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Staff turnover has become the norm today in the manufacturing, service and merchandising / merchandise industry. Employees are moving from one form of employment to another because of several factors that the employers have not yet grasped. In this regard many industry players are busy defining ways to protect turnover of its employees. The most affected part of this is the merchandising industry. In the bid to prove muscle in the fastest growing industry executives in the merchandising industry are fighting hard the high trend of their staff consistently changing jobs (Omondi 2). Today generating an atmosphere favorable and valued by all employees in the ever changing employee market may not be as pain-streaking as it may appear to the larger population. It engages a number of issues may make the brilliant minds that make up your staffs want to stay in the organization. A combination of this contribution may eventually lead to higher number of employees and thus reduce turnover. The contributions made above require that they be performed in tandem for observable achievement to be achieved. Grasping the skill of staff retention requires that management delve deeply into what causes turnover of staff in institutions. Many questions should be put on the table in order to ascertain reasons why one would want to work in one organization and not prefer to work in another organization. The managements should not rest at that but proceed to look into the subsequent period that the employee has been absorbed into an organization. By asking these questions it is easy to discern that there are a lot of issues that have been left wanting for a long time. i find it easy to look at this issues by sympathizing with the employee and trying to assume his shoes at the company. This in real meaning requires doing proper research on standard ethical models that might be brought on board to encourage retention of employees. In the recent past the employers used to retain employees. The confidence thus gained goes down well with those in the precincts of work thus offering them purpose and presence. Boosting the moral of workers is one way of improving confidence of staff. In this regard even the general productivity of the company of the company can be noticed. Working closely and collectively in addition grants the staff presence. Al in all it’s just a matter of saying thank you as morality demands.
There are different styles of leadership in institutions that influence how relationships in the work place take place. People in leadership roles should be in the fore front in show wing proper codes of conduct to their employees, as opposed totaking the hind seat. In turn the employees may feel very motivated within the working environments that they are working. This enabling environment will thus lead to a sense of belonging by the individuals and cohesiveness thus leading to teamwork translating into a proud team. For one to retain staff he or she has to consider several important issues of the work place.
Draper Co. Ltd. Found in 1987 is a sweater manufacturer that employs more than 100 people in Hong Kong. Since garment companies had bloomed in recent years. The role for merchandising people become more difficult and the manpower is short in the labor market. Draper is facing the problem of high staff turnover rate. In addition, with opening of the mainland market. Many foreign enterprises had set up their merchandising sections in Hong Kong and some enterprises also invite Hong Kong garment companies to cope with their expanding business. As a result, the job vacancies of merchandisers increased tremendously. Among the merchandising industry, garment sections are highest in demand for merchandisers. This is due to the fast growing of the sectors as well as the high employee turnover rate and the lack of talent in the labour market. With the goal of identifying predictors of turnover, factors and employee’s intention to leave or stay with the company will be the major issue of Draper Co. Ltd.
1.2 RESEARCH PROBLEMS
Initially, the establishment of the project required the involvement of different parties who would provide data and statistical analysis. The study required involvement of external organizations which would require them to allow access their staff to cooperate during the course of the research. Unfortunately some of these merchants turned down request to take part a little after the project was already initialized, it was quite unfortunate. The team of researchers contacted several nationwide merchandise groups to request them to take part in the research as a subsequent measure. Within a short period of time, two particular merchandisers articulated formal concern and primarily arranged to play a part in the project but with the approval of the Board of Governors of their respectful organisations. The team of researchers used up considerable hours meeting with a variety of the team of people representing the merchandisers and giving important information related to the research and showing presentations that highlight the scope of the study. An agreement was made with these merchandisers that the research panel would conduct industry job and staff retention survey within the merchandise organization, rather than concentrating on organizational loop holes as it would imply that there are indeed loop holes, in their respective organisations which might not be the truly case. However because of various unpredicted situations including the falling ill of one of the team members who acted as coordinator of the research team and these respectful merchandisers, the merchandisers in the end made the decision to withdraw its cooperation, leaving operation of the research between a rock a rock and a hard place. The research team then informed the Draper Co. Ltd of the current problems and suggesting a different research method design that would still be in line aims of the project and the objectives outlined before the research was initially flagged off. In this respect, a decision was made to advertise across various merchandise outlets to secure individual people working as merchandisers to act as respondents from different retail outlets, thus eliminating the process of approaching company heads or Board of Governors for endorsement to guarantee a speedy and effortless contact with respondents. The Draper Co. Ltd was highly involved in endorsing the submission for change in the approach for the research. The research carried out by the team concerned conducting 100 partially controlled telephone interviews with with merchandisers from different merchandising firms including own staff at Draper Co. Ltd . The research method design of the survey was cautiously designed and conversant with preceding works that dwelled on employee equality and diversity concerns all over the work evironment (e.g. Sutherland and Davidson, 1997). The design of the interviews was such that it could be in accordance with the aims and corresponding objectives of the Draper Co. Ltd and eventually deal with a array of concerns as well as the recognition of possible occupational improvement barriers and the recognition of approaches for conquering these limitations, chances for education and training, job promotions and provision for leadership. The partially controlled interview timetable was then stored in secure modules and safe websites secured with passwords, which eventually made it easy for members of the research panel to enter information directly into the research database and online pages, and at the same time carrying out interviews with respondents all over the merchandising industry. The details of the research methodology and what will be contained in the schedule for the is described in the subsequent sections.
- RESEARCH OBJECTIVE
This study was led by a research team commissioned by the Draper Co. Ltd. The research team was selected by the management of the company with advise by the legal advise wing experts. It was agreed that 16 members be brought aboard the the team of researchers. The main goal of identifying predictors of turnover, factors and employee’s intention to leave or stay with the company will be the major issue of Draper Co. Ltd.
The aims of the project were as follows:
To examine two sets of potential causes of job turnovers and eventual staff retention mechanisms: firstly, those that impede the retention of workers in the organization and secondly, those that speeds the exit of the players from the organizations.
Identify strategies for overcoming these barriers
Investigate the feasibility of constructing a national database, documenting the career paths of women in the merchandise industry
Develop, publish and disseminate good practice guidelines and recommendations using reports, conference presentations, feedback seminars, academic journals and merchandise specialist and national press.
The objectives of the project were to:
Investigate two sets of potential reasons for staff leaving the company: firstly, those that accelerate the exit of workers and merchandisers and secondly, those that impede the efforts of retaining staff in the organization.
Identify strategies for overcoming these reasons.
Investigate the feasibility of constructing a national database, documenting the career paths of workers in the merchandise industry.
Develop, publish and disseminate good practice guidelines and recommendations using reports, conference presentations, feedback seminars, academic journals and merchandise specialist and national press.
- RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- Why this company has high staff turnover rate
- Why staff relationship will make new comer difficult to fit in team work
- What relationship caused high staff turnover rate
- How to retain staff in this company
- Does the management policy affect staff retention
- Does the company is responsive to employee’s needs and wants
- Does company’s reputation retain staff
- RESEARCH METHOD
3. Research Methodology
Having discussed the complexity of the retail industry and the related literature, the following chapter attempts to identify and describe the research design and sampling type. After which, the chosen research method will be introduce and how the collected data is being tabulated will be discuss. In addition, the hypotheses of this study will be derived at the later part of this chapter.
3.1 Research Design
Research design specifies the methods and procedures for conducting a specific research project. It is a detailed blueprint used to guide the implementation of a research study towards the realization of its objectives (Wong, 1999).
According to many authors (Churchill, 1999; Wong, 1999; and Zikmund, 2000), there are three types of research design, namely the exploratory research, descriptive research and causal research.
Exploratory research is known to be the best suited for situations that have relatively little or nothing known about the study. The essence of this research design is to focus on two main ingredients – listening and discovering, in order to provide a great understanding of a concept (Wong, 1999) and to clarify and define the nature of a problem (Zikmund, 2000).
These authors also pointed out that exploratory research can be conducted with four approaches which are literature search, experience survey, focus group discussion and in-depth interview. These open-ended, flexible and interactive qualitative approaches help to formulate problems more precisely but not providing accurate statistical information.
Descriptive research aims a describing the characteristics of the population under the study such as the behaviours of consumers. It is primarily concerned with the gathering of numeric, measurable data and it is recommended when the research purpose is centered on providing accurate, statistically reliable data. Descriptive research is being broken down into both longitudinal and cross-sectional studies (Zikmund, 2000 and Wong, 1999). Longitudinal studies involve panels (Churchill, 1991) and provide measurements at successive points of time of an event. On the other hand, being the most common and familiar (Churchill, 1991), cross-sectional studies describe an event at one particular point of time and it is useful in facilitating comparisons between different population subgroups (Wong, 1999).
Finally, causal research is to explore and establish a cause-and-effect relationship, if any, between variables through laboratory and/or field experiments (Wong, 1999, p58).
Cross-sectional study was chosen for this study. This is because cross-sectional study relies on a sample of elements from the population of interest that are measured at a single point in time (Churchill, 1999) and it can at best yield measurement data (Wong, 1999, p. 57). Hence, this research design suit in this study because it attempted to measure how consumers make decision.
3.2 Sampling Design
Wong (1999, p.54) pointed out that descriptive research requires a reasonably large number of respondents (i.e., sample size) to supply the required information.
Although it is recognized that a convenience sample is not always truly representative of the population, the author of this study had decided to adopt this method due to time restraints. The author adopted convenience sampling of non-probability sampling as it aids convenience and efficiency and also generates a large number of sample sizes. This is because it involves the selection of people who are most conveniently available to the interviewer (Wong, 1999).
Due to time constraint, the gathering of responses for this study would be greatly base on convenience. Convenience gathering of responses and ability to contact the respondents (if necessary), has allowed the author of this study to choose both Marketing Institute of Singapore’s (MIS) part-time and full-time students as the main target respondents. In addition, friends, colleagues and family members of both the respondents and the author would be approached as well.
3.3 Data Collection for this Study
According to Wong (1999), marketing data may be classified into two basic types: primary data and secondary data. Primary data refer to those collected
to meet the specific research needs at hand. Secondary data on the other hand, refer to existing information which has previously been collected and reported by some individual or organization, and which are other than the research problem at hand. Thus the distinction between primary and secondary data lies in the original purpose of data collection.
3.3.1 Secondary Research
Secondary data is an essential element of almost all research carried out. According to Churchill (1999, p. 253) secondary data possess significant cost and time advantages. This is because, the existence of secondary data can in many instances dismiss the need for potentially expensive and time-consuming field work as secondary data exists aplenty from internal and external data sources (Wong, 1999).
Apart from time-saving and cost economics, secondary data is less subject to intentional bias. Also as certain types of information may be impractically or virtually impossible to gather through data approach, secondary data are the only alternative (Wong, 1999). Therefore, secondary data enable this study to avoid biasness that might be made unintentionally by the author during the development of the hypotheses. Hence in this study, journals from electronic databases such as Emerald and Ebsco were reviewed to aid the development of the study. The use of journals was to serve as a basis to draw the hypotheses of this study.
However, Wong (1999) pointed out that one of the disadvantages of secondary data is that it became outdated easily in an ever-changing environment, and often, there were differences in classification or measurement as well as lack of accuracy. The above appeared true to the author as some of the journals being reviewed appeared to be outdated and inaccurate due to different areas of focus.
The author also found that there was limited access to many online research websites and the availability of journals on store atmosphere in the retail context was also limited. Therefore both the retail and service context were being reviewed in the process.
With the difficulties mentioned above, it was anticipated that the secondary research found would not be sufficient to fulfill the objectives of this study. As mentioned by Churchill (1999), when problem is not yet resolved with secondary data, the researcher should proceed to primary data. Therefore, the author of the study moved on to gather primary data for the completion of this study.
3.3.2 Primary Research
Primary data prove its importance when the required information for marketing research/evaluation may not be available from secondary data sources. For the purpose of this study, the author had decided to use quantitative research. This is because, according to Wong (1999, p.110), quantitative research is used when the primary objective is to derive numeric or quantifiable data which is statistically accurate and reliable. Quantitative
research is also recommended when there exists a need for accurate numeric data.
Due to time constraint, the author decided to avoid open-ended questions and adopt close-ended questions on the questionnaire. This is because, close-ended questions are easily administered by an unskilled interviewer compared to open-ended questions and it is also much easier and faster for statistical data tabulation and data comparison. In addition, the checklist of responses in the questionnaire helps reduce difficulty in memory-recall that respondent might encounter in responding open-ended question (Wong, 1999). On the other hand, the checklist of responses may not be as comprehensive and alternate responses that appear in the checklist may create position bias, which will cause the respondent to be unable to freely express him or herself, and often detailed information is being missed (Wong, 1999, p.138).
3.3.3 Questionnaire Development
The questionnaire used for this study consists of three sections, namely demographics, Closed-ended questions (Dichotomous questions & Multiple-choice questions) and Scaling questions (Agree-disagree questions).
Section A served to gather data on respondents’ personal particular such as gender, age group, highest education level attained, occupation and monthly Income level.
Section B aimed to gather data on respondents’ view towards the impact of store atmosphere on consumers’ emotions, purchase and repatronage behaviour. It will determine to what extent each atmospheric elements influence respondents’ mood and purchasing behaviour. Five-point Likert-scale statement (1=Strongly Disagree and 5=Strongly Agree) was being used to allow respondents to rank and identify the degree of influence of each of the atmospheric elements. Responses were also sought regarding consumers’ patronage behaviour.
The objective of pre-testing is to ensure that the questionnaire used in this study is easily understood and not misinterpreted by the respondents. There should also be minimal possible difficulties faced by respondents in answering the questionnaire. For the reliability of this study, pre-testing is vital to ensure the accuracy of the data collected.
The questionnaire was pre-tested via a small-scale pilot test with 5 respondents and subsequent changes were made. The author sent the questionnaire via email to the 5 respondents and they where asked to attempt the questionnaire and provide comments and feedbacks. After gathering the feedbacks and comments, the questionnaire was being modified and refined to meet the objectives of this study.
In order to improve the clarity of the questionnaire, redevelopment of the questionnaire was required. The author had to refine the section A and rephrase some misleading questions in Section B. Some questions that were
being duplicated and confusing to the respondents were omitted. New questions were also developed and integrated into the questionnaire to achieve the objective of the study.
3.3.5 Final Data Collection
After redeveloping the questionnaire, the new questionnaire (appendix ) was ready for the actual distribution and data collection. The questionnaire was being distributed both online and offline to MIS part-time and full-time students as well as their friends, colleagues and family members.
Naturally, offline respondents are more responsive to the completion of the questionnaire. This is because they tend to complete the questionnaire the moment they receive it and return to the author right after completion.
Although online distributions of the questionnaire enable wider participation and easier distribution, it is commonly view as spam mails and ignored by receivers. Therefore, there were a total of 49 responses from offline distribution and 39
online responses which resulted in a total of 85 responses that served as primary data for this study.
3.3.6 Data Analysis Method
SPSS 13.0 version was being used for data analysis in this study. The author made use of one sample T-test, paired sample T-test, chi-square and correlation to conduct testing of the hypotheses.
The statements used to measure the variables were assessed on a five-point Likert scale, ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree with numerical value of one being strongly disagree and five being strongly agree.
“A hypothesis is a statement that specifies how two or more measurable variables are related. A good hypothesis carries clear implications for testing stated relationships”, (Churchill, 1999, p.101). As stated, for this study, it was important to measure the impact of the influence of the atmospheric elements of a store on consumers’ mood and behaviour. Hence, the following hypotheses were derived for this study.
Based upon the theories reviewed, it is hypothesized that:
- H1a: Colours has a significant influence on consumers’ mood in the store
- H1b: Lighting have a significant effect on consumer’s mood of the store
- H1c: Music has a significant effect on consumer’s mood of the store
- H1d: Scent has a significant influence on consumer’s mood of the store
- H2: Mood is positively influencing consumer’s length of stay in a store
- H3a: Consumers will have a more favourable attitude toward merchandise with the effects of store atmospheres
- H3b: Effects of store atmospherics on merchandise is positively influencing spontaneous purchase in the store
- H4: Income level is influencing spontaneous purchase that is caused by store atmospherics
- H5: Consumers will exhibit greater degree of patronage intention when the store atmosphere appeals to them
- H6: Gender, Age and Education level influence consumer’s evaluation of store’s image
The responses gathered from the questionnaire were then entered into SPSS 13.0 for statistical analysis.
3.5 Summary of Chapter 3
Secondary data such as journals and textbooks were being reviewed before conducting the actual primary research. This was to allow the author to further understand the review on Store Atmospherics, mood and repatronage behaviour before developing the questionnaire for primary data collection and to develop the hypotheses of this study. A total of 89 responses were collected via online and offline distribution to enter into SPSS 13.0 for statistical analysis.
- Conclusive Research Design
- Descriptive Research
- Data Analysis is quantitative
- Secondary data survey
- Questionnaire Survey
- Survey analysis by launched an Employee Workplace Survey to gather data that would identity why do employees stay/leave the company?
- Identifying factors influencing retention to gather data from across the employee population of the company.
- DISSERTATION OUTLINES
Chapter 2 Literature Review
This Section looks at the main literature in this area. The first sections focus on the structure of merchandising and the broader profile of the sector. The section then moves on to its main concern which is the job retention of merchandisers at junior and senior levels in merchandise. Merchandising is an economic sector, which has traditionally been associated with the employment of merchandisers. Overall, 60% of low skilled employees are merchandisers and 40% are skilled. Whilst these figures show that the merchandise sector clearly employs a larger number of low skilled than the skilled, it is not a ‘balanced industry’ (Skillsmart, 2006). The representation of low skill workers in the merchandise sector however, follows a number of important patterns. Official statistics are used to highlight the predominance of merchandisers in part time work in the merchandise sector and the under representation of merchandisers at senior levels. According to Skillsmart, (2006), official figures are general and are unlikely to provide a clear understanding of the dynamics relating to the position in which merchandisers are employed in merchandise sector. The following sections therefore outline theories that have been offered to account for these gender disparities, particularly in relation to barriers for merchandisers attempting to progress into senior management positions. An examination of managing diversity is then offered and potential mechanisms for ensuring merchandise organisations fully utilise the talents of all employees to maximise productivity is discussed.
2.2 The structure of the merchandise sector
The merchandise sector is the largest private sector employer in the Hong Kong yet it is rarely recognized as such. Skill smart (a not for profit organisation, set up and part funded by Government to identify and address the skills needs of the Hong Kong merchandise sector), suggest that this is, possibly because its workforce is not concentrated in any particular region or locality. In fact, the merchandise sector is the largest public sector employer in the Hong Kong. Furthermore, Wang XI Inc is the Hong Kong’s second largest employer after the Jubilee (Skillsmart, 2004). Overall, the merchandise sector employs three million people throughout the Hong Kong, which accounts for approximately ten per cent of employment throughout the Hong Kong. However, the structure of the industry is unusual, and is described by
Skillsmart, as ‘hourglass shaped’. The overwhelming majority (95%) work in firms with less than ten employees. Consequently, there is significantly less (just over two hundred) merchandise employers with more than fifty staff, reflecting the “hourglass shape” of the industry profile.
2.3 Present profile of turnover of employees
Employment expectations have risen slightly in (Q1) from an already high level in Q4. Of the 514 executives surveyed, 54% expect to increase their hiring which is slightly up from 53% the previous.Year-on-year, expectations have remained
steady. The 54% planning to grow headcount this year is at the same level as Q1 2006, though there are some variations between the sectors surveyed. Companies are extremely confident about how they will perform in the next six months with 95% of respondents forecasting their company’s performance to be excellent or good in the first half of 2007. Respondents in Hong Kong report higher levels of staff turnover than in any other market surveyed in Asia with 37% stating that turnover in the
last twelve months has exceeded 10% (Hudson, 2007).
Hudson, one of the world’s leading professional recruitment, outsourcing and talent management solution providers, today released findings of its comprehensive quarterly Hudson Report for Asia. With a reputation as a key socio-economic indicator in the current marketplace since its Asia launch in December 1998, the survey has been built on the premise that employers’ expectations of an increase
or decrease in staffing levels represent a significant indication of their optimism in the growth of their organisation and their industry as a whole. The Hudson Report represents the expectations of over 2,200 key employment decision makers from multinational organisations of all sizes in all major industry sectors, with 514 of these executives based in Hong Kong.
2.4 The general profile of employees in the merchandise sector
Traditionally the merchandise sector is associated with the employment of low level and unskilled workers, the vast majority of whom work in the lower ranks of the organizational hierarchy. The profile of employees in merchandise also follows a number of other patterns. The merchandise sector for example employs a large proportion of young people. According to recent estimates 29% of those employed in the sector are between the ages of 16 to 24. This is compared to the overall economy
figure of 14%. It has been suggested that this figure may be due to the popularity of merchandise as a part-time occupation for young people and students (Skillsmart, 2006). Merchandise is also a popular choice for older workers (those over 55).
In terms of ethnic minority employment, the merchandise sector employs a similar proportion to those figures available nationally (Skillsmart, 2006). Recent research has shown however, that certain recruitment practices may prevent ethnic minorities from gaining employment in merchandise organizations. For example a study for Birmingham and Manchester cities in Britain for example, found that employers might specify jobs as a matter of course that require the staff to work on Saturdays without realizing that a large pool of potential workers would be unable to work on this day as it is their Sabbath (Vector research, 2003).
2.4 The trends common in the merchandise sector
Merchandise is an economic sector, which has traditionally been associated with the
employment of diverse people of different background. Overall, 55% of merchandise employees are women and 45% are men (Skillsmart, 2006). This gender factor in the merchandise sector remains fairly consistent throughout the nations and regions of the Hong Kong and this profile has been fairly consistent over the last 10 years. Skill level has also played a bigger part in influencing how long an employee is wiling to stay in a given organization. Better salaries in other organizations may lead to employees moving from their respective place of work in pursuit for better opportunities(Hudson, 2006). Level of qualification gives workers a broader spectrum of work opportunities that they gladly take into considerations. Skillsmart (2006) suggest that Hong Kong’s larger ethnic population is likely to be the source of this greater proportion of the workers in the capital run by ethnic minorities may proprietorship driven by highly skilled male people. It is important to note however, that the representation of retention in the merchandise sector follows a number of
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