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Assessing the creativity levels of retail business management students studying at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology
Van Zyl, Eric
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Background: Retail in South Africa is a growing industry, but new demands and the influx of foreign competition require retail business managers to be more creative in solving modern-day complex retail problems. An embedded outcome of the registered National Diploma: Retail Business Management qualification offered by the Cape Peninsula University of Technology is that students should be able to identify business problems and creatively make sound business decisions to solve these problems. However, because creativity is such a diverse topic, it seems that educational institutions and educators do not commit themselves to and evade the development of creativity. Consequently, this leads to graduates being ill-prepared in creatively solving the complex and often unique business problems they encounter in the Wholesale and Retail sector. Objectives: The objective of this study was to determine the creativity profile of Retail Business Management students and evaluate the progress of their creativity levels from their first- to third year. This approach evaluated if the embedded outcome of creativity was met for the National Diploma: Retail Business Management qualification. Methodology: Empirical research was conducted by collecting a combination of quantitative and qualitative data to determine the creativity levels of Retail Business Management students. A questionnaire consisting of both qualitative- and quantitative questions was used to evaluate the creativity levels of 159 full-time students and 16 students from the retail industry studying through the university’s Retail Academy. Quantitative data were analysed using both descriptive- and inferential statistics. Findings: Based on the analysed data, it was found that creativity is one of the key attributes, if not the most important, to ensure continued business success in the South African retail industry. The results indicate that participants were creative, but not at the required levels. It was further established that there was no growth in the creativity levels of the participants from their first- to third year of studies, thus indicating that the required outcome of creativity, as stipulated in the qualification criteria, was not achieved. Recommendations: It is recommended that further research should be conducted in an attempt to propose a suitable creativity instrument for developing the creativity of Retail Business Management students as this would ensure that graduates are confident and able to use their creativity to address the unique challenges that the South African retail industry face.