The effect of organizational values on salesperson performance
The focus of management theory and practice since the early Eighties has been on oraganizational culture. Popular business literature has presented many examples of economic turnaround and prosperity once the organizational culture has been recognized, harnessed, and properly managed. Analogous to the anthropological term, the organizational culture is composed of shared values, beliefs, and norms in an organization. Values are an integral part of a culture, forming the behavioral patterns of its members. The sharing of values between the corporate organization and its members is assumed to be necessary for effective and profitable performance. Marketing management, and specifically sales force management could benefit from the study of organizational culture. The focus of this research is on how organizational values affect the performance of salespeople.
A combined ethnographic/survey research methodology was used to thoroughly investigate the impact of organizational values. Two firms within the life insurance industry were the setting for this research. The first phase of the research was spent in agencies and the home offices of these two companies for observation and interviewing. The second phase involved the administration of a questionnaire to a national sample of life insurance agents and their sales managers. The third phase investigated the level of value congruency in the companies and the possibility of value exchange. The fourth phase integrated the influence of organizational and personal values into the Churchill, Ford, and Walker Model of Salesperson Performance. The influence of value congruency on performance and its determinants was addressed through causal modeling.
Depending upon how congruency between organizational and personal values was measured, the results of this study differ. Using an index to determine specific value differences between agents and their managers led to the conclusion that value congruency had no significant effect on performance and its determinants. Using the Shared Values Scale as an indicator of value congruency led to the support of most of the study's hypotheses regarding a positive influence on the determinants of salesperson performance. Neither measure provided support for value congruency having a significantly positive effect on performance.
The implications of these results are that caution should be used in measuring values and congruency between individuals and an organizational value system; however measured, value congruency does not imply greater productivity on the part of the salesperson; increased satisfaction and organizational commitment and more accurate role perceptions were found among those with greater value congruency.