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Impact of individual traits on Sales person Behavior and

Performance with mediating effect of adaptive selling behavior


ABSTRACT
This study emphasizes on behavioural performance of salespersons of insurance

sector of Pakistan, through the angle of his adaptive selling behaviour and outcome

performance in terms of sales, as comparison of world insurance industry shows

that Pakistans position is quite pathetic in the world market in general and in

international Muslim community in particular, due to which insurance companies

of Pakistan are turning their focus on improving their selling techniques beside the

religious beliefs. So, adaptive selling is a technique used by a salesperson to

provide customized solution to each customer according to his needs and wants

which in return will ultimately increase salespersons outcome performance in

terms of sales. According to trait theory sale success of a salesperson depends upon

how much individuals personality traits he/she possesses. So, 300 salespersons are

chosen from insurance companies of different cities of Pakistan on the basis of

their expertise in the subject being investigated. The findings shows that individual

traits like trait competitiveness, empathy proneness, psychological empowerment

and expert power positively and significantly influence adaptive selling behaviour

of a salespersons which will ultimately increase their outcome performance in

terms of sales without any need of psychological organizational support from their

particular insurance company, guiding sales mangers to sought out these traits

while hiring and coaching salespersons to execute adaptive selling behaviour to

ultimately increase the sales of their particular insurance company which in return

will boast up the insurance sector of Pakistan. Lastly, this article concludes at

direction for further work.


Chapter 1

INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND
Personal selling is most significant part of the promotional mix for many of the

business firms (Weitz et al., 1992). In contrast to different selling techniques,

personal selling permits the vendor to satisfy the customer, face to face. Further,

Spiro and Weitz (1990) confirmed that personal selling is the solely communication

tool that enables a selling message to be customized according to the precise

desires and beliefs of every client. In todays extremely competitive marketplace,

personal selling is a vital tool utilized by new firms to attain organisational success

supported by client satisfaction, client loyalty and profitable sales volume

(Anderson and Sullivan, 1993).According to Wotruba (1991) keeping in view this

competitive market five personal selling stages can be useful, which are (i)

Provider stage: this stage involves selling suppliers product/services as it is to the

customers. (ii) Persuader stage: this type of selling involves convincing others to

buy the product/services of the vendor. (iii) Prospector stage: this selling include

finding out those customers whose needs match with the sellers offering and have

authority and resources to buy it as well. (iv) Problem Solver stage: This selling

include finding out buyers problems first which can be changed into needs and then

match their needs to the offering of the seller so that problems of the buyer could

be fulfilled. (v) Procreator stage: In this stage offering is customized by the seller to

meet the needs of the customers to solve their problems, this is done by buyer-
vendor collaboration. But the fundamental idea is that there is no one best way to

sell, and thus a decent salesperson are going to be adaptive enough to pick and

implement a sales strategy associated with the characteristics of the prospect client

and scenario. So, adaptive selling is vital now a days as a result of the market is

turning into more and more competitive each within the variety of competitors and

also the quality of their product, this transaction based pressure in sales is

progressively being replaced by a relationally centred approach that takes under

consideration client desires and needs, not only as they relate to the goods or

service being sold-out, however also in terms of the purchasing method and the

purchaser merchandiser interaction. Moreover, adaptive tool of the personal selling

permits the salesperson to take information regarding the needs and wants of the

customer and then design and present effective sales message that is well

appropriate for the customer, and then take feedback from the purchaser to know

whether sales message delivered was effective. In an extremely competitive

environment, the power to retain a considerable satisfied client is an amazing

competitive advantage for any sales organization, as a sales effort that emphasizes

relationship building is one during which happy customers are more seemingly to

be found (Kelley, 1992). However, Giacobbe et al. (2006) argued that adaptive

selling is helpful once the sales offer is complex, when the vendor has many

different choices to offer, the Customers desires are significantly diversified, the

sales relationship is anticipated to produce future long run profit opportunities, the

buyers perceived purchase risk is high and also the buying place is complicated.
Adaptive selling conjointly needs some sacrifices because it might cause a

salesperson to trade off short-run sales to develop client satisfaction and increase

the possibility of future sales (Porter et al., 2003).

Moreover, Ingram (1990) argues that if salesperson wants to meet future

challenges successfully then he can have to be compelled to adopt true skilled

perspective and develop customer orienting approach which is able to fulfil the

future needs and wants of buyers and also of the firm.

1.2 PROBLEM IDENTIFICATION

Beside the importance of personal sales and adaptive selling, several queries

stay unanswered. This study will contribute to the literature in many ways: First,

while several studies examine a number of antecedents of adaptive selling, and

others its consequences, In this study numerous salesperson individual level

constructs are considered including trait competitiveness, empathy proneness,

psychological empowerment and expert power of salesperson which were

determinants of other salesperson behaviours and sales performance in the past

literature [Plouffe et al. (2010); Stan et al. (2012)], but remained unstudied as

antecedents of adaptive selling behaviour simultaneously according to my best

knowledge till now, as the impact of individual characteristics or traits of

salesperson like salesperson personality related constructs are open for a future

research opportunity (Park and Deitz, 2006). As neither of the salespersons

characteristics or traits has been able to explain much of the direct variation in

sales performance [Robie et al. (2005); Verbeke et al. (2011)] which show much of

the variation will be explained by salespersons characteristics in sales performance


indirectly by another influencing variable, as in past research different influencer

between salespersons characteristics and sales performance has been examined

e.g., salesperson coach ability and exploratory navigation [Shannahan and

Shannahan (2012); Plouffe et al. (2010)]. The failure to consider appropriate

behaviour performance variable as a predictor of outcome performance provide a

logical reason for the little amount of the explained variance by salesperson

attributes [Brasher et al. (1997); Churchill et al. (1985)]. As, this research gap is

also supported by the meta analysis result which state that antecedents of

salesperson and organization only explain small amount of variance of salesperson

performance (Baldauf and Carvens, 2002). The researchers suggest that lack of this

explanation is due to consideration of the wrong construct or inappropriate

measures, as the consideration of the behaviour performance can be an appropriate

construct to explain or predict the outcome performance (Churchill et al., 2000).

Second, as in some previous studies examining the direct relationship between

adaptive selling behaviour and sales performance has met with mixed results. For

example, Predmore and Bonnice (1994) found that salespersons adaptability was

positively associated with measures of sales success in a sample of telemarketing

salesmen. Goolsby et al. (1992) determined the relationship between adaptiveness

and performance but failed to identify a consistent significant relationship. In

another study Weilbaker (1990) found only partial support for the proposed

adaptive selling behavioursales performance relationship.

As this mix results of adaptive selling behaviour and sales performance points

at the potential influence of unexplored problem concerning construct which can


strengthen the relationship between adaptive selling behaviour and his/her sales

performance Sujan et al.(1994).

1.3 RESEARCH QUESTION

Does psychological organizational support moderate salespersons adaptive

selling behaviour and his/her sales outcome performance relationship, and what

role might selected salesperson traits play as antecedents in predicting adaptive

selling behaviour?

1.4 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

The first objective of this study is to examine that whether individual level traits

of a salesperson like trait competitiveness, empathy proneness, psychological

empowerment and expert power predict the adaptive selling behaviour of a

salesperson to lead towards outcome performance in terms of sales.

Second objective of this study is to examine that whether psychological

organizational support moderate the adaptive selling behaviour and salespersons

outcome performance relationship. As, on the basis of past studies showing

significant relationship between adaptive selling behaviour and outcome

performance [Sujan (1986); Spiro and Weitz (1990); Fakhrdin et al.(2011)], there is

a believe that while the practice of adaptive selling behaviour should enable the

salesperson to do a better job which will ultimately increase his outcome

performance (Boorom et al., 1998), but past studies showing mix results of

adaptive selling behaviour and sales performance hints that the efforts of other

entity are most often required in the delivery of customer value and enhancing

performance (Sujan et al., 1994), as the belief is also supported by the reciprocity
theory and organization support theory. That is why it is also expected that

psychological organizational support will influence the relationship between

adaptive selling and performance of salesperson.

1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

In Real business (2007) it was examined that only 37 percent of the specific

sample sales executives interviewed were satisfied with their sales results, the

main reason behind this was poor sales performance of a salesperson due to poor

selling techniques, means who did not know how to sell in a demanding market

like insurance sector. Insurance industry in developing countries could not progress

well as compared to other developed countries, reasons behind this beside religious

beliefs of people are that: insurance industry has been characterized by

inappropriate and ineffective supervision, lack of innovative insurance products

and selling techniques used by salespeople and generally low information about

these schemes to begin with [Gine et al. (2008); Giesbert et al. (2011)].

With this low progress of insurance companies of Pakistan as compared to other

developed countries, insurance companies have turn their focus on improving sales

and relationship marketing skills of their front line employees. Insurance agents

understand how difficult it is to sell intangibles product/services rather than

tangibles, as insurance products/services are difficult for the clients to visualize.

Therefore, effective selling is required for the agent to develop customer

confidence as well as personal trust in the salesperson. Second, every insurance

salesperson has to adopt essential attitude to keep the existing customers satisfied

because of intangibility of the products/services, decline of insurance industry and


increase in the level of competition that now exists which was once a specialized

market rather segmented in the past. With this in mind this research study turns its

attention to personal selling and more specifically the adaptive selling behaviour of

salespersons in this sector to identify ways that how through the practice of

adaptive selling, outcome performance of each salesperson in this sector could be

increased and ultimately the sales effectiveness in insurance sector could be

improved.

1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY

This topic is a marketing theme, this theme is specialize in one marketing facet

particularly, personal selling process. Personal selling is the solely facet of

marketing during which the salespersons communication will be adaptive enough

per the selling scenario or individual client. During this personal selling facet

salesperson either practices adaptive selling behaviour or non-adaptive selling

behaviour. In an adaptive selling behaviour salesperson response to selling scenario

or think about individual customers wants and needs and values and beliefs, and

prepare to deliver customized presentation consequently. In distinction thereto in

non-adaptive selling behaviour of salesperson not think about the selling scenario

under consideration and effectively ignore individual customers orientation, and

deliver one presentation for all. The scope of this study can specifically specialize

in the influential techniques employed by the salespersons when handling different

customers underneath adaptive selling conditions.

Different aspects of salesperson and organization like psychological

organizational support given by the organization in the shape of supervisor and


fellow workers support, which can cut back employees stress and enhance their

motivation and satisfaction with their job and fulfilling all the objectives of the firm

in accordance with supervisors will. Secondly, characteristics of salesperson like

trait competitiveness which is the ability of a salesperson to compete with other

fellow workers and desire to win and become victorious, be better than others and

become favourite among other salesperson. Next salespersons empathy proneness

which involves salespersons interest and concern for the welfare of the customers

in shape of better listening and responding accordingly to the customers desires

while interacting with customers and putting their self in customers shoes for a

while when they feel that their customer is upset. Further, psychological

empowerment of salesperson which is intrinsic motivational construct, involves

salespersons mentality power to perform the given task skilfully and individuals

perception that his/her selling behaviour or attitude makes a great difference in

terms of finishing the task purpose. Furthermore, expert power of salesperson,

which is also an intrinsic motivational construct which involves up to what extent

an individual salesperson feel that they are expert in the selling field they are

working, knowledgeable about the products/services they are presenting to sell and

up to what extant their expertises are valued in the organization they are working

for. Lastly, outcome performance of the salesperson involves contribution of the

salespersons to fulfil organizations objectives in shape of more sales, new

accounts, high market share, making sales of those products with highest profit

margin for the company and exceeding all the sales targets during the year.

All such salespersons aspects like his/her adaptive selling attitude, trait

competitiveness, empathy proneness, psychological empowerment, expert power,


salespersons outcome performance and organizational aspect such as

psychological organizational support fall within the scope of this research study

and will be addressed.

2.6 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

Salespersons Individual Traits Salespersons Behavioural Performance

Psychological
Organizational
support
Trait
Competitiveness

H2
H6
Empathy Outcome
Proneness H3 Performance
Adaptive
Selling
Behaviour H1
Psychological H4
Empowerment

H5
Expert
Power

Figure 2.1
Chapter 3

RESEARCH METHODOLGY
This study has been conducted in order to find out to what extent salespersons

of insurance sector adopt adaptive selling behaviour by using his or her different

attributes in order to improve his outcome performance so that ultimately the sales

of the company could be increased, secondly how much psychological support

does he or she get from his particular organization in order to fulfil this objective.

For this purpose, study used following approaches to fulfil the purpose of the

study:

3.1 QUANTITATIVE PHASE

This study follows the quantitative approach to collect the response from the

respondents. Zikmund (2003) defined the aim of quantitative research as finding

out the quantity of some scenario in shape of numbers. Descriptive study is done to

describe the attributes of a population which is based on the past studies and the

nature of the research problem. Understanding of research problem was achieved

from the past studies and secondary data analysis.

Quantitative research allows primary data to be collected relying upon the use

of instruments with particular objective of finding out attributes of a specific group

(Zikmund, 2003). Through this type of survey research data is collected by

communicating with sample of individuals (Zikmund, 2003).

So, survey research was conducted in order to take response from the respondents.

3.2 UNIT OF ANALYSIS


Unit analysis for this survey study was the salesperson. As, self evaluations of

salespersons performance have been extensively used in the past sales literature

e.g., [(Plouffe et al. (2010); Roman and Iacobucci (2010); Sujan et al. (1994)]. Also

it has been suggested that as salesperson can observe all the elements of their own

job so they may be in the best position to judge their own performance [Roman and

Iacobucci (2010); Levy and Sharma (1993)].

3.3 TARGET POPULATION

Target population are salespersons who represent the insurance sector of Pakistan.

Who were responsible to sell the services of the particular insurance company and

having sales experience of at least one year.

3.4 SAMPLING DESIGN

This study follows non probability sampling technique as, judgement sampling

is done on the basis of their expertise regarding subject being investigated and who

are in the best position to provide the information required.

This study follows the deductive approach of the research as relationship

between different variables shown in this study are supported by existing theories

such as reciprocity theory or organization support theory, trait theory and

references of different authors.

3.5 SAMPLE SIZE AND DATA COLLECTION

Sample size for this study was 300 salespersons of insurance sector

representing listed companies like state life insurance corporation, EFU, Jubilee

insurance, Askari insurance, Adam Jee insurance and other companies like Family
Takaful. So 300 questionnaires are distributed in different cities of Pakistan such as

Jauharabad, Khushab, Shahpur, Mianwali, Sargodha and Rawalpindi, in order to

get the response of salespersons representing their respective companies, from

which 292 were fully filled and reportable. As, in the past studies sample of 300

salespersons has been taken into consideration [briggs et al. (2012); Roman and

Iacobucci (2010)].

3.6 MEASUREMENT SCALE

5 point likert scale is used this study to take the response from this particular

sectors salespersons, which was adopted from different past studies such as, scale

to measure trait competitiveness and expert power was adopted from the study of

Plouffe et al. (2010) in the same way, scale to measure empathy proneness was

adopted from the study of Agnihotri et al. (2012). Similarly, scale to measure

psychological empowerment and psychological organizational support was adopted

from the study of Stan et al. (2012). Lastly, scale to measure adaptive selling and

sales persons outcome performance was adopted from the study of Roman and

Iacobucci (2010). As, self evaluations of performance have been extensively used

in the past sales literature e.g., [(Plouffe et al. (2010); Roman and Iacobucci (2010);

Sujan et al. (1994)]. Also it has been argued that as salesperson can observe all the

elements of their own job so they may be in the position to judge their own

performance and positive evidence exist for the reliability and validity of its scale

[Roman and Iacobucci (2010); Levy and Sharma (1993)].

3.7 QUESTIONNAIRE REFINEMENT


Zukmund (2003) stated that general questions to be asked should be less

complex, therefore, items were kept short and directed clearly so that the

questionnaire could be completed easily and its accuracy could be enhanced.

For making it simpler, each item was verbally communicated in mother

language to the respondents in order to get accurate and appropriate response from

the respondents.

3.8 DATA ANALYSIS

Data analysis in this study consists of:

3.8.1 Descriptive Statistics

Very first step in data analysis is the use of descriptive statistics in this study,

as it is used to summarise the data collected in large quantity, as the data collected

is in raw form, descriptive statistics helps to transform this data into a form that is

easy for a researcher to understand and interpret accordingly. Zikmund (2003)

argues that manipulating data by using averages, percentage distributions, and

frequency distributions are commonly used ways to transform and summarise the

data.

In this study a higher mean value will indicate that salespersons of insurance

sector value these attributes to increase their outcome performance and standard

deviation show whether there is variation in the data collected for the study.

Likewise frequency distribution of the respondents is as follow:

Table 3.1 Gender of respondents

Gender Frequency Valid percentage


Male 219 75%

Female 73 25%

Total 292 100%

As Table 1 shows that of total 292 salespersons, 219 were male salespersons

representing their particular companies with valid percentage of 75. Likewise, of

total respondents 73 were female salespersons with a valid percentage of 25 of total

sample size.

In the same way, Table 2 shows the age of the respondents. As 165

salespersons were less than 30 years with a percentage of 56.5. Salespersons

between the ages of 31 to 40 years were 88 out of 292 with the valid percentage of

30.1. Similarly, salespersons between 41 to 50 years of age were 30 with the

percentage of 10.3. Lastly, salespersons above 50 years of age were 9 with the

valid percentage of 3.1.

TABLE 3.2 Age of Respondent

Age Frequency Valid percentage

Less than 30 years 165 56.5%

31- 40 years 88 30.1%

41 50 years 30 10.3%

Above 50 9 3.1%

Total 292 100%


Similarly, Table 3 shows the experience of the respondents regarding sales.

Respondents having sales experience of 1 to 2 years were 128 with the valid

percentage of 43.8. In the same way, respondents having sales experience of 3 to 6

years in insurance were 96 with the percentage of 32.9. Likewise salespersons

having sales experience of 7 to 10 years were 39 with the valid percentage of 13.4.

Further, salespersons having insurance sales experience of more than 11 years were

29 with the valid percentage of 9.9.

TABLE 3.3 Experience in sales

Experience Frequency Valid


Percentage

1 to 2 years 128 43.8%

3 to 6 years 96 32.9%

7 to 10 years 39 13.4%

More than 11 years 29 9.9%

Total 292 100%

Likewise, Table 4 shows the education of the respondents. As, it is shown that the

42 salespersons were matric with the percentage of 14.4, in the same way 52

salespersons of this particular sector were intermediate with the valid percentage of

17.4. More of the salespersons in this sector were bachelor as 121 salespersons
were having bachelors degree with the percentage of 41.4%. Lastly, 77

salespersons were having masters degree with the valid percentage of 26.4.

TABLE 3.4 Education of Respondent

Education Frequency Valid


Percentage

Matric 42 14.4%

Intermediate 52 17.8%

Bachelor 121 41.4%

Masters 77 26.4%

Total 292 100%

Similarly, Table 5 shows the listed insurance companies of the respondents which

they were representing in the insurance sector of Pakistan. It is shown that

salespersons representing EFU insurance company were 55 with the percentage of

18.8, in the same way salespersons representing state life insurance company were

120 with the total percentage of 41.1, likewise salespersons representing Jubliee

insurance company were 41 with the valid percentage of 14. Salespersons

representing Askari insurance were 29 with the percentage of 9.9, similar to that

salesperson representing Adam Jee insurance company were 36 with the total

percentage of 12.3, lastly salespersons representing other insurance companies i.e.

Dawood Family Takaful etc were 11 with the total percentage of 3.8.

Table 3.5 Insurance Company of the Respondent

Company Frequency Valid


Percentage

EFU 55 18.8%

State Life 120 41.1%

Jubliee 41 14%

Askari 29 9.9%

Adam Jee 36 12.3%

Others 11 3.8%

Total 292 100%

3.8.2 Factor Analysis

In this study factor analysis is done as it is a statistical method to find out

relationship between observed and unobserved (latent) variable (Albright, 2007).

Factor analysis is used when a researcher is in doubt that a set of variables used in

this study may be interrelated or complicated. Factor analysis is used in this study

to determine the reliability and construct validity of the measurement model. For

this purpose confirmatory factor analysis using structural equation modelling

(SEM) technique is used to determine the relationship between manifest and latent

variable that up to what extent measured items actually reflect the theoretical base

latent construct for which they are designed to measure (Albright 2007).

3.8.3 Path Analysis

Structural model (Path analysis) is done to examine the relationship between

two latent construct by using structural equation modelling (SEM). In this study,
validity of structural model is assessed through absolute fit measures, incremental

fit measures and parsimony fit measures.

3.9 MULTIPLE REGRESSION ANALYSIS

In this study multiple regression analysis is also done along with path analysis

to confirm the results by two approaches so that the relationship between several

independent variables like trait competitiveness, empathy proneness, Psychological

empowerment and expert power of the salespersons and criterion or dependent

variable like adaptive selling could be determined. Following regression equation

was calculated:

Y= a+b1*X1+b2*X2+b3*X3+b4*X4

Whereas,

Y= Adaptive selling Behaviour

a = constant value

b1, b2, b3, b4= coefficients estimates for predictors

X1= Trait competitiveness

X2= Empathy Proneness

X3= Psychological Empowerment

X4= Expert power

Likewise, effect of adaptive selling behaviour and moderation effect of

psychological organizational support on sales persons outcome performance is

measured through the Chin et al. (2003) approach as under:


3.9.1 Product Indicator Approach

To test the effect of adaptive selling behaviour and moderating variable

psychological organizational support on dependent variable (outcome performance)

product indicator approach Chin et al. (2003) is used. This approach involves

calculating Z score of the variables by mean centring the items of both constructs

to avoid multicollinerity i.e., Adaptive selling behaviour (predictor) and moderating

variable psychological organizational support and then computing their interaction

term by multiplying each item of one construct with every item of the other

construct.

Z score was calculated as:

Z= sample value - sample mean / Standard Deviation

Likewise interaction term by multiplying each item of one construct with all items

of other construct was calculated as:

For example, X (adaptive selling variable) has three items (X1, X2, X3) and

construct Y (psychological organizational support) has also three items (Y1, Y2,

Y3) their interaction term (X*Y) will have nine items, as below:

(X1*Y1, X1*Y2, X1*Y3, X2*Y1, X2*Y2, X2*Y3, X3*Y1, X3*Y2, X3*Y3).

So, regression equation will be formed as:

Y= a + b1X1+ b2X2 + b3(X1*X2)

Y= outcome Performance

a= constant value
b1, b2, b3= coefficients estimates for the predictors

X1= Z score adaptive selling behaviour

X2= Z score psychological organizational support

X1*X2= interaction term for adaptive selling behaviour and psychological

organizational support or (moderator).

Chapter 4

RESULTS AND RESEARCH FINDINGS

The main theme of this chapter is data presentation, results of the research or

empirical findings of the impact of individual traits and organizational support on

salespersons behavioural performance.

This chapter consist of following sections like: data analysis related to mean

and standard deviation of each variable of the study, secondly reliability and

validity of factor loadings as well as of the variables being used in this study will

be examined. Lastly, this chapter will conclude at product indicator approach to test

the moderator effect via multiple regression analysis and path analysis along with

absolute fit measures will be done.

These two analyses are used at a time only in order to confirm the results of

hypothesis being tested.

4.1 DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS

Table 4.1 Descriptive Statistics

Variables Sample Size Mean Standard


Deviation

Trait Competitiveness 292 4.5171 .60171

Empathy Proneness 292 4.3630 .61535

Psychological 292 4.2568 .59418


Empowerment

Expert Power 292 4.2500 .53447

Adaptive Selling 292 4.2885 .76918


Behaviour

Psychological
Organizational 292 4.3673 .63081
Support

Outcome Performance 292 4.0488 .55803

Table 6 shows the mean score and standard deviation for the all the variables of this

study. Table 6 clarify that the mean score for all the variables lies between 4 to 4.5

and standard deviation value for all the variables is also less than 1.

Trait competitiveness mean value is 4.5171 and standard deviation value is

.60171 which means that response of 292 respondents for this variables lies

between agree to strongly agree which shows the importance of this trait for the

salespersons as standard deviation value was also less than 1 which means data is

accurate and there is less variation in the data collected regarding this variable.

In the same way, mean value for empathy proneness is 4.3630 and standard

deviation value is .60171 which means that the response of salespersons for this

variable lies around agree in 5 point likert scale, which shows that this individual

trait has importance as well according to salespersons point of view. As, its
standard deviation value is also less than 1 which shows that data collected for this

variable is accurate because there is less variation in the data collected for this

variable.

Likewise, mean value for psychological empowerment is 4.2568 and standard

deviation value is .59418 which represent that the response for psychological

empowerment lies around agree scale, which shows that who important is this

individual construct from the salespersons aspect. As its standard deviation value

is also less than one which show that data collected for this variable is accurate to

measure this variable because there is less variation in the data collected for this

salespersons individual construct.

Similarly, mean value for expert power of salespersons is 4.2500 and standard

deviation value is .52447 which shows that the response for expert power of

salesperson lies around agree scale in 5 point likert scale, which means that

salespersons of the insurance industry agrees that this trait is important for their

success. As its standard deviation value is also less than 1 which shows that data

collected regarding this variable is accurate because there is less variation in the

data collected for this variable.

Similar to this, mean value for adaptive selling behaviour of salesperson is

4.2885 and standard deviation value is .76918 which shows that salespersons of

insurance sector of Pakistan are in a believe that their adaptive selling behaviour is

necessary for their better outcome performance, as response for adaptive selling

behaviour lies around agree scale. Likewise, its standard deviation value is also less
than 1 which shows that data collected for this variable is accurate as there is less

variation in data collected for the adaptive selling behaviour of a salesperson.

In the same way, mean value for Psychological organizational support is

4.3673 and standard deviation value is .63081 which shows that insurance

salespersons of Pakistan are also in a believe that Psychological organizational

support from their companies has also its importance for them as their response for

this variable lies around agree scale. Similarly, its standard deviation value is also

less than 1 which shows that response for this variable is accurate as there is less

variation in the data collected for this variable.

Lastly, mean value for outcome performance of the salespersons is 4.0488 and

standard deviation value is .55803 which means that they are in the believe that

they are performing well in their particular area of sales as their response lies

around agree in the 5 point likert scale used. In the same way, its standard deviation

value is also less than 1 which shows that response of salespersons of insurance

sector of Pakistan is accurate for this variable because value less than clarify that

there is less variation in the data collected for the this variable of the salespersons.

We cant conclude results on these bases only. Further analyses will confirm

the results.

4.2 CFA AND CONSTRUCT VALIDITY

Confirmatory factor analysis is the statistical method used to find out the

relationship between observed and latent variable in the measurement model

(Albright, 2007).
One of the advantages of CFA is its ability to quantitatively examine the

construct validity of the measurement model or theory as measurement model is

theory driven.

Whereas, construct validity is up to what extant a set of measured items of a

construct actually reflect that theoretical base unobserved construct they are

designed to measure (Zikmund, 2003).

4.2.1 Convergent Validity

The next step in this statistical process was to determine that up to what extent

items of a particular construct share a high proportion of variance in common in

that particular construct (Paswan, 2009). Convergent validity is measured by three

ways in this study:

1. Factor loading

2. Average variance extracted

3. Reliability

Factor loading of each item is measured in this study in order to determine the

importance of each item of the scale in measuring their specific constructs.

Table 4.2 Factor Loadings

Variables Items Loadings Sign.


(p)

Trait Competitiveness Trait Comp1 .862 ***

Trait Comp2 .850 ***

Trait Comp3 .680 ***

Empathy Proneness Empathy p1 .618 ***


Empathy p2 .909 ***

Empathy p3 .695 ***

Psychological Psy Empower1 .687 ***


Empowerment
Psy Empower 2 .790 ***

Psy Empower 3 .521 ***

Psy Empower 4 .748 ***

Expert Power Expert Power1 .801 ***

Expert Power2 .810 ***

Expert Power3 .612 ***

Expert Power4 .554 ***

Adaptive Selling Adaptive Sell1 .926 ***


Behaviour
Adaptive Sell2 .748 ***

Adaptive Sell3 .885 ***

Adaptive Sell4 .746 ***

Psychological Psy Org Support1 .675 ***


Organizational
Support Psy Org Support2 .667 ***

Psy Org Support3 .799 ***

Psy Org Support4 .739 ***

Outcome Performance Out Perform1 .793 ***

Out Perform2 .647 ***

Out Perform3 .564 ***


As, table 7 shows that all factor loading are different from zero significantly at the

1 percent level. Each item related to their particular variable shows the high factor

loading for the construct they are to measure, as it is clear that most of the factor

loadings are even above .7 and close to 1. Factor loadings only of 3rd item of

Psychological empowerment, 4th item of expert power and 3rd item of outcome

performance is above .5 which are also in the acceptable range (Paswan, 2009).

So, these high and significant factor loadings of the items indicate the

convergent validity of the items, as all items of each construct are highly and

significantly correlated to measure their specific construct.

Whereas, convergent validity has been argue as the ability of items to associate

with other items of the same construct for which they are designed to measure

(Zikmund, 2003).

4.2.2 Average Variance Extracted

Average variance extracted is also measure of convergence between the set of

indicators measuring the same construct (Paswan, 2009). Average variance is also

described as the average percentage of the variation explained between the

indicators.

Average variance extracted should be .5 or greater to suggest convergent

validity (Paswan, 2009).

As, average variance extracted cannot be directly measured by Amos or Spss

so following formula is used to calculate average variance extracted:


n

2
i
VE i 1
n

Whereas,

square = is the sum of the squared loading of each item.

n = number of items of each construct

For example,

Average variance extracted for trait competitiveness by this formula will be

calculated as:

VE = trait competitiveness1 square+ trait copetitiveness2 square+ trait

competitiveness3 square

Table 4.3 Average Variance Extracted

Variables Average Variance Extracted

Trait Competitiveness 0.642648

Empathy Proneness 0.563743

Psychological 1.507386
Empowerment

Expert Power 0.5479025

Adaptive Selling 0.68918025


Behaviour
Psychological 0.521259
Organizational
Support

Outcome Performance 0.54418467

The measurement model of this study was also examined through average variance

extracted for each variable of the study. As, average variance extracted is also a

measure of convergence validity which shows the convergence between the items

representing the same construct.

As, table 8 shows that average variance extracted for each and every variable is

above 0.5 exceeding the recommended cut off criteria (hair et al, 1998), which also

indicates the convergent validity of the items representing their specific constructs

of this study.

4.2.3 Reliability

The measurement model of this study is also assessed by computing reliability

for further validity of the constructs. As reliability is the measure of internal

consistency of the items representing their specific constructs or in other words are

they all measuring the same construct.

In this study construct reliability for each variable of this study is calculated by

the following formula:

n
( i ) 2
CR n
i 1
n
( i ) 2 ( i )
i 1 i 1
( )square = the sum of the loadings, squared

(i) = the sum of the error variance (delta)

Whereas, the delta (i) is calculated as:

1 minus the square of the factor loadings of each items measuring the same

construct.

For example,

Reliability for expert power is measured as:

(Expert power1+Expert power2+Expert power3) square

(Expert power1+Expert power2+Expert power3) square + 1- Expert

power1square +1- Expert power2 square+1- Expert power3 square

In this way reliability for each construct in the measurement model is calculated,

which are:

Table 4.4 Reliability

Variables Composite Reliability

Trait Competitiveness 0.822

Empathy Proneness 0.742

Psychological 0.714
Empowerment
Expert Power 0.722

Adaptive Selling 0.896


Behaviour

Psychological 0.810
Organizational
Support

Outcome Performance 0.754

As table 9 shows that reliability for the all the variables is above 0.7 which is the

recommended cut off criteria for composite reliability (hair et al, 1998).

Value for each construct is between 0 and 1, whereas higher values close to 1

indicate higher reliability between the items of the variables measuring the same

construct.

So, this table shows that reliability for all the constructs are higher (close to 1)

which suggest good reliability and indicates that internal consistency exists

between the items reflecting the theoretical construct for which they are designed

to measure.

4.3 CORRELATION AND NOMO LOGICAL VALIDITY

The correlations among various constructs of this study were examined. As,

correlation determine the association between different variables of interest.

Table 4.5 Correlations

Variables 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

1.Trait Competitiveness _
2.Empathy Proneness .518**

3.Psychological Empowerment .636** .470** _

4.Expert Power .500** .434** .690** _

5.Adaptive Selling Behaviour .735** .529** .637** .550** _

6. Psychological organizational .525** .495** .492** .526** .608** _

Support

7. Outcome Performance .414** .445** .457** .481** .458** .430** _

** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).

Table 10 shows the correlation between different attributes of salespersons like

trait competitiveness, empathy Proneness, Psychological empowerment, expert

power, salespersons adaptive selling behaviour and psychological organizational

support as well as salespersons outcome performance.

The results show the interdependency between variables. This table shows the

positive and significant correlation between each variable as all variables are highly

significant at (p < 0.01).

As correlation between all the variables is positive and highly significant so it

also indicates the nomological validity of the constructs. Whereas, nomological

validity is tested by examining whether the correlations between the constructs

make sense? (Paswan, 2009).

4.4 PATH ANALYSIS

Path analysis is done to examine the relationship between two latent construct

(structural model) by using structural equation modelling (SEM). In this study,


validity of structural model is assessed through absolute fit measures, incremental

fit measures and parsimony fit measures.

Path analysis is done at a time with moderation and without moderation both to

confirm the validity of the structural model and to further confirm that up to what

extent moderator effect the overall model along with standardized coefficient

significant value and what changes in results and fit measures occur due to the

moderating variable which is psychological organizational support.

4.4.1 Path Analysis with Moderation

Trait
Competitiveness
.49**

Empathy .14** .61 .32**


Proneness
Outcome
Adaptive Performance
Selling
Behaviour
Psychological .12** .25** .17
Empowerment

.17* Psychological
Organizational
-.02 (ns)
Expert support
Power

Interaction
Term
**P > .01 for coefficients

*P > .05 for coefficients

Variance explained R2 for:

Adaptive selling behaviour = 0.613

Outcome Performance = 0.17

Figure 4.1

As figure 4.1, shows the regression weights for the entire variables and the variance

explained by predictors.

As it can be seen that when trait competitiveness of a salesperson goes up by 1

his/her adaptive selling significantly goes up by .49, in the same way when

empathy proneness of a salesperson goes up by 1 his/her adaptive selling behaviour

significantly goes up by .14, likewise when psychological empowerment of

salespersons goes up by 1 hi/her adaptive selling behaviour significantly goes up

by .12, similarly when expert power of salesperson goes up by 1 his/her adaptive

selling behaviour significantly goes up by .17.

Whereas, total variance explained by individual traits of a salesperson like trait

competitiveness, empathy proneness, psychological empowerment and expert

power in his/her adaptive selling behaviour is 61.3 percent indicating that most of
the variance in adaptive selling behaviour of a salesperson is explained by these

individual traits of a salesperson chosen in this study.

Further in the case of consequence of the adaptive selling behaviour, when this

particular behaviour goes up by 1 salespersons outcome performance significantly

goes up by .32, likewise when psychological organizational support goes up by 1

salespersons outcome performance goes up by .25.

Moderator variable which is interaction term of adaptive selling behaviour and

psychological organizational support negatively and insignificantly effect

salespersons outcome performance indicating that there is no moderation effecting

salespersons adaptive selling behaviour and his/her outcome performance

relationship in this study leading support to the direct relationship between adaptive

selling behaviour and salespersons outcome performance.

Lastly, the total variance explained by adaptive selling behaviour and the

moderating variable in outcome performance is17 percent.

As it is clarify that moderating variable has insignificant effect on the adaptive

selling behaviour and salespersons outcome performance relationship. Due to this

insignificant effect of the moderating variable measuring fit indexes of the whole

model fit are also effected as:

Table 4.6 Measuring fit indexes with Moderation

GFI .800

CFI .725
NFI .718

RMSEA .164

Measuring fit indexes like GFI, CFI and NFI should be above .90 and value of .01

or less is recommended for RMSEA (Paswan, 2009).

But the fit for the model with interaction term (moderator) is below the

recommended cut off criteria because of the insignificant effect of the moderating

variable on the adaptive selling behaviour and salespersons outcome performance

relationship.

Similarly, if this insignificant moderating variable is not considered in the

model then the model is perfectly fit as:

4.4.2 Path Analysis without Moderation


Trait
Competitiveness .49**

.61 .21
Empathy
Proneness .14** .46**
Outcome
Adaptive Performance
.12** Selling
Behaviour
Psychological
Empowerment
.17*

Expert
Power

**P > .01 for coefficients

*P > .05 for coefficients

Variance explained R2 for:


Adaptive selling behaviour = 0.613

Outcome Performance = 0.21

Figure 4.2

As figure 4.2, also shows the regression weights for the entire variables and the

variance explained by predictors as shown in figure 4.1.

As it can be seen in this figure as well that when trait competitiveness of a

salesperson goes up by 1 his/her adaptive selling behaviour significantly goes up

by .49, in the same way when empathy proneness of a salesperson goes up by 1

his/her adaptive selling behaviour significantly goes up by .14, likewise when

psychological empowerment of salespersons goes up by 1 hi/her adaptive selling

behaviour significantly goes up by .12, similarly when expert power of salesperson

goes up by 1 his/her adaptive selling behaviour significantly goes up by .17.

In the same way, total variance explained by individual traits of a salesperson

like trait competitiveness, empathy proneness, psychological empowerment and

expert power in his/her adaptive selling behaviour is 61.3 percent suggesting that

most of the variance in adaptive selling behaviour of a salesperson of insurance

sector of Pakistan is explained by these individual traits of a salesperson chosen in

this study.
Likewise, in the case of the adaptive selling behaviour predicting outcome

performance of a salesperson, when this particular behaviour goes up by 1

salespersons outcome performance significantly goes up by .46.

This shows the difference that when moderating effect on adaptive selling

behaviour and salespersons outcome performance relationship is not taken into

consideration then coefficient value of adaptive selling is higher up to .46 in

predicting salespersons outcome performance which was .32 when moderation

effect was considered.

Similarly, another difference which occurred is that adaptive selling behaviour

of a salesperson alone explain 21 percent of variance in salespersons outcome

performance which is more than the case when moderation effect was considered,

suggesting that moderating effect is insignificant in this relationship and adaptive

selling behaviour and salespersons outcome performance has direct and positive

relationship with each other.

Likewise, when this insignificant moderating variable is not considered in the

model then the model is perfectly fit as measuring fit indexes presented below in

table 12 shows the perfect model fit.

Table 4.7 Measuring Fit Indexes without Insignificant variable

GFI .970

CFI .970

NFI .966
TLI .901

RMSEA .084

As in table 11 measuring fit indexes were not showing the model fit because of

insignificant moderating variable affecting the relationship in the structural model.

When this insignificant moderating variable was terminated from the structural

model, measuring fit indexes indicated the validity of the structural model as well

confirming that adaptive selling behaviour and outcome performance of a

salesperson has direct and significant positive relationship in this study without any

moderating variable (Psychological organizational support) effecting their

relationship.

As, table 12 shows that GFI, CFI, NFI, TLI are above 0.9 and RMSEA badness

of fit index is also below 0.1 (Paswan, 2009), which provides the evidence that

model is perfectly fit when insignificant variable is not taken into consideration as

it was creating disturbance in the whole model.

4.5 HYPOTHESIS TESTING

Table 4.8 Hypothesis Test Results

Hypothesized Hypothesis Standardized t Significance


Path Path value
Coefficients for
() path
Adaptive Selling Outcome H1 .46 7.174 P<.01
Performance
.49
Trait Adaptive H2 9.712
Competitiveness Selling P<.01

Empathy Adaptive H3 .14 3.152 P<.01


Proneness Selling

Psychological Adaptive H4 3.008 P<.01


Empowerment Selling .12

Adaptive H5 P<.05
Expert Power Selling .17 2.418

Psychological

Organizational Outcome H6
-.02 -7.95
NS
Support Performance

Adaptive Selling

Path analysis using structural equation modelling and multiple regression analysis

both were done to test the hypotheses of this study. Both of the analyses shows the

same significance level of the coefficient values of all the variables being studied,

confirming the validity of the results of the hypotheses being tested in this study.

Table 13 summarizes the hypothesis test results as coefficients show the

variance explained by independent variables in dependent variables. As this table

reports that Adaptive selling behaviour positively and significantly influence the

dependent variable which is outcome performance of a salesperson, as calculated t

value for this path is greater than 2 (7.174>2) and more importantly for adaptive

selling behaviour is not only positive but also highly significant (=.46 p<.01)

leading support to hypothesis 1, in the same way trait competitiveness of a

salesperson also positively and significantly influence adaptive selling behaviour of

a salesperson as calculated t value for this path is 9.712 which is much greater than

2 ( 9.712>2) and value is positive and highly significant (= .49 p<.01) which

also leads to support hypothesis 2, likewise value of for empathy proneness of a


salesperson is also positive and highly significant (= .171 p<.01) and its calculated

t value is also greater than 2 (3.152>2), which shows that empathy proneness also

positively influence adaptive selling behaviour which is highly significant as well,

thus leading support to hypothesis 3. Similarly, psychological empowerment of a

salesperson also positively and significantly influence adaptive selling behaviour of

a salesperson as it is shown that value of psychological empowerment is positive

and highly significant (= .12 p<.01) and t value for this path is also greater than 2

(3.000>2), thus leading support to hypothesis 4 as well. Likewise, expert power of

a salesperson also positively and significantly influence adaptive selling behaviour

of a salesperson, as value of expert power is not only positive but significant as

well (= .17 p<.05) and t value for this path is also greater than 2 (2.418>2), thus

leading support to hypothesis 5.

Lastly, the path between the interaction term of psychological organizational

support, adaptive selling behaviour of a salesperson and salespersons outcome

performance was not significant and negative, as its value (= -.02, n/s) is

insignificant and negative and t calculated value for this path is negative as well (-

7.95<2) which is much less than 2, indicating that psychological organizational

support will not positively moderate the relationship between salespersons

adaptive selling behaviour and his/her sales outcome performance. Thus,

moderating effect hypothesis 6 is not supported.

So, the results show that all hypotheses except hypothesis 6 (moderating effect)

are accepted. These results will be thoroughly examined in the next discussion

chapter.

Chapter 5
DISCUSSION OF RESULTS

5.1 RESEARCH IMPLICATION

The key finding is that individual traits of a salesperson chosen in this study like

trait competitiveness, empathy proneness, psychological empowerment and expert

power not only positively but also significantly influence adaptive selling

behaviour of the salesperson. Which show the importance of these individual traits

of a salesperson for their adaptive selling behaviour, which is itself an important

ingredient in improving their outcome performance in terms of sales.

As results also prove that insurance sectors salesperson are in a strong believe

that their adaptive selling is necessary to deal with their customers as they are well

aware of that to increase their sales it is very much important to shape the content

and quantity of information to share with completely different customers who have

different wants and needs, moreover high adaptation to customer needs and

customization of the offer are sometimes thought of necessary dimensions of an

adaptive strategy (McFarland et al., 2006).

Results also show that insurance sectors salesperson are also in a believe that

these personal characteristics or attributes chosen in this study enhances their

customer oriented behaviour quite similar to the past studies specialize in the

characteristics of the salespeople, like ability and motivation thorough which

employee will perform adaptive selling and will perform well in sales [Jaramillo et

al. (2007); Verbeke et al. (2004)].

Results of this study also proves that salespersons Adaptive selling behaviour

have direct and positive impact on salespersons outcome performance without any

moderation effect of psychological organization support, quite similar to the past


literature [Spiro and Weitz (1990); Fakhrdin et al. (2011)]. This indicates that when

salespersons of insurance sector of Pakistan are able to practice their adaptive

selling behaviour via individual traits they are holding then they do not need any

other kind of psychological organizational support from their insurance companies

to increase their outcome performance in terms of sales. In other words,

salespersons individual traits play important role in making them practice their

adaptive selling behaviour through which they can provide customized

product/services to fulfil the needs and wants of every individual customer, which

is more than enough to increase their outcome performance in term of sales

because once they are able to retain and satisfy the customers by providing

customized services that exactly match each customers needs then they do not

need any psychological organizational support from their company to increase their

outcome performance. Ultimately when the sales of each salesperson will increase

in the company then overall the sales of whole insurance sector of Pakistan will

boast up and compete with other countries whose insurance sector is stable.

5.2 THEORETICAL CONTRIBUTION

Results of this study also prove the trait theory which this study was testing

which suggests that salespersons performance (behavioural) may be a function of

his or her individual personality traits, means that sales success depends upon how

much a salesperson posses certain individual personality traits.

As in the past studies, neither of the salespersons characteristics or traits has

been able to explain much of the direct variation in sales performance [Robie et al.

(2005); Verbeke et al. (2011)], as less than 10 percent of variance was explained in

salespersons performance directly by individual attributes (Baldauf and Carvens,


2002) which was the gap of this study. This study contribute in literature by

fulfilling this gap as this study shows that 21 percent of variance is explained by

individual traits or attributes indirectly through adaptive selling behaviour of

salesperson, which is 2 times more than the past studies on sales performance of

salespersons.

Lastly, this study also contribute by confirming the past studies findings that

adaptive selling behaviour of salespersons has direct and positive relationship with

their outcome performance [Predmore and Bonnice (1994); Oliver and Anderson

(1994); Fakhrdin et al. (2011)] without any variables moderation effect strengthen

their relationship in this study of insurance sector of Pakistan.

5.3 MANAGERIAL IMPLICATION

Results suggest that sales manager may benefit from a proper mind set of their

salespersons and by recognizing that internal sales behaviour do matter more than

the psychological organizational support by the insurance company in increasing

the sales of each salesperson of the company which will ultimately boast up the

sales of whole insurance sector of Pakistan, for that attention should be focused on

each salespersons attributes regarding sales and the kind of behaviour they are

using while dealing with their customers or giving presentations regarding their

offering.

This study suggests that this customer oriented behaviour must be present or

developed in salespersons, but the issue here is that: is this something you hire or

develop through training? It is recommended that individual traits like trait

competitiveness, empathy proneness, and psychological empowerment have a


strong and positive impact on adaptive selling behaviour so these traits should be

sought out in the hiring process. On the other hand sales managers and sales force

trainers should coach salespersons to execute adaptive selling behaviour to increase

their outcome performance given that adaptive selling behaviour is not all traits

driven.

Finally, expert power of a sales person has also positive and significant impact on

customer oriented selling behaviour so its further nurturing and channelling is of

much importance, which is concern of sales managers and sales force trainers as

well.

Chapter 6

CONCLUSION

This study conclude that salespersons traits like trait competitiveness, empathy

proneness, psychological empowerment and their expert power are important

antecedents of their adaptive selling behaviour. As, adaptive selling behaviour is

itself an important ingredient in sales trough which salespersons provide

customized offering to each customer according to his/her needs and wants which

bring customers closer to that particular salesperson in shape of strong relationship

and loyalty which ultimately results in increasing salespersons outcome

performance in shape of achieving all sales targets and increase in sales of the

particular insurance company a salesperson is working for without any need of

psychological organizational support by that particular insurance company, which

in return will boast up the insurance sector of Pakistan.

6.1 LIMITATION AND FUTURE DIRECTION


As response from salespersons only will be taken in this study because of lack of

time and limited resources due to which results could be biased, which is the

limitation of this study. Future research can be done on the same subject by

collecting dyadic data from salespersons as well as customers and managers most

importantly to measure salespersons outcome performance, which will give more

unbiased results.

Secondly, this study main focus was on the salespersons of insurance sector so

the results are limited only in insurance sector of Pakistan, further study can be

done on any other sectors salespersons like pharmaceutical or automobile industry

to increase generalizbility and confirm that whether these individual traits of

salespersons are important antecedents of adaptive selling behaviour of

salespersons of other sectors too or not?

Third limitation is that this study focus on only one customer oriented selling

behaviour to explain variance in salespersons outcome performance which is

adaptive selling behaviour of the salespersons; future research can be done on any

other salespersons internal behaviour to explain variance in salespersons outcome

performance, which may result in even more explained variance than this study.

Fourth limitation of this study is that it considered specific four individual traits

of a salesperson; future research can be done by deploying the new constructs in

shape of new individual attributes to explain indirect variance in salespersons

outcome performance.