, Volume 40, Issue 5, pp 639-658,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 12 Jul 2011

Genetic and neurological foundations of customer orientation: field and experimental evidence


We explore genetic and neurological bases for customer orientation (CO) and contrast them with sales orientation (SO). Study 1 is a field study that establishes that CO, but not SO, leads to greater opportunity recognition. Study 2 examines genetic bases for CO and finds that salespeople with CO are more likely to have the 7R variant of the DRD4 gene. This is consistent with basic research on dopamine receptor activity in the brain that underlies novelty seeking, the reward function, and risk taking. Study 3 examines the neural basis of CO and finds that salespeople with CO, but not SO, experience greater activation of their mirror neuron systems and neural processes associated with empathy. Managerial and research implications are discussed.