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Retail matters : examining the relationship between resources and performance in small retail firms

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Grimmer, EL (2015) Retail matters : examining the relationship between resources and performance in small retail firms. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

Retailing is an essential economic, social and cultural activity, and a strong retail sector
makes a significant contribution to local, state and national economies. Small retailers
contribute to their local areas by providing a variety of goods, employment opportunities,
and an alternative to offerings from multinational corporations. In a shrinking global
market retailers, particularly small retail firms, operate in increasingly volatile and
competitive trading environments. Although the challenges facing the retail industry have
been widely addressed in both the academic and trade literature, the accumulated
research in the area of retailing has concentrated on the performance of large retailers.
There is a dearth of research focussing on small retail firms and only a limited number of
studies examining the resources utilised by high performing small retailers.
Using the lens of R-A theory to address this gap in the research, this study aimed to
empirically investigate the relationship between firm resources (informational, relational,
physical, financial, human and organisational) and performance in small retail firms by
identifying which resources are associated with higher levels of firm performance. This
study further examined the effect of three mediating factors (strategic orientation,
strategic planning capability and entrepreneurial orientation) and two moderating factors
(customer orientation and environmental hostility) on the relationship between
resources and performance.
This study used a quantitative methodology. Data were collected via a mail survey
delivered to 2,013 small retailers throughout the island State of Tasmania, Australia.
Completed surveys were received from 401 small retailers; with 322 surveys returned as
undeliverable this provides a response rate of 23.7%.
The findings confirmed that two of the six proposed resources – informational (business)
resources and access to financial capital – were important for firm performance. A third
resource – informational (web) resources – was found to be negatively related to firm
performance. Strategic planning capability was found to be positively related to firm
performance, as well as to strategic orientation (a prospector orientation). Strategic
planning capability positively mediated the relationship between informational (business), physical, relational, and human and organisational resources and
performance. The findings further show that a firm’s strategic orientation is important for
firm performance. While both a prospector orientation and a defender/analyser
orientation were found to be positively related to performance, firms with a prospector
orientation reported higher levels of performance. While no relationship was found
between entrepreneurial orientation and performance, the study confirmed a positive
relationship with a prospector orientation and with strategic planning capability.
Similarly, customer orientation was not found to be related to firm performance;
however, there was support for the moderation effect of customer orientation on the
relationships between physical resources and two of the proposed mediators: a
defender/analyser orientation and entrepreneurial orientation. No relationship was
found between owner/manager perceptions of environmental hostility and firm
performance; nor did environmental hostility moderate the relationship between
resources and performance.
The findings have implications for both retail theory and retail practice. This research
contributes to the small retail firm literature, and extends the use of R-A theory in the
context of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and retailing. Through the development
of a conceptual model, this research contributes to the extant research on small retailer
resources and performance by confirming specific resources related to higher levels of
firm performance, and by highlighting the mediating or moderating effect of several
factors on the relationship between resources and performance. From a practical
perspective, the findings of this study have significant implications for the retailing
industry by assisting small retail firms to identify which resources and strategies can lead
to higher levels of firm performance.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Small business, retailing, strategy, resources, entrepreneurship, business planning
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2015 the author

Additional Information:

Appendix F is a published article and has been removed from the thesis. (Grimmer, L., Miles, M.P., Grimmer, M., 2013, A research note on the effect of entrepreneurial orientation on small retailer performance: a resource-advantage perspective, International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, 11(2), 409-424)

Appendix G appears to be the post-print version of an article published as: Grimmer, L., Miles, M.P., Grimmer, M. 2016, The performance advantage of business planning for small and social retail enterprises in an economically disadvantaged region, European Journal of International Management, 10(4), 403-421

Date Deposited: 29 Jul 2016 01:01
Last Modified: 01 Jan 2017 16:00
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