Date of Conferral



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




Irene Williams


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 1st line supervisor problem solving abilities within a retail supermarket company in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The conceptual framework for this study was the skills-based leadership model. Data were collected from semistructured interviews with 4 retail store manager participants with a successful record of improving first-line supervisor problem solving abilities. Additionally, the review of company documents including training guides, training checklists, job descriptions, annual goal setting templates, and company website postings supplemented the semistructured interviews. Data analysis entailed coding, conceptualizing concepts and ideas, identifying themes, and member-checking to ensure the trustworthiness of interpretations. Based on the methodological triangulation of the data collected, 4 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 may contribute to social change by providing insights and strategies that retail store managers can use to improve 1st-line supervisor problem-solving abilities. Improvement in problem-solving abilities may improve employees' lives, communities, and organizational performance.