Social capital influences on sales team processes: a generational perspective

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University of Alabama Libraries

This dissertation explores the impact of organizational faultlines and their influence on sales team resources, activities, processes, and performance. A review of extant team literature builds a foundation for understanding the role of sales teams within organizations and the implications of team processes on performance outcomes. Characteristics of the generation currently entering the workforce – Millennials – and the diversity implications of this cohort’s presence in the workplace are explored. Applying a social capital perspective, this research advances an input-process-outcome (IPO) model of sales team performance which investigates the implications of (1) faultlines within teams and (2) the effects of generational differences across teams. Specifically, three dimensions of social capital (structural, relational and cognitive) serve as to three facets of team processes (transition, action, and interpersonal). The results indicate that positive relationships exist between each of the input and process components, as well as between the three dimensions of team process and relational and objective measures of sales performance. Finally, faultline strength and generation differences moderate the relationships of the IPO model. These findings suggest that sales team performance is a function not only to the management of the team and its individual components, but to the hypothetical self-identifying groups that form therein, therefore requiring additional attention from the organization and its stakeholders. This work extends application of a social capital theoretical lens to the sales team context, and sets the stage for future work as millennials assume organizational control, and seek to build better relationships with both inter-organizational partners and external buying centers.

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