n IFE PsychologIA : An International Journal - Student perception of salesperson performance in an organisation : an attributional approach

Volume 15, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1117-1421



This study examined how students expect salesperson ability vs. salesperson effort to impact evaluations of salesperson performance. Students reviewed information about either a performance attributed to the salesperson's ability or a performance attributed to the salesperson's effort. The information had purportedly been prepared by the salesperson's supervisor and indicated the level of performance as high or low. Students were asked how they thought the salesperson's supervisor might respond to the performance in terms of rewards (e.g., promotion, pay increases) for high performers and corrective measures (e.g., termination, counseling) for low performers. The results of the study indicated that students expect supervisors to react more punitively toward salespeople with low performances attributed to effort than toward salespeople with low performances attributed to ability. Conversely, students expected nonpunitive (e.g., counseling) actions to be used significantly more for correcting salespeople who performed poorly due to low ability. In contrast, students expected supervisors to grant the "highest" rewards (e.g., promotion) to salespeople with high performances attributed to ability rather than effort. Implications for managers are discussed.

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