, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 115-134

Transformational and transactional leadership and salesperson performance

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Abstract

This study examines the impact of transformational and transactional leader behaviors on the sales performance and organizational citizenship behaviors of salespeople, as well as the mediating role played by trust and role ambiguity in that process. Measures of six forms of transformational leader behavior, two forms of transactional leader behavior, trust, and role ambiguity were obtained from 477 sales agents working for a large national insurance company. Objective sales performance data were obtained for the agents, and their supervisors provided evaluations of their citizenship behaviors. The findings validate not only the basic notion that transformational leadership influences salespeople to perform “above and beyond the call of duty” but also that transformational leader behaviors actually have stronger direct and indirect relationships with sales performance and organizational citizenship behavior than transactional leader behaviors. Moreover, this is true even when common method biases are controlled. The implications of these findings for future research are discussed.

Scott B. Mackenzie (Ph.D., UCLA, 1983) is the IU Foundation Professor of marketing at the Kelley School of Business, Indiana University. His research on advertising effectiveness, organizational citizenship behavior, and leadership issues can be found in theJournal of Marketing Research, Journal of Marketing, Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, Journal of Applied Psychology, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Personnel Psychology, Journal of Management, andThe Leadership Quarterly. Currently, he serves on the editorial boards of theJournal of Marketing Research, Journal of Marketing, Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, andJournal of Consumer Psychology.
Philip M. Podsakoff (DBA, Indiana University, 1980) is a professor of organizational behavior and human resources and the John F. Mee Chair of Management at the Kelley School of Business, Indiana University. He is the author or coauthor of more than 65 articles and/or scholarly book chapters that have appeared in such journals as theJournal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Academy of Management Journal, Psychological Bulletin, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Journal of Applied Psychology, The Leadership Quarterly, Organizational Dynamics, Research in Organizational Behavior, Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, and theJournal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology. He serves on the Board of Editors of theJournal of Applied Psychology, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, andThe Leadership Quarterly.
Gregory A. Rich (Ph.D., Indiana University, 1996) is an assistant professor of marketing at Bowling Green State University. His primary research interest is in the application of leadership theory to issues of sales management, and his work has been published in theJournal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, Personnel Psychology, Journal of Business-to-Business Marketing, and several conference proceedings.