Research by: Babak Hayati & Sandeep Puri
Purpose: Extant sales management literature show that holding negative headquarters stereotypes (NHS) by salespeople is harmful to their sales performance. However, there is a lack of research on how managers can leverage organizational structures to minimize NHS in salesforces. This empirical research studies how social network patterns influence the flow of NHS among salespeople and sales managers in a large B2B sales organization.
Design/methodology/approach: We hypothesize and test whether patterns of social networks among salespeople and sales managers determine the stereotypical attitudes of salespeople toward corporate directors and, eventually, impact their sales performance. We analyzed a multilevel dataset from the B2B sales forces of a large US-based media company.
Findings: We found that organizational social network properties including the sales manager’s team centrality, sales team’s network density, and sales team’s external connectivity moderate the flow of NHS from sales managers and peer salespeople to a focal salesperson.
Research limitations: First, our data was cross-sectional and did not allow us to examine the dynamics of social network patterns and their impact on NHS. Second, we only focused on advice-seeking social networks and did not examine other types of social networks such as friendship and trust networks. Third, our context was limited to one company in the media industry.
Practical implications: We provide recommendations to sales managers on how to leverage and influence social networks to minimize the development and flow of NHS in sales forces.
Originality/value: Our findings advance existing knowledge on how negative headquarters stereotypes get shared and transferred in sales organizations. Moreover, this study provides crucial managerial insights with regards to controlling and managing NHS in sales forces.
To cite this article: Hayati, B. & Puri, S. (2020). The impact of organizational social networks on salespeople’s negative headquarters stereotypes. Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing. https://doi.org/10.1108/JBIM-07-2019-0327.
To access this article: https://doi.org/10.1108/JBIM-07-2019-0327Page Break
About the Journal
The Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing 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.
SJR: 57 | ABS: 2