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ESSAYS ON SALES FORCE TURNOVER AND JOB SATISFACTION

Abstract
Salespeople are among the most valuable resources of a firm. The salesperson’s roles in value realization includes translating a firm’s offerings into financial and relational rewards, co-creating value with customers, and forming and maintaining business relationships. Thus, retaining salespeople and enhancing their job satisfaction are among the top priorities of managers and the focus of this dissertation. This dissertation presents three essays in sales management. Essay 1 provides a quantitative synthesis of turnover literature using meta-analytical methods. Using 129 samples of 36,436 salespeople, this study conceptualizes the antecedents of salesperson turnover into 30 unique groups and presents a bivariate meta-analysis of the relationships between these antecedents and turnover. In addition, the study provides moderation analyses of contextual, methodological, and measurement factors and tests the top three turnover theories applied in the literature: job demands–resources, social exchange, and social identity theories. The bivariate analyses highlight the importance of emotional exhaustion and trust in supervisors in turnover decisions among salespeople. The moderation analyses reveal that, compared with nonsales employees, for salespeople, performance has twice the impact on actual turnover. The analyses also provide evidence for the distinction between turnover intention and action, suggesting a need for fresh theory development in the field. The study concludes by outlining future research directions at the individual, team, and organizational levels. Essay 2 focuses on the importance of salesforce job satisfaction from a measurement perspective. Job Satisfaction (JS) is a key construct in sales literature, yet recently researchers warned that studies have confounded affective and cognitive elements in JS measures. This study examines the impact of this issue through meta-analytical methods. Building on Affective Event Theory (AET) and using 173 samples of 53,755 salespeople, this study theoretically examines the role of the level of affect and cognition in the measures of JS on the relationship between JS and its antecedents and consequences. The results indicate that the level of affect in a JS measure moderates the relationship between JS and dispositional traits as well as extra-role performance, while the level of cognition in the JS measure moderates the relationship between JS and sales force turnover. The findings contribute to JS literature and call for robust conceptualization and measurement of JS. Essay 3 introduces a new theory and framework for understanding turnover decisions. Drawing on ideas from the migration literature and building on Rational Choice Theory, the study examines the forces that push, pull or moor salespeople to/from a sales role and shape turnover decision. This framework also incorporates the attractiveness of alternative employment opportunities, an often overlooked aspect in current sales force turnover research. The findings show that the relationship with one's manager and social norms of trust and procedural justice play a significant role in shaping the push and pull factors. Our research also reveals that the impact of alternative employers on turnover decisions is influenced by the level of trust an employee has in their manager. Furthermore, our study suggests that an increase in perceived procedural justice weakens the relationship between distributive justice and the intention to leave one's current job.
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