Research by: Bindu Gupta, Rakesh Singh, Sandeep Puri, & Pankaj Rawat
In a competitive and dynamic scenario, the role of a salesperson is considered the most demanding and susceptible to failure within an organization. Because of the conflicting expectations from their role, the organization, and the customers, a salesperson experiences high stress and repeated failure. Further, with a decreasing variance in product quality and a low product substituting cost for customers due to severe competition and technological advances, the quality of interaction between a sales employee and the customer has become an imperative aspect for an organization’s salesforce performance. Salespeople have become knowledge brokers and their role increasingly focuses on value creation for the customers and the organizations. Consequently, salespeople are tasked to attain the overall sales targets of an organization by developing and maintaining long-term relationships with customers.
The key factors driving a transformation in professional selling, include new buyer behavior, rising customer requirements, new communication technologies, and globalized competition. Another factor likely to transform sales processes further is the current COVID-19 pandemic crisis. The salesforce needs to be resilient to adapt to such unpredictable transformations. Our study investigates the effect of positive psychology on the salesforce as positive psychology focuses on identifying and developing a person’s strength. We specifically respond to a call for research to analyze the application of psychological capital (PsyCap) on sales performance. We argue that PsyCap is crucial to understanding a salesperson’s individual pursuit to manage themselves better and stay productive by maintaining their psychological wellbeing. PsyCap refers to “an individual’s state of development of the combined positive psychological resources of hope, efficacy, resilience, and optimism”. PsyCap exerts a positive influence on social interactions with prescribed norms of positive disposition. People with high PsyCap experience less stress and have high self-worth as their approach is positive in any situation. Accordingly, PsyCap functions as an absorber for any job stress that might arise from an impolite conversation with a co-worker or a customer. Therefore, salespeople with stronger PsyCap may experience less job stress. Further, the agency in PsyCap leads to the intent of action and a sense of control, which are required motivational mechanisms to select and work on demanding objectives even when faced with obstacles. Since salespeople spend most of their time in the field and have fewer interactions with their supervisors and organizations, a higher PsyCap endows them with a strong sense of ability to handle stressful situations without seeking support from their supervisors. The focus of our study is on the composite construct of PsyCap to examine its influence on sales performance. Although PsyCap research to date is foundational and formative, our understanding of its efficacy in influencing sales performance remains incomplete because extant research (1) does not typically investigate all dimensions of PsyCap in a comprehensive framework, (2) rarely use B2B salespeople in their sample and most importantly, (3) does not explicate the mechanism through which a salesperson’s PsyCap influences sales performance.
This study contributes to sales literature in various ways. First, the extant sales literature is limited in examining PsyCap as a composite construct comprising four components: self-efficacy, optimism, hope, and resilience. This gap allows us to position PsyCap as a pivoting factor in our hypothesized model. Second, this study responds to the call for research to identify the antecedents of PsyCap. We investigate and assess the effect of individual-level thought self-leadership (TSL) strategies on PsyCap. TSL is a part of self-leadership, defined as “the process of influencing the self to recognize the direction and motivation necessary to perform a task”. Third, this study investigates the role of work engagement in the relationship between PsyCap and sales performance. Work engagement is defined as “a positive, fulfilling, work-related state of mind that is characterized by vigor, dedication, and absorption”. While the relationship between work engagement and sales performance is well established, the link between PsyCap and work engagement is unexplored in the sales context. We integrate these relationships and explore feedback as an important boundary condition of the PsyCap–work engagement relationship. Finally, we advance the understanding of the relationship between individual-level cognition, motivation, and behavior
Keywords: feedback, psychological capital, sales performance, self-leadership
To cite this article: Gupta, B., Singh, R., Puri, S., & Rawat, P. (2022). Assessing the antecedents and outcomes of salesperson’s psychological capital. Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing. https://doi.org/10.1108/JBIM-08-2021-0374
To access this article: https://doi.org/10.1108/JBIM-08-2021-0374
About the journal
The Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing (JBIM) [ABS2] publishes research on new ideas concerning business-to-business marketing, that is, how one company or organization markets its goods/services/ideas to another company or organization.
|Chartered Association of Business Schools
Academic Journal Guide 2021
|Scimago Journal & Country Rank||SJR67|
|Journal Citation Reports (Clarivate)||JCI2020: 0.82
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