Uncovering the enemy within: Examining salesperson deviance and its determinants

Date of Completion

January 2005


Business Administration, Marketing|Psychology, Industrial




While sales researchers have studied the underlying causes of positive workplace behaviors like organizational citizenship, comparatively less work has been done in the area of negative workplace behaviors or what is often referred to as "workplace deviance". In two separate studies, this research examines different antecedents of deviant salesperson behavior. The first study brings the concept of deviant behavior into the sales domain and develops a three-dimensional classification of salesperson deviance: organizational deviance, interpersonal deviance and front-line deviance. We develop a conceptual model to examine the organizational and management factors that drive these three different forms of salesperson deviance. To ensure discriminant validity, our conceptual model also includes two forms of positive salesperson behavior (organizational citizenship and sales service). Our second study examines the effect of several individual salesperson factors (person-org fit, trait competitiveness and hours worked) on the three forms of deviant salesperson behavior and tests whether two forms of manager empowerment (manager confidence and meaningfulness of work) lessen the effect of competitiveness and hours worked on deviance. For both studies, we empirically test our hypotheses using survey data collected from 160 business-to-business salespeople from multiple companies and multiple industries and analyze our results. ^