معنا دادن به کار فروش : اثر اقلیم اخلاقی و خواستار مشتری بودن
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|1656||2012||7 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Business Research, Available online 12 April 2012
Top performing salespeople are attracted to organizations that provide opportunities to make full use of their abilities. Responses from 1450 sales directors from a leading direct selling organization were used to examine salesperson's experienced meaningfulness. Results show that experienced meaningfulness is critical to sales because it impacts salesperson's performance, turnover intentions and felt stress. Further, ethical climate and customer demandingness influence experienced meaningfulness perceptions.
Paying a competitive salary is not sufficient for attracting and keeping top performing salespeople because employees are also concerned about finding a “meaningful job.” As Pink (2011) asserts, “We leave lucrative jobs to take low-paying ones that provide a clearer sense of purpose” (p. 26). Employees gravitate towards meaningful jobs, driven by “purpose maximizing” rather than “profit maximizing” (Pink, 2011, p. 31). Employees believe that the employer has both transactional and relational obligations towards workers (Lee, Liu, Rousseau, Hui, & Chen, 2011). Transactional obligations correspond to monetary expectations whereas relational obligations correspond to commitments concerning a meaningful job. Another study that compared reward valence across three generations (Baby Boomers, Generation-X, and Generation-Y) in the U.S. shows that in spite of the increased financial demands today's employees face, workers still value intrinsic rewards over other rewards (Twenge, Campbell, Hoffman, & Lance, 2010). Jobs deemed interesting, creative, and providing opportunities for growth and learning are preferred to jobs that simply offer an opportunity to make money. Martel's (2003) study of top performing firm's best practices found that above all, these companies communicate to employees that their work is important and valued. These practices are conducive to experienced meaningfulness, employees' beliefs that their jobs provide them with the opportunities to perform activities that truly matter (Renn & Vandenberg, 1995), and thus count “in one's own system of values” (Hackman & Oldham, 1980, p. 73). Piccolo, Greenbaum, Den Hartog, and Folger (2010) found that “when employees are motivated by jobs that have a positive and meaningful impact on other people, they work harder by exhibiting higher levels of effort, which then lead to higher performance” (p. 266). Despite findings that experienced meaningfulness helps firms retain valued people and achieve higher performance, empirical research examining how these perceptions are formed and their effect on selling organizations is sparse. This study proposes that experienced meaningfulness is driven by customer demandingness and ethical climate. In the current marketplace, customer sophistication and expectations are increasing (Thull, 2010). Customers want a salesperson who can solve problems and provide value added solutions. While serving demanding customers can be difficult, these challenges may bring out the salesperson's best work (Jaramillo & Mulki, 2008). Providing solutions to complex problems may enhance a salesperson's belief that she is performing a meaningful job. Research indicates that an ethical climate makes sales jobs more attractive and desirable (Schwepker & Good, 2007). Further, employees who work for ethical organizations report lower stress levels and increased job satisfaction (Babin et al., 2000 and Schwepker, 2001). Thus, ethical climate is associated with a positive job environment conducive to experienced meaningfulness perceptions. Experienced meaningfulness can lead to positive organizational outcomes (Thakor & Joshi, 2005). However, research aimed at understanding the drivers of experienced meaningfulness and their relationship with performance and turnover is lacking. To address this shortcoming, this study tests a model linking experienced meaningfulness, ethical climate, customer demandingness, felt stress, job performance, turnover intentions, salesperson's age and job tenure (see Fig. 1).
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Helping salespeople perform better and reducing turnover among top salespeople are two important issues faced by management. This study contributes to the literature by showing that experienced meaningfulness plays a critical role in explaining salesperson's job performance and turnover intention. For the coming generation of workers, the issues of finding exciting, meaningful, and challenging work are particularly critical (Ivey, 2009). These issues may be particularly important for direct selling since the National Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates a significant growth in independent sales agent positions. Another important contribution is the identification of two factors explaining how salesperson's perceptions of job meaningfulness are formed: customer demandingness and ethical climate. Excessive customer demands can be perceived by salespeople either as an overwhelming threat or as a challenge that helps them learn and grow. Organizational researchers posit that for competent employees, customer demands may provide the stimulus and motivation to seek solutions (Yeo & Marquardt, 2010) as it makes them question their skills and prompts them to explore new approaches through problem solving. While structured training can be used for skill development, encounters with demanding customers provide an avenue to deploy these skills for successful problem resolution while contributing to self-growth. Demanding customers require greater effort in terms of a prolonged and complex response. But they also provide the firm with opportunities for acquiring the necessary knowledge for effective product innovation (Li & Calantone, 1998) and for offering exceptional service quality (Siehl, 1992) which can provide a competitive advantage. This study also demonstrates that demanding customers can be beneficial to salespeople since they can make their job interesting and meaningful. These findings have important implications for sales managers. For instance, Siehl (1992) posits that the “natural inclination” of service employees is to distance themselves from demanding customers. Training that communicates the benefits of serving demanding customers and provides effective ways for interacting with them will likely help salespeople overcome this tendency. Training could also emphasize the importance of an empathetic service attitude (Siehl, 1992) and the benefits of expressing positive emotions (Rafaeli & Sutton, 1990), since the process of problem resolution may be just as important as the actions taken to resolve the customer's issue. Salesperson ethics are critical for sustaining mutually advantageous long term relationships with customers (Evans et al., 2012). Findings indicate that the existence of ethical guidelines is also beneficial to salesperson well-being because it helps them preserve their personal values and makes the job meaningful. As one survey participant stated, job attractiveness comes from “knowing that I am representing a company that carries the same philosophies that I want to live by. Faith first, family second and career third and trulyliving by the Golden Rule!” Communicating a firm's adherence to ethical guidelines can provide salespeople with a convenient and disarming avenue to deny questionable requests from customers, peers or supervisors. Study findings indicate that the effect of customer demandingness on felt stress is moderated by JI. The demandingness–stress relationship is not significant at lower levels of JI but becomes negative and significant at high levels of JI. Salespeople who are involved with their job feel less stress when dealing with demanding customers. We feel that this finding has important implications to the literature on challenge stressors as it demonstrates that positive stress can result in lower strain in conditions of high JI. This finding also emphasizes the importance of providing salespeople with appropriate tools to deal with customer problems. Our study did not find a direct impact of ethical climate on felt stress. However, ethical climate had a significant positive impact on experienced meaningfulness which leads to lower felt stress. Ethical climate's effect on felt stress is indirect and operates primarily through experienced meaningfulness. Ethical climate reduces stress by creating perceptions that the job is meaningful. The relationship between ethical climate and experienced meaningfulness is also evidenced by salesperson responses to an open ended question asking about job characteristics they considered attractive. In several cases, salespeople directly tied perceptions of ethics to experienced meaningfulness, for example “Always remembering the golden rule has helped me and my family, grow internally and closer in our religion.” Job meaningfulness is central to the firm because it is directly related to job performance and turnover intentions. Managers can influence perceptions of job meaningfulness by seeking salespersons' inputs in designing the job, allocation of territories, and in developing products and services (Sue-Chan & Ong, 2002). Managers can continually challenge salespeople to do their best by aligning salespeople with key customer segments. Providing salespeople with job challenges is critical since successful accomplishment of job tasks contributes to salesperson's self-worth and self-confidence (Pink, 2011). 4.1. Limitations and future research This study has several limitations. First, we used responses from direct selling salespeople. Bringing meaning to the job may be particularly important in direct selling or in virtual sales settings where managers have less contact with salespeople. We call for research in other sales settings such as in-store retail and business-to-business selling environments to evaluate the robustness of our findings. Future research may also investigate if gender affects the model relationships. Second, due to limitations of questionnaire length, our model left out other constructs that may mediate or moderate the impact of experienced meaningfulness. We believe that salesperson's experienced meaningfulness could be related to other critical constructs such as self-efficacy, organizational commitment, or extra role performance. In addition, individual ethical values from the salesperson could also affect ethical climate's influences on organizational variables. For instance, do individual ethical values moderate the effect of ethical climate on experienced meaningfulness? We speculate that this relationship is stronger when the salesperson is ethical and weaker/negative when the salesperson is unethical. Finally, the customer demandingness measure does not distinguish between realistic and unrealistic customer expectations. At times, customer demands may be trivial or unrealistic. We suspect that the nature of customer demands (realistic/unrealistic) may moderate the influence of customer demandingness on experienced meaningfulness and felt stress. In addition, the direction aspect of effort (called planning or working smart) is likely to be critical for salesperson's decisions about meeting or not meeting customer demands. Working smart could help salespeople cope with customer demands and bring greater meaning to their jobs. Future research is needed to address salesperson's options in face of increasing demands.