Dynamic effects of newcomer salespersons' peer relational exchanges and structures on performance

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Gonzalez, Gabriel R.
Palmatier, Robert W.
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This article explores the impact of key salesperson-to-salesperson relationship characteristics on the success of salespeople as they gain tenure in their firm. Focusing on newcomer sales people and leveraging socialization theory, the authors investigate the influence of relational exchanges that salespeople engage in with their peers (unilateral and reciprocal exchanges) and their position in salesperson relational structures (teaming and spanning structures) on their objective sales performance over time. Integrating results from two studies, one that uses a longitudinal sample (three-year period) of salespeople from a single firm and another that relies on a sample of salespeople across three industries, the authors provide strong evi dence for the differential roles of teaming and spanning structures on salesperson sales growth over time. Specifically, newcomer salespeople immediately benefit from being part of teaming structures, because these highly interconnected relational structures support individual social ization. As salespeople gain tenure, the effects of being part of teaming structures diminish, while being part of spanning structures becomes more beneficial. Moreover, spanning struc tures help newcomers offset the negative impact of teaming over their tenure. This study also isolates relational exchanges (unilateral and reciprocal) as precursors of teaming and span ning structures and identifies key contingencies of the effect of relational structures on performance.

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International Journal of Research in Marketing
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