The Effect of Salesperson's Concern for Reputation on the Launch Effort for New Products

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Publication Date

Spring 2011


This dissertation investigates the salesperson's impact on the launch of new products. Drawing in part on the theory of planned behavior, it develops a model of how salesperson attitudes and salesperson character traits influence the salesperson's sales effort for a new product.

The investigation focuses on a newly identified character trait, the Salesperson's Concern for Reputation (SCR). A measure for this construct is developed and tested in an online panel of B2B salespersons (n = 297) and a longitudinal field study (n = 129). SCR is shown to be relatively stable and trait-like. The new SCR-construct is rooted in previous work in sociology. It can best be described by a two factor structure: one factor that focuses on gaining a better reputation and one that focuses on avoiding damaging an existing reputation. Following regulatory focus theory, these factors are labeled SCR-promotion and SCR-prevention, respectively.

SCR, particularly the SCR-promotion dimension, is found to directly influence the amount of the salesperson's sales effort for a new product. Additionally, the salesperson's expectations for the new product positively influence the amount of sales effort for that new product. When the salesperson is uncertain about the new product's potential for success, however, SCR moderates the impact of financial incentives on sales effort. As the vast majority of new products are surrounded with uncertainty about their potential for success – especially at the time of launch – this finding is critical. In cases where the salesperson is convinced that a new product will be an absolute success or an absolute failure, the interaction between SCR and financial incentives is not significant.

Publication Title

University of Illinois at Chicago

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