Boosting sales force morale in highly dynamic, complex markets: The role of job resources

Academic Article


  • Sales force morale constitutes an important managerial topic that is often linked to key outcomes such as sales force turnover and productivity. Unfortunately, however, scholarly work in this area is strikingly limited. Accordingly, the goal of this study is to provide a first rigorous assessment of the role of morale in a sales context. Drawing on Job Demands-Resource (JD-R) as our theoretical lens and using a unique dataset that includes responses from three sources (i.e., sales managers, salespeople, and secondary objective data) from 81 companies over two time periods, our study makes several contributions. First, we offer a conceptualization of sales force morale and thus advance this timely and managerially relevant topic in a JD-R setting. Second, we show the negative impact of market demands (i.e., customer purchase complexity and market dynamism) on sales force morale. Third, the findings highlight the positive impact of morale on sales force turnover and productivity. Fourth, results show that two job resources attenuate the negative impact of market demands on sales force morale (i.e., sales capabilities training sales unit's cross-functional cooperation). Surprisingly, however, we find that a third job resource – that is, a firm's product portfolio depth – actually accentuates, rather than attenuates, the negative effects of market demands on sales force morale. We conclude by discussing the theoretical and managerial implications of our work and by elaborating on exciting avenues for future research in the area.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Panagopoulos NG; Hochstein B; Baker TL; Pimentel MA
  • Start Page

  • 237
  • End Page

  • 253
  • Volume

  • 74