AffiliationNottingham Trent University
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AbstractPurpose: The aim of the paper is to explore how hypothetical scenarios can be used to study individual employee attitudes towards diversity and equality initiatives in retailing. Design/methodology/approach: Forty semi-structured interviews were conducted with a range of staff working in three business units belonging to a UK retailer. As part of the interviews, respondents were asked to comment on four work based scenarios exploring customer and employee diversity issues. Findings: The paper proposes that scenarios can be a useful method for exploring the hidden meanings retail employees have towards ethical issues such as diversity management. However, they may not always be useful for furthering knowledge of the area. This is because responses to the scenarios in this study frequently contradicted the respondent’s real-life work experiences explored in the rest of the interview. This suggests that, when commenting on the scenarios, interviewees did not always ground their responses so that they reflected their role in the retailer and their own diversity. Originality/Value: The study argues that hypothetical scenarios, if used in retail research or for retail training and development purposes, should have ecological validity. In order to obtain an accurate picture of individual attitudes and to tease out what an individual might do (the rhetoric) from what they have actually experienced (the reality), those researching in the retail industry should use a range of qualitative methods to study the same issue.
CitationFOSTER, C., 2011. Using scenarios to explore employee attitudes in retailing. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 39 (3), pp. 218-228.
JournalInternational Journal of Retail & Distribution Management