Academic Research Use in Strategic Decision-Making: Barriers and Opportunities within the Apparel Retail Industry
This study's purpose was to explore: (a) the resources currently utilized by management in the strategic decision-making process within fashion retail companies; and (b) opportunities and barriers for greater use of academic research in the U.S. fashion retail industry. A phenomenological interpretive approach guided the research design to explore retail professionals' strategic decision-making and the role of academic research in the process. Fifteen retail industry executives in the sectors of women's and men's apparel, sportswear, footwear, accessories, and intimates from various companies across the United States were interviewed. Emergent themes formed three topical areas: (a) resource usage for strategic decision-making by retail executives; (b) barriers for academic research use; and (c) processes of strategic decision-making within the fashion retail industry. Findings in this study illustrated the opportunity for academic research use in the fashion retail industry.
What do they need to succeed? Development of an apparel merchandising competency framework
The purpose of this study was to: (a) identify a comprehensive list of merchandising knowledge and skills through an analysis of extant research; (b) categorize these knowledge and skills to create a classification matrix; and (c) based on this matrix, develop an apparel merchandising competency framework. Content analysis was used to to analyse a total of 32 published articles in peer reviewed journals focused on K&S required for business, retail, and merchandising professionals. A total of 140 different K&S found to be important for merchandising, retail, and business positions were identified and then systematically classified. The classification procedure followed four successive stages: (1) four main constructs were identified (i.e., explicit knowledge; tacit knowledge; soft skills; hard skills); (2) seven different categories of K&S were identified (i.e., explicit knowledge: general apparel and merchandising category; tacit knowledge: experience category; soft skills: interpersonal and intrapersonal category; hard skills: technical and conceptual/thinking category); (3) 39 types of K&S (16 knowledge and 23 skills) were identified within the seven categories and classified into each category; and (4) dimensions of each type of K&S were identified and classified accordingly. To categorize the K&S constructs, categories, and types, Pellegrino and Hilton’s (2012) competency domain framework was employed. The three competency domains aligned with the K&S constructs identified. Additionly, the different clusters in each domain provided an effective way to classify the categories and types of K&S. Based on this classification, we proposed an apparel merchandising competency framework that is discipline-specific and outlines the knowledge and skills required for merchandisers to be competent and, ultimately build a successful career.