Does Intraorganizational Network Embeddedness Improve Salespeople's Effectiveness? A Task Contingency Perspective
Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, vol. XXXII, no. 2 (spring 2012), pp. 187-205
19 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2015 Last revised: 19 Feb 2016
Date Written: 2012
Using a two-phase research methodology, this study investigates the relationship between salespeople’s intraorganizational network embeddedness and their sales effectiveness. Following the findings of the exploratory research, we first distinguish salespeople’s intraorganizational networks on the basis of their content — work versus social networks — and their tie activation frequency. Next, we focus on three main sales tasks, opportunity-identification, solution-creation, and closing the deal, and uncover that overcoming the challenges of each sales task requires mobilizing particular intraorganizational resources. We show that work and social networks give access to different sets of resources, and we develop a contingency model that explains which networks and network ties are likely to be more instrumental for salespeople’s effectiveness at each sales task. In the second phase of the research, we test the contingency model using a sociometric method. The results indicate that for effectiveness in opportunity-identification, social as opposed to work networks are most instrumental. For effectiveness in solution-creation, work rather than social networks are more critical. And for closing the deal, both work networks and social networks are important. Furthermore, salespeople who have frequently activated network ties are consistently more effective than salespeople who may have many ties but who activate them less frequently.
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