Salesperson Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation Revisited: A Combinatory Perspective: An Abstract

Rushana Khusainova*, Ad de Jong, Nick Lee, Greg W. Marshall, John M. Rudd

*Corresponding author for this work

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


Salesperson motivation has long been one of the most important areas of sales research and one of the most important challenges for sales managers (Doyle and Shapiro 1980; Jaramillo et al. 2005). Historically, sales managers and researchers emphasized extrinsic over intrinsic motivation assuming that in combination they cannot coexist (DeCharms 1968; Deci 1971; Deci and Ryan 1985; Lepper et al. 1973). However, research in psychology (e.g. Amabile et al. 1994; Amabile 1993) suggests that certain types of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation can be used in combination to enhance work outcomes. So far, however, there is little evidence for Amabile’s assumption that intrinsic and extrinsic motivation can be used simultaneously, and the results of previous research have been inconclusive (Kanfer et al. 2017; Khusainova et al. 2018). Drawing on self-determination theory (Deci 1975; Deci and Ryan 1980, 1985), we empirically examine the relationship between the combinations of intrinsic and extrinsic motivational orientations and three key performance outcomes: output performance, behavioral performance, and work engagement.

We collect data from a cross-sectional sample of (196) industrial salespeople. To test the proposed hypothesis we use the advanced technique of polynomial regression with response surface analysis (Shanock et al. 2010; Ahearne et al. 2013). The study findings reveal that salesperson intrinsic and extrinsic motivational orientations have a positive combined effect on output performance and work engagement. Congruence was shown to be important in most combinations of intrinsic and extrinsic motivational orientations as they relate to output performance and work engagement. Finally, results indicate that the combinations of intrinsic with extrinsic motivational orientations lead to higher levels of output performance and work engagement as opposed to the combinations of only intrinsic or only extrinsic motivational orientations.
This study offers several vital managerial implications. Sales managers are advised to carefully utilize both intrinsic and extrinsic motivators to increase salesperson performance and work engagement. It is important that sales managers attempt to utilize a more balanced approach without overemphasizing any one single type of motivation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMarketing Opportunities and Challenges in a Changing Global Marketplace. AMSAC 2019 : Proceedings of the 2019 Academy of Marketing Science (AMS) Annual Conference
EditorsShuang Wu, Felipe Pantoja, Nina Krey
Number of pages2
Place of PublicationCham
Publication date2020
ISBN (Print)9783030391645
ISBN (Electronic)9783030391652
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event2019 AMS Annual Conference - Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, Vancouver, Canada
Duration: 29 May 201931 May 2019
Conference number: 47


Conference2019 AMS Annual Conference
LocationFairmont Hotel Vancouver
Internet address
SeriesDevelopments in Marketing Science: Proceedings of the Academy of Marketing Science

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