Understanding Retail Managers' Role in the Sales of Products and Services

Todd J. Arnold, Robert W. Palmatier, Dhruv Grewal, Arun Sharma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


This research investigates the influence of retail chain-level activities (e.g., district supervisor directives and policies) and store manager behaviors on the sale of physical products versus services. Using data gathered within a U.S.-based retail automotive parts chain, the authors discover that to sell services, especially in competitive environments, store managers should focus on sales planning and transformative leadership behaviors, which accentuate both the long-term planning horizon and the effects of managerial actions. In less competitive environments though, a more transactional approach (e.g., selling orientation) can be effective for selling services. Alternatively, to sell products, store managers' selling effort appears to be the most important driver of success, and a transformative leadership approach may be detrimental when the retailer faces a high level of direct competition. In total, the findings suggest that corporate chain activities, such as the level and clarity of store managers' goals and supervisor monitoring, influence store manager behaviors, which in turn affect the sale of physical products and services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-144
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Retailing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2009


  • Retail chain-level activities
  • Service versus product sales
  • Store manager behaviors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing


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