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%r(ani)ational Determinants of the *ndustrial $alesman+s &ole 'onflict and Am!i(uit, Author-s.: %r/ille '. 0al1er, #r., 2il!

ert A. 'hurchill, #r. and 3eil . 4ord $ource: #ournal of ar1etin(, 5ol. 39, 3o. 1 -#an., 1965., 77. 32839 9u!lished !,: American ar1etin( Association $ta!le :&;: htt7:<<www."stor.or(<sta!le<1250800 Accessed: 10<12<2013 08:32
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This content downloaded from 203.122.52.98 on Tue, 10 Dec 2013 08:32:56 A All use su!"ect to #$T%& Terms and 'onditions

Orville C. Walker,Jr., Gilbert A. Churchill, Jr., and Neil M. Ford

Organizational Deter inant! o" the #ndu!trial $ale! an%! &ole Con"lict and A biguit'
The right organizational!tructureand !u(ervi!or'!t'le can hel( !ale! enunder!tandtheir)ob!, but the'don%t reduce the con"lict! e*(eriencedb' !ale! en.

AB * 9%&TA3'B of the field salesman in the successful mar1etin( of industrial (oods has lon( !een a77reciated. %nl, recentl,, how e/er, has attention !een (i/en to the fact that the nature of the field salesman+s "o! can 7roduce some 7er7le@in( 7ro!lems for mar1etin( and sales man a(ers, as well as for salesmen themsel/es. $7e cificall,, se/eral characteristics of the industrial salesman+s "o! ma1e him 7articularl, susce7ti!le to role conflict and role am!i(uit,. + &ole conflict occurs when the salesman faces two or more incom7ati!le "o! demands from his or(ani)ational su7eriors, customers, famil, mem!ers, or other role 7artners. The salesman e@7eriences role am!i (uit, when he is uncertain a!out how he is e@ 7ected to 7erform his "o!. The hi(h 7otential for role conflict 7oses a 7ro! lem for the indi/idual salesman !ecause of the ne(ati/e 7s,cholo(ical reactions 7eo7le often e@ 7erience in conflict situations. A wide /ariet, of em7irical studies ha/e found 7ositi/e relationshi7s !etween hi(h le/els of 7ercei/ed role conflict and hi(h le/els of "o!8related tension and an@iet,, on the one hand, and low le/els of "o! satisfaction, on
3A; %4

the other. 2 There is also e/idence that 7rolon(ed e@7osure to hi(h le/els of role conflict can ha/e 7h,sical conseGuences, such as an increased in cidence of coronar, disease. 3 $imilarl,, when an indi/idual e@7eriences a (reat deal of uncertaint, a!out how he is e@7ected to 7erform his "o! -role am!i(uit,., he ma, e@7erience more mental an@ iet, and tension and less "o! satisfaction.D The 7otential for hi(h le/els of 7ercei/ed role conflict and am!i(uit, amon( field salesmen also 7resents some ma"or 7ro!lems for sales and mar 1etin( mana(ers. To the e@tent that conflict and am!i(uit, reduce the "o! satisfaction of salesmen, for e@am7le, the, are li1el, to 7roduce hi(her le/els of turno/er within the sales force and accom 7an,in( recruitment and trainin( costs.D The amount of conflict and am!i(uit, the salesman e@7eriences ma, also affect his "o! 7erformance, althou(h the relationshi7s !etween conflict, am8
2. &o!ert ;. Eahn, D. . 0olfe, &. 9. Huinn, #. D. $noe1, and &. A. &osenthal, Organizational Stress -3ew =or1: #ohn 0ile, 5 $ons, 196I., 77. 5586lF 3eal 2ross, 0. $. ason, and A. 0. cBachern, Explorations in Role Analysis -3ew =or1: #ohn 0ile, 5 $ons, 1958.F and 'harles 3. 2reene and D. 0. %r(an, DAn B/aluation of 'ausal odels ;in1in( &ecei/ed &ole and #o! $atisfaction,D Administrati e Science !uarterly, 5ol. 18 - arch 1963., 77. 958103. 3. $. . $ales, D%r(ani)ational &ole as a &is1 4actor in 'oronar, Disease,D Administrati e Science !uarterly, 5ol. 1I -$e7tem!er 1969., 77. 3258336. I. Eahn et a*., same reference as footnote 2, 77. 62895F and #ohn &. &i))o, &. #. Aouse, and $. #. ;irt)man, D&ole 'onflict and Am!i(uit, in 'om7le@ %r(ani)ations,D Administrati e Science !uarterly, 5ol. 15 -#une 1960., 77. 1508163. 5. 4or a re/iew of e/idence concernin( the relationshi7 !etween satisfaction and turno/er, see 'harles 3. 2reene, DThe $atisfaction89erformance 'ontro/ers,,D Business "orizons, 5ol. 15 -%cto!er 1962., 77. 318I1.

9ruden, D*nteror(ani)ational 'onflict, ;in1a(e and B@chan(e: A $tud, of *ndustrial $alesmen,D Academy of Management Journal, 5ol. 12 -$e7tem!er 1969., 77. 3398350F %r/ille C. 0al1er, #r., 2il!ert A. 'hurchill, #r., and 3eil . 4ord, D&eac tions to &ole 'onflict: The 'ase of the *ndustrial $alesman,D Journal of Business Administration, 5ol. 3 -$7rin( 1962., 77.
35836.

1. #ames A. Celasco, DThe $alesman+s &ole &e/isited,D #%:& A&EBT*32, 5ol. 30 -A7ril 1966., 77. 688F Aenr, %.

Journalo" Marketing,,ol. -. /Januar'

+.012,

77. -34-..

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This content downloaded from 203.122.52.98 on Tue, 10 Dec 2013 08:32:56 A All use su!"ect to #$T%& Terms and 'onditions

Organizational

Deter inant!

o" the

#ndu!trial

$ale! an%!

&ole

Con"lict

and

A biguit'

33

!i(uit,, and 7erformance a77ear to !e moderated !, other /aria!les. There is e/idence, thou(h, that role conflict and am!i(uit, influence the sales man+s 7erce7tions a!out how his !eha/ior will !e e/aluated and rewarded and, su!seGuentl,, the, influence his actual 7erformance.D Also, the man ner in which a salesman tries to co7e with or resol/e the conflicts and uncertainties associated with his "o! can affect !oth his 7erformance and his feelin(s of satisfaction. 0 As indicated a!o/e, a num!er of authors ha/e conce7tuall, descri!ed some of the characteristics of the salesman+s role that ma1e him susce7ti!le to hi(h le/els of conflict and am!i(uit,. 4rom a 7ra(matic mana(ement /iew7oint, howe/er, the most rele/ant Guestion is a somewhat narrower one: Are there an, factors that the sales or mar1et in( mana(er can control or influence#factors relat in( to or(ani)ation structure or mana(ement st,le8that influence the. amount of role conflict and am!i(uit, e@7erienced !, salesmenJ The na ture of the salesman+s "o! ma1es some conflict and am!i(uit, ine/ita!le re(ardless of what mana(e ment does. The 7ur7ose of this article, howe/er, is to determine whether some of the conflicts and uncertainties that salesmen e@7erience are due to the 7olicies and 7ractices of mana(ement and, if the, are, to identif, mana(ement actions that mi(ht hel7 reduce them to a lower le/el. Therefore, this article /+2 de/elo7s a num!er of h,7otheses concernin( the effects of se/eral or(ani)ational and mana(erial factors on the salesman+s 7erce7tions of conflict and am!i(uit,, -2. tests the h,7otheses with data drawn from a lar(e and di/erse sam7le of industrial salesmen, and /-2 discusses the im7lica tions of the findin(s for im7ro/in( sales force mana(ement.
De"inition o" Ter !

The role attached to a (i/en social 7osition is the set of acti/ities or desired !eha/iors that are to !e 7erformed, at least a77ro@imatel,, !, an, 7erson
6. 2reene and %r(an, same reference as footnote 2. 6. Aenr, %. 9ruden and &. . &eese, D*nteror(ani)ational

&ole8$et &elations and the 9erformance and $atisfaction of *ndustrial $alesmen,D Administrati e Science !uarterly, 5ol. 16 -Decem!er 1962., 77. 6018609.

6 A7O8T T9: A8T9O&$.


Orville4C. Walker, Jr. i! a!!ociate (ro"e!!or o" arket ing in the Graduate $chool o" 7u!ine!! Ad ini!tra tion, the 8niver!it' o" Minne!ota, Minnea(oli!. Gilbert A. Churchill, Jr. i! (ro"e!!or o" arketing and Neil M. Ford i! a!!ociate (ro"e!!or o" arketing in the Graduate $chool o" 7u!ine!!, the 8niver!it' o" Wi! con!in, Madi!on.

occu7,in( that 7osition. This role is defined throu(h a 7rocess in/ol/in( three ste7s. 4irst, e@7ectations and demands concernin( what the a77ro7riate role !eha/iors should !e, to(ether with 7ressures for conformit, to those demands, are communicated to the role occu7ant -the salesman. !, mem!ers of his role set. The salesman+s role set consists of 7eo7le in related 7ositions, !oth within and outside of his com7an,, who de7end on his 7erformance in some fashionF the, are rewarded !, it or reGuire it to 7erform their own tas1s. 4or e@am7le, the salesman+s immediate su7er/isor, other e@ecuti/es in his firm, 7urchasin( a(ents and other mem!ers of his customers+ or(ani)ations, and his wife and famil, are all mem!ers of his role setF the, will all tr, to influence his !eha/ior in accordance with their own desires and o!"ecti/es. The second 7art of the role definition 7rocess concerns the Drecei/ed roleD8the occu7ant+s 7er ce7tions of the role e@7ectations and 7ressures !ein( sent !, the mem!ers of his role set, and his resultin( conce7tion of how his role should !e 7erformed. &ole conflict and am!i(uit,, as defined in this article, arise at this sta(e in the role defini tion 7rocess. $ercei ed role conflict e@ists when a salesman !elie/es that the e@7ectations and de mands of two or more role set mem!ers are incom 7ati!le. Ais 7erce7tion that he cannot simultane ousl, satisf, all mem!ers of his role set creates conflictin( role forces, and 7s,cholo(ical conflict, within him. This definition has !een limited to Dinter8senderD conflict !ecause it is li1el, to !e the most 7er/asi/e and intensel, felt conflict e@7er ienced !, industrial salesmen, *t should !e reco( ni)ed, howe/er, that some salesmen ma, !e af fected !, other forms of role conflict not considered here.D $ercei ed role am%iguity occurs when the salesman does not feel he has the necessar, in formation to 7erform his role adeGuatel,, when he is uncertain a!out what the mem!ers of his role set e@7ect of him. Cecause the salesman+s 7erce7tions of his role 7ro/ide the !asis for his ultimate 7erformance as well as for his feelin(s of conflict and am!i(uit,, this article concentrates on the salesman+s Dre cei/ed role.D The 7ur7ose is to disco/er or(ani)a tional /aria!les that influence the salesman+s per ceptions of conflict and am!i(uit, in his "o!. The final ste7 in the role definition 7rocess is the salesman+s con/ersion of role 7erce7tions into role %e&a ior. Aowe/er, the lin1a(e !etween recei/ed role and role 7erformance is 7ro!a!l, not a direct one. The relationshi7 is moderated !, situational factors and the indi/idual salesman+s 7ersonal and 7s,cholo(ical characteristics.
8. Eahn et al., same reference as footnote 2, 77. 19821.

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9'(othe!e !

To answer the Guestion of mana(erial or or (ani)ational im7act on a salesman+s 7ercei/ed role conflict and am!i(uit,, the authors de/elo7ed h, 7otheses concernin( three or(ani)ational factors: -1. the si)e of the salesman+s role set, -2. the su7er/isor, st,le within the or(ani)ation, and -3. the inno/ati/eness reGuired of the salesman. $ome of the h,7otheses 7resented here are !ased on relationshi7s found !, Eahn et al. in research conducted with 7eo7le in a /ariet, of other occu7a tions,D !ut the, ha/e !een ada7ted to reflect the uniGue character of the field salesman+s "o!.
The $et $ale! an%! &ole

7ro!a!ilit, that the demands the, ma1e on him will a77ear incom7ati!le with one another or with his customers+ e@7ectations. Also, the (reater the num!er of such mem!ers within his or(ani)ation, the (reater the li1elihood that the salesman will not clearl, 7ercei/e all of the demands !ein( made of him. The h,7othesi)ed im7act of the si)e of the sales man+s intraor(ani)ational role set on conflict and am!i(uit, can !e summari)ed as follows. A 1: The (reater the num!er of or(ani)ation de7artments -0. the salesman 7ercei/es as affectin( his acti/ities: A. The (reater the salesman+s 7ercei/ed role conflict C. The (reater the salesman+s 7ercei/ed role am!i(uit,
$u(ervi!or' $t'le

*t is widel, theori)ed that one reason wh, the salesman is susce7ti!le to hi(h le/els of role con flict and am!i(uit, is that he occu7ies a !oundar, 7osition in his firm and, therefore, has a lar(e and di/erse role set. Ae must tr, to satisf, the e@7ecta tions of 7eo7le !oth within his own com7an, and in man, or(ani)ations other than his own, his customers. $ince each customer is concerned a!out o!tainin( his own o!"ecti/es in an e@chan(e trans action, he is often unaware of the 7olicies and constraints the salesman is o7eratin( under and freGuentl, e@7ects !eha/ior of the salesman that would conflict with the com7an,+s demands. 4or e@am7le, a customer ma, reGuest unusuall, li!eral credit terms or deli/er, schedules that would !e unacce7ta!le to the salesman+s com7an,. The 7ro!lem is com7ounded !, the fact that most salesmen must deal with a lar(e num!er of cus tomer accounts and thus are e@7osed to man, different demands. 'onseGuentl,, the 7ro!a!ilit, that the, will 7ercei/e some of those demands to !e incom7ati!le, or that the, will !e uncertain a!out what each customer e@7ects of them, is increased. Cecause it is the salesman+s "o! to deal with se/eral customer accounts, there is little the sales mana(er can do a!out this source of conflict and am!i(uit,. Aowe/er, the salesman+s role set also e@tends into his own or(ani)ation. The si)e of this intraor(ani)ational role set also has an effect on the amount of conflict and am!i(uit, he 7ercei/es. 4or the 7ur7oses of this stud,, a salesman+s intraor(ani)ational role set is o7erationall, defined as all the de7artments within his firm that the salesman !elie/es can influence or affect his dail, sellin( acti/ities8includin( those that can a77ro/e or re"ect a sale, modif, the terms of a sale, or affect the salesman+s s7ecific acti/ities on the "o!. The (reater the num!er of such role set mem!ers within the salesman+s or(ani)ation, the (reater the
9. Eahn et al., same reference as footnote 2.

The amount of role conflict e@7erienced !, the salesman as he recei/es /arious demands from his man, customers is influenced !, the amount of fle@i!ilit, he has in ada7tin( his !eha/ior to those demands. Ais fle@i!ilit,, in turn, is influenced !, the wa, he is su7er/isedF 7articularl, the closeness with which he is su7er/ised, and the amount of in7ut he has in determinin( the standards !, which his 7erformance will !e e/aluated. 0hen the sales man is ti(htl, constrained !, com7an, rules and his !eha/ior is closel, su7er/ised, he will not ha/e the latitude to ad"ust his !eha/ior to customer demands and he is more li1el, to feel that those demands are im7ossi!le for him to satisf,. This is 7articularl, true when the salesman has little or no /oice in determinin( the standards !, which his 7erformance is su7er/ised or e/aluated. *n such cases com7an, 7olicies and standards are e/en less li1el, to reflect customers+ e@7ectations. 'onse Guentl,, the 7otential for conflict !etween com 7an, standards and customer demands is in creased. Also, the salesman is more li1el, to /iew com7an, standards as 7lacin( unreasona!le con straints on his !eha/ior when he has no 7art in their determination. %n the other hand, the role am!i(uit, e@7eri enced !, the salesman is li1el, to !e reduced when he is closel, su7er/ised. At least the e@7ectations of his su7er/isor and other mem!ers of mana(ement will !e made e@7licit, and an, !eha/ior that is inconsistent with those e@7ectations will Guic1l, !e !rou(ht to his attention. $imilarl,, when the sales man has an in7ut in determinin( the standards !, which he is e/aluated, he is more li1el, to !e familiar with those standards and his feelin(s of role am!i(uit, should !e reduced. A third su7er/isor, factor that ma, influence the

Organizational

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amount of conflict and am!i(uit, a salesman e@ 7eriences is the freGuenc, of communication with his su7er/isor. The more freGuentl, the salesman is in contact with his su7er/isor8either throu(h face8to8face meetin(s, tele7hone con/ersations, or written letters and memoranda8the more o77or tunit, he will ha/e to learn and understand what his su7er/isor, and 7erha7s other mem!ers of his firm, e@7ect of him. There should !e a ne(ati/e relationshi7, therefore, !etween communication freGuenc, and 7ercei/ed am!i(uit,. 0hen the salesman is in freGuent contact with his sales mana(er there is also an o77ortunit, for information to flow from the salesman to his role 7artners within the or(ani)ation. The salesman ma, !e a!le to ad/ise his su7eriors of the /arious demands he is recei/in( from customers and how those demands seem to !e at odds with com7an, 7olicies and 7rocedures. As a result, his or(ani)a tional role 7artners ma, moderate or ad"ust their e@7ectations to accommodate customer demands. Thus, freGuent communication !etween the sales man and his su7er/isor ma, hel7 reduce the amount of conflict the salesman faces. The h,7othesi)ed relationshi7s !etween su7er/i sor, st,le and 7ercei/ed conflict and am!i(uit, can !e summari)ed as follows. A 2: The closer the salesman !elie/es his 7er formance is su7er/ised -'.: A. The (reater the salesman+s 7ercei/ed role conflict C. The less the salesman+s 7ercei/ed role am!i(uit, 9 3: The (reater the influence the salesman !elie/es he has in determinin( the stan dards !, which his 7erformance is e/aluat ed -*.: A. The less the salesman+s 7ercei/ed role conflict C. The less the salesman+s 7ercei/ed role am!i(uit, A I: The more freGuent the !etween a salesman and a(er -4.: A. The less the salesman+s conflict C. The less the salesman+s am!i(uit,
#nnovativene!! &e<uired

communication his sales man 7ercei/ed role 7ercei/ed role

desi(ned to the customer+s s7ecifications. B/en when the salesman is sellin( more standardi)ed 7roducts he must dis7la, some creati/it, in match in( his a/aila!le offerin(s to the customer+s 7ar ticular needs. %ccu7ants of inno/ati/e roles are li1el, to e@7er ience role conflict !ecause the, must ha/e fle@ i!ilit, i" the, are to 7erform their roles well. The, must ha/e the authorit, to de/elo7 and carr, out inno/ati/e solutions. The need for fle@i!ilit, !rin(s the salesman into conflict with the standin( rules and o7eratin( 7rocedures of his firm and with the e@7ectations of 7eo7le who ha/e a /ested interest in the status Guo. The 7roduction mana(er, for e@am7le, ma, frown u7on orders for nonstandard 7roducts !ecause of their ad/erse effects u7on 7roduction costs, /olume, and schedules. %ccu7ants of inno/ati/e roles also tend to e@7eri ence a lar(e amount of role am!i(uit,. The, fre Guentl, face unusual situations where the, ha/e no standard 7rocedures or 7ast e@7erience to (uide them. 'onseGuentl,, the, are often uncertain a!out how their role 7artners e@7ect them to 7ro ceed. *n one sense, there is little that mana(ement can do to reduce the amount of inno/ati/eness reGuired of the salesman. *nno/ati/eness is inherent in the nature of the sales "o!. %n the other hand, the impact of inno/ati/eness on the salesman+s 7erce7 tions of conflict and am!i(uit, can !e reduced throu(h mana(ement action. As su((ested in the 7recedin( h,7otheses, the salesman is less li1el, to 7ercei/e role conflict i" he is (i/en sufficient fle@ i!ilit, and looseness of su7er/ision to ada7t to the demands of unusual situations. Also, mana(ement can im7ro/e the salesman+s a!ilit, to deal with unusual situations !, 7ro/idin( him with access to a wide /ariet, of information -e.(., throu(h the use of 7orta!le com7uter terminals, etc.., sufficient technical !ac1u7, trainin( in dealin( with a /ariet, of unusual situations, and so forth. The salesman+s role reGuires inno/ati/eness, in other words, onl, when: /+2 he faces a uniGue, nonroutine 7ro!lem or situationF and -2. mana(ement has not 7ro/ided him with sufficient (uidelines, information, or trainin( for him to 1now how to deal with it. 0ith this definition of inno/ati/eness in mind, the followin( h,7othesis is 7ro7osed: A 5: The (reater the amount of inno/ati/eness -3. the salesman 7ercei/es to !e 7art of his role: A. The (reater the salesman+s role conflict C. The (reater the salesman+s role am!i(uit, 7ercei/ed 7ercei/ed

o" the $ale! an

The salesman+s role often reGuires him to 7ro duce inno/ati/e solutions to nonroutine 7ro!lems. This is 7articularl, true when he is sellin( hi(hl, technical 7roducts or en(ineered s,stems that are

36 :*(erience a! a Moderating ,ariable

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#t is li1el, that nearl, all of the relationshi7s

h,7othesi)ed a!o/e ma, !e moderated !, a sin(le /aria!le8the salesman+s "o! e@7erience. The lon(er a salesman is on the "o!, the (reater are his o77ortunities to disco/er how his role 7artners e@7ect him to 7erform in a /ariet, of situations. Therefore, the seasoned /eteran is li1el, to 7er cei/e less role am!i(uit, than a less e@7erienced man. #t is also 7ossi!le that the amount of time a salesman has !een on the "o! ma, influence the amount of conflict he 7ercei/es. B@7erience mi(ht ser/e to reduce the amount of 7ercei/ed conflict in four wa,s. 4irst, as a salesman (ains e@7erience he ma, learn that role 7artner demands that initiall, a77ear to !e in conflict can turn out to !e com7ati !le after all. Ae learns that role 7artners sometimes !luff, issuin( e@treme initial demands that the, su!seGuentl, !ac1 awa, from, and so forth. $ec ond, the e@7erienced salesman ma, also learn how to resol/e or co7e with conflicts so the, are not as stressful for him. Ae ma, not see as much conflict in a (i/en situation as a newer man sim7l, !ecause he has learned how to deal with incom7ati!le demands. += Third, o/er time a salesman ma, !uild u7 7s,cholo(ical defense mechanisms to screen out conflictin( demands and 7rotect himself from 7s, cholo(ical tension. 4inall,, a more 7essimistic e@ 7lanation of the effect of e@7erience on conflict is that salesmen who 7ercei/e a (reat deal of conflict and who are sensiti/e to it ma, ultimatel, chan(e "o!s. Therefore, there ma, a77ear to !e a ne(ati/e relationshi7 !etween e@7erience and conflict sim 7l, !ecause salesmen who ha/e !een wor1in( at the same "o! for a num!er of ,ears are those who ha/e 7ercei/ed less conflict o/er time or who ha/e found wa,s of co7in( with it. These effects of e@7erience in reducin( a sales man+s 7ercei/ed role conflict and am!i(uit, will o7erate re(ardless of his firm+s or(ani)ation struc ture or his su7er/isor+s st,le. Therefore, an addi tional h,7othesis has !een included to deal with the moderatin( effects of e@7erience. A 6: The lon(er the time a salesman has s7ent in his current 7osition -T.: A. The less the salesman+s 7ercei/ed role conflict C. The less the salesman+s 7ercei/ed role am!i(uit,
7eo7le de/elo7 for co7in( with role conflict, see Dou(las T. Aall, DA odel of 'o7in( with &ole 'onflict: The &ole Ceha/ior of 'olle(e Bducated 0omen,D Administrati e Science !uarterly, 5ol. 16 -Decem!er 1962., 77. I618I86F and 0al1er, 'hurchill, and 4ord, same reference as footnote 1.
10. 4or discussion of the 1inds of mechanisms

The $a (le

The a!o/e h,7otheses were tested on a cross sectional sam7le of salesmen drawn from ten com 7anies in se/en different industries. These firms were all en(a(ed in the manufacture of relati/el, hi(h87riced industrial eGui7ment or materials that reGuired s7ecial desi(n or a77lication to meet !u,er s7ecifications. 'onseGuentl,, salesmen in these com7anies were not sim7l, order8ta1ers, !ut an im7ortant 7art of their firms+ mar1etin( efforts. The nature of their "o!s, therefore, made them 7articularl, susce7ti!le to hi(h le/els of conflict and am!i(uit,. Huestionnaires were mailed to ;0. salesmen. An introductor, letter si(ned !, the sales mana(er of each firm and two follow8u7 letters from the e@7er imenters were used to encoura(e 7artici7ation. 'om7leted Guestionnaires were recei/ed from 265 salesmen, for a res7onse rate of 55K.
Data Collection #n!tru ent!

9ercei/ed role conflict and am!i(uit, were mea sured !, the *3D$A;B$ scale, which uses a ;i1ert8t,7e format to disco/er the num!er and ma(nitude of conflicts 7ercei/ed !, a salesman amon( the e@7ectations held !, his role 7artners. *t also measures the amount of am!i(uit, felt !, the salesman concernin( the e@7ectations of each role 7artner. The 7redictor /aria!les Dcloseness of su 7er/ision,D Dinfluence in determinin( the stan dards of su7er/ision,D and Dinno/ati/eness re Guired !, the "o!D were measured !, similar ;i1ert scales that had !een de/elo7ed on the !asis of 7re/ious research. ## The Dnum!er of or(ani)ation de7artments af fectin( the salesman+s acti/itiesD was measured !, 7resentin( salesmen with a chec1list of de7art ments and as1in( them to indicate how much im7act each de7artment had on their acti/ities. The score for this /aria!le as used here, howe/er, sim7l, reflects the num!er of de7artments each salesman felt had some influence o/er his acti/i ties, without re(ard to the t,7e or amount of that influence. A salesman+s contact with his sales mana(er was measured !, a set of multi7le choice Guestions dealin( with the freGuenc, of face8to8face, tele 7hone, and written communications. The sum of
11. The *3D$A;B$ scale and the 7rocedures followed in de/elo7in( it and the other instruments used in this stud, are descri!ed in 3eil . 4ord, %. C. 0al1er, #r., and 2. A. 'hurchill, #r., DB@7ectation8$7ecific easures of the *nter $ender 'onflict and &ole Am!i(uit, 9ercei/ed !, *ndustrial $alesmenD -0or1in( 7a7er 3o. 153, 2raduate $chool of Cusi ness, :ni/ersit, of 0isconsin, adison, 4e!ruar, 196I..

Organizational

Deter inant!

o" the #ndu!trial

$ale! an%!

&ole

Con"lict

and

A biguit'

37

these three freGuenc, scores was em7lo,ed as a measure of total communication freGuenc,. 4inall,, the len(th of time a salesman had !een in his 7resent "o! was measured with a sin(le multi7le choice Guestion.
&e!ult!

Ta!le + 7resents sim7le 7airwise correlations !etween role conflict and am!i(uit, and each of the si@ 7redictor /aria!les. *t is encoura(in( to note that ten out of twel/e relationshi7s are in the ri(ht direction. The two e@ce7tions are that role conflict decreased when more or(ani)ational de7artments influenced the salesman+s acti/ities and when he was closel, su7er/ised, instead of increasin( as h,7othesi)ed. All twel/e correlations are small howe/er, and onl, three are statisticall, si(nificant at the normall, entertained le/els. Time in 7osition is the onl, 7redictor /aria!le that had a statisticall, si(nificant im7act on !oth role conflict and role am!i(uit,. Coth decreased with len(th of ser/ice. A salesman+s role am!i(uit, also decreased with increasin( closeness of su7er/ision.

There was little multicollinearit, in the 7redictor set. The hi(hest 7airwise correlation was 8 .3> !etween freGuenc, of contact and time in 7osition, which is understanda!le since a salesman usuall, reGuires less contact with his sales mana(er as he (ains e@7erience. Ta!les 3 and - contain the results for role con flict. 0hile onl, 2K of the /ariation in role conflict is accounted for !, the si@ 7redictor /aria!les, the em7hasis should not !e on &2. The stud, in/ol/es a test of some a 7riori h,7otheses re(ardin( the or(ani)ational antecedents of role conflict and am !i(uit,. The em7hasis, therefore, lo(icall, should !e on the statistical si(nificance of the o/erall eGuation and then, if si(nificant, on the si(nifi cance of the !eta coefficients. The re(ression eGua tion, thou(h, as "ud(ed !, the 4 ratio, is not statisticall, si(nificant. The e/idence does not con firm the h,7otheses re(ardin( the antecedents of role conflict.

TAC;B 2 :;T*9;B &B2&B$$*%3 A3A;=$*$0*TA &%;B '%34;*'T A$ TAB '&*TB&*%3 5A&*AC;B $tandardi)ed &e(ression 'oefficients 8.029 8.022 .010 .030 8.069 8.153

TAC;B 1 9A*&0*$B '%&&B;AT*%3$CBT0BB39&BD*'T%& $A3D '&*TB&*%3 5A&*AC;B$ 'riterion 9redictor 5aria!le &'8&ole 'onflict 5aria!le &A8&ole Am!i(uit, 9redictor 5aria!le

t 5alue 8.I56 8.338 .161 .I63 81.0I2 82.3II

%8%r(ani)ation de7artments affectin( acti/ities '8'loseness with which su7er/ised *8*nfluence in determinin( standards !, which su7er/ised 38*nno/ati/eness 484reGuenc, of contact T 8 Time in 7osition

' # N F T

8 .016 &a 8 .018 &a

.039 8 .189c

ulti7le & ? .151.

.006 .011 8.038 8 .123!

8.069 .010 8.011 8.116!

TAC;B 3 A3A;=$*$ %4 5A&*A3'B 0*TA &%;B '%34;*'T A$ TAB '&*TB&*%3 5A&*AC;B $um of De(rees of ean $Guares 4reedom $Guare Due to re(ression Due to residuals Total 596.2 25613.6 62309.8 @ 258 26I 99.366 99.665

aAn & indicates the relationshi7 is re/ersed from that which was h,7othesi)ed. !$i(nificant at .05 le/el. c$i(nificant at .01 le/el.

4 &atio .996

Althou(h the sim7le 7airwise correlations are informati/e, the, do not control for simultaneous /ariations in the other /aria!les. $ince multi7le re(ression anal,sis does afford such control, !oth conflict and am!i(uit, were related to the entire set of 7redictor /aria!les throu(h a linear function of the 7redictors. 4or role am!i(uit,, for e@am7le, the followin( model was e@amined: &A

L " -0 A ' A * A 3 A 4 A T.

Ta!les ; and 1 contain the results for role am !i(uit,. This eGuation is statisticall, si(nificant at the .01 le/el. 4urther, the eGuation accounts for 13K of the /ariation in role am!i(uit,, with the fMlMowinM three /aria!les ha/in( a statisticall, si( nificant *m7act: closeness with which su7er/ised -'., influence in determinin( standards -3., and time in 7osition -T.. The direction of association is correct in each caseF it is also correct for all other

38 7osited, !ut nonsi(nificant, relationshi7s. This anal,sis unco/ered the im7ortant role of Dinfluence in determinin( standards !, which su7er/isedD in determinin( a salesman+s 7ercei/ed role am!i(ui t,8a /aria!le whose im7act was hidden in the two8/aria!le anal,sis.

Journal

o" Marketing,

Januar'

+.01

TAC;B ; :;T*9;B &B2&B$$*%3 A3A;=$*$ 0*TA &%;B A C*2:*T= A$ TAB '&*TB&*%3 5A&*AC;B

9redictor 5aria!le

$tandardi)ed &e(ression 'oefficien ts 8.235 8.266 8.015 8.136


?

t 5alue .999 83.851 8I.5I3 .5I3 8 .232 82.233

N
F T

C #

.060

.033

ulti7le &

.363.

TAC;B 1 A3A;=$*$ %4 5A&*A3'B 0*TA &%;B A C*2:*T= A$ TAB '&*TB&*%3 5A&*AC;B

$um of De(rees of ean $Guares 4reedom $Guare 4 &atio Due to re(ression Due to residuals Total 3I66.9 22869.6 263I6.6
6

258 26I

566.8 88.6

6.516

Conclu!ion! &ole Con"lict

and # (lication!

The findin(s 7resented here su((est that the sales or mar1etin( mana(er can do little to reduce the amount of role conflict e@7erienced !, his field salesmen. 3either the authorit, or influence struc ture in the firm, the wa,s that salesmen are su7er /ised, nor the amount of inno/ati/e acti/it, re Guired of them are si(nificantl, related to the amount of conflict the, 7ercei/e. The most 7lausi!le e@7lanation for the lac1 of su77ort for the h,7otheses concernin( role conflict lies in the nature of the salesman+s 7osition ... ost of the conflicts he faces 7ro!a!l, occur !etween the e@7ectations of role 7artners within his firm, on the one hand, and those of role 7artners outside of his firm8his customers and famil, mem!ers8on the other. There is little a sales mana(er can do to moderate the demands his salesmen recei/e from their customers or their families. 'onseGuentl,, the internal or(ani)ational structure of the firm and the su7er/isor, st,le of the sales mana(er ha/e

relati/el, little im7act on the total amount of role conflict e@7erienced !, the salesman. This inter7retation of the results also hel7s to e@7lain wh, some of the findin(s in this stud, are inconsistent with 7re/ious research re7orted !, Eahn et al. Their stud, focused lar(el, on wor1ers in 7ositions where most of the mem!ers of their role set were 7eo7le within the same or(ani)ation. 'onseGuentl,, internal or(ani)ational structure and su7er/isor, 7olicies were much more im 7ortant in determinin( the num!er and consist enc, of the role demands recei/ed !, those wor1 ers. Des7ite the salesman+s 7osition at the firm+s !oundar,, howe/er, it ma, !e too soon to conclude that there is nothin( mana(ement can do to al le/iate the amount and conseGuences of role con flict in the sales force. The findin( that e@7erienced salesmen 7ercei/e si(nificantl, less role conflict than those with less e@7erience, for e@am7le, su( (ests that the amount and nature of sales trainin( ma, influence a salesman+s 7erce7tions of, and a!ilit, to co7e with, role conflict. Trainin(, after all, is lar(el, an attem7t to com7ress the 1ind of learnin( that occurs with e@7erience into a shorter tim e 7eriod. *t has also !een im7lied that a salesman+s 7er ce7tions of, and reactions to, conflict ma, !e influenced !, his 7ersonal characteristics and 7s, cholo(ical traits. An im7ro/ed understandin( of what 7ersonal /aria!les are related to the wa,s in which salesmen 7ercei/e and react to role conflict could lead to im7ro/ed selection criteria and train in( techniGues. 4inall,, while mana(ement ma, not !e a!le to moderate the salesman+s 7erce7tions of role con flict, mana(ement 7olicies and 7ractices ma, in fluence the wa,s salesmen co7e with, or attem7t to resol/e, such conflicts. ana(ement 7olicies, in other words, ma, ha/e an im7act at the !eha/ior sta(e of the role definition 7rocess e/en thou(h the, don+t ha/e much effect at the 7erce7tion sta(e. These con"ectures all su((est interestin( and 7otentiall, fruitful areas for research.
&ole A biguit'

The findin(s su((est that mana(ers can to some e@tent influence the amount of am!i(uit, or un certaint, e@7erienced !, salesmen in 7erformin( their "o!s. $u7er/isor, 7olicies are 7articularl, im 7ortant in this re(ard. $alesmen e@7erience less am!i(uit, when the, are relati/el, closel, su7er /ised and when mana(ement listens to their o7in ions and desires in formulatin( the standards !, which their 7erformance will !e e/aluated and controlled. $till, howe/er, the (reater 7art of the am!i(uit,

Organizational

Deter inant!

o" the #ndu!trial

$ale! an%!

&ole

Con"lict

and

A biguit'

39

7ercei/ed !, salesmen seems unaffected !, man a(ement 7olicies. Aere a(ain it seems reasona!le to assume that most salesmen are more uncertain a!out how their role 7artners located outside of their own firms87articularl, their customers e@7ect them to !eha/e than the, are a!out what their sales mana(ers and other mem!ers of the firm e@7ect of them. *nternal com7an, 7olicies seem to !e of little hel7 to the salesman in clarif,8

in( the role e@7ectations of his customers and other e@traor(ani)ational role 7artners. 4inall,, "ust as with role conflict, the amount and conseGuences of the am!i(uit, salesmen e@7er ience ma, !e influenced !, other mana(ement actions and 7olicies not e@amined in this stud,. *n this res7ect, the nature of a firm+s sales trainin( 7ro(ram and the criteria it uses in recruitment and selection are 7rime areas for further in/esti(ation.

~~~~~~
8lti ate

MARKETING MEMO BBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBB


v!. #nter ediate Goal!, an :*a (le o" Co(ulation ...

The s7read of 7o7ulation interest in recent ,ears has !een so 7er/asi/e that it would seem almost ine/ita!le that counter87ositions should de/elo7. *n recent re(ional meetin(s in e@ico, 2hana, #a7an, and the 9hili77ines, and in a num!er of other settin(s, /arious D!ac1lashD si(nals ha/e a77eared a(ainst what was 7ercei/ed as Dthe 7anacea of 7o7ulation control.D ... whate/er the cause and whate/er the "ustification, ... issues are heard much more freGuentl, toda, than a decade a(o. 0hat was then anal,)ed !, scientists is now de!ated !, 7olic,ma1ers. 0hat shines throu(h the de!ate, howe/er, is an encoura(in( 7ros7ect: that, as in other such de!ates, the 7rota(onists ma, find it much easier to a(ree on what is to !e done than on what the 7ro!lem reall, is. 4or whether 7o7ulation is the 7ro!lem of the era or onl, a moderate one, or whether the 7ro!lem is DtheirD fault or Dours,D or whether international assistance is ri(htl, allocated or not, there does now seem to !e a Guite wide a(reement on two 7ro7ositions: alle/iate the 7li(ht of the 7oor -read: 7romote social and economic de/elo7ment. and at the same time ma1e a/aila!le modern means of fertilit, control to the 7oor as to the rich -read: 7ro/ide famil, 7lannin(.. 8Cernard Cerelson, D9ositions on 9o7ulation 2rowth,D in The 9res ident+s &e7ort $ection, '&e $opu lation (ouncil Annual Report +.0-, 77. 19826, at 77. 26 and 26.