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The effect of personality, emotional intelligence and social network characteristics on sales performance: The mediating roles of market intelligence use, adaptive selling behaviour and improvisation

Today’s account management is complex. The market is extremely competitive, technology is making alternatives and low-distribution methods possible, product lifecycles are accelerating, and customers are becoming less loyal and more sophisticated while at the same time, becoming more demanding. A key challenge facing firms is to determine how to deploy highly effective account managers in order to perform in this complex environment. In this dissertation, I tested whether account manager (1) personality traits, (2) social network characteristics, and (3) emotional intelligence affected their sales performance. I then tested whether these three independent variables affected sales performance through various mediating variables including: (1) market intelligence use, (2) improvisation, and (3) adaptive selling behaviour. Finally, I tested the model by comparing between the Muslim and non-Muslim account managers due to the understanding that Islamic values influence the personality and behaviour of its followers. The research setting involved Muslim and non-Muslim account managers in Malaysia who managed sales of financial products such as shares, bonds, unit trusts, foreign exchange, and futures markets. A combination of mail and in-person survey was used to collect the data. A pilot test was conducted prior to final survey administration. Eighteen randomly selected account managers participated in the pilot test. Results and observations from the pilot test were used to finalise the survey. The finalised questionnaire was sent to 2,122 account managers drawn randomly from the 29 registered finance companies, stock brokers, and banks in Malaysia. Four hundred ninety four usable questionnaires were returned yielding a 23.3 percent response rate. Of the 494 replies, 280 were from Muslim account managers while the remaining 214 were from non-Muslim account managers. Data was analysed using Structural Equation Modeling (SEM). The Goodness of Fit Index GFI, Comparative Fit Index CFI, and Root Mean Square Error of Approximation RMSEA were used as model fitness indicators. The missing data was analysed using Maximum Likelihood (ML). Overall, the results of the data illustrated strong support for the conceptual model. Market intelligence use and improvisation was found to mediate the relationship between the independent variables and the dependent variable. More specifically, market intelligence use and improvisation were observed to mediate the relationship between openness to experience and sales performance, conscientiousness and sales performance, and network size and sales performance. Adaptive selling behaviour was found to mediate the relationship between emotional intelligence and sales performance. Finally, no significant statistical differences were observed between Muslim and non-Muslim managers. The results of this study contribute to sales management literature by understanding the role of mediators in the personality trait-sales performance relationship, social network characteristics-sales performance relationship, and emotional intelligence-sales performance relationship. Consequently, these findings indicate several managerial implications for recruitment, training, work practices, internal and relationship marketing, and policies at the workplace.
Type of thesis
Wisker, Z. L. (2011). The effect of personality, emotional intelligence and social network characteristics on sales performance: The mediating roles of market intelligence use, adaptive selling behaviour and improvisation (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/5081
University of Waikato
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