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Salesperson improvisation: an empirical examination of its consequences and boundaries

Yeboah-Banin, Abena Animwaa (2016) Salesperson improvisation: an empirical examination of its consequences and boundaries. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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The received wisdom in industrial selling emphasizes systematic approaches where the typical sales scenario comprises prospecting, pre-approach, approach, presentation, handling objections, closing and follow-up. However, times are changing, making such a systematic approach to selling not always optimal. As markets become more unpredictable, salespersons must frequently employ unplanned, spur-of-the-moment responses to be responsive in unexpected and urgent situations. In spite of the pervasiveness of such improvised responses, the literature has yet to account for them. Accordingly, the objective of this study is to investigate the consequences, antecedents and boundaries of salesperson improvisation. From a descriptive decision-making perspective, the study proposes a conceptual model of salesperson improvisation and tests it on a sample of industrial salespersons in Ghana. Findings support a two-dimensional structure of salesperson improvisation comprising salesperson creativity and spontaneity. Findings also show that the dimensions may have differential implications for sales performance. Salesperson creativity during improvisation may engender sales losses while spontaneity may be related to sales success. However, neither dimension has a significant direct relationship with sales performance. Rather, the paths from creativity and spontaneity to sales performance become activated by resource availability, pressure to perform and individual agency. Resource availability renders the creativity–performance link positive while individual agency makes it negative. On the other hand, given high performance pressures, the positive non-significant path from spontaneity to sales performance assumes a significant negative tone. The study also finds that the two dimensions differ, to some extent, in the factors that drive them. Self-efficacy drives creativity but reduces spontaneity during improvisation. Experience also reduces spontaneity but has no direct effect on creativity. Salesperson autonomy, however, is a universal driver of both creativity and spontaneity. Implications of these findings for the sales management and improvisation literatures, and for practice are discussed. The researcher also outlines opportunities for future research.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Salesperson improvisation, sales performance, descriptive decision, salesperson creativity and salesperson spontaneity
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Leeds University Business School
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.689253
Depositing User: Abena Animwaa Yeboah-Banin
Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2016 11:12
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2020 12:48
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/13242

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