Transformation Leadership Skills In The Retail Sector


This chapter presents the background of the research on “To evaluate transformation leadership skills in the retail sector using Somerfield Store Ltd as a case” and the reason for why this research works conducted the aim and the objectives of the research identified by researcher . the structure of the dissertation is described at the end of the chapter


Retail leaders may greatly benefit from keeping an open mind when leading their organization. Among the other transformational leadership is most likely to emerge in organizations when substantial change in needed to occur, usually in response to increased competition (Howell & Avolio, 1993). Transformational leaders make changes in people’s and organization’s attitudes and moral framework usually through a positive and nurturing approach.

According to Yukl (1989), transformational leaders influence change in attitude and assumptions in order to build commitment for company and organizational goals. Therefore, transformational leadership is a shared and cooperative process among organizational members. Mangers on all levels of every type of organization can exhibit a transformational leadership style in times when considerable change is needed. Statistical evidence however indicates that mangers on lower levels of organizations have transformational leadership, more so than levels of management (Lowe et al, 1996).

Tichy and Devanna (1990) stated transformational leaders as risk-taking and action oriented. Transformational leaders motivate people by looking out for followers best interest in creating change, while at the same time; followers are moved by transformational leaders to address higher-level needs (Bass, 1985). This type of leader focuses on followers needs and motive, while helping each maximize potential (Burns, 1978).

Increased competition, economic changes, contemporary market needs are a few reasons that different leadership styles are needed (Tosi, 1982; Howell and Avolio, 1993). Organizations of all types must have a balance of leadership style in today’s business world. Qualities for today’s organizational leader must include a balance of transformational authoritarian and transformational participative systems; and task relationship orientations mixes (Schein, 1992).

Grocery and other retail organizations should know that today’s retail customers are more knowledgeable about prices, competition and shopping choices (Woodruff, 1997; Zeithaml et al., 1996), Consequently, retail managers and leaders may have more and more opportunities to invoke change as transformational leaders in order to be competitive and maintain standing.

Reichheld and Sasser (1990) give a reminder for a primary area which retail leaders should focus on-repeat customers. By focusing on maintaining a high level of customer-return, retail managers will find that they are better able to sustain overall market conditions and enhance financial results. Reichheld (2003) agrees that loyal customers are the key to growth and financial success in business. He shows that most retail business believe that providing a superior form of customer service will give them a competitive edge. The challenge of trying to maintain this type of competitive edge is that retail managers have trouble staying focused on maintaining high levels of satisfaction in their areas of retail (Reichheld, 2003)

Transformational leaders in retail should recognize the important for staying focused on maintaining customer’s needs and create a vision or roadmap of what their organizations will clearly look when the customer service roadmap is played out (Tichy and DeVanna, 1990).

Assessing leadership styles and strengths, as well as employee and organizational effectiveness may be crucial to the success of retail organization’s growth and successes. Retail transformational leaders or leaders who are proactive about evaluating their organizations may do especially measure how well company managers or employees think they are doing at talking care of customers needs. These four tools will, however, give a relatively true picture of what customers may perceive. Reichheld (2003) reported that most employees and managers do not have a true picture of what customers see. This is why these four tools may lay a more solid foundation for creating a better retail environment for customers. The four tools for measuring retail organizations success are: The ‘secret shopper, like mystery shopper, benchmarking, service quality and service level agreements. (Fraser, 1997, p. 40).

Retail transformational leaders may consider using a combination of tools to effectively meet and exceed the needs of their customers. This type of proactive analysis must be done in a supportive environment where leaders closely listen to needs of employees and customers alike. In order for such change to take place, retail leaders must proactively and consistently raise consciousness of the importance of customer service through charismatic motivation (Bass, 1985; Bryman, 1992). Transformational leaders who can do this will accomplish more than expected. Followers will be motivated to go beyond their own personal-interest for the betterment of the organization, while at the same time building a healthy and positive organizational identity (Bennis and Nanus, 1985; Bass and Avolio, 1990; Shamir et al., 1993).

Boddy (2002) emphasizes the importance of distinguishing the individual from the group. Handy (1999) indicates that the leader’s job is to be aware of the tension and to manage it by balancing the needs. Boddy (2002) emphasizes that in achieving these expectations, leaders perform such functions as defining the task, planning, briefing, controlling evaluating, motivating, organising and providing example.

Saunders, M. (2007) stresses that in an attempt to produce an original in-depth research paper, which focuses on understanding the dynamics of the issue at hand; the case study research design will be used. Davies, B. D. (2007) states that the advantage of using this research strategy and method is that the data will be collected without prior knowledge of the questions to be asked and provides an understanding from respondent’s/informant’s point of view.

The above all literature review is more or less similar with researcher works. Researcher will gain vast knowledge about these literatures and increase his breadth in depth. There have some method that will help researcher works and to reach the milestone. There have some critical information that about transformational leaders attitude, risk , action, behaviour, strength and as well as the retail management, its competition, market condition, and the tools that may be the solid foundation for creating a better retail environment for customer as well as employees.


This dissertation will try to find out the transformation leadership skill in the retail sector.


As for researcher , he always felt that transformation leadership skill in retail sector is one of the most interesting subjects and he think to do a dissertation on the leadership skill would suitable for him to work on. He did previous semester and took a course on Research Methodologies(RM) under the supervision of Mr. Michael Neito and his motivation and encouragement had helped researcher to select this topic. Researcher have studied out many articles of transformation leadership skills and tried to sort out a topic which is going to be suitable for his dissertation according to his suggestion.


The dissertation will try to find out the answer of the following to the research question that is based on the UK,s retail shop and evaluate transformation leadership skills and also find out real moral factors, which are encouraging in retail industry and present situation . the following four questions have been asked which were directly related to the research objectives-

  1. What is transformational leadership?
  2. What is transformational leader?
  3. How to use transformational leader?

1.5 RESEARCH AIM AND OBJECTIVES: The main aims of the researcher proposed dissertation are to find out the transformational model that they are using in retail sectors to increase employee productivity and enhanced customer support. To analyse this aim researcher will follow the following objectives:

  • To establish a case study on behalf of Summerfield store Ltd.
  • To determine the transformational leadership style that are using in retail shops.
  • To analysis the leaders and employee perception in concern of leadership style.



in this chapter mainly in talks about introduction of my dissertation , which also includes brief introduction of my topic, my research title, research background, rationale, aims and objective of this research.


the second chapter is the literature review of this dissertation concerned about the works of various authors and scholars who have highlighted and discussed about the impact on brand value in laptop computer market.


this third chapter will discuss the research method used in this research paper. Research method allows the researcher to plan and design the whole research in a proper way and shows the right direction to achieve an outcome. So the chapter explains the reasons behind the use of selected research method and the advantages by using the specified research approach.


This chapter discuss and analysis the market information and survey for the sake of the research. It also aims to present the data those have been gathered through interviews of managers and analyse the data to provide a fruitful meaning of the research finding.


This chapter has been discussed the research recommendations, limitations, further research on this topic and also describe how manager can get benefit or managerial implications of this paper.



This chapter starts by presenting definitions and explanations made by several schools of thoughts. The literature review explains the types of leadership and their characteristics. Four main approaches of leadership have been discussed which are as follows: trait, style, power-influence, and contingency. The latest approaches of leadership i.e. transformational and transactional leadership are discussed and analyzed. These two approaches are mainly examined on the basis of work done by Burns, Bass, Kunhert and Lewis.

The trait approach is one of the earliest approaches in 20th century used for studying leadership. This approach emphasized on the fact that leaders are our out fronts and they are inherited with leadership skills. It was assumed that people were born leaders with extraordinary qualities. A lot of importance was to leaders as compared to other factors of leadership.

The focus of style approach was the behavior of leaders towards their followers. It explained two types of behaviors: task behaviors and relationship behaviors. It provided a chance to make comparison between effective and ineffective leaders in different situations.

The power-influence approach is all about the type and amount of power used by leaders. It explained two factors: position power and personal power. It gave importance to fair use of power inside and outside the organization.

The contingency approach is all about the importance of different factors necessary for a successful leadership process. It explained the need of various situational factors including leader’s favored style and capabilities of followers.

The transformational leadership style is one of the latest styles of leadership since 1980’s. In this approach leaders and followers facilitate each other to get better results. Leaders act as an exemplary individuals and sub-ordinates react in a sense to follow them. It includes charismatic and visionary leadership.

Each of these five leadership approaches is defined and explained by presenting important studies and evaluated by focusing on conceptual strengths, criticism and evidence of validity.


Bass (1990) explains that there are many definitions of leadership as there are many persons to define the leadership.

According to Burns (1978), leadership emerges when individuals use resources such as institutions, politics and psychology in order to satisfy the motives of their followers.

As noted by Rauch and Behling (1984), leadership is a process in which an individual leads an organized group towards a common task.

According to Bass (1990): “ The study of leadership rivals in the age the emergence of civilization, which shaped its leaders as much as it was shaped by them. From its infancy, the study of history has been the study of leaders – what they did and why they did it”.

As described by Schein (1992), leadership is all about the ability to work outside the culture in search of some innovation and evolution.

As described by Dawson (1996), leadership is in exercise when a single person influences a group of people. This influence may be wide-ranging or narrowly focused but it lies within the formal organization.

According to Drath and Palus (1994), leadership is a process in which leader provides sense to all members of group about commitment and nature of their work.

As described by Handy (1999), leadership is about guiding a group of people to achieve a task. It is needed when more than one person are required to perform a job.

Bass (1990) reviews leadership as the focus of group processes in which the leader is in the centre of the group and is responsible for all the group change. Pedler (2004) explained leadership on the basis of three domains: Challenges, characteristics and context. Challenges are produced due to certain problems and critical tasks, which require a certain solution. Characteristics are related to abilities, caliber and skills of the leaders. Context is about the conditions and solutions at the time of the problem. Pedler also emphasized on the need of leaders, in critical situations, as compared to good managers. According to Wright and Taylor (1994) in Wright (1996): The activity of leadership cannot be carried out without the followers to lead and leaders have to influence the feelings, beliefs and behavior of the other group members in a required direction. As said by Rayner and Smith (2005): Different leadership styles depend upon the leader’s behavior towards the other members of the team, which they exhibit in their day to day dealing with these people. Leadership is basically a goal directed activity in which the followers approve the path shown by their leader with the motive of achieving something.

Northouse (2001) explains the leadership and its trends in a broader sense. He examines leadership from a personality perspective in which individuals have special traits or characteristics from which they influence others to achieve goals. He defines leadership in terms of power between leaders and followers in which leaders possess enough power to affect others and bring change. He explains several components that play a vital role in the conceptualization of the leadership. These components are as follows:

a). Leadership is a process

£b). Leadership involves influence

c). Leadership occurs within a group context

d). Leadership involves goal attainment.

Based on these components he defines leadership as: “ Leadership is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal”. Defining leadership as a process exhibits that leadership is an interactive event and it is not designated to only one person in the group but it is available to everyone. Leadership involves influence is the most important factor of the leadership, without it even leadership cannot exist. Leaders influence their followers in order to bring change. Leadership occurs in a group means that all the individuals in a particular group, community or small task group have a common purpose. Leadership includes attention toward goals means that leaders direct the energies of individuals towards a particular direction in order to achieve the task.

Northouse (2001) and Yukl (2002) examine the different views of leadership on the basis of different definitions. Assigned versus emergent leadership gives two different views of leadership. Assigned leadership is all about the formal position of the leaders within an organization as they are appointed to this position and their examples are team leaders, plant managers, department heads, directors, administrators etc. The person assigned to a particular position some times fails to prove him/her self as a real leader. But contrary to it the most influential member of a group or organization who can influence others exhibits emergent leadership and he/she may be real leader.

Leadership and power are also related to each other because leaders cannot influence their followers without power. Ministers, doctors, coaches, teachers etc are all examples of those individuals who can influence others by using their power less or more. French and Raven (1959) gave five important types of power, which are as follows: Reward, coercive, legitimate, referent and expert. Each of these types is helpful to leaders in order to influence attitudes, values and behaviors of others.

Leadership and management can also be compared with one another in many ways. Leadership is very old as we can see it in the old battle times as well as in the time of prophets but management emerged in the 20th century with the industrialized society. The concept of management was put forward in order to reduce the chaos within the organizations and make them work more effectively. Kotter (1990) argues that management and leadership are quite dissimilar from each other. According to him management produces order and consistency and it deals with planning, organizing and controlling while leadership produces change and movement and it mainly focuses on vision building, aligning and motivating people. Writers like Bennis and Nanus (1985) and Zaleznik (1977) explained that management and leadership are quite different from each other and they are mutually exclusive. As said by Bennis and Nanus (1985) in Yukl (2002) “Managers do the things right but leaders do right things”. Rost (1991) also distinguished between leadership and management. According to him leadership gives multidirectional influence but management goes only in one direction under some authority. Leaders and followers work together to bring some real change but managers and their working staff use their potential in selling of goods and services.



Being a team leader at Somerfield’s(shoreditch high street) store I have observed that there are two levels of management: planning management and operational management. Operational management deals in direct connection with the customers and it includes employees, supervisors and their department managers. Planning management makes sure that all the employees are fully motivated to achieve their given tasks and it includes assistant deputy managers, deputy managers and store managers. Operational management emphasizes more on transactional leadership style, as it believes in punishment and reward in order to get better results. Planning management is bent towards the transformational leadership because through following this leadership style the managers can win the trust, loyalty and respect from their followers. So over all management in Somerfields is following transformational leadership with a little contribution of transactional leadership.


One of the current approaches since 1980’s that has much focused on the leadership research is ‘transformational leadership’. In this leadership style the leaders and followers facilitate each other in achieving higher levels of morality and motivation. In this theory a lot of importance is given to the leader. The leader has to act like a role model and behave like an exemplary individual. In this approach people are normally motivated by the key figure like the example of Martin Luther King. Teamwork is promoted and hence a healthy conducive work environment is created for the achievement of organizational goals. The process of transformational leadership goes through internalization in which followers tend to accept the visions and ideas given by their leaders. As noted by Northouse (2001) transformational leadership involves follower’s motivation, satisfaction and equal rights. It is concerned with values, ethics, standards and long-term goals. This approach is used to influence followers on a one-to-one level. It is a process that includes charismatic and visionary leadership.

As explained by Anantaraman (1993) transformational leadership is required to bring strategic organizational change in response to competitive, technological or regulatory changes in the environment. Transformational leaders make a team committed to their vision. They act as a coach to guide and support, to overcome obstacles and to win the commitment. As noted by Deluga (1990) transformational leaders give a lot of importance to power and influence processes. There is a relation of intense emotion between leader and the followers. The sub ordinates show a lot of trust and confidence in their leader and the leaders may use referent power to influence their followers. As work done by Burns (1978) and Bass (1985) transformational leaders operate with the help of personal value systems that include justice and integrity and hence they are able to unite the follower’s view points and change their beliefs and goals.


Transformational leaders empower their followers and try to raise the level of consciousness in individuals. To bring change transformational leaders act as model roles for their followers. They are confident, self-determined, competent, articulate and possess strong ideals. They listen to their followers and do not ignore even their opposing viewpoints. Followers learn from their leaders because they trust them and believe in the ideas for which they stand. Most of the time transformational leaders believe in creativity. They possess a common vision, which emerges from the collective thinking of the followers. Transformational leaders act as catalysts in order to bring organizational change. They always prepare themselves and their organization for new directions. They always take care of the views that oppose the organizational innovation. They give their followers a new potential and make them thinking about their contributions in the organization’s success. They act as social architects who can understand the norms and moral values required by their followers.

As described by Bass (1990) transformational leadership occurs when leaders make their employees to think beyond their own self-interests. They generate awareness and acceptance of the purpose in their sub-ordinates. Transformational leaders can achieve these results in one or more ways: they may be charismatic to their followers; they may meet the emotional needs of the employees and/or they may intellectually stimulate the employees. Transformational leaders possess a lot of potential, power and influence. They inspire and excite their followers to do great things with extra effort. They give extra consideration to their followers and help them to grow and develop. Transformational leaders intellectually stimulate their employees by providing them solution for every problem. They provide a number of rational solutions to their problems. They teach them how to solve the problems and use their talent in time.


As described by Bass and Avolio (1990), there are four factors of transformational leadership depending upon the performance of followers and charismatic qualities of leaders. These factors are as follows:

Idealized Influence:

As noted by Bass and Avolio (1990), the first factor is called charisma or idealized influence. It explains the leaders who act as model role for their followers. Followers are impressed by their leaders, trust them a lot and want to copy them. These leaders usually exhibit high levels of moral values and great standards of ethical conduct. These leaders initiate a sense of achievement of mission in their followers. It is about those leaders who are special and they make others to follow their vision and mission. They have a great sense of inspiring and influencing their followers. A good example of charismatic personality is Nelson Mandela. He laid down a great set of moral and ethical values for the whole world. He spent 27 years of his age into prison. He was the first one to raise his voice against white domination as well as black domination. He influenced his followers on the basis of equality and a democratic society.

Inspirational Motivation:

According to Bass and Avolio (1990), the second factor of transformational leadership is known as inspiration or inspirational motivation. The leaders possess a great capability of communication and motivation. They motivate their followers to achieve the shared vision of the organization. Here leaders do their best to make their followers to work more than usual. They even motivate their followers to such extent that followers prepare themselves for the achievement of impossible tasks. A good example of inspirational motivation is a department manager in a super market. The manager motivates his/her employees through words and pep talks. These leaders create such an environment in which teamwork is enhanced and employees collectively play an important role in the future growth of the company.

Intellectual Stimulation:

As explained by Bass and Avolio (1990), the third factor intellectual stimulation is about creativity and innovation. It makes the followers to challenge and rethink about their own beliefs and values as well as those of the leaders and organization. This type of leadership supports the sub-ordinates who come with new ideas. In this approach leaders give a free hand to talent of their employees and provide them a chance to prove their personal caliber. A good example of intellectual stimulation is a plant manager who listens to the opinion of his/her sub-ordinates in order to solve the problems that have caused decrease in production.

Individualized Consideration:

As stated by Bass and Avolio (1990), the fourth factor-individualized consideration is the representative of those leaders who act as social architects. These leaders provide a very friendly and supportive working environment. They are always ready to help their employees and support them to go through their personal challenges. An example of individualized consideration is a human resource department manager. This type of leaders treats their employees in a very caring and unique way. They show a great affiliation with their employees and give them specific directions in their career.

Bennis and Nanus in 1985 made a brief research on transformational leadership. They identified four common strategies used by leaders in transforming organizations. First, transforming leaders have a clear and confirmed vision about their future strategies. They possess an image of attractive, realistic and believable future. When an organization has a common future vision the followers than feel proud to work for that vision. They think themselves as an important part of that great enterprise. Leaders give the vision but it is fulfilled and completed by the followers. Second, transforming leaders were working as social architects. They give a shape to the energies and potentials of the followers. They give their groups a new identity and a new philosophy to the organization. Third, transforming leaders created trust in their organizations through proper and fair use of their positions. In this way organizations were able to trust them even in worse and uncertain conditions. Fourth, transforming leaders used creative development through positive self-regard. The leaders were aware of their strength and weaknesses and they emphasized on using their strengths rather than dwelling on their weaknesses. In these organizations leaders were committed to learning and relearning.

Tichy and devanna in 1986, 1989 also explained transformational leadership by examining 12 CEO’s at mostly large corporations. They made this research to check how transforming leaders were able to compete with changes like technological changes, social and cultural changes, increased competition and increased interdependence with economies of other nations. At the end of this research they concluded that transforming leaders were successful through a three-act process. Act 1 involves the recognizing of the needs to bring change. Transforming leaders were responsible to bring change. They were able to satisfy their followers about the positivity or negativity of the change. They allow people to disagree and always listen to their opposing viewpoints. They always motivate their employees to gather information from inside and outside the organization necessary for the solution of the problems. Successful organizations always compare themselves with other organizations on the basis of similar economical and non-economical indicators. Act 2 emphasizes on the need of a clear and collective vision of the organization. Transforming leaders collect different viewpoints from the whole organization and make them a single and collective vision. This collective vision sets a road map for the whole organization towards its success. Act 3 is about institutionalizing changes within the organization. In this type of organizations, leaders break down the old structures and establish new ones. They find suitable followers to meet the requirements of new structures. Some times they implement new conditions to become compatible with this vision.


In transactional approach the people are motivated by reward and punishment. Social systems work best with a clear chain of command. The leader exercises bureaucratic authority. The basic objective in this case is task completion. In this type of organizations the leaders reward their employees if they good, but penalize them if they cause harm to the organization. The leader exercises full control over sub-ordinates and there is no empowerment of individuals. They have to do what they are told.

As work done by Hollander (1979) transactional approach is about a two-way influence between the leader and the followers. In this social exchange the leader provides benefits to the employees and in return gets rewards from them. This social exchange involves fairness, equitable treatment and justice. Basically the leader provides a direction and guideline to the followers. In return, the followers provide the leader esteem, status, and respect and try their best to complete the tasks. Therefore, a fair exchange of service is required between leader and the followers. If a leader is unable to guide followers because of his/her capability than it would be injustice with the followers. So over all the transactional approach involves two factors: system progress and equity. System progress is about the achievement of the goals and equity makes sure that all the followers are treated nicely, fairly and equally.

Transactional approach requires responsive and active followers rather than passive. All actions and success does not only depend upon leaders

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