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Promoting transformational leadership practices of retail managers

Zondre Keevy (Department of Adult Education, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa)
Juliet Perumal (Department of Education Studies, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa)

Journal of Management Development

ISSN: 0262-1711

Article publication date: 7 October 2014




The pursuit of knowledge should be the objective of managers in the workplace, both for the purpose of empowerment and to achieve financial objectives. It is important that retail managers have a need to solidify their transformational leadership knowledge, which ultimately could increase their capacity to excel. The paper aims to discuss these issues.


A structured management development programme (MDP), consisting of a comprehensive spectrum of retail management and leadership theory and practices, was designed to develop transformational leadership by using transformational teaching and learning strategies. The sample for this study consisted of seven retail managers from a group of 20 managers, employed by Retek, the largest independent retail pharmacy group in South Africa. A focus group interview identified the dominant themes and produced a landscape to understand the retail managers’ environment, their preferred teaching methodology and benefits experienced from attending the MDP.


By transforming themselves, these managers have become more empathetic leaders, armed with self-awareness and a deeper awareness of team issues. The MDP created in a shift in their attitude towards attending training programmes and subsequently, has created a more accommodating philosophy towards workplace learning. The study added to the understanding of how transformational teaching and learning lead to more effective transformational leadership and the integration of theory into practice by retail managers. The conclusion was that by embracing and practising a transformational teaching and learning ideology, the managers would be better equipped with managerial and transformational leadership abilities.


This research provided a landscape for future management development training in terms of selection of managers to attend, relevant curriculum, teaching and learning methodology as well as benefits of this type of professional development. This initiative was the first project in which such a programme has been designed, developed and instructed in this particular organisation and encompassed a unique experience in terms of training, professional development and the change in the willingness to engage in training and acknowledgement of the value of learning.



Keevy, Z. and Perumal, J. (2014), "Promoting transformational leadership practices of retail managers", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 33 No. 10, pp. 919-931.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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