Transformational Leadership and Omni-Channel Development in Retail Sector
The society is changing to a more complex state thereby making leadership more sophisticated in all sectors of the economy. Many sectors including the retail sector require to be integrated with new technology in order to achieve the needs of consumers. The management of retail sectors should implement a leadership approach that causes a change in social systems and individuals to cope up with the changing demands of the world. In the recent times, the retail sector is continuously implementing Omni-channel model in interacting with customers. The marketers are gaining the ability to connect with their customers at multiple places at the same time the technology is widely being implemented by various leaders in different retail industries(Zhang, X., & Bartol, M. 2010).
The world of commerce in business to consumer (B2B) is rapidly changing a trend that is expected to increase even its speed in the coming years. Organizations are constantly adopting new technologies with the aim of reducing the world and easily accessing customers at all times. Customers are empowered in the recent days in the sense that they expect a need a consistent buying trend across all the present retail channels in both offline and online forums or both. For instance, retailers are working day after the other in ensuring that products are services are offered for customers online. A study carried out recently by customers clearly depicts that more than 70% of customers are expecting to view a variety of in-store inventory in online platform whereas 50% of customers are ready to transact and buy products and later pick the purchased goods in-store. However, other individuals opt to view physically the products before engaging in purchasing them.
In general, more efforts are currently exhibited my leaders of various organizations in the retail industry involving the integration of customer experience within all available interaction channels that include in-store, on mobile devices, and on the web. As customers’ needs have diversified to using almost all the available product-purchasing channels, there is a need for companies to be omnipresent. In the recent times, the buying process in the market is totally unpredictable; therefore marketers are trying to utilize all the possible opportunities for reaching the customers. The buying process is currently dynamic, dependent on the internet and the use of mobile phones thereby rapidly increasing its touch points. Besides the wide use of social media among the consumers has increased their powers thereby forcing retail organizations to keep transforming their leadership strategies (Ollila, S. 2000).
The current trends in technology are favoring the customers as they have an opportunity to compare different products of different offers provided by several retail organizations in a variety of platforms and make a decision on the best match. The initiation of Omni channels platform in the retail industry has increased the customers’ freedom as well as keeping leadership ion toes to ensure that their strategies are keeping up with the current market trends. With these current market trends concerning the retail industry, there is a need for research to identify the contributions of leadership transformation towards the spread of innovation in the retail sector. Hence leading to the research question; “What is the importance of transformational leadership in fostering employees’ creativity in pursuit of Omni-channel development in retail sector?”
Practice in Booz and the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council
A research by Booz and the Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council of the Coca-Cola Company leadership and innovation has revealed that Companies most Latin-based companies were transforming smart ideas into profitable business ideas. The research question was to identify companies and also find out the successful retail innovations in emerging markets making them stand out.
Through qualitative analysis, the research reveals that most successful companies ranging from furniture dealers through medicine dealers to fresh produce dealers had great innovations behind their success. Observations in the location selection for the store, services offered and also in the products were used to indicate the creativity of the employees and success of the company was measured by how extensive its customer base was. The research reveals that companies in Latin America including; Tok & Stok, O Boticario, Farmacia Guadalajara and Lojas Americanas have brought forth successfully innovations that have helped them gain a customer appealing and attraction status. Tok &Stok has self-serve service and have an option that allows customers to take products home or get a home delivery by the company. Most of the companies have innovations that make their shops accessible and besides having a humble parking lot, assorted goods enhance the credibility of their shop.
Transformational leadership had resulted in these successful innovations in the retail section in emerging markets. The research indicated in its findings how retailers were inspired to develop innovations by the company’s leadership and, as a result, meeting the aspirational requirements emerging among the customers. This helps conclude that transformational leadership facilitates the creativity of employees which in turn make the company have an enhanced omnichannel performance(Gregory, A. et al. 2004).
Influence of transformational leadership on omnichannel development in companies through enhancement of creativity of its employees.
1. How has transformational leadership influenced the creativity of employees in various companies?
2. Has the influence of transformational leadership on employees’ creativity enhanced omnichannel development for the companies?
Exploratory research model will be utilized in this research. Transformational leadership in various companies will be studied using qualitative research design then the impact on the creativity and the influence on the omnichannel performance of the company with transformational leadership will be established using the quantitative research design. The exploratory research model is important in the study of this topic because it involves generalization of abstract observations and concepts from the cases studied to others. This detachment of the concepts from the companies they occur aids in the easy application of the concepts in other companies of interest. Therefore, research findings will be collected from different case study companies then the observations will be simplified and then interpreted to determine whether transformational leadership plays a role in enhancing creativity and ensuring the omni-channel performance of companies.
The research utilized both quantitative and qualitative designs of research methodologies. Combining these two research methods provides in-depth knowledge in a study. Quantitative research design will help to establish the cause-effect relationship between transformational leadership and creativity whereas qualitative research design will help to establish the omni-channel performance resulting from the enhanced creativity of the employees in the companies chosen for this study. Data corresponding to the two variables; transformational leadership and level of creativity will be collected. The parameter: level of creativity will be measured in terms of the projects, services or products that have been attained as a result of creativity. Data collected will be analyzed using specified quantitative formulae to establish whether or not transformative leadership enhances creativity. Data on the omni-channel performance level of the companies studied will be collected using qualitative methods including interviews and discussions. Then the relation between enhanced creativity and omnichannel performance will be established by analyzing the collected data (Zhang, X., & Bartol, M. 2010).
The qualitative research methodology usually utilizes a semi-structured form of interview that allows the interviewees to highlight freely and explain their own matters and perceptions concerning their encounters. The method is particularly relevant when dealing with an object that is not fully covered such as transformational leadership and creativity. The interviews in this studies were mostly conducted by two to three researchers. The main themes of the interviews were how transformational leadership has influenced creativity and more particularly the adoption of omnichannel means in the distribution of goods and services. The interviews moreover covered how the application of transformational leadership in various retail organizations influenced the use of Omni-channels in the entire retail sector (Hemlin, S., & Olsson, L. 2011).
With the progress of the interview process, the researchers developed a good understanding of the research question and further added some more questions that were more specifically the software ATLAS.it was applied in analyzing the gathered data. Coding is significant in making the information more reliable. Therefore, as a strategy to increase the reliability of the research, more than two individuals are used to code the data independently. The achievement of an agreement between the different coding provides a measure of the reliability of the data. The aspect of creativity, innovativeness, and leadership behavior were separately identified in the interview. The feedback from the interviewees was outlined correctly to be utilized in coming up with the conclusion. The feedback was further shared so that to ensure that the individual responses are not identified (Mittal, S., & Dhar, L. 2015).
Observational evidence is of much significance in the provision of additional information about the research question. Besides the idea that entails development of sessions concerning Innovation was considered. The sessions contain three major themes that include; shared vision, motivation, and means of ascertaining customer related information. Five researchers enhanced the sessions (Belitski, M., & Desai, S. 2015).
Once data and information concerning the research have been gathered, they are analyzed to become findings that are of more significant. As opposed to data, findings convey a message by identifying various outcomes of the research. The outcomes of the interviews were sorted and grouped into tables as per the themes such as leadership, interaction, and knowledge sharing among others. Answers from the interviews are then integrated o the theory of transformational leadership including its four features.
After a clear analyzation of data, it was clear that in most organizations, transformational leadership is significance in enhancing creativity. For instance, in a retail sector organization, transformational leadership motivates employees towards coming up with new strategies for handling issues. This kind of leadership also empowers employees psychologically. The research further revealed that transformational leadership is necessary for preparation of employees towards dealing with changes of creativity and role identity. All these four findings were obtained from the research carried out on a number of employees (Mittal, S., & Dhar, L. 2015).
The research was determined by four major objectives; the empirical testing of the relationship between worker’s creativity and their performance in the working environment; determining the effects of transformational leadership on employee creativity, and critically ascertaining how omnichannel means have been widely applied in the retail sector. As ascertained in the findings, the findings were further analyzed to produce the conclusions of the research question as follows;
According to Piotrowicz & Cuthbertson (2014), an individual’s motivation is very important in the determination of their behaviors that enhances creative outcomes. The study has clearly shown that intrinsic motivation of an employee highly determines what they currently do as well as what they will be doing in the future. As mentioned earlier, the degree of individual’s engagement in various creative processes highly varies. Regular introduction of changes into the leadership system and employees is will boost the employees’ motivation towards executing their duties. As a result, the employees develops more interest their jobs thereby trying to develop means of increasing the sales. It’s obvious that an individual comes up with a new strategy once they face various challenges (Carmeli, A et al. 2010). Therefore, the workers having the problems of designing strategies to increase their performance as far as the organization’s sales are concerned, the workers identifies the need for reaching the customers at different locations. In the process, creativity is enhanced as well the establishment and development of an omnichannel means. Moreover, creative solutions may be created through when workers pay much attention to a certain challenge and engaging in the creative process (Gregory, A. et al. 2004).
With motivation, employees approach problems in a manner that they view it from a variety of perspectives, thereby gathering many data that leads to the formulation of a lot of alternatives. Studies indicate that the major function of motivation is increasing the attention of an individual. In cases where employees are intrinsically committed to their duties, they are more likely to pay much attention to the challenges they encounter. As suggested by the findings, intrinsic motivation among the employees related to creativity in a positive manner. Creative activities such as problem identification, solution generation, data gathering, and implementation of solutions lead to the emergence of a creative response. It is this creative response that determines how the attention paid to certain trends in the market.
Therefore, transformational leadership enhances the motivation towards their responsibilities. As a result, the employees pays much attention to issues they encounter thereby coming up with creative responses. It is motivation that has contributed to the development of the Omni channel marketing platform all over the world. Hence, motivation and more particularly intrinsic that is created by transformational leadership highly enhances the development of Omni-channels in the retail sector.
Although intrinsic motivation is necessary for enhancing the creativity of workers, on its own it’s not sufficient, Several researchers have asserted that achieving a correct and deep understanding of the entire process of creativity is a good facilitator of attaining creative goals. Sometimes, solutions that may not be useful may rise when employees partially engage in the leadership process. On the other hand, when employees are psychologically empowered in the sense that they spend many efforts in trying to figure out an issue and develop the required solutions, they highly enhance creativity. It is clear that creativity is a psychological aspect. Without being psychologically stable, there will be no creativity in the retail sector (Gong, Y. et al. 2009)
Organizations that are participating in the retail sector should, therefore, provide transformational leadership that aids the employees in developing psychologically. The employees should be transferred to various departments within the organization. Moreover, the employees should be subjected to work in different environments. The organizational culture should be changing now and then. By so doing, the employees will be subjected to a variety of regions with different challenges thereby making them employ more effort in coming up with solutions. In the process, the employees will be psychologically empowered towards creativity. In the retail sector, once an individual is creative, they are probably going to deal with the current trends one of them being the application of omnichannel as a means of accessing the customers quickly and enhancing sales (Belitski, M., & Desai, S. 2015).
In the context of leader behaviors, each and every employee is very different from the other. Having people from different backgrounds, it’s clear that every one of them contain their own way of understanding issues. As per the role identity theory, individuals come up with expectations concerning certain behaviors in certain roles and further utilize them as the basis for role identities. An employee who clearly identifies their roles is likely to contribute much regarding creativity to the organization as opposed to those who does not know well what they are expected to do. Therefore, there is a need for employees to understand fully their roles in the organizations. In most cases, individuals make use of role identities in understanding the challenging events and channel behavior options. As per the role theory, a hierarchical ranking of identities is composite constituents of role identity.
Transformational leadership in retail sector organizations propels a lot of individuals to understand their roles concerning marketing. A well understanding of roles among the employees increases the workers’ empowerment towards dealing with crucial challenges in their workplaces. The employees develop strategies for dealing with any issues they encounter for the better performance of the retail sector. The initiation of changes in the leadership system and the changing of personnel, it allows the retail sector to be ruled by the most appropriate leaders. The appropriateness of these leaders increases their personal performance thereby boosting the creativity in the organization through the proper ruling of the sector. A well-managed organization has great chances that the sector embraces new technology in attaining effectiveness. Therefore, the need of attaining effectiveness contributes to the implementation of omnichannel strategy in reaching customers under the retail industry(Belitski, M., & Desai, S. 2015).
Preparation for Change
The organization culture of any organization matters much regarding embracing creativity in the organization. An organization that keeps changing its leadership systems as well of personnel is always prepared for any change. On the contrary, those retail organizations that adopt a very rigid leadership system that does not give room for changes faces difficulties in advancing in technology. The research carried out clearly notes that transformational leadership in the retail industries prepares relevant stakeholders for necessary changes. The employees are used to changes. Therefore, the staff is likely to take the shortest time in adopting to new technology that is launched by the administration.
It is evident that transformational leadership prepares the employees psychologically to work with many channels at the same time. Once the employees are used to changes in the workplace, the introduction of an omnichannel in their marketing mix will be taken positively. The workers will be more than prepared to enhance the development of the strategy. Therefore, in a retail organization, transformational leadership prepares the employees for necessary changes thereby enhancing creativity by an easy and quick development of omnichannel.
Conclusion and Recommendations
Transformational leadership is of much significance in the retail industry. A regular change in an organization’s system of individuals and personnel in various departments highly facilitates creativity in the sector. Each and every organization is focused on attaining effectiveness in carrying out its operations. With the current trends, Omni-channel development is the widely applied create element by most of the organizations. The development of Omni-channels has highly increased the consumers’ freedom by allowing them to get easily access to different products from different suppliers all over the world. On the other hand, organizations in the industry, through their marketing departments are able to get reach to a lot of consumers located at different locations at the same time. The organizations has increased their effectiveness in regard to retailing their products.
Transformational leadership motivates employees, empowers them psychologically, prepares them for change, and helps them in the identification of roles, all that promotes creativity in the organizations. The development of Omni-channels has been influenced highly by the application of transformational leadership in various organizations. Therefore, organizations in the retail industry should clearly understand the significance of transformational leadership in promoting the application of omnichannel platforms. Besides, retailers should maintain a flexible organization culture that promotes change at any particular time. Regular changes among employees prepare in regard to the introduction of a new technology(Jung, D. 2001).
Belitski, M., & Desai, S. (2015). Creativity, entrepreneurship and economic development: city-level evidence on creativity spillover of entrepreneurship. J Technol Transf. doi:10.1007/s10961-015-9446-3
Carmeli, A., Reiter-Palmon, R., & Ziv, E. (2010). Inclusive Leadership and Employee Involvement in Creative Tasks in the Workplace: The Mediating Role of Psychological Safety. Creativity Research Journal, 22(3), 250-260. doi:10.1080/10400419.2010.504654
Gong, Y., Huang, J. C., & Farh, J. L. (2009). Employee learning orientation, transformational leadership, and employee creativity: The mediating role of employee creative self-efficacy. Academy of Management Journal, 52(4), 765-778.
Gregory Stone, A., Russell, R. F., & Patterson, K. (2004). Transformational versus servant leadership: A difference in leader focus. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 25(4), 349-361.
Hemlin, S., & Olsson, L. (2011). Creativity-Stimulating Leadership: A Critical Incident Study of Leaders’ Influence on Creativity in Research Groups. Creativity and Innovation Management, 20(1), 49-58. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8691.2010.00585.x
Jung, D. I. (2001). Transformational and Transactional Leadership and Their Effects on Creativity in Groups. Creativity Research Journal, 13(2), 185-195. doi:10.1207/s15326934crj1302_6
Mittal, S., & Dhar, R. L. (2015). Transformational leadership and employee creativity.Management Decision, 53(5), 894-910. doi:10.1108/md-07-2014-0464
Ollila, S. (2000). Creativity and Innovativeness through Reflective Project Leadership.Creativity and Innovation Management, 9(3), 195-200. doi:10.1111/1467-8691.00172
Piotrowicz, W., & Cuthbertson, R. (2014). Introduction to the Special Issue Information Technology in Retail: Toward Omnichannel Retailing. International Journal of Electronic Commerce, 18(4), 5-16. doi:10.2753/jec1086-4415180400
Zhang, X., & Bartol, K. M. (2010). Linking empowering leadership and employee creativity: The influence of psychological empowerment, intrinsic motivation, and creative process engagement. Academy of Management Journal, 53(1), 107-128.