SportShop is an expanding retail network of specialist stores selling equipment for a wide range of popular sports. The new SportShop concept stores aim primarily at the younger market and are based in medium to large retail units on edge-of-town sites. The recruitment objectives for the new stores have been as follows: The company recruits only those who fully meet its minimum standards. Each store should aim to recruit a diverse workforce comprising people of different ethnicities, ages and gender, and the company perceives a strong business case for doing so. In addition to the notion that recruitment must be cost-effective, recruitment must serve the company’s public relations interests in relation to both its prospective employees and customers. Hence, employer brand is regarded as very important.


In relation to specific roles, a Store Manager’s position is generally filled from the national labour market and well before the recruitment of Sales Assistants from the local catchment area. Each Store Manager is also responsible for on-site HR issues with support from a regional HR manager. Store managers are often appointed through the graduate management training scheme, following a two-year period of suitable training in various aspects of the business. The scheme has been reasonably successful but at the present time labour turnover is high for this grade. This is worrying for the business as the graduate scheme is an important source of talent for the future. It is believed that the selection process, currently based simply on interviews, needs to be improved. However there is also a suspicion that some of the turnover may be attributable to poor management or even bullying.


Each store’s staffing structure is planned for predominantly part-time workers, able to cover the extended trading hours typical of edge-of-town/retail parks sites. While minimum standards of literacy and numeracy are regarded as essential (equivalent to standard UK school leaver qualifications at ‘GCSE level’ as a minimum), SportShop is also searching for staff with effective communication skills and a degree of product knowledge. Recruits are expected to have at least product interest so that they are more likely to convey enthusiasm to customers and increase sales. Previous retail experience is desirable but not essential. Zero hours contracts are not yet in use.

The company’s next opening is scheduled for a site on a retail park on the outskirts of Loughborough. The site still has a number of units for letting but other ‘big name’


retailers are already trading. SportShop is keen to make the exercise successful in recruiting a suitably skilled workforce with a strong focus on diversity.

ANSWER TWO QUESTIONS 750-800 word per question.


  1. Explain why it is in SportShop’s interests to promote diversity in the workplace, especially among front-line service staff.
  1. You have been asked by an HR professional from SportShop to help develop a stronger selection process for graduate entrants to the company. With reference to the research literature, debate critically the issues this professional will need to address in order to establish a robust


  1. Provide a concise explanation of leader-member exchange theory for the benefit of a newly appointed store manager in a typical SportShop retail store, including the strengths and weaknesses of this


  1. Using one appropriate theoretical model, explain the organisational and individual implications of effective performance management. Include examples of how the theoretical model could be


Discuss the principles one should follow when designing an effective learning and development programme.

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