To Empower or Not to Empower Your Sales Force? An Empirical Examination of the Influence of Leadership Empowerment Behavior on Customer Satisfaction and Performance

Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 90, No. 5, pp. 735-744, 2005

13 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2010

See all articles by Michael Ahearne

Michael Ahearne

University of Houston - C.T. Bauer College of Business

John Mathieu

University of Connecticut - Department of Management

Adam Rapp

Clemson University - Department of Marketing

Date Written: 2005

Abstract

This research focuses on the impact of leadership empowerment behavior (LEB) on customer service satisfaction and sales performance, as mediated by salespeople’s self-efficacy and adapt ability. Moreover, the authors propose an interactive relationship whereby LEB will be differentially effective as a function of employees’ empowerment readiness. The authors’ hypotheses are tested using survey data from a sample of 231 salespeople in the pharmaceutical field, along with external ratings of satisfaction from 864 customers and archival sales performance information. Results indicated that contrary to popular belief, employees with low levels of product/industry knowledge and low experience benefit the most from leadership behaviors that are empowering, whereas high-knowledge and experienced employees reap no clear benefit. The authors conclude with directions for future research and application.

Keywords: empowerment, experience, salespeople, self-efficacy, job performance

JEL Classification: M30

Suggested Citation

Ahearne, Michael and Mathieu, John and Rapp, Adam, To Empower or Not to Empower Your Sales Force? An Empirical Examination of the Influence of Leadership Empowerment Behavior on Customer Satisfaction and Performance (2005). Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 90, No. 5, pp. 735-744, 2005 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1584769

Michael Ahearne (Contact Author)

University of Houston - C.T. Bauer College of Business ( email )

334 Melcher Hall
Houston, TX 77204-6021
United States
713-743-4155 (Phone)
713-743-4572 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.bauer.uh.edu/Directory/profile.asp?firstname=Michael&lastname=Ahearne

John Mathieu

University of Connecticut - Department of Management ( email )

Storrs, CT 06269-1041
United States

Adam Rapp

Clemson University - Department of Marketing ( email )

United States

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