Abstract Thinking and Salesperson Entrepreneurial Orientation: An Abstract

Louis Zmich, Mya Groza, Tobias Schaefers, Mark D. Groza*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference abstract in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


A company’s sales force plays an integral role for its success and has a direct influence on top-line revenues. Salespeople are the external face of an organization and must communicate firm values in an innovative fashion on a customer-by-customer basis (Raymond and Tanner 1994). They work to proactively find new customers and grow existing accounts (Raymond and Tanner 1994). Additionally, salespeople face immense uncertainty and risk regarding their successes in closing business and, subsequently, their financial remuneration (Boichuk et al. 2014). These job characteristics are similar to those faced by entrepreneurs and are thus closely related to the concept of entrepreneurial orientation (EO), defined as a propensity to be innovative, proactive, and open to taking constructive risks (Avlonitis and Salavou 2007). The concept of EO has traditionally been applied at the organizational level. Research indicates that certain organizations are more entrepreneurial than others and that in general, EO positively influences firm-level performance (Lumpkin and Dess 1996). Recently, the concept of individual entrepreneurial orientation (IEO) has been introduced to the entrepreneurship literature (Bolton 2012; Ferreira et al. 2015). Similar to research on organizational EO, findings suggest that individual entrepreneurs who are innovative, proactive, and risk taking (i.e., high in IEO) tend to be more successful (e.g., Bolton 2012; Gupta et al. 2015). Researchers, however, have yet to investigate IEO in the sales context. The purpose of this project, then, is to study the role IEO plays in predicting salesperson success. Based on the outlined research gap, we develop and empirically test a model that examines the effect of a salesperson’s IEO on sales performance. While studies on organizational EO examined the role of companies’ handling of information and knowledge (e.g., Sciascia et al. 2014; Wales et al. 2013), we consider this aspect on the individual level by proposing that salespeople who think abstractly (vs. concretely) will be more entrepreneurial and that this IEO will positively impact sales performance. This paper contributes to the existing literature by introducing the concept of IEO to a model of salesperson performance, as little research has linked entrepreneurial orientation to salesperson performance. Additionally, our paper addresses calls to conduct research that considers construal-level theory (CLT) (Blocker et al. 2012) by introducing the level of information processing as an antecedent of IEO. The theoretically grounded model developed and empirically tested in this project provides valuable insights to the drivers of salesperson performance.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBoundary Blurred: A Seamless Customer Experience in Virtual and Real Spaces : Proceedings of the 2018 Academy of Marketing Science (AMS) Annual Conference
EditorsNina Krey, Patricia Rossi
Number of pages2
Place of PublicationCham
Publication date2018
ISBN (Print)9783319991801
ISBN (Electronic)9783319991818
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes
Event2018 AMS Annual Conference: AMSAC 2018 - New Orleans, United States
Duration: 23 May 20184 Jun 2018
Conference number: 46


Conference2018 AMS Annual Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew Orleans
Internet address
SeriesDevelopments in Marketing Science: Proceedings of the Academy of Marketing Science

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