Date of Conferral



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


Business Administration


Deborah A. Nattress


Counterproductive employee behaviors are inevitable, unpredictable, and widespread in the U.S. retail industry. The purpose of this multiple case study was to explore U.S. midlevel retail leadership strategies used to prevent and correct employee behaviors that sabotage quality service encounters. Gilbert's behavior engineering model, which links employee behaviors to performance, was the framework used in this study. The data-collection process comprised 7 semistructured interviews with midlevel retail leaders, online company documentation, and researcher observations and assisted in achieving methodological triangulation. Member checking ensured the accuracy of participant responses, while Moustakas' modified van Kaam method was used to guide the data analysis process. Making the customer service experience special, employee rudeness and bad attitudes, and leading by example were the primary emergent themes. The participants revealed key behavior intervention and corrective strategies prior to termination consisted of only 2 steps: coaching or 1-on-1 discussions and formal training. The findings of this study may contribute to retail business practices by expanding existing leadership strategies to engineer employee behaviors that produce consistent quality service encounters, empower employees, improve consumer satisfaction, and increase retail profitability and competitiveness. Resultant retailers' profitability and consumer satisfaction may contribute to social change by directly impacting the U.S. gross domestic product, local communal tax base, and reinforce human civility throughout the retail industry.