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Project Proposal Assignment HRM Challenges In Australian Retail Industry


Develop a report on project proposal assignment exploring the strategic leadership approach to address the organizational HRM challenges in Australian retail sector.


Strategic leadership is regarded as tactics in which executives, employing various types of management, evolve a vision for their entity that capacitates it to cope up or stay competitive in swiftly transforming technological and economic climate (Gupta, 2020). In the new millennium, retailing emerges as a complex, vital and exciting business sector in both developed and emerging economies. Australia is considered as one of the most prominent urbanised societies in the globe, having approximately 24 million people living in Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney and Perth. There are a number of retail business entities in Australia. However, owing to HRM challenges and mounting competition, the retail sector has been confronting cut-throat rivalry. This project proposal is designed to deal with HRM challenges concerning the retail sector of Australia.

Problem statement
In recent time the landscape of work has witnessed a remarkable shift from process to people. HR executives associated with all sectors perceive this shift. However, in the retail sector, the challenges confronted by the HR teams ate exponentially complicated. In the retail sector of Australia, the HR professionals have been confronting a massive challenge in the following areas: evolving employee engagement, driving greater productivity and flexibility and transforming the workplace and so on.

Despite online revolution, retail is a sector which is exponentially characterised by personal interaction between the staffs and consumers. This indicates that retail businesses should take the necessary steps in terms of keeping their workforce always engaged in order to ascertain long-term success. However, a large number of players operating in the retail sector of Australia have imparted less emphasis on this. Lack of employee engagement has been affecting the shopping experience of consumers to a great extent (Gupta, 2020). Moreover, the absence of flexible working practices and performance appraisals has also been affecting the productivity among the employees associated with the retail sector of Australia. Another important HRM challenge pertaining to the retail sector of Australia is liked with the issues of transforming the traditional workplace structure (Gupta, 2020). Attaining this transformation with an atmosphere of collective bargaining is considered as a remarkable change in various workplaces. However, in the retail sector of Australia, a number of organisations failed to embrace a sophisticated approach to ensure that employees are not only an ‘input’ to the business, but are tuned with the strategic direction of the businesses.

In recent time, the retail sector of Australia has been noticing an enormous competition. The cut-throat competition has resulted in the loss of profit margin for a number of retail business entities operating in the country (Bailey, 2017). Therefore, companies are now providing lesser importance in terms of addressing an array of HRM issues that have been affecting the productivity of the employees. However, business organisations associated with the retail sector of Australia need to meet their target in order to sustain amidst unprecedented competition. Adopting a strategic leadership approach can go a long way for the retail business of Australia in terms of dealing with a range of HRM challenges.

Research aim
This project proposal aims to dissect the effectiveness of strategic leadership method in order to deal with a range of HRM issues prevalent in the retail industry of Australia.

Research objective
The objectives of this project proposal are as follows:

  • To assess the predominant organisational HRM issues confronted by the retail sector of Australia
  • To explore the implication of HRM challenges on the retail sector of Australia
  • To elucidate whether strategic leadership approach can be effective in terms of dealing with various organisational HRM challenges within the Australian retail sector
  • To ascertain the necessity of effective human resource management in the retail sector

Research scope
This project proposal aims to explore how the tactic of strategic leadership can be fruitful to iron out various HRM challenges confronted by the retail sector of Australia. An in-depth evaluation of the retail sector of Australia along with market dynamics, the latest trends and parent market will also be carried out in this project proposal. It will emphasise on the key issues confronted by the retail business of Australia for lack of effective human resource management. Moreover, it will also assess why strategic leadership approach is indispensable for the retail industry of the country in order to ensure the fulfilment of their strategic objectives.

Justification of the research project and probable outputs
Over the years the retail sector of Australia has been confronting multiple issues owing to lack of HRM management strategies. The mounting competition has also been shrinking profitability level of the retail business entities operating in the country. This research can go a long way for the business persons and analysts in terms of making out the key HRM issues affecting the employee productivity, such as lack of engagement, poor wage structure high attrition rate and so on. Moreover, this research project will also be beneficial in terms of evolving wider understanding of strategic leadership approach that can be effective to deal with organisational HRM issues prevalent in the retail sector of Australia. The research out-put concerning this research encompasses various scholarly papers, methodologies, and authentic industrial data and so on. These can also be effective in terms of brushing up the knowledge-base of future analysis.

The conceptual framework
Strategic leadership is regarded as the act that assists the executives to utilise multiple management styles for ascertaining a vision for the organisation. It can go a long way for an organisation in terms of dealing with the mounting pressure of competition. Over the years, the retail business of Australia has been facing a myriad of HRM challenges such as lack of employee engagement, issues in workplace flexibility and lack of productivity and so on. Strategic leadership approach can be immensely helpful for the retail sector of Australia in terms of boosting up the level of motivation among the employees to meet their predefined strategic objectives.

Importance of Human resource management in the retail sector
The success of a business entity relies heavily on human resource management. Human resource management is regarded as the organisational function that can be effective in terms of addressing issues associated with people such as hiring, employee motivation, performance management, compensation, administration and communication and training (Belias et al., 2017). It is also considered as a comprehensive and strategic approach of dealing with staffs at the workplace. In the recent time, the competition in the retail sector of Australia has been increasing at an unimaginable pace owing to the advent of a number of new players. Therefore, it has become dire necessity for the retail businesses to restructure their policies, tasks and resources for coping up with the swiftly altering needs of employees, target market and administration. Owing to higher rate of attrition and mounting demand for efficient employees, it has become a priority for the retail business entities to emphasise more on human resource management (Bailey, 2020). The scope of human resource management in the area of retailing is exponentially multi-faceted and vast (Belias et al., 2017). All kinds of activities that have been accomplished by the employees of retail stores come under the provision of human resource management. In the retail sector, HR management is also important in order to place the right staff at correct position based on his or her interest, experience and calibre. It is also important to foster effective relationship with the employees by addressing various issues and challenges such as workplace flexibility, compensation, change management and so on.

Key HR challenges confronted by the retail sector of Australia
Over the years, the performance of the retail sector of Australia has not been impressive as expected. Furthermore, the industry has been witnessing an unprecedented rivalry among various players like Woolworths, Wesfarmers, JB Hi-fi and Coles Group and so on. This has also been generating an array of HRM issues in the industry affecting employee engagement and productivity among the employees. In Australia, the retail sector has witnessed a remarkable structural transformation since the 2000s, encompassing the advent of online shopping and entrance of a number of international players in the industry (Bailey, 2020). Even the outcome of the NAB survey posits the fact that the business conditions in the retail sector of Australia have been exponentially weaker compared to various other industry of Australia.

project proposal assignment 1

Figure 1: Business conditions of the retail sector of Australia as per the NAB survey
(Source: Bailey, 2020)

Some of the major HRM issues confronted by the retain organisations of Australia are as follows:

1. Fostering employee engagement
Irrespective of the e-commerce revolution, the retail sector is marked by personal interaction between consumers and employees. However, there are various arguments regarding the role of human interface in the age of digitalisation. However, as argued by Liu, Margaritis & Qiao (2016), in the era of social media, consumer perception about product or service has immediate and real impacts. This indicates the fact that engaging with the workforce is important in terms of retaining the employees for a long period. However, the lack of effective employee engagement has been resulting in high rate of attrition in the retail sector of Australia.

2. Fostering productivity and flexibility
In order to reap the advantage of drastic technical transformation and cope up the implications of globalisation, it is important for the retail business entities to ascertain greater flexibility (Bailey, 2017). Adaptable and flexible businesses require significant support from HR in terms of implementing organisational transition successfully. However, a flexible working structure has been forcing the employees associated with the retail sector to overwork. Moreover, poor wage structure, lack of job security, prolonged working hours have also been affecting the productivity of the employees to a great extent.

3. Lack of training opportunities
Lack of training and development opportunity is also considered as one of the key HRM challenges confronted by the retail sector of Australia. Every year a large number of employees quit their organisation for lack of professional development opportunities. Employees associated with the retail sector believe that they can perform more effectively if they get training opportunity form their employer.

Theories of strategic leadership
The key theories pertaining to strategic leadership have been jotted down below:

Strategic contingency theory
The strategic contingency theory posits that a leader can become the pivotal aspect of an organisation owing to his/her unparalleled efficiencies and skills of ironing out issues. This theory has been propounded by D.J. Hickson. In accordance with the theory, a leader's skills of the solving problem can provide him/her enormous bargaining power. However, this theory sparks a lot of controversies. According to Siras & Sharma (2019), it can create enormous uncertainty rather than addressing the problem within an organisation.

The trait Theory
The concept of trait theory depends on “big five” personality elements that are possessed by everyone to some extent. These factors encompass extroversion, agreeableness, and openness to experience, neuroticism and consciousness (Belias et al., 2017). As per the trait theory, a leader possesses the aforementioned traits in high degrees compared to others. It is pertinent to point out that having forward-looking, competence and enthusiasm can assist a leader t guide others in terms of attaining goals successfully.

Role of strategic leadership to deal with HRM challenges
One of the key roles of the strategic leadership in an organisation is to cement effective relationship between the employer and the employee (Giri & Chatterjee, 2020). In an organisation strategic leadership can play a pivotal role in terms of dealing with multiple challenges associated with HRM. They are elaborated below:

Recruitment and selection
Recruiting and selecting employees can play a pivotal role in the area of human resource management (Alex & Golhar, 2020). In recent time, the retail sector of Australia has been experiencing the issue of finding the right talent for a specific job role. Thus, the strategic role of an HR manager is to confluence elements about employee relations into the selection and recruitment strategy of employer. Assimilating employee recognition program can also be effective to keep the employees motivated. In the retail sector, it can also encourage the employees to fulfil certain targets given to them by the organisation.

Training and development of the employees
Strategic leadership within an organisation can play a pivotal role to deal with the challenge of employee training and development. According to Sparrow & Otaye-Ebede (2017), within an organisation strategic leadership can play a prominent role in terms of preparing the employees for future roles within the business entity. Within a retail business, strategic leadership can perform various roles like succession planning, performance appraisal and promotion and so on. Providing training and development opportunity can also be effective in terms of dealing with high rate of attrition.

Compensation and benefit
The benefits and compensation structure of staff can go a long way in terms of developing the image and reputation of a retail business where the rate of attrition is exponentially high (Belias et al., 2017). Additionally, decisions made by the HR managers about employee benefits and pay scales can also impact the level of satisfaction among the staffs. It can also amplify the ability of an organisation to hire highly efficient and talented staffs.

Accordimng to Hickson (2016), research methodology is important to demonstrate, analyse and ultimately prognosticate research phenomena. It also talks about different algorithms and device employed in research.

Research philosophy
Research philosophy posits the beliefs that have to link with nature of reality which is going to be assessed (Snyder, 2019). Research philosophy has different branches, such as pragmatism, realism, interpretivism and also positivism. In this project proposal, the researcher will stick to positivism.

The researcher will stick to this philosophy because it will bolster the analyst to present his discussions in compliance with a well-articulated structure. Furthermore, this philosophy will never prompt the researcher to draw conclusions depending on a subjective overview. With the help of positivism, the scholar can disseminate the advantage of strategic leadership to deal with various HRM issues prevalent in the retail sector of Australia

Research approach
There are two branches of research approaches: deductive and inductive. There is a clear contrast between these two approaches. While a deductive type of approach starts smaller and tends to evolve bigger in the course of time, the inductive type of approach ascertains a broad theory and thereafter casts attention on more succinct and precise details (Gear, Eppel & Koziol-Mclain, 2018). The researcher will accomplish this project proposal in compliance with deductive approach.

The analyst will comply with deductive approach for this project proposal because it can bolster him to discuss the interconnection between strategic leadership approach and effective organisational HRM in the context of the retail sector o Australia.

Research design
According to Daniel & Harland (2017), research design is a framework of research that talks about the methods and approaches opted in by the researcher for accom0lishing a research project efficiently. The assortments of research design are descriptive, explanatory and also exploratory design. The analyst will accomplish this project proposal in adherence with descriptive design.

By incorporating descriptive type research design, the analyst can illustrate how strategic leadership approach is demand of the age in the retail sector of Australia which is characterised by a number of complicated and multi-faceted HRM challenges.

Data collection
Data collection is the detailed method of collecting data from wider sources for administering a research. Data is branched into two categories, such as secondary and primary data (Kumar, 2019). To source primary type of data, researchers obtain first-hand sources under their consideration. To fetch secondary type data, researcher considers multiple categories of sources like scholarly journals, industry reports, annual business reports, government dossiers and books and so on. The analyst will express his adherence over secondary data.

Collecting and elucidating secondary data will empower the analyst in terms of comparing the existing HRM issues of the Australian retail sector with the accumulated data. It will also empower the analyst to ascertain why strategic leadership is important to rejuvenate the HRM process by drawing inferences from assorted resources.

Data analysis
The approach of evaluating and dissecting data with the abetment of logical and analytical reasoning is known as data analysis (Bairagi & Munot, 2019). It is branched into two main types: quantitative and qualitative analysis. The researcher, for this project proposal, will opt in a mixed approach concerning data analysis.

As an integral aspect of qualitative research, the researcher will develop effective hypothesis depending on assembled data. This will endow the researcher in terms of ascertaining the authenticity of the study. The researcher will utilise charts, graphs, bars and various other numerical diagrams in order to perform quantitative assessment. It will abet the researcher in terms of presenting the HRM challenges and its implication on the HRM sector of Australia with the help of numerical data.

Organisation of the research project, Budget and Schedule
Each of the chapter pertaining to the research will encompass the following things:

Chapter 1: Introduction
This chapter will disseminate research problem, objectives, scope and aim of the research. In brief, this chapter will set the keynote of the whole research project.

Chapter 2: Conceptual framework
An elaborated elucidation drawn from multiple literary sources will be accomplished in this chapter.

Chapter 3: Methodology
This chapter will tell what approaches and methods are employed by the researcher to extract data and elucidate them for extracting relevant findings.

Chapter 4: Findings and elucidations
This section s going to encompass main findings that will be extracted and drawn from assembled data.

Chapter 5: Conclusion and recommendation
This chapter will serve as the summary of the entire research including the future scope of further development about the selected research phenomena.



Amount (AU$)

Cost of field visit

$ 800

Data Collection

$ 900

Communications and Stationery

$ 500

Preparation of proposal

$ 400


$ 600

Total Budget (estimated)

$ 3200

Gantt Chart

project proposal assignment 2

Strategic leaders employ this vision in order to surcharge the departments and the staffs, fostering a sense of direction and unity among them to embrace strategic change within their organisation. The key objectives concerning strategic objective leadership are to accelerate strategic productivity, streamline processes, and encourage innovation. This project proposal intends to assess what role can be played by strategic leadership in terms of addressing a myriad of HRM challenges prevalent in the retail sector of Australia. The study has imparted an elaborated discussion on the role of strategic leadership backed by theories. The estimated budget and schedule has also be incorporated. Summing up, strategic leadership can be fruitful to keep the employees engaged towards organisational vision.

Alex, A., & Golhar, D. (2020). HRM PRACTICE AND WORK ENVIRONMENT: AN ANALYTICAL STUDY WITH. Studies in Indian Place Names, 40(27), 233-242.

Amarakoon, U., Weerawardena, J., & Verreynne, M. L. (2018). Learning capabilities, human resource management innovation and competitive advantage. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 29(10), 1736-1766.

Bailey, M. (2017). Absorptive capacity, international business knowledge transfer, and local adaptation: establishing discount department stores in Australia. Australian Economic History Review, 57(2), 194-216.

Bailey, M. (2020). Urban disruption, suburbanization and retail innovation: establishing shopping centres in Australia. Urban History, 47(1), 152-169.

Bairagi, V., & Munot, M. V. (Eds.). (2019). Research methodology: A practical and scientific approach. CRC Press.

Belias, D., Trivellas, P., Koustelios, A., Serdaris, P., Varsanis, K., & Grigoriou, I. (2017). Human resource management, strategic leadership development and the Greek tourism sector. In Tourism, Culture and Heritage in a Smart Economy (pp. 189-205). Springer, Cham.

Daniel, B. K., & Harland, T. (2017). Higher education research methodology: A step-by-step guide to the research process. Routledge.

Gear, C., Eppel, E., & Koziol-Mclain, J. (2018). Advancing complexity theory as a qualitative research methodology. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 17(1), 1609406918782557.

Giri, A., & Chatterjee, S. (2020). Impact of Fluid Team Performance on Strategic HRM: An Empirical Study in the Organized Retail Sector of West Bengal. Prabandhan: Indian Journal of Management, 13(4), 25-42.

Gray, D. E. (2019). Doing research in the business world. Sage Publications Limited.

Hickson, H. (2016). Becoming a critical narrativist: Using critical reflection and narrative inquiry as research methodology. Qualitative social work, 15(3), 380-391.

Kumar, R. (2019). Research methodology: A step-by-step guide for beginners. Sage Publications Limited.

Liu, M. H., Margaritis, D., & Qiao, Z. (2016). The global financial crisis and retail interest rate pass-through in Australia. Review of Pacific Basin Financial Markets and Policies, 19(04), 1650026.

Murshed, F., & Zhang, Y. (2016). Thinking orientation and preference for research methodology. Journal of Consumer Marketing.

Ren, S., Tang, G., & Jackson, S. E. (2020). Effects of Green HRM and CEO ethical leadership on organizations' environmental performance. International Journal of Manpower.

Saha, N., Gregar, A., & Sáha, P. (2017). Organizational agility and HRM strategy: Do they really enhance firms’ competitiveness?. International Journal of Organizational Leadership, 6, 323-334.

Siras, M. K., & Sharma, D. (2019). HRM Policies--Influence on Employees’ Retentionin Retail Sector-A Study in Ghaziabad District. International Journal of Management, IT and Engineering, 9(9), 103-118.

Snyder, H. (2019). Literature review as a research methodology: An overview and guidelines. Journal of Business Research, 104, 333-339.

Sparrow, P., & Otaye-Ebede, L. (2017). HRM and productivity. In A Research Agenda for Human Resource Management. Edward Elgar Publishing.


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