Retail Executives’ Professional Learning Contents

Eduardo de Aquino Lucena, Cristiano José Castro de Almeida Cunha


The research question that is addressed in this
article is the following: what do the executives
from small retailing firms learn in their work
environment? The theoretical framework of the
study is based on texts from the field of learning.
This is a qualitative investigation. Ten interviews
with clothing retail executives were carried
out. Later, these interviews were transcribed
and analyzed. In the data analysis stage, two
categories were established in response to the
research question. Regarding the first, respondents
perceived difficulties (problems) in their work
environments and obtained specific information
and knowledge in order to deal with these
situations. So as to overcome different professional
difficulties, respondents learned about colors and
types of fabric and about certain manufacturing
process aspects referring to the clothing sold
by their companies. They also declared to have
learned about their companies’ suppliers and
about certain issues referring to sales, and to the
accounting and the financial management of their
companies. The second category refers to a change
in some of the respondents’ habits. This learning
content refers to predispositions to respond and/
or act in situations at their work environments.
Respondents reported having changed the way
they related to other people. They emphasized
that they had learned how to interact with the
employees at their stores and how to carry out
supervision. Differently from other studies, we
found that the retailers’ learning (individual
learning) affected their companies’ learning
(organizational learning) through changes in
certain aspects of the analyzed companies’
organizational structures.

Keywords: Managers’ learning. Organizational
learning. Learning contents. Retail executives.


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