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Impact of effective leadership strategies on the business performance of UK retail firms- A Case of Tesco


Task: Identify a relevant topic appropriate to the students’ area of study from which a suitable research project can be developed. Conduct a literature review including searching for, and critically engaging with, the ideas of contributing authors to the particular topic. Critically evaluate and design a range of research methods and appropriate research techniques for the collection and analysis of data using quantitative, qualitative or joint methods in order to address the research aim, question and objectives.Demonstrate transferable skills including time management, project management, listening, negotiation, written communication skills, independent learning and advanced research skills.


Chapter 1: Introduction


Effective and strategic leadership has become essential for organisations to maintain their profitability, productivity and competitive advantage. Leadership styles have been influencing the ways in which organisational members function. In this regard, they have also emerged as important predictors of organisational performance in the recent years. Effective leadership strategies help in motivating and helping employees to enhance their productivity to achieve desired objectives, which further results in improved organisational performance (Rosenbach, 2018). Thus, exploring various leadership styles and their impact on businesses can be very useful.

Company Information

Tesco is a British multinational retailer of general merchandise that carries out its business operations through retail outlets and online stores. It offers a wide range of food and grocery products to the customers across the world.


It is essential to undertake the research study for exploring how effective leadership strategies in firms is required for ensuring their long-term survival and sustained competitive advantage in the market. This study will also help in displaying the effectiveness of leadership in enhancing business performance, which ultimately benefits all the stakeholders.

Research Aim

The research study will be undertaken to explore the influence of effective leadership strategies on business performance of retail firms.

Research Objectives

In this research study, the objectives thatwill be addressed are:

  • To explain the significance of effective leadership in UK retail firms,
  • To explain various leadership strategies undertaken in UK retail firms,
  • To examine the effect of leadership strategies on business performance of Tesco,

Research Questions

The questions that will be answered in this study are:

• Why has leadership become imperative in UK retail firms?

• What are some of the common leadership strategies or approaches that UK retail firms undertake?

• How do effective leadership influence business performance of Tesco?

Chapter 2: Literature Review

Importance of Leadership

Literature review will be conducted by exploring journal articles and research studies written by different authors based on the research topic.

According to Donateand de Pablo (2015), leadership can be referred to as the procedure of exciting and motivating others to enhance their effort for accomplishing desired objectives. It involves a clear management approach that focuses on encouraging employees to follow the leaders for achieving the organisational goals (Carmeli, et al. (2013). In addition, leadership includes various elements like motivation, leadership style and communication.

Leadership Styles

Different leadership styles are undertaken in organisations for motivating the followers. According to Amanchukwu, StanleyandOlolube (2015), some of which are autocratic leadership, laissez-faire leadership,transactional leadership, bureaucratic leadership, charismatic leadership and participative leadership.However, Uhl-Bien and Arena (2018)have opined that other leadership styles are also used in firms for organisational adaptability, which are operational leadership, entrepreneurial leadership, and enabling leadership. Thus, the effectiveness of each of these leadership styles vary based on the situation or context in which they are being applied.

Impact of Leadership on Business Performance of Retail Firms

Al Khajeh (2018) has stated that leadership is often considered as the way in which employees are directed, guided and motivated for achieving the desired organisational goals. This makes it one of the crucialfactors determining the accomplishment or failure of a firm. The role of leadership in organisations has become important for creating vision, mission, objectives, strategies and policies for achieving the goals. Effective and high-quality leadership enable the organisational members in coping with external changes alongside working towards the company mission and vision. Besides, Iqbal, AnwarandHaider (2015) have pointed out that leadership enables employees to provide team inputs, achieve departmental goals, meeting deadlines and fulfilling responsibilities. Thus, it keeps them motivated to work hard and improve their performance, which ultimately leads to improved organisational performance.

According to Mekraz and Gundala (2016), both transformational and transactional leadership styles can generate significant influence on the performance of retail stores. It has been observed in the study that store managers often undertake transactional leadership by following the existing rules and frameworks to reduce employee turnover and enhance customer service. This combined effort of improving customer service and decreasing employee turnover often add to ensure improvement in profits of the retail firms. Moreover, Wiid, Cant and Senooane (2022) have opined that effective leaders in the retail industry are generally skilful, inspiring, compassionate and persistent. They possess adequate skills, knowledge and experience with intellectual capabilities for accomplishing goals. These leaders also motivate their followers through shared goals and vision by being visionary. Effective retail leaders also display sensitivity, flexibility and adaptability to changing situations. Lastly, they have risk taking and resilient behaviours. Thus, these qualities help in achieving desired outcomes, leading to improved retail performance.

Chapter 3: Research Methodology

Research Philosophy

The researcher needs to select an appropriate research philosophy to determine ways of data collection, measuring and analysing it. This is required for answering the research problem by developing new ideas and knowledge. Pragmatism research philosophy will be undertaken for this research study as it considers research question as the most important element (Kaushik and Walsh, 2019). This philosophy will demonstrate how different leadership strategies areundertaken in retail firms and how they influence the business performance of those firms. This will be displayed through different perspectives instead of having a single viewpoint. Interpretivism, positivism or realism philosophies have not been considered here as they are not appropriate for addressing the research questions.

Research Approach

The goal of the research study alongside the research problem helps in determining the selection of research approach.Research approaches can be of two types, such as, inductive and deductive (WoiceshynandDaellenbach, 2018). Here, the researcher will undertake a deductive research approach to focus on examining existing theories by starting from generalized observations to arrive at specific conclusions. In this regard, leadership strategies in various retail firms across the world to undertake how they are improving business performance.Inductive approach has been discarded here as it emphasises on developing new philosophies based on the collected data (Gioia, Corley and Hamilton, 2013).

Research Design

It is referred to as a strategy for integrating various components of research in a rational and comprehensibleway for achieving the research objectives (Abbott and McKinney, 2013).Here, descriptive research design will be used for unfolding the characteristics of the phenomenon being studied (Rahi, 2017). Descriptive design will be used for acquiring information about different leadership strategies being followed in the retail firms. In this regard, examples of various firms will be undertaken to analyse their business performance. Here, exploratory design is not applicable as the topic has already been widely studied and explanatory research is avoided as it focuses on causal relationship.

Research Strategy

It is the overall plan for conducting the main research by providing a proper direction and guidance to the researcher. In this research study, case study will be used by the researcher for planning, monitoring and executing the research (Gog, 2015). The researcher will consider the example of Tesco operating in the UK retail industry for collecting data about its leadership strategies and their impact on its business performance (Bartlett and Vavrus, 2016).This strategy will be useful in gaining detailed insights about Tesco and its leadership practices. Other strategies like interview, focus groups, grounded theory, ethnography studies are not applicable for this research study as they also involve gathering primary data.

Data Collection

The researcher will collect qualitative data on leadership strategies and business performance in various retail firms (MerriamandTisdell, 2015). In this regard, these data will be collected from various secondary sources like journals, newspaper articles, published documents, company reports and other authentic internet sources.

Here, data collection tools will include mainly Internet sources as secondary research will be undertaken (Saundersand Lewis, 2017).

Here, data will be collected about leadership strategies and business performance by focusing on the single case study of Tesco.

For this purpose,data will be gathered from company website, annual reports, newspaper articles and other internet sources. No such sampling method will be required because secondary research will be conducted.

Ethical Considerations and Limitations

The researcher will make sure to abide by ethical considerations while conducting the research study. The original authors of the data collected will be acknowledged through proper referencing and citing sources (JolandStommel, 2016). Excessive or irrelevant data will not be included here and data will also be kept no longer than what is required for completing the research. The researcher will make sure to evaluate the data acquired to overcome biases.

However, the researcher will avoid using primary data because of limited time and resources. There will not be any scope of validating the collected data instead of only focusing on evaluating the same (Johnston, 2014). In addition, the population size is large consisting of all retail firms, thus, undertaking examples of such a small size might not provide accurate results.

Chapter 4: Data Analysis and Findings

Thematic analysis method will be used for analysing the collected data from secondary sources (Castleberryand Nolen, 2018). It is a powerful and flexible method that helps in analysing qualitative data for understanding experiences, thoughts, ideas or behaviours across the collected data sets (JavadiandZarea, 2016). The steps involved here are familiarising with data, generating initial codes, developing themes, naming, defining and reviewing themes and producing report.

Chapter 5: Conclusion

The research study will focus on analysing the impact of effective leadership strategies on the business performance of retail firms. For this, research aims and objectives have been proposed here. A short literature review has also been included in this research proposal. Lastly, the research methodology, timeline and data analysis methods have also been proposed here.

Reference List

Abbott, M.L. and McKinney, J., 2013. Understanding and applying research design. John Wiley & Sons.

Al Khajeh, E.H., 2018. Impact of leadership styles on organizational performance. Journal of Human Resources Management Research, 2018, pp.1-10.

Amanchukwu, R.N., Stanley, G.J. and Ololube, N.P., 2015. A review of leadership theories, principles and styles and their relevance to educational management. Management, 5(1), pp.6-14.

Bartlett, L. and Vavrus, F., 2016. Rethinking case study research: A comparative approach. Taylor & Francis.

Carmeli, A., Gelbard, R. and Reiter?Palmon, R., 2013. Leadership, creative problem?solving capacity, and creative performance: The importance of knowledge sharing. Human resource management, 52(1), pp.95-121.

Castleberry, A. and Nolen, A., 2018. Thematic analysis of qualitative research data: Is it as easy as it sounds?.Currents in pharmacy teaching and learning, 10(6), pp.807-815.

Donate, M.J. and de Pablo, J.D.S., 2015. The role of knowledge-oriented leadership in knowledge management practices and innovation. Journal of business research, 68(2), pp.360-370.

Gioia, D.A., Corley, K.G. and Hamilton, A.L., 2013. Seeking qualitative rigor in inductive research: Notes on the Gioia methodology. Organizational research methods, 16(1), pp.15-31.

Gog, M., 2015. Case study research. International Journal of Sales, Retailing & Marketing, 4(9), pp.33-41.

Iqbal, N., Anwar, S. and Haider, N., 2015. Effect of leadership style on employee performance. Arabian journal of business and management review, 5(5), pp.1-6.

Javadi, M. and Zarea, K., 2016. Understanding thematic analysis and its pitfall. Journal of client care, 1(1), pp.33-39.

Johnston, M.P., 2014. Secondary data analysis: A method of which the time has come. Qualitative and quantitative methods in libraries, 3(3), pp.619-626.

Jol, G. and Stommel, W., 2016. Ethical considerations of secondary data use: What about informed consent?.Dutch Journal of Applied Linguistics, 5(2), pp.180-195.

Kaushik, V. and Walsh, C.A., 2019. Pragmatism as a research paradigm and its implications for social work research. Social sciences, 8(9), p.255.

Merriam, S.B. and Tisdell, E.J., 2015. Qualitative research: A guide to design and implementation. John Wiley & Sons.

Rahi, S., 2017. Research design and methods: A systematic review of research paradigms, sampling issues and instruments development. International Journal of Economics & Management Sciences, 6(2), pp.1-5.

Rosenbach, W.E., 2018. Contemporary issues in leadership. Routledge.

Saunders, M. and Lewis, P., 2017. Doing research in business and management. Pearson.

Uhl-Bien, M. and Arena, M., 2018. Leadership for organizational adaptability: A theoretical synthesis and integrative framework. The leadership quarterly, 29(1), pp.89-104.

Woiceshyn, J. and Daellenbach, U., 2018. Evaluating inductive vs deductive research in management studies: Implications for authors, editors, and reviewers. Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal, 13(2), pp.183-195.

Mekraz, A. and Gundala, R.R., 2016. Leadership style and retail store performance-A case study of discount retail chain. Journal of Business and Retail Management Research, 10(2), pp.1-10.

Wiid, J.A., Cant, M.C. and Senooane, B., 2022. Is retail leadership what the economy needs today? Key factors for effectiveness. International Journal of Research in Business and Social Science (2147-4478), 11(10), pp.97-109.


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