Salesforce cooperation: The impact of relational, task, organizational, and personal factors
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The selling job in most businesses today has become an integrated process that requires the coordinated efforts of salespeople and other participants, both within and across product lines, functional departments, and geographic districts. As a result, many companies today require their salespeople to be cooperative players who can work effectively in groups whose members share skills, knowledge, time, and effort, to achieve common objectives. This dissertation is the first in-depth study towards understanding the antecedent factors that influence task-specific cooperation among salespeople. Several antecedent factors that promote or inhibit salesforce cooperation are identified, each factor is categorized into one of the four broader sets of antecedent conditions, namely, relational, task, organizational, and personal factors, and each factor is tested, within a nomological network, for its effect on cooperative behaviors of salespersons directed toward coworkers. The main thesis of the hypothesized structural model is that each major antecedent category exerts significant influence on cooperation, independently from the effects of others. Based on this main thesis, two general research questions are explored: to what extent does each antecedent category explain the observed variance in cooperation; and, what role do relational factors, particularly trust in coworkers and organizational commitment, play in explaining salesforce cooperation. The hypothesized structural model is tested with data collected through self-administered surveys of a large sample of (N = 554) automobile salespeople from 112 different dealerships.