Why Helping Coworkers Does Not Always Make You Poor: The Contingent Role of Common and Unique Position within the Sales Team

Michel Van der Borgh, Ad de Jong, Edwin J. Nijssen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Abstract

In recent years, many companies have implemented sales teams as a way of streamlining accountability and promoting the development of sales expertise. The success of such work groups largely depends on experienced members' willingness to help coworkers. Previous studies indicate that group structure and individual position along individual attributes (e.g., experience) are important to understand interactions between coworkers. However, sales research on this topic is lacking. Drawing on a motivation-opportunity-ability framework, this study addresses this void by examining the impact of individual salesperson's job experience position within work groups on the motivation to help coworkers and his or her own sales performance. The findings of a multisource, multilevel empirical study reveal interesting effects. The results highlight the important role of job experience position: if a salesperson's level of job experience is common within the sales team, it activates identification as a driver of helping behaviors, which in turn negatively influences own performance. Conversely, if a salesperson's level of job experience is unique, it does not activate identification as a driver of helping, but does positively influence the effect of helping on own performance. The authors discuss implications for theory and practice.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Volume77
Pages (from-to)23-40
Number of pages18
ISSN0019-8501
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Epub ahead of print. Published online: 25 October 2017

Keywords

  • Sales team
  • Helping behaviors
  • Job experience
  • Position
  • Motivation-opportunity-ability framework
  • Work group identification

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