regarding the learning during the project, outcomes, decision-making process and justification of recommendations. Some changes in the initial project management plan have also been evaluated.
The complete assignment has helped me in developing greater understanding for the areas of equality and diversity along with some effective strategies which can be adopted to respond effectively to these issues. These areas have been critically evaluated in the context of chosen business organisation of Marks and Spencer. Both the primary and secondary research has been conducted with the help of using a close ended questionnaire in which 50 participants were selected and the survey was conducted online. This research project has reflected greater learning during the project such as the knowledge of project management process and also increased the ability of suggesting and justifying favourable recommendations based on the findings and analysis.
Anthias, F., 2013. Moving beyond the Janus face of integration and diversity discourses: towards an intersectional framing. The Sociological Review, 61(2), pp.323-343.
Ashe, S. and Nazroo, J., 2017. Equality, diversity and racism in the workplace: A qualitative analysis of the 2015 race at work survey. Online: http://hummedia. manchester. ac. uk/institutes/code/research/raceatwork/Equ...(accessed: 7 April 2017).
Bain, V., 2017. An assessment of the attitudes and practices of employers within the UK music industry towards equality and diversity.
De Wulf, L., 2017. Diversity in companies: towards more equity?.
Dobbin, F. and Kalev, A., 2016. Why diversity programs fail. Harvard Business Review, 94(7), p.14.
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Kizilcec, R.F. and Saltarelli, A.J., 2019, June. Can a diversity statement increase diversity in MOOCs?. In Proceedings of the Sixth (2019) ACM Conference on Learning@ Scale (pp. 1-8).
M&S Gender Pay Gap Report. 2018. Diversity, inclusivity & gender pay. [Online]. Retrieved from https://corporate.marksandspencer.com/documents/reports-results-and-publications/gender-pay-gap-reporting/m-and-s-gender-pay-report
Machart, R., Byrd Clarke, J. and Dervin, F., 2014. Perceived differences, exhibited 'diversity', and overlooked individualities. International Journal of Identity, Bias and Diversity in Education, 3.
Neal, S. and Vincent, C., 2013. Multiculture, middle class competencies and friendship practices in super-diverse geographies. Social & Cultural Geography, 14(8), pp.909-929.
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Sanyal, C., Wilson, D., Sweeney, C., Rachele, J.S., Kaur, S. and Yates, C., 2015. Diversity and inclusion depend on effective engagement. Human Resource Management International Digest.
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What was the project aim?
The aim was to evaluate the ways and strategies being adopted by Marks and Spencer for responding to the issues of equality and diversity.
Did it succeed in achieving project aims and how do you know?
Yes the project aim and objectives achieved successfully and I got to know about it as the company has started implementing favourable opportunities for responding to those issues.
What problems emerged during the project?
There was lack of resources and poor management of funds.
What did you learn while undertaking project?
Conducting primary and secondary research, management of resources and prioritising activities.
How do you rate performance as a person leading the project?
My level of performance was good during the project.
What are you strengths and weaknesses?
My strengths were good researching skills and my weaknesses were ineffective communication skills.
How can this information be made useful for the professional development?
This information can make me handle big and complex projects in the future.