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Paper info: Role Stressors and its Effect on Sales Performance


Role Stressors and its Effect on Sales Performance


Nicholas Paparoidamis and
Fawaz Baddar ALHussan
Leonard de Vinci, Pôle universitaire, Paris La défense
Fawaz Baddar ALHussan

Place of Publication

The paper was published at the 32nd IMP-conference in Cape Town in 2016.


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In today’s highly competitive markets and turbulent environment, salespeople face increasing product-price-technological competition, and heavy pressure to meet firm goals and customers continuously changing demands. The changes in the customer purchasing pattern, contract types, customer expectations and electronic customer interfaces require sales representatives to organise and effectively respond to information coming from different directions. This environment can be extremely challenging for the salespeople. Facing such complexity may overwhelm the individual salesperson and, hence, may entail the joint efforts of sales teams with multiple perspectives and skills sets. In addition, in such a fierce competitive environment, firms depend more on salespeople to develop customer relationships, exceed expectations and manage growth. Salesforce duties expand to include participating in a wide array of activities. This expansion of job responsibilities can increase role stress and consequently, negatively affect salesforce outcomes such as turnover and intention to leave. In the sales context, job stress has been defined as a psychological process where a salesperson perceives personal resources as taxed, resulting in an unknown potential for negative outcomes. According to the American Institute of Stress, job stress is a major cause to health damage, demonstrated in increased heart attacks, hypertension and other disorders. Job stress costs the US industry around $300 billion annually as a result of accidents, absenteeism, employee turnover, direct medical, insurance and legal costs. Salespeople in many organizations also experience stress because of the different forms of work overload. Salespeople adopt the role of the boundary spanner, and have to manage an internal and an external network of relationships. All these tasks and demands can cause work overload, role conflict and role ambiguity for the salesperson, which in turn can affect the overall performance of the seller firm. Although, the literature on role stress and salesperson satisfaction has been addressed extensively, studies on role stress and sales performance have been under researched. Moreover, the trust construct appeared as a principal construct in many organisational studies. However, studies of trust and its effect on sales performance have been inconsistent. To our knowledge this is the first time trust is explored as an intervening construct between role stressors and sales performance. Therefore, the aim of our paper is three fold: (i) to examine the effect of role stressors (role ambiguity, role conflict and role overload) on the sales-manager/salesperson trust and sales performance; (ii) to explore the intervening effect of trust (represented by the trust in the sales manager-salesperson on performance); and (iii) to examine the moderating effects of competitive intensity and market dynamism on sales performance