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.
Bibliographical noteEpub ahead of print. Published online: 25 October 2017
- Sales team
- Helping behaviors
- Job experience
- Motivation-opportunity-ability framework
- Work group identification