Human Resource Issues in Retailing

This section contains manuscripts examining topics involving Human resource issues in retailing

Altman, Gene, “An Affordable Simplified Sales Training Program for Retail Sales Clerks”,ACRA, Winter 1983. A step by step procedure for implementing a training program for employees in a retailing environment in order to improve sales staff performance. Includes such topics as what the objectives of such a program should be, and overcoming employee hostility.

Altman, Gene, “A Guide to Planning Your Christmas Season Sales Training Seminar”,ACRA, Winter 1983.A step by step guide to planning a seasonal promotion with the specific goals of improving sales staff performance in serving customers, and thus increasing sales.

Anderson, Carol and Marilyn Detomasi , “Recruiting Qualified Entry Level Employees: The Retail Manager's Dilemma (An Abstract)”,ACRA, Spring 1989 .Twenty-six managers in a regional mall reported problems in attracting qualified hourly employees. Few had systematic hiring procedures, job descriptions, formal training, or checked references. Results confirm the need for advance planning for hiring and retention. This includes recruiting sources and methods, interview techniques and selection tools, and employee evaluation.

Anderson, Patricia, “Scheduling Retail Sales People”,ACRA, Winter 1983 .A case that deals with the integer linear programming solution to a cost minimization problem in the area of optimal scheduling of retail sales personnel.

Bastow-Shoop, Holly, “Shoplifting: A Problem in North Dakota” ,ACRA, Spring 1986.
A study of retailer response to shoplifting in Fargo, N.D. Eighty-one apparel, grocery, and drug merchants responded to the mail survey. Only summary statistics are given.

Buckingham, Lynn and Ann Paulins, “Retail Executives’ Perceptions of Competencies Essential for Entry-Level Success in Fashion Merchandising”,ACRA, Spring 1993 .
A study examining how retail executives rank core competencies essential for entry-level positions. Among those discussed are merchandise buying, basic retail math, decision-making techniques, and ethical management practices. The degree to which executives agree on these competencies is also studied.

Burns, David, “Retail Salespersons: Improvements of the Prospecting Function” ,ACRA, January 1992, NYC (Combined Conference with NRF).This article explains how the salesperson can be more efficient and productive when serving the customer. By asking the customer a few questions based on uniqueness and innovativeness, the salesperson can tailor his/her sales to better meet the customer's wants and needs.

Carter, Susan G. and J. Patrick Kelly, “Reasons Behind the Rush to Leave” ,NRMA, January 1983 .This paper analyzes the problem of junior executive turnover in retaining. It identifies some of the conflicts and advises the retailers.

Choi, Young-Eun and LuAnn Ricketts Gaskill , “An Analysis of Mental Processes, Behaviors, and Job Satisfaction of Apparel Product Developers and Traditional Retail Buyers” .This study presents an analysis of specific job characteristics, job contents and behaviors in the two diverse merchandising line development process of traditional retail buying and apparel product development." A random sample of 250 from each group was surveyed through self-administered questionnaires. ANOVA, MANOVA and Chi-Square statistics were performed in the analysis of the data. It was determined that "Significant differences were found between apparel product developers and traditional retail buyers.

Cochran, T. Kathleen and Jernigan, Marian , “Preemployment Integrity as a Means of Controlling Employee Theft”,ACRA, April 1992, Dallas .This study was designed to investigate the use of integrity tests by leading discount and full-price department and apparel specialty stores and to determine the relationship between an individual's integrity test score and his/her level of moral reasoning.

Cox, Charles E and Barbara Kay Fuller, “Predicting Retail Sales Productivity Using Pre-Employment Interview Data”,ACRA, Spring 1987 .This study reports on the relationship between sales productivity and data about interviewees, such as personality characteristics, experience, and test scores. The research was completed by sampling 148 applicants hired for sales positions at a major retail department store.

Crutsinger, Christy,  HaeJung Kim and Dee Knight, “The Effect of Supervisors’ Behavior on Their Job Satisfaction and Perception of Teen Employees’ Job Performance”, ACRA, Winter 2005, New York. The purposes of this exploratory study were to: 1) were to identify the underlying dimensions of supervisors’ behavior and teens’ job performance, and 2) determine the causal relationship between supervisors’ behavior, their job satisfaction, and their perceptions of teen employees’ job performance. This study uses structural equation modeling to explain how supervisors’ behavior can impact their own job satisfaction and influence their perceptions of how successfully teens sell merchandise, solve problems, and complete tasks

Curry, Nettavia D and Linda K Good., “Factors Influencing Training Effectiveness for New Retail Sales Associates” ,ACRA, April 1994 .This paper studies the effectiveness of retail training programs and how training is related to and predicts trainee performance on the job. The study incorporates the following variables: locus of control, motivation to transfer, learning, performance and transfer of training. It also provides recommendations for improving the effectiveness of training programs.

Donnellan, John, “Functional Competencies for Managers in Retail Organizations”,ACRA, Winter 1999.The continuing job-role changes within the retail industry necessitate an on-going assessment of the effectiveness of retail education in preparing students for retailing careers. This study is an industry perspective of the relevance and importance of specific academic and functional competencies as preparation for careers in retailing.

Donnellan, John , “Educational Requirements for Management-Level Positions in Shopping Centers”,ACRA Spring  1998 (Washington, DC) ,This is a study of the educational preparation and functional competencies required for shopping-center management careers. The results are based on a survey of major shopping-center practitioners, and college educators with programs intended to prepare students for retailing careers.

Donnellan, John, “The Relationship Between Line and Staff Managers in a Supermarket Chain”,ACRA, Spring 1999.This paper examines the differences between line and staff managers in a supermarket chain, surveying each group’s perception of the other. Studies included empathy and cooperation, general effectiveness of communication, and work-related interactions between the two groups. Findings show no differences in demographics, but significant differences between mean responses of both groups.

Dunne, Patrick and Laner Alan “Retailers Next Challenge: Unions” ,ACRA, Winter 1992, NYC. Retailers in the latter half of this decade will begin to face a labor shortage in the 14 to 25 year old age group, as well as the women without children at home category. Some retailers believe that this could be the impetus for labor unions to enter the picture. This paper looks at the reasons that cause employees to seek out union support and suggests corrective actions that retailers can take now to prevent union problems.

Easterling, Cynthia R., “Management/Merchandising Training Program: A Survey of the Top 100 Retail Department Store Divisions” ,ACRA, Spring 1989.This study examined retail/management/merchandising training programs in the top 100 department stores as identified in Stores, July, 1988. Data was sought concerning the history of the programs, duration of the programs, number of participants, and the length of time a newly hired trainee remained with the company.

Fairhurst, Ann E.,. Fiorito Susan S , “Investigation of the Job Content of Small Apparel Store Buyers”,ACRA, Winter 1988 .A sample of 153 retailers from 42 different states was used in the study. The purpose was to investigate the content of a buyer's job in a small apparel store.

Feinberg, Richard A and Charles Trappey, “Analysis of Retail Employee Work Stoppages, 1953 – 1980”,ACRA/NRMA, Winter 1989 .The patterns of American retail employee work stoppages are described for a 35 year period, including measures of duration, breadth and frequency.

Feinberg, Richard A. and Patricia Gifford, “So You Want to Be President: A Look at the Executives of the Top 100 Department Stores” ,ACRA, Winter 1985.An examination of the educational and professional backgrounds of the heads of the top 100 department store divisions. A comparison with the heads of the Fortune 500 found the retailers to be younger, less educated, equally male and white. Harvard is the major source of MBA degrees for this group.

Feinberg, Richard A., Amy Powell Rummell, and Lisa Mataro, “Maybe We Want Them to Leave: Functional and Dysfunctional Turnover in Retail Management” ,ACRA, Winter 1984 .An examination of the personnel records of a midwestern retailer provided the opportunity to look at turnover as either functional (serving the needs of the organization) or dysfunctional (not in the best interest of the organization). The study points out that high turnover is not necessarily a sign of problems. Many good people leave for totally uncontrollable reasons, and many poor ones do not leave soon enough. Management is encouraged to take a new look at turnover as both a positive and negative indicator of organizational health.

Feinburg, Richard A., Yoon, S.J and Charles V Trappey,., “Pay For Performance in Retailing”,ACRA, Spring 1990 .A study that assesses two questions. First, do paying for performance compensation plans work in retailing? Second, to what extent is retailing the leader or the follower in using pay for performance incentives?

Fiorito, Susan S and Fiorito Jack, “Human Resource Management in Retailing” ,ACRA, January 1987.A study of the retailing industry in contrast to other industries. Areas that are covered include employee characteristics and behavior, job characteristics and context, job satisfaction, unions, productivity in retailing, job compensation human resource and industrial relations, management practices, and functional responsibilities.

Fiorito, Susan, “Investigation of the Job Content of Small Apparel Store Buyers” ,ACRA, Winter 1988.The purpose of this study is to investigate the content of a buyer's job in a small apparel store using the Position Analysis Questionnaire.

Fiorito, Susan, Jack Fiorito and Kenny Law , “Retailing and Service Sector Unionization”
ACRA, Spring 1989.This study uses two independent national surveys of employees conducted in 1977 and 1984 to explore the reasons for inter-industry differences in unionism. In particular, it attempts to describe the current status of unionization in the retailing and service industries as compared to manufacturing industries.

Fortenberry, Sally L., “A Comparison of the Consumer's Preference for Sales Service and the Training of Apparel Retail Sales Personnel” .A study that compares apparel retail sales personnel training to consumer's preference in regard to sales service. The paper analyzes management's communication with employees, the initial training program, testing the effectiveness of sales training, and determining if sales service influences customer loyalty.

Fuller, Kay Barbara and Charles E Cox, “Predicting Retail Sales Productivity Using Pre-Employment Interview Data”,ACRA, Spring 1987 .This paper discusses hiring techniques that successfully predict retail sales productivity. Possible factors included are ability tests, background information, personality tests, skill's level, and honesty tests

Gable, Myron and Stephen Holoviak, “Determining the Cost of Supplemental Benefits” ,ACRA 1983.A consideration of the various components of a supplemental benefit package for employees of a typical specialty retailing organization.

Gable, Myron and Charles Hollon, “An Empirical Investigation: Employee Turnover of Managerial (Part I) Trainees in a Department Store Chain”.Retail employee turnover is analyzed. Factors such as: sex, education, major in college, previous experience, recruitment source and others are researched.

Gable, Myron and Charles Hollon, “Cost and Controlling Employee Turnover in Retailing (Part II)” ,ACRA, Winter 1983 .A brief study of the organizational consequences of employee turnover; methods of assessing turnover; methods of analyzing turnover; cost of separation, replacement, and training; and how to control turnover.

Gable, Myron and Charles Hollon, “Comparison of Personnel Practices of Unionized vs. Non-Unionized Retailers” ,ACRA, Winter 1983 .An extensive comparison of unionized and non-unionized retailers' personnel policies and practices. Includes areas such as recruitment, training, salary, supplemental benefits, etc.

Gable, Myron and Charles Hollon, “A Longitudinal Analysis of the Quality of Work Life in the Retail Sector”

Myron Gable and Charles Hollon .A brief report of the findings of a study of the perception of working conditions as seen by retail managers over the five year span, 1971-1976. Sample questionnaire

Gable, Myron and Charles Hollon , “An Empirical Investigation: Employee Turnover of Managerial Trainees in a Department Store Chain” ,ACRA, Winter 1984 .A study of managerial turnover in a large department store chain (23 stores with sales in excess of $125,000,000). The paper reports the results of a five year study of 273 managers in this chain. One significant contribution of the study is the classification of individuals who left the firm as voluntary versus involuntary leavers

Gable, Myron and  Martin Topol , “Machiavellianism and Retail Performance”,ACRA Spring 1989.This study investigates the relationship between Machiavellianism and job performance, as measured by sales per square foot, gross margin percentage, and inventory turnover, among 60 retail store managers. Except for a significant relationship between male store managers' gross margin percentage no other relationships were observed between Machiavellianism and job performance. Several explanations for the absence of significant relationships were discussed.

Gillespie, Karen R., “Report on Company Wellness, Health Maintenance, and Employee Assistance Program” ,ACRA, Spring 1984 .A study of the health related programs of a wide range of firms. Twenty percent of the respondents were retailers. The findings indicated that retailers offered fewer services to their employees than did any other industry responding. The only service offered by over 50% of the retailers was performance appraisal. The overall report raises some serious questions of the concern for employees' health and well being expressed by the retail industry.

Good, Linda, Chen, Zhengyi, and Huddleston, Patricia, “An Empirical Test of Job Satisfaction: Antecedents and Satisfaction Types” ,ACRA, Spring 1999.Job satisfaction is an appraisal of one’s actual job experiences to expectations. In this paper, research explored the effects of family and individual characteristics on job satisfaction in the field of retailing. In addition, different types of job satisfaction and their differential importance are discussed.

Good, Linda K., Clifford E. Young , “Retail Department Store "Stayers" vs. "Leavers"”
Predictor variables of role conflict, work-family contact, role ambiguity, job satisfaction (work, pay, promotion, co-workers, supervisor), organizational commitment and intent to leave were used to generate a discriminate function to classify retail department store "stayers" and "leavers."

Harp, Shelley S, Susan C. , Patricia E Strickler. Horridge and Shirley, M Stretch,., “The Relationship of Perceived Customer Appearance to the Level of Selling Service Priority in Department Stores” ,ACRA, Spring 1986 .This article focuses on the differential impact of perceived customer appearance on the level of selling service priority expected to be utilized by selling associates

Harp, Shelly S, Susan Strickler, Pat Horridge and Shirley M. Stretch, “The Relationship of Perceived Customer Appearance to the Level of Selling Service Priority in Department Stores”,ACRA, Spring 1986 .A study of 103 sales associates responses to customer apparel as depicted in photographs as measured by a self reported Likert scale of selling services offered to that customer. No significant differences in reported reactions were discovered, but there were significant differences in the reported evaluation of the depicted customer's income, education, intelligence and social class.

Hauck, William E.  and Catherine Amoroso Leslie, “Sexual Harassment in the Fashion Retail Workplace: Has Anything Changed?” ACRA, Winter 2005, New York. The purpose of this study was to replicate Workman’s (1993) “Extent and nature of sexual harassment in the fashion retail workplace” to explore if any changes have occurred during the past decade.  An instrument identical to Workman was administered to 144 female clothing and textile students at a large state university.  73.6 percent had experienced at least one incident of sexual harassing behavior.  This is consistent with Workman’s (1993) finding of 73.5 percent.  Only two of 29 sexual harassing behaviors experienced by students in 2003 were significantly different from those in 1993.  These differences may be the result of sexual harassment awareness training.  Although 106 students reported at least one incident of sexually harassing behavior, only 53 percent recognized the experience as sexual harassment.  This is a slight improvement in awareness over Workman’s (1993) findings.  In the majority of the variables tested, very little has changed between 1993 and 2003.

Hess, Colleen Ann, Sarah Williams Jacobson and Holly E. Bastow-Shoop, “Career Perceptions of Women Soft Goods Retail Managers”,ACRA, April 1994 .This paper examines the individual and organizational factors found in influencing and defining women’s career experiences. The research focuses on women managers in soft goods retailing, as compared to women managers in banking.

Kelly, J. Patrick and Michael Guerts, “Use of GROMI as a Compensation Plan”,ACRA, Spring 1982.An evaluation of the use of gross margin return on investment for evaluating the effectiveness of retailing professionals. Considers the value of GROMI as a measure of efficiency, how to create necessary data from company records, and the acceptance of GROMI goals as part of the formula used to calculate buyer reward systems.

Knight, Dee, “Retail Work Experiences” ,  ACRA Spring  Montreal 2003.The purpose of this study was to determine how retail work experiences influence student' decisions to remain in the industry.  The broad objectives of this study were to investigate college students': a) perception of retail work experiences, b) retail job satisfaction, and c) intent to pursue retail careers.

Knight, Dee, “Investigating Relationships Between Job Performance” , ACRA Spring  Montreal 2003.Most research on contact employees' job performances has been in the industrial sector, little is known about the relationships between retail contact employees' job performances and other variables.  The researchers examined the relationships between job performance, personal characteristics, and employment characteristics.  Results indicated very limited relationships between the variables.

Kuns, Grace, “Career Development in the Retail Environment: A Taxonomy” ,ACRA, Spring 1986.An ethnographic description of career development in retail organizations dealing with career advancement, different types of retail organizations, and differences of opportunity by sex. An extensive sociological methodology is applied to 42 retail executives and generated a taxonomy of retail careers. The anecdotal nature of the findings make it difficult to develop definitive conclusions, but the research is extremely valuable for a better understanding of retail career development.

Levenson, Lawrence A., “Utilization of a Retail Skills Test for Practitioners - Can Analysis Reveal Areas for Remedial, Instruction” ,ACRA, Spring 1987 .A skills test given to trainees, department managers, & buyers of Joslins. The study shows that many have a lack of understanding of the open-to-buy system. The test can be given to evaluate what skills an employee is lacking.

Loyd, Dolly and Cynthia Easterling , “Casual Dress Codes - Gaining Acceptance in the Banking Industry”,ACRA Spring 2000 , Toronto, Canada (May 2000).This study, which is descriptive in nature, is based upon a national survey of Human Resources Officers employed in banks. The objectives of the study were to identify the nature and extent of usage of dress codes in the banking industry and to determine relaxed dress code trends in the workplace.

Mariotz, Elizabeth, “Increasing Productivity Through Quality Circles: Implications for Retailing”,ACRA, 1983.A discussion of the use of Japanese management techniques, particularly the quality circle, to reduce the traditional hierarchical and technocratic aspects of retail management, with the specific goals of increasing productivity and decreasing turnover.

Michaels, Paulos, “Profiles of Organizationally Committed Retail Salespersons”,ACRA, Fall 1987.Profiles of a sample of 464 salespersons employed by a nationwide retail chain which markets phonograph records. The study shows that an organization needs to choose to have committed or noncommitted salespersons and to recruit on that basis.

“Leadership and the Professional and , April 1994”.This paper analyzes the increasing percentage of the American population who are users of mail-order catalog shoppingservices. The study looks at the different personality types and values of those potential mail-order catalog users.

Young, Im and Jennigan, Marian , “Effects of Demographics and Store Characteristics on Job Satisfaction Among Store Managers” ,ACRA, April 1992 Dallas.

Muczyk, Jan P and Gable, Myron, “Attaining the Illusive Goals of Performance Evaluation in Retailing: A Three Dimensional Approach”,ACRA ,This paper proposes an evaluation system for performance appraisal technique. The method involves Management by Objective, Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scales or Behavioral Observation Scales, and "forced choice" personality measures.

Ownbey, Shiretta F. and Jill Fogle Hines, “Retail Management Training Programs: Variables adn Outcomes of the Training Process”,ACRA/NRF January 2000 , New York City .The purpose of this study was to investigate a major retailer’s training program for store managers, and the training techniques utilized. In addition, the study investigated manager’s perceptions of the training in relation to managers’ learning styles, job satisfaction level, degree of organizational commitment, and intent to stay with their employing firm." Included is a description of methods used and the results of the their research along with an analysis of their results and recommendations for future research.

Paulins, V. Ann , “Influence of Cutomer Dress on Service Quality at Specialty Stores”,ACRA/NRF January 2000 , New York City. Sixty-two subjects identified 24 different specialty retail stores and, prior to visiting the stores, completed modified SERVQUAL instruments designed to measure customer service expectations. The retailers were then visited three separate times; with the style of customer dress the independent variable in the study. Levels of customer service were compared to expectations and among dress styles. Differences were observed between customer expectations of service and service received and among the level of service offered customers in the three dress styles.

Paulins, V. Ann  and Julie Hillery, “Learning Outcomes in a Professional Development Course: Exploring Career Attitudes, Perceptions, and Ambitions”, ACRA, Winter 2005, New York. Career aspirations, perceptions of personal and career characteristics, and learning accomplishments in a retail merchandising professional development course were of interest. Students completed pre- and post-course surveys that explored these items. After completing the professional development course, students’ career aspirations were more varied, indicating that new opportunities had been identified. Few differences were observed between perceptions of personal and career characteristics over the course of the academic quarter. However, students indicated learning accomplishments that were closely aligned with the course objectives and topics that were emphasized throughout the course.

Pearson, Michael,Fisher, Caroline, and Rajiv Mehta,“Incorporating Total Quality Management in Retail Management: Developing Measures for Self-Evaluation” ,
ACRA, Spring 1999 .Total Quality Management has become an accepted part of culture and management of organizations worldwide. It is foundation for the ISO 9000 quality standard and the Malcolm Baldridge Awards. No retailer has won a Malcolm Baldridge Award, and customer satisfaction is lower than for manufacturing. This paper develops TQM questions adapted to retailing to help retailers self-evaluate their quality status.

Pettijohn, Linda S and Charles E Pettijohn,“In Differentiation It's The Service That Counts”,ACRA, Spring 1990.A study that examines how retailers attempt to create excitement and differentiate themselves from other retailers. The study is important because many retailers may be competing in a fashion that is outmoded and ineffective, in an environment in which more and more retailers are providing the same merchandise and the same service, at the same prices.

Pysarchik, Dawn, “Tourist Retailing as an Employment Base” ,ACRA, Spring 1986 .A study of the impact of tourism on retail employment in six rural areas in Michigan as reported by 96 tourism dependent retailers. Contains useful information on employment patterns of these predominantly small (under $500,000) retailers.

Southward, Cheryl Leigh, and Ethel M. Simpson , “Job Satisfaction and Employee Compensation Among Department Store Sales Associates” ,ACRA, Spring 1991 .The purpose of this study is to compare job satisfaction among department store sales associates who work on a commission plan as opposed to those who do not. This research was based on Locke's (1976) concept of job satisfaction, Vroom's (1964) work concerning employee motivation and job satisfaction, and the determinants of job satisfaction developed by Smith, Kendall, and Hulin (1969).

Steinberg, Margery S and Mary L. Carsky , “Elevating the Profession: A Movement Toward Certification in Retail”,ACRA Spring  1998 (Washington DC).This paper describes the process and outcomes of an effort to integrate the NRF skill standards with job skills developed as part of a school-to-career program in one state. The authors briefly describe the two sets of standards, delineate the process used to integrate them, provide the results of a validation study, and finally, offer recommendations for retail educators.

Sternquist, Brenda J and Bonnie Davis, “Department Store Employee Compensation: Does Sex Make A Difference?”,ACRA, Spring 1986 ,A study of the relationship between sex, race, and parents' background and compensation for department store managers, buyers, and sales people based on a sample of 279 individual census returns. Analysis of variance indicates several significant relationships, but the nature of the sample base makes the control for other variables such as years employed, impossible.

Stretch, Shirley M, Shelley S. Harp and Dennis A. Harp, “Factors Influencing Credibility and Effectiveness of Women Presenters” ,ACRA, Spring 1985 .This study examines the way in which a woman's attire influences her perceived credibility and effectiveness. Some of the factors included are apparel style (conservative, casual, and contemporary), and the presence or nonpresence of a man.

Stretch, Shirley M., Shelley S. Harp, and Dennis A. Harp, “Factors Influencing Credibility and Effectiveness of Women Presenters” ,ACRA, Spring 1985 .A study of the relationship between the apparel of a female presenter and the perceived credibility. 232 male and female students responded to a standard video tape presentation. Three modes of dress were shown, with and without a male present. The findings indicated that the presence of the male was a critical factor in the credibility of the presenter along with the mode of dress.

Wyatt, Robert W. and Saul L. Diamond, “Critical Success Factors and Creative Consultants” ,ACRA, Spring 1984 .The analytical framework of critical success factors is applied to the situations found in consulting with small retailers. The use of CSF's allows both the consultant and small business owner to focus on the significant issues for that particular firm at that point in its development.

Young, Im and  Jennigan, Marian, “Effects of Demographics and Store Characteristics on Job Satisfaction Among Store Managers” ,ACRA, April 1992 Dallas .The primary purpose of this study is to a) examine job satisfaction of store managers who work in apparel specialty stores, b) to identify personal managers, and c) to identify specialty store criteria that appear to promote job satisfaction among store managers. A further purpose for the study was to determine the relationship between the job satisfaction of store managers and job performance.