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Abstract

First-line supervisors in U.S. retail organizations are unable to resolve nearly 34% of typical daily customer problems for their organizations. The purpose of this single-case study was to explore the strategies retail supermarket managers have used to improve first-line supervisor problem solving abilities within a retail supermarket company in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Data were collected from semistructured interviews with four retail store manager participants with a successful record of improving first-line supervisor problem solving abilities. Based on inductive data analysis and methodological triangulation of the data collected, four themes emerged after the data analysis: (a) the importance of communicating expectations with first-line supervisors, (b) coaching first-line supervisors on performance, (c) first-line supervisor learning and development, and (d) measuring first-line supervisor performance. Findings from this study warrant additional empirical exploration of strategies for improving first-line supervisor problem solving abilities.