Dubinsky, Alan J.; Skinner, Steven J.; Whittler, Tommy E.
March 1989
Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management;Spring89, Vol. 9 Issue 1, p9
Academic Journal
The article examines the efficacy of attribution theory for understanding how sales managers evaluate sales personnel. Attribution theory assumes that individuals attempt to identify causes of others' behavior and based upon these interpretations, react to that behavior. According to the theory, sales managers will attempt to identify the causes for a salesperson's performance and then respond to that particular performance. For example, attribution theory has been utilized to investigate cognitive biases in sales force evaluations, motivation of sales personnel and causes of salesperson success and failure. The use of attribution theory in marketing has been predominantly applied in the area of consumer behavior. The purpose of the article is to replicate relevant work in organizational behavior by extending it into the sales management arena. More specifically, a field study is used to determine what attributions sales supervisors make concerning salesperson failure and what they feel appropriate responses are to the failure. Results from this investigation are considered to have direct implication for the supervision and evaluation of sales personnel.


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