An Exploration of Dual Sales and Service Behaviors At the Individual-Level within the Organizational Frontline

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University of Alabama Libraries

"TOWARD A BROADLY APPLICABLE MEASURE OF FRONTLINE EMPLOYEE SALES/SERVICE AMBIDEXTERITY: SCALE DEVELOPMENT AND EMPIRICAL VALIDATION" This essay details a scale development and validation procedure for the sales/service ambidexterity construct. Based on the results of one qualitative and three quantitative data collections, a new scale for sales/service ambidexterity is developed. In doing so, this research makes three primary contributions to the organizational frontline literature. First, the creation of this scale answers calls that prior organizational frontline scholars have made for the creation of an empirically validated sales/service ambidexterity scale. Second, the current study also overcomes some of the methodological and conceptual limitations of prior SSA scales as it adopts a conceptualization of SSA that is broad in scope and can be useful across a wide spectrum of sales- and service-oriented frontline employees. Finally, this research adds conceptual richness to the SSA construct by assessing its relationships with several theoretically-related constructs that are often modeled as antecedents and outcomes of SSA. The manuscript concludes with discussion of managerial implications, limitations, and avenues for further exploration. "DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO BE AMBIDEXTEROUS? SALESPERSON TRAIT ANTECEDENTS OF SALES/SERVICE AMBIDEXTERITY WITH ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS AS MODERATORS" This essay presents a theoretical framework for antecedents of Sales/Service Ambidexterity (SSA) at the individual-level. Specifically, I propose a conceptual model that categorizes antecedents of SSA into the three categories from the organizational ambidexterity literature (i.e., structure, context, and leadership) and subsequently test this model using a sample of 328 salespeople. More specifically, I propose that the "structure" antecedent category is comprised of individual traits (i.e., competitiveness, empathy, and creativity), whereas the "context" and "leadership" categories pertain to circumstantial characteristics of the salesperson's job, and behaviors of the salesperson's manager, respectively. The "structure" constructs (i.e., traits) are framed as independent predictors of sales/service ambidexterity, and the constructs within the "context" and "leadership" categories are positioned as moderators of these relationships. Drawing from trait activation theory, I describe how the context and leadership constructs "activate" the traits in unique ways, thereby moderating the relationships that "structure" has with individual-level SSA performance. The results demonstrate that the salesperson traits of creativity and empathy both positively affect SSA. Moreover, these traits are further activated based on contextual factors. For empathy, its effects are strongest when customer interaction frequency is low and, for creativity, its effects are strongest when job complexity is high. With respect to leadership characteristics, I find evidence that suggests inspirational managers may activate the competitiveness of their salespeople in ways that may have deleterious effects on their SSA performance. The manuscript concludes with a discussion of these findings, along with the important implications they have for sales managers and scholars alike.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Personality Traits, Sales, Sales Service Ambidexterity, Scale Development, Structural Equation Modeling, Trait Activation Theory