The relationship between job related expectations of salespeople and the use by sales management of a fulfilment approach
This thesis is concerned with the job satisfaction, motivation and performance of salespeople. Within this conceptual domain, the study examines the relationship between job-related expectations and the process of their fulfilment / nonfulfilment, in an attempt to account for differences in their job behaviour, job attitudes and performance. There were two main purposes of this reseach. Firstly, to determine whether or not, and the extent to which, the behaviour of sales representatives could be attributed to their job related expectations. Second, to develop a conceptual framework, yielding the dynamics and impact of the fulfilment / non-fulfilment process (a pro-active mechanism of uncovering behavioural patterns) on possible action tendencies at the workplace. The study was field based and exploratory. Field research took place in Greece - the researcher's home country. One of the main reasons underlying this decision was to provide Greek researchers and managers with knowledge where it previously did not exist. In total, forty seven companies participated. These companies allowed the researcher to conduct structured interviews with their salespeople and in all one hundred and seventy salespersons comprised the final sample. The data from this sample were analysed for purposes of hypothesis testing. In cases where no clear cut points in responses were identified, the data were statistically analysed with the aid of non-parametric tests. The major reason underlying the use of non-parametric tests was that the level of measurement achieved was in ordinal scales. The findings indicated that the identification of perceived anticipated outcomes of salespeople's job-related expectations is a good predictor of their subsequent behaviour. Strong positive relationships were found between anticipated fulfilment and anticipated job satisfaction and motivation. Converserly, negative relationships were found between anticipated job satisfaction and motivation when fulfilment was not anticipated. The effects of causal attributions made by salespeople about their achieved performance, and the identified feedback loops, were also supported. Finally, the fulfilment approach (a process of a dynamic and directional cyclical nature in determining behaviour) was clearly indicated. The most important implications of this research are the identification of: a) the fulfilment process, and b) the major behavioural outcomes that are available to salespeople. On the one hand, the study found that salespersons' preference amongst different behaviours was associated with job related expectations and their perceived anticipated outcomes. On the other hand, job satisfaction, motivation and performance were also found to be dependent upon the cognitive process termed "fulfilment approach". That is, outcomes which were perceived as being able to either fulfill or facilitate fulfilment, or not to fulfill, job related expectations of sales representatives.