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Routes to team goal attainment in retail

Minna Janhonen (Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland)
Sara Lindström (Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Article publication date: 12 January 2015




The purpose of this paper is to examine the routes of team goal attainment through individual and social mechanisms.


The study is based on a qualitative thematic analysis of interviews, annual reports and observations of team meetings conducted within a Finnish department store.


The key findings of our analysis are three fold. First, we identified four routes to team goal attainment: team leadership, one’s own work, customer service and team work. We propose that for team members, these routes to goal attainment are more important than the organizational goals of sales and reputation themselves, since sales and reputation may be too far removed from the team’s everyday work. Second, both individual and social mechanisms are needed for team goal accomplishment. This finding highlights the importance of the social identity perspective in binding individual and collective motivations together. Third, teamwork in our case department store is somewhat affected by non-participative conventions, but many employee-involving practices can also be identified. These employee-involving HRM practices offer the employees a voice, and give the teams and team supervisors sufficient power in work organization.

Research limitations/implications

The limitations of this study are mostly due to the qualitative case study design which hinders the generalization of the results. The wide perspective of the study can also be seen as a limitation.

Practical implications

The results suggest that HR professionals and line managers should be more aware of and support the processes through which teams and team members attain organizational goals. This requires detailed knowledge of the processes – routes to team goal attainment – at the shop floor level.


This study highlights the interconnectedness of individual and team level attributes in retail team work, and proposes the perspective of social identity theory as a lens for analysis.



The authors thank the Academy of Finland (grant number 128153) for supporting the study published in this paper. The authors are also grateful to the case retail store, which gave the auhors the possibility to do this research. Also, the authors would like to thank language editor Alice Lehtinen for her contribution.


Janhonen, M. and Lindström, S. (2015), "Routes to team goal attainment in retail", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 43 No. 1, pp. 26-42.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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