Date of Conferral

2016

Degree

Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)

School

Management

Advisor

John Hannon

Abstract

In a competitive retail environment, retail store managers (RSMs) need to retain retail customer service employees (RCSE) to maximize sales and reduce employee turnover costs. Servant leadership (SL) is a preferred leadership style within customer service organizations; however, there is disagreement regarding the usefulness of SL in the retail industry. The theoretical framework for this correlational study is Greenleaf's SL theory. Seventy-four of 109 contacted human resources managers (HRMs) from a Fortune 500 United States retailer, with responsibility for evaluating leadership competencies of the RSMs they support, completed Liden's Servant Leadership Questionnaire. RCSE turnover rates were available from company records. To analyze the correlation between the 3 SL constructs and RCSE turnover, multiple regression analysis with Pearson's r providing sample correlation coefficients were used. Individually the 3 constructs FIRST (beta = .083, p = .692), EMPOWER (beta = -.076, p = .685), and GROW (beta = -.018, p = .917) were not statistically significant to predict RCSE turnover. The study multiple regression model with F (3,74) = .071, p = .98, R2 = .003 failed to demonstrate a significant correlation between SL constructs and turnover. Considering these findings, the HRMs could hire or train for different leadership skills that may be more applicable to effectively lead a retail sales force. In doing so, the implications for positive social change may result in RCSE retention leading to economic stability and career growth.