Industry-based competencies for entry-level retail management positions: A national Delphi study



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Texas Tech University


Retailing has become a complex, competitive, and changing business. Successful retail organizations are placing increased emphasis on recruiting, developing, and retaining executive talent to gain a competitive edge in the marketplace. Changing demographics have resulted in a shrinking labor pool, mandating proper staffing, head count and skill set in today's cost-conscious retail environment. Undergraduate curricula should reflect these changes to ensure that graduates have the appropriate knowledge, attitudes, and skills to become successful retail managers. Due to an emergence of financial accountability, retailing and merchandising specializations need to determine if existing curricula effectively meet marketplace needs. The identification of competencies desired by retail recruiters of collegiate graduates is critical in retailing and merchandising curriculum development.

The purposes of this study were (a) to identify entry-level retail management competencies from a broad, multi-company perspective, (b) to assign each competency to a category of learning, and (c) to assess the level of Importance assigned to each competency by retail recruiters for the store division and the merchandising division. The Delphi method of group consensus was used in this study to identify knowledge, attitude, and skill competencies (KAS competencies). The expert panel consisted of 25 recruiters from a cross section of retail organizations throughout the United States. KAS competencies were identified consisting of 24 knowledge, 26 attitude, and 26 skill competencies. Levels of hierarchy were established within the KAS competencies for the store division and the merchandising division based on the mean importance ratings.



Management, Retail trade, Delphi method, Merchandising