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Self-Directed Learning: M easures and Models for Sa lesperson Training and Development by Stefanie Leigh Boyer A dissertation proposal submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Department of Marketing College of Business University of South Florida Major Professor: Paul Solomon, Ph.D. Andrew Artis, Ph.D. Richard Plank, Ph.D. Anand Kumar, Ph.D. Terry Sincich, Ph.D. Date of Approval: December 11, 2008 Keywords: organizational support, supervisor y support, sales training, self-management, adult learning Copyright 2008, Stefanie L. Boyer
Dedication This dissertation is dedicated to my fam ily, who has played an instrumental role in my life. With the unconditional support of my fianc, Hernan, my mother, Elissa, my father, Richard, and my aunt, Elana, attaini ng this degree has been possible. Hernan, I thank you for your love, patience, and for th e sacrifices you have made. I thank my father and mother for their love and for teac hing me to appreciate lif e, to work hard, and to be passionate about what I do. I thank my Aunt Elana for always encouraging me to reach for the stars.
Acknowledgments I am indebted to a number of people fr om the University of South Florida who mentored me through the proce ss and made this degree possibl e. I am grateful to my dissertation chair, Dr. Paul J. Solomon, for believing in me from the beginning and guiding me through the process of becoming a tr ue researcher. I thank Dr. Andrew Artis for his advice, mentorship, and friendshi p. Dr. Artis, you gave me direction, positive feedback ,and you have been an amazing co ach. Also, I would lik e to acknowledge the support of my committee members, Dr. Richar d Plank, Dr. Anand Kumar, and Dr. Terry Sincich, who spent countless hours reviewing this dissertation a nd whose suggestions significantly improved its quality. I thank Dr Yancy Edwards for sharing his expertise and knowledge of data modeling and for always being willing to help me or explain data analysis techniques. I would like to ac knowledge Wendy and Jessica, who made the marketing department a nice place to be. I would like to thank Dr. James Stock, who helped me understand the reviewing pro cess and who taught me the value of understanding history and theory. I thank Mark Dietz and Jim Cuprisin for their invaluable help in the data collection pr ocess. In addition, I thank the American Marketing Association and th e Dissertation in Sales E ducation Foundation for their recognition and support of this research.
i Table of Contents List of Tables v List of Figures vi Abstract vii Chapter One: Introduction 1 Current State of Sales Training and Development 1 Criticisms of the Current Paradigm for Salesperson Training and Development 2 Importance of the Salesperson in Training 3 Importance of Research in Salesperson Training 4 Self-Directed Learning 6 Classification of SDLPs 7 Marketing and Sales Research 9 The Focus of Previous Research 12 Measuring Self-Directed Learning 12 Willingness 13 Organizational and Supervisory Support 14 Purpose 15 Research Questions 15 Theory 16 Contribution to Marketing 18 Research 18 Practitioners 19 Organization of Dissertation 19 Chapter Two: Literature Review 21 Theory 23 Willingness to Use SDLPs 24 Path Goal Theory 27 Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation Theory 28 Acquired Needs Theory 29 Expectancy Theory 30 Rationale for Choosing Expectancy Theory 32 Conclusion 33 Antecedents to Willingness to Use SDLPs 34 Theory Applied in Training and Learning Research 34
ii Social Cognitive Theory 34 Theory Applied in Sales and Organizational Settings 36 Social Exchange Theory 36 Expectancy Theory 38 Conclusion 39 Antecedents to Use of SDLPs 40 Attitude Behavior Consistency and Cognitive Dissonance 40 Conclusion 42 Antecedents of Performance 42 Conclusion 44 Literature Review 45 Willingness to Use SDLPs 45 Self-Directed Learning 46 Origination of Self-D irected Learning Projects 46 Classification of SDLPs 47 Quantitative Measures of SDL 48 Limitations of Previous SDL Work 50 Overcoming Limitations 51 Willingness 52 Conclusions 55 Antecedents of Willingness to Use SDLPs 55 Self-Management Training and Control 56 Previous Self-Management Training Research 56 Organizational and Supervisory Support 58 Relationship to Willingness to Use SDLPs 60 Modification of POS and PSS 61 Importance of Distinguishing Different Types of Learning Projects 62 Conclusion 64 Use of SDLPs 65 Indicators of SDL and Use of Projects 67 The Role of Willingness 70 Conclusions 72 Use of SDLPs and Performance 72 Performance 73 Salesperson Training & Performance 73 Limitations with Sales Performance & Learning Research 74 Avoiding Limitations of Previous Sales Research 76 SDL and Performance 77 Conclusion 82 Conclusions for the Literature Section 83 Definition of Terms 83 List of Hypotheses 85 Models 86 Conclusion/Discussion 90
iii Chapter Three: Methodology 91 Research Setting and Sample Characteristics 91 Sample 91 Investigating SDL in this Research 92 Procedure 93 Pretest 93 Research Design 94 Demand Characteristics 95 Common Method Variance 96 Measurement 98 Instruments 98 Limitations in Self-Directed Learning Measurement 98 Instrument Development Process 99 Instrument Development Pr ocess for New and Modified Measures 100 Evaluative Criteria for Assessing Measurement Scales 105 Evaluation of Existing Scales 110 Methodology 118 Testing the SEM Model 118 Hypothesis Testing for SEM 119 Methodology Summary 121 Chapter Four: Results 122 Hypothesis Testing 128 Antecedents of Willingness to Use SDLPs 129 Willingness to Use SDLPs 130 Impact of SDLPs on Performance 131 Post Hoc Analysis 132 Summary 134 Chapter Five 135 Discussion 135 Willingness to Use SDLPs 136 Antecedents of Willingness 137 SRT 137 Support 138 POS and PSS 139 Willingness to Use SDLPs to Use of SDLPs 140 Use of SDLPs to Performance 140 Managerial Implications 142 Organizational 142 Executive Management 143 Sales Managers 144 Human Resources 145
iv Recruiters 146 Salespeople 146 Limitations and Future Research 147 Conclusions 150 References 153 Appendices 167 Appendix 1: Scales and Scale Definitions 168 Appendix 2: Scale in Survey format 180 Appendix 3: Unidimensional Scale Items, Factor Loadings and Reliabilities 186 Appendix 4: Correlations 188 Appendix 5: Path Diagrams of Specified Models 189 Appendix 6: Maximum, Minimum, Mean and Standard Deviations of Indicators 193 Appendix 7: Measurement Model Comparison 195 About the Author End Page
v List of Tables Table 2.1 Definition of Categorie s of SDLPs and Examples 47 Table 2.2 Definitions of Constructs Used in the Model 84 Table 2.3 List of Hypotheses 85 Table 3.1 Demographic Statistics for the Sample 95 Table 3.2 Measurement Scales a nd Relevant Modifications 100 Table 3.3 Evaluative Criteria 106 Table 3.4 Evaluation of Performance Measures 111 Table 3.5 Evaluation of Self -Regulation Training 111 Table 3.6 Evaluating Support Scales 115 Table 3.7 Evaluating SDL 118 Table 4.1 Descriptive Statistic s for Model Constructs 122 Table 4.2 Model After Taking Out SRT 124 Table 4.3 Hypotheses Table 128 Table 4.4 Post Hoc Moderation Analysis 134
vi List of Figures Figure 1.1 Framework for Examining Self-Direc ted Learning Projects for Salespeople 12 Figure 2.1 Learning Orientation and Pe rformance Orientation Model 73 Figure 2.2 Classic Model of Learning and Performance Goal Orientations 75 Figure 2.3 Model of Induced Self-Directed Learning for Salesperson Performance 88 Figure 2.4 Model of Synergistic Self-Directed Learning for Salesperson Performance 89 Figure 4.1 Model 1A POSI-WILL-SDLI-PERF 126 Figure 4.2 Model 1B PSSI-WILL-SDLI-PERF 126 Figure 4.3 Model 2A POSS-WILL-SDLS-PERF 127 Figure 4.4 Model 2B PSSS-WILL-SDLS-PERF 127
vii Self-Directed Learning: M easures and Models for Sa lesperson Training and Development Stefanie L. Boyer ABSTRACT Academic researchers and marketing pr actitioners are exploring methods to improve salesperson training. Recently, self-dir ected learning projects were proposed as a new paradigm for learning to take place in the sales domain (Artis & Harris, 2007). Current conceptual work provides a strong f oundation for understandin g salesperson selfdirected learning; however, prio r to quantitatively testing pr oposed models, scales must be created and modified to address sa lesperson specific learning endeavors. The purpose of this dissertation is: 1) to develop scales to measure salesperson willingness to use self-directed learning projects (SDLPs), 2) to develop a conceptual model of salesperson self-directed learning, 3) to modify current sc ales to specifically examine salesperson self-directed learning, and 4) to test this model empirically. To accomplish this, the relevant theories and litera ture were analyzed to create a theoretical model that would test the fo llowing research questions: 1. What factors contribute to salesperson willingness to use SDLPs? 2. What is the relationship between salesperson willingness to use SDLPs and salesperson use of SDLPs?
viii 3. What is the relationship between salesperson use of SDLPs and salesperson performance? Two conceptual models were created to account for two categ ories of learning projects, induced and synergistic SDLPs. Th e following variables reflect the conceptual models: willingness to use induced/synergistic SDLPs, use of induced/ synergistic SDLPs, perceived supervisor/organizationa l support for induced/synergistic SDLPs, and self-regulation training and performance. Data from 392 salespeople within the financial services industry fit the measurement model and suggest that use of synergistic (non-mandatory) SDLPs positively impacts performance (.396) and use of induced (mandatory) SDLPs does not impact performance. Willingness to use synergistic SDLPs positively impacts use of synergistic SDLPs. Support from the organi zation and supervisor positively impact willingness to use induced and synergistic SDLPs. Surprisingly, training in selfregulation did not positively impact salespers on willingness to use induced or synergistic SDLPs. The new measures for all construc ts exhibit Cronbachs alpha reliability statistics over .7 and acceptable confirmatory factor analysis resu lts. The study provides reliable measurement scales and empirical s upport for the future study of self-directed learning in a sales context.
1 CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION In the U.S., the sales industry prevails as a leader in both size and growth of employment. The Bureau of Labor Statisti cs (2007) reports that the sales industry provides over 15 million jobs each year, or about 10% of the workforce. This number is expected to grow 9.6% by 2014, increasing the total U.S. workforce by 1.5 million. The size of the existing job market and the need to prepare new hires highlights the need for effective sales training. According to Lorge (1998), U.S. companies spend over $7.1 billion on salesperson training each y ear. For training directly related to sales, 99.5% of organizations report that they teach public speaking and presentation skills, 80% provide product knowledge training, 79% provide trai ning relating to managing change, 65% teach ethics, and 23% provide time manage ment training (Dolezalek, 2005). Clearly, training and developing employees is of great importance, as a s ubstantial amount of money is spent on providing it. Consequently, research to facilitate training in becoming more effective would be a usef ul area of investigation. Current State of Sales Training and Development In an effort to identify the current state of the sales training paradigm, Cron, Marshall, Singh, Spiro, and Sujan (2005) review ed the relevant sales training literature
2 and identified five key elements (class room based, standardized, hierarchically structured, managerially controlled, and ma ndatory) that encompass salesperson training and development. Traditional approaches are hierarchically structured, whereby management (control) typically determines th e types of training salespeople will undergo, the materials used, and the topics covered. Th ese materials are typically standardized for all salespeople, and often trai ning occurs in a classroom-based setting, rather than field coaching or mentoring. Training is usually mandatory for employees, but they rarely have any input into the material they are taught (Cron et al., 2005). Criticisms of the Current Paradigm fo r Salesperson Training and Development The current training paradigm has been cal led both inefficient and ineffective at meeting training needs of employees (Kapla n-Leiserson, 2005). An industry survey of human resource personnel (Kaplan-Leiserson, 2005) reports that only 52% of those surveyed believe that the organization effec tively aids employee development. Less than half of those surveyed believe their current organization: 1) is successful in identifying and developing employees with high potenti al, 2) helps employees develop, and 3) effectively aligns organizational objectives with employee development and training. If these observations accurately describe traini ng in the workforce today, then the current training models needs to be modified to better assist employees in achieving organizational and personal goals.
3 Importance of the Sale sperson in Training The current training paradigm disregards the unique needs of salespeople, which is especially problematic si nce salespeople are an impor tant part of the selling organization given their boundary spanning role (Aldrich & He rker, 1977; Boyer & Edmondson, 2007; Sharma, Tzokas, Saren, & Kyziridis, 1999; Singh, Verbeke, & Rhoads, 1996). Boundary spanning employees also known as frontline or customer contact employees, are of interest to both marketing academicians and managers for their unique responsibilities to the organization. First, boundary spanners are responsible for acquiring information from the external environment and relaying it back to the organization. Second, boundary spanners represent the face of the organization to the customer. These are considerable responsibil ities, as the boundary spanner may be the only line of defense from competition and the primary contact for the customer. Because of this, boundary spanning employees are th e link between the organization and the outside world (Aldrich and Herker, 1977) a nd may require training that is unique given their role. Therefore, salespeople have a distinctive view of the consumer and the changing environment. Consequently, sale speople should be given more autonomy to make decisions about their own training. This is in contrast to the current practice of using standardized training that is determin ed by top management and administered by human resource personnel. One possible solution is to design training that is individualized rather than standardized providing a more tailored approach and improving current practice. Since salespeopl e are instrumental and influential to the success of the business, the organization should make extra effort to provide salespeople with the tools necessary to make better decisions and assess their own learning and
4 performance needs. Thus, the traditional sale s training paradigm seems inadequate at this point. Importance of Research in Salesperson Training Academicians (Attia, Honeycutt, & L each, 2005; Cron et al., 2005; Honeycutt, Howe, & Ingram, 1993) have also recognized inefficiencies within the current sales training paradigm. In fact, in a recent an alysis of the trends and opportunities for research (Cron et al., 2005) it is recommended that a new paradigm be created for sales training and development. The authors sugge st that customers now expect increased knowledge, decreased response time, and customi zed solutions from salespeople. Hence, for firms to remain competitive, salespe ople will need to continually add to their knowledge base. Salespeople must adapt to organizational and e nvironmental changes (Marshall, Moncrief, & Lassk, 1999), provide unique solutions to customers (Homburg, Workman, & Jensen, 2002), and master new sk ills and technologies (Hunter & Perreault, 2006). In addition, the job path of the salesp erson has changed. Rather than committing to a company for an entire career, salespeopl e are more likely to work for many different companies (Cron, 1984). Given recent rese arch (Cron et al., 2005), it appears that organizations will need to provide more fre quent training due to a greater influx of new employees stemming from increased turnover in the workplace. This training must improve given high customer expectations. Consequently, salespeople will be expected to learn the idiosyncrasies of new organi zations and their cust omers with every job change.
5 As salespeople struggle to meet the need s of their customers and cope with new developments in technology, the value of tradit ional training approach es begins to decay (Cron et al., 2005). The traditional approach poses a problem for salespeople who are most familiar with their customers needs a nd the sales environment. These salespeople may feel that training instructed by managers or human resources pers onnel is irrelevant and not useful for their current situation. This suggests that there may be a problem related to the training itself. If current training can be described as generic or standardized (i.e., meaning it does not meet th e individual needs of th e salesperson), then it is conceivable that training should be more individualized to meet the special needs of the salesperson, the customer, and the given situation. In fact, Cron et al. (2005) suggest that successful sales training should focus on a variety of knowledge, skills a nd abilities (KSAs), and that sales managers collaborate with salespeople to make training voluntary and individualized rather than mandatory and standardized. Cron et al. (2005) analyzed the salesperson training and development literature in order to determine research oppor tunities and trends rela tive to various forms of KSAs. They identified three distinct groups of KSAs: task -related, growth-related and meta KSAs. Task-related KSAs are fundamental skills required to function in a sales position such as selling skills, comm unication skills, and knowledge of the product and company. Task-related KSAs are easier to measure a nd assess than other KSAs making this area of research more attractive and, therefore, more complete. Growth-related KSAs are related to pr oblem-solving skills, coping skills, and skills that help salespeople continually adapt to circumstances and develop expertise. An
6 example of an outcome from research in this area is the suggesti on for using scripts as sales pitches to reduce cognitive work, reduce stress, and increase effectiveness. There is limited research on growth-relate d KSAs (Cron et al., 2005). Meta KSAs consist of the knowledge, skills and abilities that enable salespeople to manipulate their own lear ning environment (Cron et al., 2005). In this way, salespeople can manage themselves by assess ing their own learning needs, monitoring progress toward their goals, reinforcing thei r behaviors, and self-d irecting their learning (Frayne & Geringer, 2000). This type of learni ng is deliberate and can lead to increases in not only performance, but also knowle dge, adaptation, and self-efficacy. Because traditional training focuses more directly on ta sk-related KSAs, Cr on et al. (2005) call for more research on growth and meta KSAs. Given the outlined calls for research (Cron et al., 2005; Hurley, 2002), trends regarding industry data, change s in the environment, and the boundary spa nning role of the salesperson, organizations must understa nd what they can do to meet the learning needs of salespeople. A new sales training paradigm may help businesses better meet the needs of their salespeople, so that they, in turn, can better meet the needs of their customers. Self-Directed Learning One line of research that addresses know ledge acquisition, which allows learners to have more autonomy, is self-directed le arning (SDL). SDL has been studied in the adult education domain since th e 1960s. Nevertheless, more research is necessary in
7 order to understand how SDL might be used to aid businesses in meeting the immediate training and learning ne eds of salespeople. The conceptualization of SDL in the adult education domain was introduced by Tough (1967). He described SDL in terms of discrete units called self-directed learning projects (SDLPs). A learning project is a series of purposeful learning episodes adding up to at least seven hours in a six-month period intended to promote knowledge, skill, insight, or otherwise edify the individual. This type of learning is different from previous concepts in that learning is initiated by the learner instead of an outside source, thereby giving rise to the term self-directed learni ng. Tough (1967) created an interview schedule to investigate the type of learning adu lts perform in a self-directed manner. In an effort to categorize the different types of learning projects vocationally oriented learners apply, Clardy (2000) introduced a classifica tion of the learning projects using the Tough (1967) interview schedule. This classification is va luable to the sales domain given that participants in the study include salespe ople. Clardy (2000) identified four SDLPs. These include induced, syne rgistic, voluntary, and scanning SDLPs. Below is a description of each SDLP. Classifications of SDLPs 1.) Induced self-directed learning projects encompass the fundamental skills and knowledge a salesperson might acquire in orde r to perform a specifi c job in his or her respective industry. Examples of induced lear ning projects include unstructured on-thejob training, obtaining mandatory certifica tions required by the industry, and fulfilling continuing education requirements. For instance, pharmaceutical representatives are
8 often required to complete educational program s before they are allowed to sell a new drug. The role of the organization in induced SDLPs is obligatory in that the learning criteria and some relevant information for projects depend on the organization. Certification requirements for specific positions are established by the organization (Artis & Harris, 2007; Clardy, 2000). 2.) Synergistic self-directed learning proj ects consist of learning endeavors the employee undertakes to improve his perf ormance that are not mandated by the organization. The organization presents learning opportunities or resources for employees, but does not monitor the employ ees use of them. For instance, the organization may provide optional seminars, r eading libraries, and co mpany databases. The role of the organization is to provide the learning resources or opportunities. The role of the employee is to take advantage of the learning opportuni ties (Artis & Harris, 2007; Clardy, 2000). 3.) Voluntary self-directed learning proj ects are those learning endeavors or activities the employee initiates. These activit ies may or may not be related to improving the organization. Some examples of volunt ary learning projects include attending a conference to improve skills, learning to play go lf, or speaking with an expert to discover methods to improve communication skills. Th e role of the organization is absent in voluntary learning projects unless the employee uses voluntary learning projects with the intent of improving their performance in the organization, and the organization encourages this by offering rewards for volunt ary learning endeavors related to work. The role of the salesperson is to determine what and how to learn (Artis & Harris, 2007; Clardy, 2000).
9 4.) Scanning self-dir ected learning projects are ongoing learni ng activities in which the salesperson has superior cont extual understanding of his industry and continuously searches for relevant informa tion that may help him improve performance or understand the environment. Often, employees lack knowledge of the specific information for which they are searching, but when they find relevant information, they can identify it as useful (Ar tis & Harris, 2007; Clardy, 2000). For instance, a real estate salesperson may read the newspaper and find that the local real estate market is underpriced. He can use this information to deduce that new investors will come to his market, and create strategies to adapt to the influx. This characterizes the continuous scanning for information. Though the salesperson was not looking for information related to his work, he was able to assess th e information from the newspaper and find its usefulness. Marketing and Sales Research Recently, Artis and Harris (2007) propos ed a framework (Figure 1.1) to examine SDLPs for salespeople emphasizing the usefulne ss of this type of learning in the sales domain. They proposed that given the boundary spanning and often autonomous role of the salesperson, self-directed learning can be used as a tool to supplement traditional training and learning methods to ultimately enhance salesperson performance. The framework they proposed and the conceptua lization of SDL are founded in different concepts and research from adult education. Yet, they added a core construct to the model: willingness to use SDLPs, wh ich is novel to the SDL domain.
10 Willingness to use SDLPs creates the link between factors that facilitate or impede the desire or likelihood of using SDLPs and the actual use of SDLPs. Artis and Harris (2007) proposed that a combination of an individuals motivation to learn, contextual understanding, learner self-directedness (trait), and confidence in SDL skills will contribute to willingness to use SDLPs moderated by the organizational learning environment and environmental turbulence. Following this, willingness leads to use of SDLPs. Then, use of SDLPs leads to desi red performance outcomes, partially mediated by achievement regarding managerial, human resource development, and salesperson objectives. The framework proposed by Artis and Harris (2007) encourages future investigation of salespers on training and learning usi ng a self-directed learning perspective.
11 Figure 1.1 Framework for Examining Self-Directed Learni ng Projects for Salespeo ple (Artis & Harris, 2007) Trait of Learner SelfDirectedness Confidence in SDL Organizational Learning Climate Contextual Understanding Motivation to Learn Environmental Turbulence Use of SDLP Achievement HRD Objectives Achievement Managerial Objectives Desired Sales Performance Outcomes Achievement Salesperson Objectives Willingness to Use SDLP
12 The Focus of Previous Research Previous research on SDL focuses on persona l characteristics or traits that may predict an individual s readiness for SDL (Guglielmi no, 1977; McCune, 1989). This may present limitations as the research does not take into account training related to selfdirection such as learning to self-manage or factors present in the environment that may facilitate or impede the use of SDL. In fact, Salas and Cannon-Bowers (2001) suggest that learning to self-manage may alter lear ning styles. Salas and Cannon-Bowers (2001) reveal that individuals can change their ow n learning styles to m eet the needs of the situation and the enviro nment. Therefore, although sale speople have a tendency to learn a certain way as it relates to their work, it is possible to develop skills through training that will encourage the use of SDL behaviors. Consequently, research is necessary that investigates and identifies specific skill development and situational or environmental factors that influence SDL. Measuring Self-Directed Learning Since its early inception (Tough, 1967), SDL has encompassed learning that takes place at the learners discretion. An interv iew schedule was set to determine whether a learning project was executed. In this way, participants were asked to discuss activities related to the learning that they initiated them selves. Learning projects were considered self-directed if, in the previous twelve months, participants had spent at least seven hours on that learning activity. One limitation of this concept for research adapted to specific activities, such as sales, is that the con ceptualization of SDL en compasses all types of individual projects as l earning and does not focus on the activity in question for
13 salespeople. For the purposes of this resear ch, self-directedness needs to be redefined as directly related to the types of learning associ ated with positions in sales. In essence, typical SDL research does not provide the depth necessary for salesperson research because it is not topic specific. Further, mu ch of the traditional SDL research fails to differentiate between work and leisur e learning, although a salespersons selfdirectedness in leisure learning may not necessarily transfer to the workplace. Clardys (2000) vocationally oriented classification of projects (induced, synergistic, voluntary, and sca nning) helps to differentiate between work and leisure projects, although no formal scale is availa ble to provide specific measurement of learning projects. In addition, the interv iew schedule is both time consuming and expensive to apply. Therefore, scales to measure various forms of SDLPs are necessary for use on larger samples to facilitate in model testing and theory development. Willingness Artis and Harris (2007) proposed the SDL framework for salespeople with a new construct of willingness to use SDLPs. Nevertheless, the model cannot be tested or expanded until scales are created to specifically measure this variable. The construct must first be conceptualized in a way that accounts for the motivation, or desire to implement, each form of learning project (indu ced, synergistic, voluntary, and scanning). Reliable scales that measure willingness for eac h project must be creat ed in order to test models of willingness an d extend theory related to this construct.
14 Organizational and Supervisory Support Research in adult learning (Candy, 1991) suggests that SDL may be influenced by contextual factors in the environment such as support or coaching from mentors. In this way, the support environment is instrument al in effecting employee use of SDL. Organizational resear chers (Eisenberger, Huntington, Hutchinson, & Sowa, 1986; Kottke & Sharafinski, 1988) have identified relating constructs of support in the organization, such as support from the supervisor and th e organization. These constructs have been applied to the sales domain (Boye r & Edmondson, 2007; Riggle, 2007). Although previous research (Eisenberger et al., 1986; Kottke & Sharafinski, 1988) examines employee perceptions of support from the supervisor (PSS) and organization (POS), limited research has examin ed them related to learning. Therefore, in order to identify factors from the e nvironment that influence a salespersons willingness to use SDLPs, the constructs must be modified to relate specifically to the types of learning projects sale speople use. There are two major limitations with existing scales that measure support from the organi zation and the supervis or requiring specific attention. First, measures of organizationa l and supervisory support (Eisenberger et al., 1986; Kottke & Sharafinski, 1988) were not de signed specifically for salespeople. Instead, Eisenberger et al. (1986) created th e scale of perceived organizational support (SPOS) for a diverse range of employees including manufacturi ng firm white collar workers and secretaries, clerical workers, teachers, and line workers from a telephone company. Although the population used to cr eate the scale included boundary spanning employees (teachers), salespeople were not speci fically mentioned as participants in the study. In addition, the majority of th e population was comprised of non-boundary
15 spanning employees. Later, Kottke and Sharaf inski (1988) modified the original SPOS to account for the supervisor, rather than the or ganization. The scale was never modified to specifically account for salespeople. Theref ore, existing scales may not reflect the salespersons perspective of support regarding the specific ac tivities that differ between salespeople and other organizational workers. Second, the scales do not reflect SDLPs as categorized by Clardy (2000). Acco rdingly, measures of support from the organization and supervisor must be modified to include meaningful statements that reflect the types of learning projects that are relevant to salespeople. Purpose This research will attempt to fill the aforementioned gaps in SDL research. Therefore, the purpose of this dissertation is twofold. First, the re search aims to create reliable measurement scales for constructs re lated to SDLPs such as willingness to use, use of, and organizational and supervisory s upport for SDL projects. The second goal of this research is to formally test a model of SDL for salespeople that: 1) accounts for organizational factors that may influence wil lingness to use a specific learning project, and 2) provides information relevant to th e outcomes of learning projects that are important in the sales domain. In an effort to create the most appropriate model for this study and find appropriate measures for sa lesperson willingness to use SDLPs, the following research questions are proposed. Research Questions 1. What components best measure sale sperson willingness to use SDLPs?
16 2. What factors contribute to salesperson willingness to use SDLPs? 3. What is the relationship between sale sperson willingness to use SDLPs and salesperson use of SDLPs? 4. What is the relationship between salesp erson use of SDLPs and salesperson performance? Theory Theory will be applied in this dissertation in two ways. First, expectancy theory (Vroom, 1964) will be used as a foundation to conceptualize and operationalize a scale that will measure salesperson willingness to us e SDLPs. Expectancy theory appears to be a good fit to measure willingness given that expectancy theory is a motivational theory that has previously been app lied in the sales literature in various forms (Bettencourt, 1997; Walker, Churchill, & Ford, 1977). E xpectancy theory (Vroom, 1964) provides a clear basis for evaluating willingness given the th ree distinct facets of the theory: valence, expectancy, and instrumentality. Valence can be described as the importance or value of a specific outcome or goal. An example of th is using an induced le arning project is the importance a salesperson places on attaining certification requirements for the job. Expectancy is the salespersons perception of their capability to perform the learning project (i.e., their ability to study resources or acquire information from a learning resource). Finally, instrumentality is the salespersons perception that performing the learning project will lead to a specific goal. For example, it is important to assess whether the salesperson believes that studying le arning resources will facilitate them in
17 passing certification requirements to work in the industry. These three facets of expectancy theory may help determine a salespersons willingn ess to use a SDLP. Second, expectancy theory (Vroom, 1964) a nd social exchange theory (Thibaut & Kelley, 1959) will be used to predict and explain the relationships among the distinct variables in the proposed conceptual mode l. Expectancy theory comprehensively explains the model and provides a unique view that takes into consideration aspects from the environment such as the training provi ded directly related to SDL and the support from the supervisor and organization that in fluence the salespers ons willingness to use SDLPs. Expectancy theory suggests that the level of willingness, as comprised from the willingness scale created by expectancy theory, may, in effect, influence the salespersons actual use of SDLPs. S ubsequently, using SDLPs should impact performance in a manner that reflects the empl oyees willingness to use SDLPs. In this way, use of SDLPs will mediate the relations hip between willingness to use SDLPs and salesperson performance. Although expectancy theory provides a comp rehensive explanation for each of the links in the model, social exchange theory (SET) is used to provide more support for specific linkages. Social exchange theory (Thibaut & Kelley, 1959) elucidates that relationships are comprised of a series of ex changes or reciprocations. In other words, relationships are not one-sided; they are comprised of a seri es of mutual exchanges in which both parties will give and take. Due to the reciprocal nature of relationships, what one party perceives regarding treatment or bene fits, he will then return to his exchange partner. If treatment is fair and positive, then the exchange partne r will return fair and positive treatment. However, if the treatment is unfair, then the organizational partner is
18 likely to counter with negative treatment. So cial exchange theory has been applied and adapted to explain various forms of organiza tional relationships, especially relating to employees and their supervisors or organiza tions (Bettencourt, 1997; Eisenberger et al., 1986; Kottke & Sharafinski, 1988; Rhoades & Eisenberger, 2002). Therefore, social exchange theory provides more theoretical s upport regarding the re lationship between the support perceived from the organization a nd supervisor for learning projects and employees subsequent willingness to use SDLPs and their actual use of SDLPs. Contribution to Marketing Research This dissertation will aid researchers in understanding salesperson learning. Upon completion of the measurement scales, the resear ch will facilitate future investigation to test and expand the salesperson SDL model. Therefore, future research can focus on testing SDL-related theories and models rather than developing scales to measure SDL and specific types of learning projects. Th e research will expand the domain of support literature and sales training to include salesperson self-directedness, coupled with organizational factors, that will enhance sa lesperson learning. The study of SDL answers the call for research regarding investigati on in meta knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) of salespeople. Finally, the mode l will elaborate on a new paradigm for sales training in which the employee has more cont rol of his own training, rather than the current paradigm in which the organi zation or manager controls training.
19 Practitioners Practitioners have much to gain from this research. First, it will identify new methods of enhancing salesperson training. Second, it will provide reliable measurement scales that will identify self-directed lear ning levels of salespeople relative to their willingness, use of, and perceptions of suppor t for SDLPs regardi ng the organization and their supervisor. Managers and organizati ons can benefit from using such scales by identifying opportunities to assist employees in using self-direction related to their specific work requirements and immediately improve the work environments of their organizations. When organizations use SDL as a tool to facilitate individual salesperson learning, the organization as a whole should benefit. In fact, Argyris and Schon (1978) suggest that individual lear ning is necessary for organiza tional learning. Senge (1994) reconfirms this message and suggests that individual learning does not necessarily guarantee organizational learning; however, without it, organizational learning is not possible. Therefore, organizations and managers will benefit from this research by understanding facets of individual salesp erson learning aiding the organization in learning. Organization of the Dissertation The dissertation is organized in the fo llowing way. Chapter Two integrates the literature on sales training, suppor t, and SDL. Additionally, the models that will be tested in the dissertation are presented with hypotheti cal linkages. Chapte r Three discusses the methodology and measures used to test the m odels of salesperson self-directedness.
20 Chapter Four provides detailed results of the empirical investig ation. Chapter Five includes a discussion of the results and conclusions of the research.
21 CHAPTER TWO LITERATURE REVIEW The purpose of this chapter is to review the academic literature regarding theory and previous empirical research that will expl ain the role of self-directed learning (SDL) within the sales training contex t. In order to examine a mo del of SDL, constructs that relate to salespeople and th e types of learning endeavors they undertake must first be conceptualized. The foundation for this con ceptualization comes fr om Clardy (2000) and Artis and Harris (2007). They suggest that employees, including salespeople, use four distinct categories of self-directed learni ng projects (SDLPs): induced, synergistic, voluntary, and scanning. Induced SDLPs are those learning endeavor s that a salesperson must perform in order to work in the industr y, such as on-the-job training. Synergistic SDLPs are those learning endeavors in whic h the organization provides the material for learning, but the employee uses the material at his own discretion. Synergistic projects are not necessary basics that salespeople must master to work in the industry, but are those that increase knowledge, such as studying a company database of historical information relating to the industry. Volunt ary SDLPs are learning endeavors that are initiated by the employee and may not be rela ted to the organization, but add value to performance, such as learning to play golf. Scanning SDLPs are ongoing learning endeavors in which the salesperson continuously searches for relevant information that may help him improve or better understand his environment. In order to examine a model of salesper son training using SDL, constructs must be created that relate specifically to thes e SDLPs. One such construct that has been identified in previous research is "willi ngness to use SDLPs" (Artis & Harris, 2007).
22 Since there is limited previous research regard ing the construct, theory must be evaluated to determine what factors cont ribute to willingness. Theory is also used to identify potential antecedent constructs of willingn ess to use SDLPs and to predict the relationships between willingness to use SD LPs and use of SDLPs, along with the relationship between use of SDLPs and perfor mance. Following this, previous empirical research is assessed to either support or refute the theoretic al predictions and contribute to hypothesis building. Two models are conceptually constructed in this chapter. The models reflect two types (induced and synergistic) of SDLPs. Since individual SDLPs have not received much previous research a ttention, the relationship betw een different categories of SDLPs is unknown at this time. Given that the relationship betw een the variables has not been tested, each SDLP is isolated w ithin its own model to understand the main effects of the constructs. The models will look similar aside from the form of SDLP presented in each (e.g., induce d, synergistic). Although ther e are four categories of SDLPs (e.g., induced, synergistic, voluntar y, and scanning), only two of the four learning projects are assessed gi ven the nature of the sales industry chosen for the study sample (insurance sales) and the novelty of th e research. Induced and synergistic SDLPs are learning endeavors that ever y salesperson is expected to use or have the opportunity to use. Since induced SDLPs are necessary to work in the industry, it is foreseeable that each individual in the sample will have some experience with this type of SDLP. Given that synergistic SDLPs are le arning endeavors in which sale speople freely use learning material provided by the organization (i.e., company databases and learning libraries), it is assumed that salespeople may use these fo rms of resources, or have access to them,
23 regardless of their level with in the organization. Voluntar y and scanning SDLPs are the focus of the study because they may not be app licable to all salespeo ple. For instance, novice salespeople may have no experience scanning the environment for information. Therefore, they may not have the skills, knowledge, or ability to perform voluntary SDLPs. Given the novelty of SDL research in sales, this study seek s to investigate those learning projects that are applicable to all sa lespeople and that the organization has more control over. This chapter is arranged in the following ways. It contains two major literaturebased sections, followed by tables and models to help create a comprehensive picture for the reader. Each research question from Chap ter One is addressed, and theory is applied to predict relationships between the variables. Several theories are presented to determine their usefulness to the research. After theoretical consideration is given to each research question, a review of the literature follows. The literature review will assess research published in psychology, e ducation, and marketi ng relating to the constructs of interest. Just as in the th eory section, each resear ch question is assessed according to relevant previous research. With each section, definitions and hypotheses are proposed as they relate to the constructs presented. Then, tables relating to construct definitions and hypotheses are presented, follo wed by two models of salesperson SDLPs (induced and synergistic). THEORY This section examines the four research questions addressed in Chapter One from a theoretical perspective. Relevant theory is examined as it relates to each research
24 question. Theory is analyzed for the purposes of developing new s cales and testing the new construct (willingness to use SDLPs) in a model of self-directed learning. For scale development, several theories are examined to find the most suitable foundation for willingness to use SDLPs. Additionally, theory is used to explore potential antecedents of the construct and to explai n and predict relationships between variables in the model. Research Question One is intended to establish the concept of willingness to use SDLPs and develop a scale as the measur ement tool. The research question is specifically stated as, What components be st measure salesperson willingness to use SDLPs? First, the constr uct of willingness is defined. Next, previous willingness constructs are uncovered to understand how the construct has been examined previously. Then, the construct is defined and concep tualized for this investigation, which specifically relates willingness to the types of SDLPs used by salespeople. Once the construct is conceptually determined, theo retical investigation can begin to address possible theories that explain the construct. Willingness to Use SDLPs Willingness is a noun that describes the adj ective willing. To be willing is to be inclined to; to be favorably disposed in mind to; to be prompted to act or respond; to accept without reluctance or to relate to the will or the power of choosing (Miriam Webster Online, 2007). Therefore, willingness is traditionally viewed as an individuals inclination toward a specific behavior. Th is is consistent with previous research regarding the willi ngness construct.
25 Previous research on willingness is most prominent in the fields of economics and medicine. In economics, willingness is viewed in terms of costs versus benefits which determine an individuals leve l of willingness to pay. This is a heavily studied construct within the economic domain and the foundation of the economic theory of value (Ebert, 1993; Ebert & Tillman, 2006; Hobky & Soderq vist, 2003). The willingness to pay construct is defined as how willing an individual is to allocate resources toward a financial entity, which may be taxes or some other good or service (Ebert, 1993). Interestingly, in the economic domain, it is common to find the willingness to pay construct defined with its root word "willing" in the defini tion, a semantic technique that fails to contribute to the concept of the constr uct. Willingness is often conceptualized as a comparison of the costs and the benefits of paying in the economic forum. Therefore, an exchange between what the individual must give up and what th e individual receives governs the willingness to pay variable. Alt hough willingness in a cost versus benefit view fits the meaning of willingness of an i ndividuals inclination to pay, this analysis may not provide the depth and explanation of the willingness construct that this research seeks to uncover. Just as economics poorly defines and con ceptualizes the cons truct of willingness, so does medicine. In many medical studies (Gupta, Romney, Briggs, & Benker, 2007; Kim, Bracha, & Tipnis, 2007; Schulman, 2007) willingness is not defined, but instead considered to be self-explanatory. Often, willingness items on survey instruments in medicine ask how willing an individual is to act in a specific way. This may pose problems as no theoretical foundation exists that explains what willingness means to participants as they complete questionnaires. When will ingness is measured in this
26 context, the willingness scale offers no expl anation of the motivation for willingness or why the willingness score is higher or lower. A more structured concept of willingness would likely help to unify the nature of the construct among future researchers so that any discussion of the topic can be readily understood. As it stands from the arena of medicine, this conceptualiza tion of willingness is too va gue to be of use in the development of scales that provide a strong theoretical unde rstanding of the construct. This dissertation asserts that the topic most intrinsically related to willingness is motivation; therefore, motivational theories will be assessed to determine the most appropriate fit. So, what is the most appropriate conceptualization of willingness for scale development based on the currently existing c onstructs? An explanation of willingness can be understood in terms of motivation. Moti vation is a reason or a set of reasons for engaging in a particular behavi or, such as participating in SDL endeavors. Its close relationship to willingness make s the concept of motivation id eal to define willingness. Essentially, an individuals willingness to act is base d on motivation according to the definition of motivation. Thus, motivati on guides behavior and attitudes toward performing a specific behavior. This disse rtation purports that an individuals willingness is driven by his motivation. The behavi or of interest in th is study is a form of adult self-directed learning called a self-dir ected learning project (SDLP). In this dissertation, willingness is examined in terms of an individuals motivation reflected in his level of willingness to perform these projects. This attitude or inclination to perform a specific act is manifest from his motivation to do it. Thus, to understand and create a
27 foundation for willingness, we must look first to motivational theories that will best help explain it. Several theories of motivation were cr eated in the domain of psychology and many have been used previously in marketi ng research. Popular motivational theories include path goal theory, intrinsic motiva tion theory, extrinsic motivation theory, acquired needs theory, and expectancy theo ry. Background on these theories will be presented and assessed to determine their us efulness in this disse rtation to provide a theoretical foundation for the cons truct willingness to use SDLPs. Path Goal Theory Path goal theory (Evans, 1968, 1970; House, 1971) is a motivational theory that has been used in many applications within or ganizational settings. Path goal theory is based on expectancy theory, a motivational th eory. It was modified by House (1971) to explain the managers role in helping em ployees find their best path to match organizational goals. The "best" path is the path that will lead the employee to reach organizational goals. In this sense, it is the supervisors job to assist employees and to support them in a way that aligns the empl oyees personal goals with the organization's goals so that the employees actions will a lign with the organizations demands. The supervisor may influence motivation, satisfa ction, and performance of employees by rewarding performance that is on path or by clarifying the paths and removing obstacles that will aid employees in achieving their goals Path goal theory assumes that leaders are flexible enough to change their leadership style depending on the employee. In this way, one of four different l eadership styles must be us ed depending on the situation,
28 which may be characterized by factors w ithin the environment and the employees personality. Although this theo ry predicts motivation for th e subject of interest (the salesperson), it relies too heavily on the supervisor. Thus, is not appropriate for developing scales to measure salesperson motiv ation to use SDLPs. According to path goal theory, the willingness of salespeople would be directly influenced by managements leadership style rather than other factors speci fic to the employee. Since this research seeks to understand willi ngness outside of such a narrow scope, a motivation theory that revolves around the beha viors and cognitions of the salesperson is necessary to understand motivation. Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation Theory Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation theories have been used in sales to explain and predict the behaviors of salespeople (Johns ton & Marshall, 2005). Intrinsic motivation (Deci, 1975; Deci & Ryan, 1985) is described as motivation that comes from internal factors to the individual. For instance, an employee may seek to perform his job well because it makes him feel good, or because he fe els it is the right thing to do. Internal factors are intangible and typically very pow erful motivators of behavior. Conversely, external motivation (Petri, 1991) is motivation that comes from external influences such as tangible rewards or pressu re and is opposite that of inte rnal motivation. Therefore, it is external drivers that contribute to an individuals behavior. External motivation is effective, but often creates a focus on the rewa rds rather than the behavior. Frequently, when rewards for behavior are taken awa y, the behavior stops. From a scale development perspective, intrinsic and extrinsi c motivation theories are not appropriate to
29 form a foundation for the construct of willi ngness. In order to create a scale for willingness with respect to SDLPs and sa lespeople using internal and external motivation to determine how willing a salesper son is to use SDLPs, each internal and external motivator must be explored and identi fied. This is unrealis tic as each participant would have his own personal motivators a nd the scale would have to reflect all motivators affecting all participants. Therefor e, a more global application of theory is needed for the purposes of scale development. Acquired Needs Theory Acquired needs theory (McClelland, 1975; McClelland & Burnham, 1976) suggests that there are three different needs th at affect behavior: achievement, affiliation, and power. Typically, one need is more prom inent than the others and, therefore, more influential. Achievement needs come from the need to excel and receive recognition for progress. Achievers will typically avoid behavi ors that are less likely to lead to gain or that have a high risk of failure. Affiliation needs are those that seek harmony and balance from relationships. Those who seek affiliation will more likely conform to norms and seek approval rather than recognition, which may set them apart from the group. Power needs come from the desire to control othe rs. Those who seek power may attempt to control others to achieve their goals. The Thematic Apper ception Test is used to identify these needs or tendencies by pr esenting pictures of emotiona l situations and allowing the individual to tell a story about the situation. Acquired needs theory could be used in this research to assess a salespersons motivation or willingness to use SDLPs by explaining some of the emotional reasons an individual is or is not motivated or willing to use them.
30 Nevertheless, it is not appropriate for scale development since it disregards situational factors that also may influen ce willingness. For instance, an individuals need for power may influence his or her level of willingness to use SDLPs, but there may be many other factors also present that influence the i ndividual in conflicting ways. Acquired needs theory does not take into account the whole c ontext. A more comprehensive theory is needed for scale development. Expectancy Theory Previous research suggests that expectan cy theory may provide a solid basis to assess the sales force (Evans, Margheim, & Schlacter, 1982; Futrell, Parasuraman, & Sager, 1983). Expectancy theory (Vroom, 1964) rests on three pillars: valence (perceived value of the outcome), instrumentality (acti ons will relate to expected outcomes), and expectancy (individual perception of the ability to successfully accomplish the task). When a person is faced with a task, these c oncepts present themselves in the form of three questions: 1. Can I perform that task? 2. Will that task lead to the goal? 3. Is that goal important to me? In sales force management research, th e concept of motivation is typically described as a process. In this process, a salespersons motivation influences behavior or effort leading to an outcome of performance or some level of achievement. This
31 performance results in one or multiple reward s in the form of compensation, recognition, promotion, etc. The rewards then, in turn, influence the salespersons motivation, which begins the cycle again. This model of motiv ation has been examined as a subject of research (Ford, Walker, & Churchill, 1985; Pl ank & Reid, 1994; Walker et al., 1977) in the context of mark eting and sales. Vrooms (1964) original work with expect ancy theory proposed that three unique aspects (valence, instrumentality, and outco me expectancy) contribute to motivation, although his theory was modified by other researchers (Johnston & Kim, 1994; Oliver, 1974; Teas, 1981; Walker et al., 1977) seeking an adaptation better suited to the field of marketing. The adaptation addresses a salesp ersons motivation to expend effort on a job-related task asserting that it is primar ily dependent on two factors for the purpose of marketing research, expectancy and valence. Clearly, this concept downplays the role of instrumentality. Typically, valence is view ed as the salespersons perception of the desirability of attaining an improved le vel of performance (Johnston & Kim, 1994). Expectancy is defined as the salespersons estimate of the probability that expending a given amount of effort on a task will l ead to an improved level of performance (Johnston & Kim, 1994). This definition noticea bly veers from the original definition of the construct. Expectancy, according to Vr oom (1964), is a measure of the individuals perception of his own capabiliti es such that he can perform the task. Vrooms (1964) original definition of the concept of e xpectancy and the adap tation of it made by marketers are fundamentally different. The marketing concept of expectancy considers the salespersons effort as the primary mean s to the end result (i n this case, improved performance) whereby the salesperson believes increasing his effort will improve his
32 performance. This is in contrast to the or iginal construct of e xpectancy that used a salespersons efficacy of a behavior as a mean s of motivation, in that a salesperson will be more motivated to perform a behavior if he believes he has the ability to do so. This fundamental difference illustrates that marke ting scholars have tested modified versions of the theory, which may be us eful in the sales domain and from a modeling perspective, but are not testing all three funda mental pillars of the theory. This dissertation seeks to return to the original concept of expectancy theory using the original definitions of the three pillars (valence, expectancy, and instrumentality) as the foundation for scale de velopment for the construct willingness to use SDLPs. This theoretical foundation will contribute to defining and operationalizing the scale measures. Rationale for Choosing Expectancy Theory Expectancy theory can provide rich detail regarding the foundation of willingness. The three tenets of expectancy theory (valence, instrument ality, and outcome expectancy) are easily conceptualized with in the sales learning contex t and clearly defined. This theory is best suited for this research as it explains motivation in te rms of a clear thought process: a) How well can I perform this task ? b) How well will this task lead to the desired outcome; c) How desirable is this ou tcome to me? The theorys simplicity and its explanation of a persons evalua tion of a task prior to perfor ming it can be used to create a concept of willingness. The construct of willingness formed from this theory will be ideally suited for this dissertations investig ation of salespeople and how motivated they may be to use SDLPs. This theory with its three facets, which can be expressed as
33 questions, can be molded into a three-part scale each with its own outcome or score. Then, the overall assessment or score will reflect the measure of the salespersons willingness to use SDLPs since the overall sc ale would represent the complete theory. An additional benefit of expectancy theories adaptability lies in the fact that since each facet of the theory has its own score, th e overall scale provides not only an overall measure of willingness, but al so a breakdown of its compone nts indicating which facets have the most positive and negativ e impact on overall willingness. Conclusion In this section, willingness to use SDLPs was defined in terms of expectancy theory. Willingness to use SDLPs is an employees level of agreeableness or motivation to use one, some, or all of the four diffe rent types of learni ng projects (induced, synergistic, voluntary, and sca nning). Motivation to use l earning projects comes from the employees valence of the outcome of the lear ning project such that the salesperson cares or finds the outcome valuable, instrumentality that using the learning project will lead to a specific outcome, and expectancy that the salesperson can perform the learning activity. Therefore, an individuals motivation was pr esented as the foundation for willingness and several motivational theories were analyzed to assess the theory of motivation that best meets the needs for this research. Expectan cy theory was chosen based on its three distinct pillars, which provide not only a foundation for the level of willingness, but also rich conceptual detail regardi ng the pillars that make up the construct facilitating a better understanding of the construct.
34 Antecedents to Willingness to Use SDLPs The second research question addresses c ontributors to willingness in terms of antecedents. Research Question Two is stated as What factors contribute to salesperson willingness to use SDLPs? Antecedents to willingness to use SDLPs are the factors that influence the salespersons motivation to use SDLPs. This is because willingness is defined and conceptually constr ucted as an attitude or c ognition of motiva tion regarding SDLPs. Therefore, the antecedents for w illingness to use SDLPs must be unique and specific to the nature and circumstances of th e SDL process. This dissertation will seek to provide an explanation for these anteceden t factors using historically sound theories from different research areas incl uding sales and training research. Theory Applied in Training and Learning Social cognitive theory Social cognitive theory (SCT) has been applied in learning and training research and may provide a theoretical rationale for the antecedents that contribute to willingness. Social cognitive theory (Bandura, 1986) suggests that behavior is a function of c ontinuous reciprocal relationshi ps among cognitive, behavioral, and environmental constructs. Additionally, the environment partially determines which forms of ones behavior are developed and activated (Bandura, 1989). There is a personbehavior interaction in which expectations and beliefs shap e and direct the individuals behavior (Bandura, 1986, 1989). The connection between training and perf ormance can be explained by SCT in terms of outcome expectancies. Social cogni tive theory adapted from psychology used in training research is a useful theory to expl ain antecedents to will ingness because SDLPs
35 in this research are intended to be used as a form of trai ning. Outcome expectancies are shortand long-term expectations about cons equences of behavior such that there are certain outcomes individuals expect from their actions. Outcome expectancies are specific to a task or situation. Bandura (1989) suggests th at individuals ar e more likely to act on perceptions of self-efficacy when outcome expectancies lead them to believe that their actions will result in valued outcomes with favorable consequences. Thus, coupled together, when individuals feel that they can perform certain tasks and that those tasks will lead to favorable outcomes, they are mo re willing and likely to perform the desired tasks. This concept is consistent with the construct of willingness previously discussed. Going back to specific projects that salesp eople use and the consequences they perceive, a few major constructs appear important. Firs t, expectancies, or a persons expectations of a certain outcome, may come from differe nt avenues. It may be a persons own previous experience with the outcome or input from another source rela ting to it. If the employee has been trained to use SDLPs, th en expectations shoul d exist regarding how willing the individual would be to use SDLPs. A construct useful to this research is selfmanagement or self-regulation training. Fo r this research, self-management/regulation training is defined as the guida nce the employee has received related to 1) setting clear, specific goals that are challe nging, 2) understanding and pl anning to overcome obstacles, and 3) self-monitoring and self-reinf orcement methods used for motivation. In addition to training to perform proj ects, the organization may contribute to outcome expectancies. In this way, the ma nner in which the organization or direct supervisor supports the individua l in using SDLPs may also c ontribute to expectations of
36 the outcomes of these projects. Thus, if em ployees feel the organi zation or supervisor does (not) support them and gi ves them (does not give th em) what they need, then employees should be more (less) willing to use SDLPs. Therefore, SCT explains that previous e xperience, such as efficacy from training, contributes to willingness to use SDLPs in partner with support from the organization and supervisor. Specific constructs within th e literature that support this premise include selfregulation/self-manag ement training, perceived or ganizational support, and perceived supervisor support. Theory Applied in Sales and Organizational Settings Social exchange theory Social exchange theory (SET) has been applied in sales, organization, and exchange settings (Leg ace, 1990; Legace & Ho we, 1988). Social exchange theory (Homans, 1961, 1978; Kelley & Thibaut, 1978; Thibaut & Kelley, 1959) explains relationships from a reciprocal perspective. According to this theory, relationships are carrie d out through a series of social exchanges. Social exchanges are the reciprocation of valuable resources th at promote the buildi ng and preservation of interpersonal relationships (Lynch, Ei senberger, & Armeli, 1999; Shanock & Eisenberger, 2006). Here, employees seek a bala nce in their exchange relationships with supervisors by exhibiting attit udes and behaviors commensura te with the degree of the supervisors commitment to them. The SET perspective suggests th at relationships are like a two-way street in that if the balance of the exchanges is not perceived to be equal, members in the exchange may try to shift th e balance. Each member has expectations and acts in the relationship based on their perc eptions of what is given and delivered. In
37 an organizational context, employees form global opinions about the way the organization will support and reward them, and then determine how mu ch effort they will deliver back to the organization. If employees perceive they will ga in much in return, then they will meet more of the organizat ions requests and demands. If employees perceive poor support from the organization, they may not offer much effort to meet its demands (Eisenberger et al., 1986) Social exchange theory is used by sales researchers to examine the support salespeople perceive from their organization and supervisor (Boyer & Edmondson, 2007; Riggle, Edmondson, & Hansen, 2007). SET is used in this dissertation to explain the relationship be tween the support employees perceive from their supervisor and the organization to use SDLPs and their subsequent motivation to use SDLPs. Therefore, the constructs that may predict employee willingness to use SDLPs, according to SET, are perceived or ganizational support (POS) and perceived supervisory support (PSS ). Perceived organizational support is defined as an employees global beliefs about how ready the organizati on is to help him in times of need and reward him for extra effort and hard work (Eisenberger et al., 1986). Perceived supervisory support is defined as an employees globa l beliefs concerning how ready his supervisor is to assist him in times of need and reward him for extra effort and hard work (Kottke & Sharafinski, 1988). These two c onstructs are used heavily to assess and predict outcomes in organizational exchange settings regarding a ffective commitment and job satisfaction (Armstrong-Stassen, Ma ntler, & Horsburgh, 2001; Stinglhamber & Vandenberghe, 2004), performance (Lambe rt, 2000), turnover (Eisenberger, Stinglhamber, Vandenberghe, Sucharski, & Rhoades, 2002; Stinglhamber & Vandenberghe, 2003), and autonomy (Beehr, 1976; Fu & Shaffer, 2001; Griffin,
38 Paterson, & West, 2001; Yoon & Lim, 1999), whic h are important constructs to sales managers. Research has also shown th at PSS is positively related to perceived organizational support (Armstrong-Stassen et al., 2001; Lambert, 2000; Yoon, Seo, & Yoon, 2004) although there is a distinctiv e difference which makes them unique constructs (Boyer & Edmondson, 2007; Lambert, 2000; Yoon et al., 2004). Therefore, it is foreseeable that willingness may also be predicted and explained by perceptions of support from both the organizati on and supervisor. Social ex change theory suggests that a reciprocal relationship exis ts in which a positive percep tion of support for the employee would then lead to employee behaviors consis tent with those that the organization and supervisor desire. Therefore, a positive relationship would exist between support and willingness such that higher (lower) levels of support would lead to higher (lower) levels of willingness, making POS and PSS anteceden ts of an employees willingness to use SDLPs. Expectancy theory Expectancy theory has been a pplied in sales research for over four decades and is widely accepted (Chur chill, Ford, & Walker, 1979a; Cron, Dubinsky, & Michaels, 1988; Johnston & Kim, 1994). The ma jority of expectancy theory research has investigated the antecedent variable s of salesperson motivation based on the Churchill, Ford, & Walker (1979a; 1979b) mode l. Certain construc ts identified in the previous theory sections appear to align with constructs investigat ed as antecedents to salesperson motivation using an expectancy theory approach. Relating to selfmanagement/regulation training, a key construc t, "participation in decisions," is a positive antecedent to motivation (Teas, 1981). "P articipation in decisions" is related to training in self-management as selfma nagement provides the salesperson with
39 autonomy over decisions related to his work. Thus, empirical work in expectancy theory provides evidence that a similar construct ha s a positive relationship with motivation. The support constructs appear to also be supported with prev ious empirical investigation of expectancy theory in sales research. Several constructs such as salary base, recognition opportunity rate, leader conti ngency approving behavi or, leader upward influencing behavior, and management conc ern and awareness appear to align with previous definitions of support so that the em ployee feels rewarded for his extra effort by the supervisor and organization. Each was positively related to motivation (Ingram & Bellenger, 1983; Kohli, 1985; Tyagi, 1982). Therefore, em pirical investigation using expectancy theory provides evidence that support variables are positively related to motivation, operationalized in the context of th is research as willingness to use SDLPs. As a result, expectancy theory provides c onsistent support for bot h support and training constructs to willingness to use SDLPs and the directionality of the relationships. Although examining the problem strictly from a learning project behavior point is much narrower than a motivation to perform view, the extension appears to align. Conclusion A review of prominent theories applied in training, sales, organizational, and exchange settings revealed that social c ognitive theory, social exchange theory, and expectancy theory had demonstrated several key constructs that may positively contribute to willingness to use SDLPs such that higher levels of key co nstructs will lead to higher levels of willingness with the inverse also be ing true. These constructs include self-
40 management/self-regulation training, perceived supervis ory support, and perceived organizational support, and will serve as an tecedents to willingness in the model. Antecedents to Use of SDLPs This section will investigate theory th at may explain the relationship between willingness to use SDLPs and use of SDLPs. Relevant motivational theories will be explored. This section will attempt to provide insight into Research Question Three, What is the relationship between salespers on willingness to use SDLPs and salesperson use of SDLPs? Attitude Behavior Consistency and Cognitive Dissonance Two motivational theories, attitude be havior consistency and cognitive dissonance, may explain the relationship between willingness to use SDLPs and the use of SDLPs. Attitude behavior consistency theory (Kallgren & Wood, 1986) suggests that attitudes are predispositions to behavior. In this way, atti tudes are likely to align with behavior, especially when attitudes and behavior are constrained to specific circumstances. In this research, willi ngness to use SDLPs and use of SDLPs are specific to the context in which salespeople ope rate. Additionally, attitude and behavior will be consistent when there are opportunitie s to express behaviors, when attitudes are based on personal experience, and when no social desirability bias exis ts that would lead the individual to behave in uncharacteristic wa ys. Consequently, it appears that attitude behavior consistency would predict that att itudes of willingness to use SDLPs will be
41 positively related to use of SDLPs. Therefore, higher levels of willingness to use SDLPs will lead to greater use of SDLPs, and the reverse is true for lower levels. Cognitive dissonance (Festinger, 1957; Festinger & Carlsmith, 1959) is the discomfort created when attitudes conflict w ith behaviors. When an individual holds a specific attitude and his behavi or is contradictory to that attitude, the individual feels tension that may cause him to change either hi s behavior or attitude If behaviors cannot be changed or undone, then the individual will lik ely change his attitude. The tension or dissonance may increase when the topic holds more importance, when there are great differences between attitudes and behaviors, and when the individual is unable to rationalize the differences in his behavior from attitude s. To reduce dissonance, individuals change their beha vior, change cognitions, or ju stify their behavior by adding new cognitions. Since individuals feel disc ontent when attitudes and behaviors conflict with each other, it is likely that when indivi duals feel willing to use SDLPs, they will most likely behave consistently by using SD LPs given the opportunity. Therefore, individuals will edit either their behavior or attitudes when inequities present themselves. Accordingly, there should be a positive re lationship between willingness to use SDLPs and use of SDLPs. Higher levels of willingn ess to use SDLPs should lead to greater use of SDLPs and the invers e would be true for lower levels. According to both motivational theories, the relationship betw een willingness to use SDLPs and use of SDLPs is expected to be positive.
42 Conclusion In this section, two theories were anal yzed to explain the relationship between willingness to use SDLPs and use of SDLPs. Attitude behavior consistency and cognitive dissonance both predict a positiv e relationship between the variables. Therefore, it is expected that higher (lower) levels of willingness to use SDLPs will lead to greater (less) use of SDLPs. Antecedents of Performance This section will examine Research Question Four regarding the theories that explain the relationship between use of SDLP s and performance. Research Question Four states, What is the relationship between salesperson use of SD LPs and salesperson performance? Adult learning theory best expl ains this linkage. Th ere is no one specific theory that comprises adult learning, just as there is no one theory that explains marketing. Instead, there are several branches of adult learning theory that may explain the relationship between use of SDLPs and performance. Specifically, theory involving self-directed adult lear ning may best provide the rationale for this link. Adult learning is central to this research as salespeople are ad ults, and they will learn in ways that are different from the learning styl es of children. This is signi ficant since general learning theories stem from research based on child ren and young adults. Adul t learning theory is rooted in research based on a dults and is more suitable for this research than general learning theories. Prominent research in adult learning expl ains that adults learn more effectively when they are given autonomy over th eir learning. Speck (1996) states,
43 Adults want to be the origin of thei r own learning and will resist learning activities they believe are an attack on their competence. Thus, professional development needs to give participants some control over the what, who, how, why, when and where of learning (Speck, 1996, p. 3637). The underlying tenet of SDLPs is that le arners have control over their learning. Hence, those salespeople who use SDLPs will not resist this learning as it offers them discretion and autonomy. They would be e xpected to improve their performance on related endeavors. Salespeople who do not us e SDLPs may learn in a more structured and managerially controlled fashion, whic h, according to adult learning theory, may cause them to resist this learning process. Other research corrobor ates the effectiveness of using SDL. Knowles (1975) explains that individuals who direct their own learning are more likely to retain what they learned th an are passive learners. Thus, control over learning, like the use of SDLPs will contribute to retention of learned material that may include the knowledge, skills, a nd abilities needed to attain higher performance levels. Finally, it is widely accepted in SDL theory and research that training and developing employees through self-directed learning is more efficient and effective (Durr, Guglielmino, & Guglielmino, 1992; Guglie lmino & Murdick, 1997; Knowles, 1990; Merriam, 1993; Piskurich, 1993). In fact, one major advantage in training employees using SDL is a marked improvement in performance of individuals and teams (Guglielmino & Murdick, 1997). Consequent ly, SDLPs will contribute to greater
44 learning and information retention, resulting in better performance for salespeople who use them. It is this logic that suggests a positive relationship ex ists between use of SDLPs and salesperson performance. Theref ore, greater use of SDLPs will relate to higher levels of performance, and the invers e will be true for reduce use of SDLPs leading to lower leve ls of performance. Conclusion This section explored several theories th at provide possible explanations for and predictions of answers to the posed rese arch questions. For scale development, expectancy theory was chosen from many mo tivational theories to create the foundation of the willingness to use SDLP s scale because of the three pillars of valence, instrumentality, and outcome expectancy. This choice is operational and driven by theory. To address possible antecedents of willingness to use SDLPs, social cognitive theory, expectancy theory, and social exchange theory were explored and three constructs were identified: selfmanage ment/self-regulation training, pe rceived supervisory support, and perceived organizational support. All of these constructs positively contribute to willingness such that higher levels of the an tecedent constructs lead to higher levels of willingness and the reverse is true for lower levels. Then, the relationship between willingness and use of SDLPs was assessed with attitude behavior consistency, cognitive dissonance, expectancy theory, and social cognitive theory. All four theories predict a positive relationship between the two constructs such that higher (lower) levels of willingness will lead to greater (less) use of SDLPs. Finally, adult learning theory was explored to assess the relationship between use of SDLPs and performance. Adult
45 learning theory predicts that adults will learn better when given autonomy over their learning. This is the main crux of SDL. Consequently, better learning is assumed to contribute to higher performance levels as long as the learning endeavors are set up within the organization to enha nce the performance of salesp eople in the forms in which performance is measurable. No reciprocal relationships were identified; instead, only positive relationships between the variables we re predicted. In the next section, the literature regarding the variable s discussed in this section and the relationships between them will be explored in order to create te stable models with hypothetical linkages. Literature Review The literature review section addresses the construct of willingness, along with the relationships between the constructs (self-regulation training, POS, PSS, willingness to use SDLPs, use of SDLPs, and performan ce) identified for the models (Figures 2.3 and 2.4). A formal definition and background of each construct is presented, together with previous empirical research that is relevant to the st udy. When applicable, variables are modified for the context and defined. H ypotheses are presented within the discussion of each variable. Willingness to Use SDLPs This section discusses the foundation of the construct "willingness to use SDLPs" and its application to this research. It will outline the e volution of SDL, from its origins in education to its recent applications related to salespeople and organizations. The limitations of previous SDL research wi ll be addressed and methods by which this
46 research project will attempt to avoid such limitations will be discussed. Then, there will be a dialogue concerning the selection of willingness as the basis for the creation of a scale to evaluate the introducti on of a self-directed learning approach into a population of salespeople and measure its relationship to th eir job performance. Next, a comparison of the usefulness of creating a s cale based on willingness to ot her already existing scales will be discussed. Finally, this section w ill discuss how willingness to use SDLPs as conceptualized by expectancy theory will benefit the scale development process. Self-Directed Learning Origination of self-d irected learning projects The main construct for this research, "willingness to use SDLPs," orig inates in self-dir ected learning. The conceptualization of SDL in the adult education domain was introduced by Tough (1967). He described self-direc ted learning in terms of discre te units called self-directed learning projects (SDLPs). A le arning project is a series of purposeful learning episodes adding up to at least seven hours in a six-m onth period that are intended to promote knowledge, skill, insight, or otherwise edify th e individual. This type of learning is different from previous learning concepts in that it is initiate d by the learner instead of an outside source, thereby givi ng rise to the term self-d irected learning. Tough (1967) created an interview schedule to investigate the type of learning adults perform in a selfdirected manner. He later (1971) developed a measure from this interview process that captures the amount of time spent on learning projects. Both the interview schedule and the quantitative scale are used in curre nt SDL research (Clardy, 2000; Dixon, 1991).
47 Classification of SDLPs Clardy (2000) investig ated professionals in management, sales, and human resources us ing an in-depth interview technique to understand how SDLPs are used by a variety of individuals in the workforce including salespeople. His research resulted in a cl assification system of four distinct SDLPs: induced, synergistic, voluntary, and scanning. The chart in Tabl e 2.1 illustrates the classification of SDLPs with definitions a nd examples of each type of project. The information in the chart come s from information provided by Artis and Harris (2007) and Clardy (2000). Table 2.1 Definitions of Categories of SDLPs and Examples Induced SDLPs Definition Examples The fundamental skills and knowledge an employee must acquire in order to perform a specific job in his or her industry. Unstructured on-the-job training, obtaining mandatory certifications required by the industry, and fulfilling continuing education requirements. Synergistic SDLP s Definition Examples Learning endeavors th e employee undertakes to improve his performance that are not mandated by the organization. The organization presents a learning opportunity or resources for employees, but does not monitor the employees use of them. Optional seminars, learning libraries and company databases, etc. Voluntary SDLPs Definition Examples Learning endeavors or activities initiated by the employee that may or may not be related to improving the organization. Attending a conference to improve skills, learning to play golf, or speaking with an expert to discover methods to improve communication skills.
48 Table 2.1 Definitions of Categories of SDLPs and Examples (Continued) Scanning SDLPs Definition Examples Ongoing learning activities in which the salesperson continuously searches for relevant information that may help him improve performance or understand the environment. Often, salespeople lack knowledge of the specific information for which they are searching, but when they find relevant information, they can identify it as useful. Reading newspapers, magazines, speaking with experts, watching television, surfing th e internet, etc. Quantitative measures of SDL Many quantitative measur ement tools or scales such as the self-directed learning readin ess scale (SDLRS) (G uglielmino, 1977), Oddi continuous learning inventory (O CLI) (Oddi, 1984), and Bartlett -Kotrlik inventory of self learning (BISL) (Bartlett, 1999) also provide a means of meas urement of some aspect of an SDL. These may be used as an alterna tive to or in conjunc tion with the Tough (1976) interview schedule. A discussion of the qua ntitative measures is presented below. The self-directed learning readiness scal e (SDLRS) measures an individuals readiness to use self-directed learning ba sed on personal characte ristics (Guglielmino, 1977). The SDLRS is a 58-item, 7-point Like rt type scale comprised of eight key personal characteristics: 1) openness to learni ng opportunities, 2) se lf concept as an effective learner, 3) initiative and indepe ndence in learning, 4) informed acceptance of responsibility for ones own learning, 5) l ove of learning, 6) creativity, 7) future orientation, and 8) ability to use basic st udy skills and problem solving skills. When Guglielmino (1977) first tested the scale, she found an al pha reliability level of ( = .86). Although the measure is widely used in the adu lt education literature, reliability measures for this scale are seldom reported. The scal e is copyrighted and must be purchased from
49 Guglielmino and Associates for use in resear ch. Moreover, the data collected to be analyzed with the scale must be processed by Guglielmino and Associates, the authors of the scale itself. Nevertheless, this scale has been used in a variety of research endeavors to examine the relationship between SDL and a wide range of variable s in adult education and other domains more closely related to bus iness. In a recent meta-analysis (Boyer, Edmondson, & Artis, 2008 WIP) that was perfor med to better understand the role of SDL in the literature, the SDLRS was used in stud ies to investigate relationships with over 50 variables including other scales measuring SDL. vSome of th ese variables include age, gender, tenure, income, performance, autonomy, locus of control, personality, dominance, dependence, creativ ity, and learning style. The meta-analysis found that the Guglielmino scale (1977) was the most widely used measure of SDL. Two important additional measures of SDL are the Oddi continuing learning inventory (OCLI) (Oddi, 1984) and the Bartlet-Ko trlik inventory of se lf learning (BISL) (Bartlett, 1999). Oddi (1984) proposed that measuring adult con tinuous learning would be beneficial in identifying adult professiona l learning in the workplace. There are three major facets of the OCLI: 1) self confidence, 2) ability to work independently, and 3) learning through involvement with others. Ad ditionally, two sub-factors emerged in the study: reading avidity and the ability to be self-regulating. The OCLI is a 24-item, 7point Likert type indicator w ith an alpha reliability of = .86 using a sample of 271 graduate students in law, adult education, and nursing. The BISL is a 56-item, 7-point Likert type scale that measures constructs that influence the level of self learning. In his dissertation research, Barlett (1999) investigated Oddis ( 1984) OCLI, as well as SDL according to secondary business educators, a nd created an integrat ed measure of SDL
50 that indicates variance in the level of self-l earning. They found that learning resource experimentation such as on-th e-job training, media, prepari ng to teach, and consultation help explain variances in the level of self-learning. The scale reported a reliability of = .91. Limitations of previous SDL work Although the Guglielmino (1977) scale is one of the most widely used scales in SDL researc h, it is not appropriate for this research for several reasons. First, SDLRS is based upon personal characteristics. It assumes the level of SDL does not change, just as pers onality does not change. This is a limited perspective as it does not take into account situations su ch as training an individual receives in learning to use SDL or self-management. In fact, previous research suggests that learning styles may be altered by learning to self-manage (Salas & Cannon-Bowers, 2001). Salas and Cannon-Bowers (2001) reveal that individuals can change their own learning styles to meet the needs of the s ituation and the enviro nment. Therefore, although salespeople have a tendency to learn a certain way as it relates to their work, it is possible to develop skills through trai ning that will encourage the use of SDL behaviors. Second, there is no distinction be tween types of projects, such as those for leisure/hobbies or work. This is another limita tion of the other scales currently in use as using SDL related to personal endeavors, such as learning to play tennis, may not transfer back to the workplace. Since the SDLRS doe s not distinguish between projects, it is impossible to understand any differences th at may exist among salespeople who use certain forms of SDLPs more than others. Th ird, the scale is not related specifically to salespeople. This is problematic since this research seeks to speci fically investigate the forms of SDLPs that salespeople use. Fina lly, biasing factors may exist when using the
51 scale given that it is copyrighted and must be purchased from and analyzed by Guglielmino and Associates, the au thors of the scale. This pose s a conflict of interest and could potentially limit researcher confidence in the scale as a reliable research tool. Both the BISL and OCLI present valid m easures of SDL; however, they fail to meet the requirements of this research. Ju st as in the SDLRS, the BISL and OCLI are general measures of SDL that do not discri minate among the different types of learning projects. Second, the scales are not related to the types of le arning that salespeople use. Although the BISL and OCLI may not be subject to the biasing factors of the SDLRS, they are not appropriate for this research. Thus, a measure of SDL is needed that accounts for the types of learning projects salespeople use. Clardys (2000) classifi cation based on Toughs (1967) interview schedule discriminates between learning projects that sale speople use. That research is qualitative and conducted in interview format making it impractical for organizations and researchers. Conducting research through quali tative interviews is expensive and time consuming imposing limitations on research en deavors as companies may be unwilling to use several hours of valuable salesperson work time on research. Additionally, interviewing large numbers of salespeople w ould be taxing on an i ndividual researcher, thereby prompting a search for another more convenient method of data collection such as survey research. Thus, a quantitative scale is needed that can be distributed to a large number of salespeople at one time without consuming a large amount of the salespersons time. Overcoming limitations. This research seeks to address the aforementioned limitations and others associated with the in-depth interview format for specific learning
52 projects and propose a quantita tive approach to collecti ng data. Scale development related to SDLPs will accomplish this task. The scales are important to sales research because they will quantify outcomes of specific types of SDLPs related to salespeople, provide rich details that are important to sa lespeople, sales managers, and organizations, and avoid commingling leisure and work lear ning projects. Contrary to previous research, the SDL scales in this research w ill be specific to salespeople and will quantify willingness to use learning projects, but will not address the role of personal characteristics in influencing the likelihood of using a project since this aspect has already been studied (Burns, 1995; Guglielmino, 1977). Scales that differentiate between types of SDLPs are necessary to provide de tails about what outcomes can be expected when different SDLPs are implemented. This in turn, will provi de researchers with concrete, reproducible measures necessary for solidifying gains in research, as well as providing practitioners with new information that could immediately improve the work environment of their organizations. Willingness At this point, now that SDLPs have been discussed at length, it is appropriate to investigate willingness as it rela tes to the use of SDLPs. The concept of willingness for this research is a construct based upon expect ancy theory (Vroom, 1964) concerning aspects of valence, instrumental ity, and outcome expectancy. Motivation to use learning projects comes from: 1) the em ployees valence of outcomes for the learning project such that the salesperson cares or fi nds the outcome valuable, 2) expectancy that using the learning project will lead to that ou tcome, and 3) instrumentality, in the sense that the salesperson is capable of performing that learning activity.
53 Willingness to use SDLPs can be desc ribed as the employees level of agreeableness or motivation to use a learning project. Willingness to use induced SDLPs is based on a salespersons valence, instrumentality, and expectancy outcomes for learning endeavors relating to fundamental skills and knowledge a salesperson must acquire in order to perform a specific job in his respective industry. Willingness is also based on these same outcomes in which th e salesperson intend s to improve his performance for learning endeavors that are not mandated by the organization, although the organization provides the learning opportunity. The following scenario is an example of w illingness to use a synergistic project. A company provides databases available for the salesperson to search historical information about life insurance rates. In or der to increase that sa lespersons willingness to use the database, he must believe that he can use the database (instrumentality), that the database will help him achieve a goal such as making a sale or satisfying a customer (outcome expectancy), and that making a sa le or satisfying a cu stomer is important (valence). In this way, the more the sale sperson experiences instrumentality, outcome expectancy, and valence, the greater will be his willingness to use a specific SDLP. Therefore, to increase a salespersons willingness to use an SDLP, the organization must recognize the importance of the elements of instrumentality, valence, and outcome expectancy in the sales environmen t. This will facilitate the salespersons ability to stay focused and motivated wh ile implementing SDLPs. Furthermore, organizations and supervisors must provide support to salespeople for using these learning projects. Feeling rewarded and ai ded in using learning projects will enable salespeople to feel comfortable and capable using SDLPs such as company databases.
54 When salespeople feel competent and comforta ble using learning projects like databases, they may find using the databases to be mo re rewarding, thereby increasing the outcome expectancies and valences for those projects. Willingness is fundamentally different fr om other measures of SDL as the foundation is derived from theory. The role of expectancy theory in the development of the construct will provide the research with a foundation that is cl early conceptualized, unlike the vague construct used in medicine or the inappropriate c onstruct described by the field of economics. Furthermore, the c oncept of the theory itself, which describes motivation according to the three elements of valence, expectancy, and instrumentality, very closely matches the definition of willingness. Another important benefit that accompanies the use of expectancy theory as the primary component of this researchs version of willingness comes fr om the three facet nature of the theory; each facet will become a component of the overall scale and contribute different information about the aspect of willingness it represents. This mean s that the scale will re veal three specific facets of willingness, or lack of it, in addition to the assessment of overall willingness. Finally, developing a new scale altogether th at is based on the construct of willingness eliminates many limitations of the other scales such as intrinsic biases or assessments of a persons innate traits, which are not adapta ble to variations in circumstances or environment. Alternatives to using willi ngness include either a qualita tive interview process or previously developed scales such as the SDLRS (Guglielmino, 1977), OCLI (Oddi, 1984), and BISL (Bartlett, 1999). Qualitative interviews present their weakness in terms of scope. Therefore, it would be difficult to conduct research on a large sample of
55 salespeople. Moreover, the cornerstone of this research is to create a measure of willingness to use SDLPs; therefore, usi ng only an interview schedule would conflict with the purpose of this rese arch. Previous SDL scales do not measure all the elements defined in this specific cons truct, and would not be adequate for the purposes of this study. Conclusion. This section discussed the foundatio n of willingness to use SDLPs. Self-directed learning background was presen ted, as well as the limitations of the currently existing means of assessment and how this research seeks to overcome such limitations. Then, it was explained that only two (induced and synerg istic) of the four types of SDLPs would be used in the inve stigation given that i nduced and synergistic projects may be more widely used by sale speople in the chosen context of insurance sales. Finally, the benefits of using w illingness as a foundation for scale development was established specifying its freedom from many of the limitations that constrain currently existing scales. Antecedents of Willingness to Use SDLPs This section discusses empirical res earch regarding the antecedents (selfregulation/selfmanagement training, PO S, and PSS) of willingness to use SDLPs related to Research Question Two. First, the training and control constructs are discussed, followed by the support constructs A formal definition and background of each construct are presented, along with previous empirical research that is relevant to this study. Then, POS and PSS are modified for the specific projects salespeople use and
56 new definitions are provided. Hypotheses ar e presented following the presentation of the previous empirical research, and relevant m odifications to the cons truct are presented. Self-Regulation/Management Training Self-management training has been used as a tool to assist salespeople in managing their work efforts more effectivel y using self-assessment, goal setting, selfmonitoring, self-evaluation, wr itten contracts, maintenance, and relapse prevention. Frayne and Geringer (2000) define self-manag ement as an effort by an individual to exert control over certain aspects of hi s or her decision making and behavior. Previous self-management/regul ation training research. Previous research suggests that learning to self-manage ones le arning may alter individu al learning styles. Salas and Cannon-Bowers (2001) reveal that in dividuals can change their own learning styles to meet the needs of the situati on and the environment. Therefore, although salespeople have a tendency to learn a cer tain way, and many already employ SDL skills informally, it is concluded from Salas and Cannon-Bowers (2001) that it is possible to develop skills through training that will impr ove SDL behaviors. Frayne and Geringer (2000) studied the use of self-management training as a means to assist salespeople in managing their work efforts more effectivel y using self-assessment, goal setting, selfmonitoring, self-evaluation, writt en contracts, maintenance, and relapse prevention. This is similar to the self-regulation training construc t used in sales research that is composed of self evaluation, self monitoring, and self reaction (Bandura, 1982; Kanfer, 1996; Leach, Liu, & Johnston, 2005). Sel f-regulation allows salespe ople to monitor themselves continuously, thereby contributi ng to short-term motivation (Gist, Stevens, & Bavetta,
57 1991; Wood & Bandura, 1989), directing focu s of effort (Bandura, 1982; Kanfer & Ackerman, 1989), and helping salespeople reach long-term goals (Gist, Schwoerer, & Rosen, 1989; Kanfer et al., 1994). Therefore, this research will discuss self-management training and self-regulati on training synonymously. Manz (1986) suggests that self-management is reflected as behavioral and cognitive strategies that assi st individuals in understanding their environment and help them achieve certain performance goals and esta blish self-motivation. This is important since not all self-directed and self-managed behavior result s in constructive outcomes. Karoloy (1993) points out that individuals may practice dysfunctional self-management, as some people do not know how to self -manage properly. Teaching the proper method of self-management can aid individuals in ac quiring superior SDL skills. Given previous research (Gist et al., 1991; Manz, 1986; Wood & Bandura, 1989) suggesting that selfmanagement helps establish motivation, constr ucted in this resear ch as the willingness construct, it is expected that training in self-management/regulation will positively impact salesperson willingness to use self-dir ected learning projects Therefore, more training in self-regulation will contribute to higher levels of willingness to use SDLPs and less training in self-regul ation will contribute to lower levels of willingness to use SDLPs. From this logic the following hypotheses are created: H1A: Self-regulation training will posi tively impact willingness to use induced self-directe d learning projects. H1B: Self-regulation training will posi tively impact willingness to use synergistic self-directed learning projects.
58 If self-regulation training has no impact on willingness to use induced and synergistic projects, then the null case will be supported. H1A0: Self-regulation training will have no impact on willingness to use induced self-directe d learning projects. H1B0: Self-regulation training will have no impact on willingness to use synergistic self-directed learning projects. Organizational and Supervisory Support This section discusses the role of perceived organizat ional support and perceived supervisory support for SDLPs (POS for SDLPs and PSS for SDLPs) and how these organizational factors may influence the salesperson's willingness to use SDLPs. First, this section explains the empirical backgr ound for POS and PSS and how it relates to this research. Next, modifications of the constr ucts are presented and defined. Finally, hypotheses are presented, followed by the conclusion of the section. Perceived organizational support (POS) is defined as employees global beliefs concerning the extent to which the organiza tion values their cont ributions and supports their goals and needs (Eisenberger et al., 1986) Perceived supervisory support (PSS) is defined as employees global beliefs concerni ng the extent to which their supervisor values their contribution and cares about their well being (K ottke & Sharafinski, 1988). Eisenberger et al. (1986) firs t conceptualized perceived or ganizational support (POS) to explain the reciprocal relati onship between employees perceptions of support from the
59 organization and the amount of effort and leve l of commitment employees return to it. This was later modified to explain how sim ilar outcome variables such as commitment, job satisfaction, and tenure could also be assessed by understanding employees perceptions of support from their supe rvisor (Kottke & Sharafinski, 1988). The notion of both PSS and POS stems fr om social exchanges between the individual and the supervisor and is based on social exch ange theory and the norm of reciprocity. Social exchange theory, a motiva tional theory, posits that all relationships between individuals and organizations or supe rvisors are formed ba sed upon a subjective cost-benefit analysis. If the benefits rece ived from the relationship exceed the costs incurred, then the employee will opt to remain in the relationship. Furthermore, the norm of reciprocity states that employees will f eel obligated to repay favorable treatment (Eisenberger, Lynch, Aselage, & Rohdi eck, 2004; Mowday, Porter, & Steers, 1982; Rousseau, 1990). In other words, if an organi zation or supervisor treats their employees well, then the employees will feel obligated to act in ways that are of value (i.e., meeting the supervisors goals and obj ectives) to the supervisor a nd the organization as a whole (Eisenberger, Armeli, Rexwinkel, Lynch, & Rhoades, 2001). An employee may evaluate the level of support the organization and s upervisor provide through compensation and promotions, frequency and sincerity of praise and approval, and amount of job autonomy (Hutchison & Garstka, 1996; Shore, Barksdale, & Shore, 1995). Research has shown that employees develop exchange relationships w ith their organization and supervisor based on their perceptions of how the supervisor supports their work efforts (Eisenberger, Huntington, Hutchison, & Sowa, 1986; Wayne, Shore, & Liden, 1997). Employees seek a balance in their exchange relationships w ith the organization and supervisors by having
60 attitudes and behaviors commen surate with the degree of organizational and supervisor commitment to them as individuals. In ot her words, employee commitment is a two-way street in that employees perceive that their effort and commitment to the supervisor/organization should be exchanged for 1) benefits and rewards and 2) help during times of need from the supervisor /organization that are both tangible and intangible (Kottke & Sharafinski, 1988). The constructs PSS and POS are similar, although differences exist between them. Perceived supervisory support is support an employee perceives from a supervisor, while POS is the perception of support from the orga nization, which is a more general concept. Employees may not attach a specific person to their per ceptions of the organization, given that the organization is an entity that may not have a specific face in the eyes of the employee. Previous research demonstrates a distinction between the two constructs (Boyer & Edmondson, 2007; Eisenberger et al ., 2002; Kottkey & Sharafinsky, 1988). Greller and Herold (1975) s uggest that employees put grea ter value on feedback that comes from those who are closest to them. In this sense, the employee can identify and interact more with the supervisor than the or ganization due to the pe rsonal nature of the relationship. Because differences exist betw een the two types of employee relationships, it is necessary to measure both PSS and POS as separate constructs. Relationship to willingness to use SDLPs Both POS and PSS stem from social exchanges such that the perception of support wi ll translate into the amount of effort the employee is willing to put forth. Therefore, the level of support the employee perceives from the organization and the supervisor should positively impact the employees level of willingness to perform certain tasks specific to th e job. If these constructs are adjusted to
61 be specific to learning, it is po ssible that there will be a be tter prediction of willingness. Therefore, if the support the employee perceives is specific to the le arning endeavors that are related to them, then that may directly impact their willin gness to use SDLPs. Similarly, Jude-York (1991) em pirically examined the impact the learning climate has on the relationship between SD L readiness and performance using a sample of 194 individuals within five manuf acturing plants in the househol d cleaning products industry. The learning climate survey included info rmation about support, reinforcement, and resources provided by each plant to encourag e learning. Performance was measured by a standard 360-degree performance appraisal. The study aids in he lping organizations identify self-directed learners through pers onal characteristics and traits, and found that when the learning climate is perceived as supportive by employees, the relationship between performance and SDL readiness is strong er. Therefore, the more support that is offered for learning endeavors, the greater the SDL readiness and performance is expected to be. With less support offered, the relationship between readiness and support would be weaker. Therefore, empirical rese arch provides evidence that more supportive learning environments help individual s to be more ready to use SDL. Modification of POS and PSS. The constructs of POS and PSS must be adapted to explain the salespersons perceived organizational and su pervisor support related to using learning projects given that overall support for the employee is not related to salespeople or the type of learning salespeo ple use. Therefore, if the salesperson perceives that the organization is supportiv e toward him in terms of providing rewards and providing aid in times of stress when us ing SDLPs, the employee will be more likely to use SDLPs in daily tasks. Due to this transition to focus specifically on learning
62 projects, the construct must be modified to include the new conceptualization relating specifically to each project. The idea that the traditional measure of POS does not provide enough depth in salesperson research is reverb erated in recent sales resear ch (Riggle, 2007). In his dissertation research, Riggle examined sale speople and their subsequent levels of perceived organizational support. He found th at the POS scale was not specific enough for salespeople and a new scale must be ad apted to attend to the specific needs and situations of salespeople, especially since the scale was not originally created for the sales domain. Importance of distinguishing diff erent types of learning projects Scales must be created to measure the distin ction between SDLPs. There may be different premiums placed on different types of learning projects in different types of organizations. Therefore, it is important to consider the elements of support provided by the organization for different projects. This res earch assumes that the use and support of one project does not influence the support and use of a different project given the differences that exist between them. Thus, attention must be given to each type of SDLP individually. For example, the supervisor may promote and reward salespeople for getting certifications and on-the-job training, but that may not necessarily influence the salesperson to be more willing to use company databases. Therefore, for the purposes of this res earch, POS for induced SDLPs is defined as the salespersons global beliefs re garding how the organization values his contributions and will help him in times of need when using learning endeavors relating to fundamental skills and knowledge necessary to perform a specific job in his respective
63 industry. Perceived organizat ional support for syne rgistic SDLPs is defined as the salespersons global beliefs re garding how the organization va lues his contributions and will help in times of need when using learning endeavors not mandated by the organization that are necessary to impr ove performance. Although the learning endeavors may not be required by the organi zation, the organizati on still provides the learning opportunity. Perceive d supervisory support for induc ed SDLPs is defined as a salespersons global beliefs re garding how the supervisor va lues his contributions and will help in times of need when using lear ning endeavors relating to fundamental skills and knowledge a salesperson must acquire in order to perform a specific job in his respective industry. Perceived s upervisory support for synergis tic SDLPs is defined as a salespersons global beliefs re garding how the organization va lues his contributions and will help in times of need when using learning endeavors that are not required by the organization, although the opportunities may be offered in an effort to improve his performance. Therefore, social exchange theory (Thibaut & Kelley, 1959) and empirical research on POS and PSS suggest that th e impact support variables will have on willingness to use SDLPs is positive. As a result, higher levels of support will lead to higher levels of willingness to use SDLPs a nd lower levels of suppor t will lead to lower levels of SDLPs. H2A: Perceived organizational s upport for induced SDLPs will positively impact salesperson willingness to use induced SDLPs.
64 H2B: Perceived organizational suppor t for synergistic SDLPs will positively impact salesperson willingness to use synergistic SDLPs. H3A: Perceived supervisor support for induced SDLPs will positively impact salesperson willingness to use induced SDLPs. H3B: Perceived supervisor support for synergistic SDLPs will positively impact salesperson willingness to use synergistic SDLPs. If the support constructs have no impact on willingness to use SDLPs, then the null case will be supported. This is presented below. H2A0: Perceived organizational suppor t for induced SDLPs will not impact salesperson willingness to use induced SDLPs. H2B0: Perceived organizational support for synergistic SDLPs will not impact salesperson willingness to use synergistic SDLPs. H3 A0: Perceived supervisor support for induced SDLPs will not impact salesperson willingness to use induced SDLPs. H3B0: Perceived supervisor support for synergistic SDLPs will not impact salesperson willingness to use synergistic SDLPs. Conclusion. This section presented empirica l research regarding several antecedents (POS for induced SDLPs, PSS for induced SDLPs, POS for synergistic
65 SDLPs, and PSS for synergistic SDLPs) of willingness to use induced and synergistic SDLPs. All constructs presented were predicted to have a positive impact on willingness to use SDLPs such that higher leve ls of the antecedents would lead to higher levels of willingness. The same is true for lower levels. Use of SDLPs This section seeks to establish a link be tween willingness to use SDLPs and the application or use of SDLPs. A review of the literature rega rding variables related to use of SDLPs is presented, followed by an overvie w of how use of SDLP s is conceptually constructed for this study. Finally, hypothe ses are presented with in the discussion of each construct relationship. In previous research, use of SDLPs or use of SDL is conceptualized using Toughs (1967) interview schedule. In this way, questions are pr esented regarding the number of hours over the previ ous six months learning projec ts were used to determine whether use of learning projects has occurr ed. According to Tough (1979), engaging in a learning episode for at least seven hours in th e previous six-month period is considered a learning project. Seven hours constitutes one typical workday and six months captures intensity. Therefore, if an individual uses SD LPs to the extent to which it adds up to a workday over the previous six months, then that person is described as using SDL. Research on the use of SDL as it relates to the previously used indicators of SDL, such as the self-directed learning readiness scale, Oddis (1984) continuing learning inventory, and the Barlett-Kotlrik (1999) inventory of self-learning, may provide justification for the indica tor of SDL use in this study, willingness to use SDLPs,
66 because there is enough similarity to form a basis of comparison. Since a measure for the construct of willingness does not currently exist, justification of its use in this research to form the basis of scales for SDLP studies is very important. An indicator for this research is defined as a variable that predicts likelihood, motivation, willingness, or capacity to use SDL. The SDL literature provides several "indicators" of SDL. However, inconsistencies exist between indicators of SDL (OCLI, SDLRS, and SDL competency) and measures of actual use of SDL. For ex ample, Oddis (1984) continuous learning inventory does not form a consistent or st rong link to use of SDLP s (West & Bentley, 1991). An analysis of this limited previous re search will provide clarity to the proximity in which previous research has come to making a solid link between SDL and use of SDL. It is important to remember that it is useful to have an i ndicator measure of SDL since it may be necessary to evaluate an individuals likelihood of using SDL if measuring the application of it is impractical Such is the case when there are limited organizational resources in which only one tool may be used to collect data. In choosing an indicator of SDL, clearly it is important to find one that is most closely correlated to use of SDL among the population of interest. The following section will review various indicators of SDL including OCLI (Oddi 1984), SDL goal setting (Lock & Latham, 1990), self-directed learning competency (S DLC) (Savoy, 2004), and the self-directed learning readiness scale (Guglielmino, 1977).
67 Indicators of SDL and Use of Projects In the limited previous research on the link between SDL indicators and use of SDL, the OCLI (Oddi, 1984) demonstrated a very low correlation to actual use of SDLPs. In a study to determine the relations hips between various SDL indicator scales such as the OCLI, SDLRS, and continuing education participation, West and Bentley (1991) collected data from 648 teachers in th e U.S. The average age was 41 years old, and average tenure on the job wa s 12.6 years. The sample consisted of mostly white (88% Caucasian) females (21% male). The 1986 24-item, 7-point OCLI (Oddi, 1984) was used in the investigation. They f ound gender differences in the SDLRS and the OCLI. They also found a very low correlati on (.07) between the OCLI and the frequency of the use of SDL. In other words, the study suggests there wa s little correlation, though the continuous learning inventory intended to predict SDL tendency (OCLI) and actual application of SDLPs. Therefore, it suggests that the inventory pres ented by OCLI is not a good predictor of how frequently teachers wi ll use a learning project though it must be noted that the correlation, although low, was positive. Self-directed learning goal setting has also been implemented as an indicator of SDL. Yet, the link between SDL goal setti ng and number of hours spent using SDL is weakly positively correlated at r = .05 (Savoy 2004). In Savoys (2004) U.S. study, 64 unionized metal workers who needed to learn additional skills to operate computerized machinery were sampled. Lock and Lathams (1990) measure of SDL goal setting was administered to the sample. Self-directed learning goal setting had a mean of 87.89 with a standard deviation of 9.98 and an alpha reliability of = .69. SDL goal setting was weakly correlated to the number of SDL activi ties used (r = .05) and the number of hours
68 in the past 12 months using SDL (r = .02). This suggests that SDL goal setting alone is not a good predictor of use of SDL. To overcome this obstacle, Savoy (2004) used SDL goal setting as one of many measures of SDL to determine competency, an indicator of SDL. He suggested that quantifiable knowledge and skills are required of self-directed learners. He posited that those individuals high in quantifiable knowledge and skill, along with a positive attitude toward SDL, were SDL competent. Some measures of SDL competency include cognitive ability, the big-five personality factors, and j ob knowledge. The link between SDL competency and use of SD L in terms of number of hou rs spent in the previous 12 months was low and negative (r = -.03). This low negative result may be due to the type of workers chosen for the sample since th e sample used in the study involved metal workers whose job is to be consistent, not self-directed. Therefore, Savoys (2004) SDL competency showed poor prediction of use of SDL. Finally, one last indicator, readiness, presents the most promising results in demonstrating a link between SDL indicators and use of SDL as demonstrated by the SDLRS. The SDLRS (Guglielm ino, 1977) was used to evaluate the relationship between readiness to use SDL and use of SDL by e nd users to determine whether there is a relationship between end users readine ss and their use of SDL (Savoy, 2004). The sample under investigation included 108 various job types in the Alaskan oil industry, broken down into command level end users, menu driven end users, and programming end users. The 58-item, 5-point SDLRS (Guglielmino, 1977) indicated SDL, while number of hours spent on projects in the previous six months and number of projects completed were used to assess use of SDL. Insignificant results were found between
69 SDLRS and the number of hours spent on SD LPs by programming end users, although significant results were found between a ll other groups on both SDL hours and the number of projects. The correlations betw een SDLRS and the number of hours in the past 12 months ranged from r = .56 to r = .66. The correlations be tween SDLRS and the number of projects complete d correlated in a range betw een r = .42 and r = .61. Number of SDL resources used, such as magazine s, newspapers, and other media outlets, correlated positively with SDLRS ranging from r = .38 to r = .54 among the three groups. Although SDLRS is the best indicator to use to establish a link be tween SDL and use of SDL, as suggested by this example, there are a few caveats to this conclusion. First, this is only one study. Second, a conflict of inte rest may exist for the data analysis as previously mentioned in the dissertation. Furthermore, this scale measures personal characteristics, which are predetermined and not subject to influence by an organization making it better used as a diagnostic tool for hiring selection ra ther than a tool to manage existing employees. Finally, the scale is not specific to salespeople. Alternatively, one item on the SDLRS may be related to motiv ation, which is the foundation for the willingness to use SDLPs indicator of SDL. The last facet of the SDLRS measures ability to use learning such as basic study skil ls. This overlaps to some extent with the salespersons perception of havi ng the ability to use a learning project. Therefore, the SDLRS may address an overlapping issue. Although the willingness scale will not capture basic ability in general for learning, it will capture the salesp ersons perception of his ability to perform a specific learning endeavor. Therefore, the strong positive relationship between the SDLRS indicator and th e use of SDL lends conceptual insight to draw the conclusion that willingness to use SDLPs will positively impact use of SDLPs.
70 Before stating the hypotheses, the construc t, use of SDLPs, must be defined for this research. Contrary to previous research, SDLPs ar e measured uniquely in this research so that more specific results can be acq uired that relate to salespeople. In this way, SDLPs are examined based on the specific type of learning endeavor, rather than all learning projects together. Use of induced SDLPs is defined as the amount of time (hours) and the number of occasions (frequenc y) spent on learning endeavors relating to fundamental skills and knowledge a salesper son must acquire in order to perform a specific job in his respective industry. Use of synergistic SDLPs is defined as the amount of time (hours) and the number of occasions (frequency) spent implementing learning endeavors which the salesperson undert akes to improve his performance, but are not mandated by the organization although the organization provides the learning opportunity. The role of willingness. This research proposes that scale development of willingness to use SDLPs w ill accomplish the following. Firs t, the SDLPs take into account various learning proj ects (induced, synergistic, voluntary, and scanning). Second, these projects have been associated with salespeople. Third, the willingness is characterized by expectancy theory, which can be prescriptive as it clearly identifies the reason for a salespersons unwillingness to use SDLPs, thereby enabling the organization to target potential obstacles to employee use of SDLPs. For example, when it is determined that the salesperson has low outcome expectancy, the supervisor can coach and mentor the salesperson to show him that using the pr oject will lead to a valued goal. When instrumentality is low, the sales supervisor and organization can help facilitate the learning process by providing training in SDL and self-regulation. If
71 valence is low, the sales manager can show support for learning projects by rewarding salespeople for using them. Finally, a scale that predicts salesperson motivation to use projects is expected to pr edict salesperson use based on expectancy theory (Vroom, 1964). Using this logic, if a sa lesperson is capable of doing a project, and that project is expected to lead to a certain goal which is important, willingness to use the project will be high and use of the project will, in turn, likely be high. Therefore, willingness to use SDLPs will likely positively impact use of SD LPs such that lower willingness to use SDLPs will lead to less use of SDLPs. Based on expectancy theory and previous empirical research regarding indicators of SDL and their re lationship with willingness to use SDLPs, the following hypotheses are created: H4A: Willingness to use induced SDLPs will positively impact salesperson use of induced SDLPs. H4B: Willingness to use synergistic SD LPs will positively impact salesperson use of synergistic SDLPs. The null forms of the hypotheses suggest th at willingness to use SDLPs will have no impact on use of SDLPs. This is formally stated below: H4A0: Willingness to use induced SDLPs will not impact salesperson use of induced SDLPs. H4B0: Willingness to use synergistic SD LPs will not impact salesperson use of synergistic SDLPs.
72 Conclusions This section provides previous empirical research investigat ing the link between indicators of SDL and use of SDL. Overall, limited previous resear ch predicts a positive relationship between indicators of SDL and use of SDL. This same logic can be transferred to willingness to use SDLPs becau se willingness to use SDLPs is intended to indicate the likelihood or mo tivation of a salesperson to use SDLPs, the same factor that revealed positive correlation in the pr evious studies. Moreover, developing the willingness to use SDLPs scale with exp ectancy theory also supports the positive linkage, along with attitude behavior consis tency theory and cognitive dissonance from the theory section. Therefore, willingness to use SDLPs is expected to positively impact use of SDLPs. Specifically, willingness to use induced SDLPs will positively impact use of induced, while willingness to use synerg istic SDLPs will positively impact use of synergistic SDLPs. Use of SDLPs and Performance This section discusses the relationship between use of SDLPs and performance. First, performance is defined. Next, perfor mance and learning are discussed as they relate to sales training researc h. Subsequently, limitations to sales training research are presented, followed by methods by which this re search seeks to avoi d such limitations. Then, SDL research on performance is presen ted explaining previous research linking use of SDL and performance. Finally, hypot heses are presented, followed by concluding remarks.
73 Performance Performance, for the purposes of this dissert ation, is defined as the salespersons value to the firm provided by the salesper sons past actions (Leach, Liu, & Johnston, 2005). Salesperson Training & Performance In the sales training and learning literatu re, a strong link betw een learning/training and performance is not widely understood, sp ecifically where it relates to learning orientation. For example, Sujan, Weitz, and Kumar (1994) took a dual approach to understanding salesperson performance. In their model, they hypot hesized that learning goal orientation and performance goal orienta tion are positively rela ted to salesperson performance, as depicted in Figure 2.1. Figure 2.1 Learning Orientations and Performanc e Orientation Model (Sujan et al., 1994) + Learning Goal Orientation Performance Goal Orientation Salesperson Performance +
74 Limitations with sales perfor mance and learning research. These types of learning and performance goals are conceptualized to result in positive performance outcomes. These are both approach forms of orientations, con ceptualized based on motivation resulting in positive performa nce outcomes (Dweck & Leggett, 1988). One criticism to this model is that it is not c onsistent with typical achievement motivation models (Atkinson, 1964; McClelland, 1951) resulting in both positive and negative outcomes (Silver, Dwyer, & Alford, 2006). In this sense, approach orientations and avoidance orientations should be examined when investigating learning orientation research leading to salesperson performance. Accordingly, approach orientations are those in which salespeople attempt to achie ve success and avoidance orientations are those in which salespeople attempt to a void failure (Silver et al., 2006; Verbeke & Bagozzi, 2000). Moreover, researchers have had limited success in assessing similar findings because the performance orientation li nkage is weak (Silver et al., 2006). To accommodate this motivational theory, Silver et al. (2006) proposed a model with a dichotomous path for performance orientati on while maintaining the learning orientation variable in its original version. The new model is listed in Figure 2.2.
75 Figure 2.2 Classic Model of Learning and Perf ormance Goal Orientations (Silver et al., 2006) These two models are examples of how learning and performance are conceptualized in the sales literature. A lthough the debate about le arning orientation and performance orientation continues, it is impor tant to ask whether th is is the appropriate method of examining learning in relation to performance. First, the model does not address current issues within sales training such as grow th-related and meta knowledge, skills, and abilities. Second, the model s uggests that individual s have a specific orientation toward learning and the aspect of training and development is ignored. Therefore, situational variables such as the environment, training, and support are not + Salesperson Performance + Performance Approach Goal Orientation Performance Avoidance Goal Orientation Learning Goal Orientation
76 expected to influence learning orientation. Since the constructs under investigation in those studies focus on orientation of learning and performance that are innate personal characteristics, and since organizations ca nnot train individuals to have different personalities or innate human traits, the resear ch is not helpful as a tool in salesperson training. This poses a problem for organiza tions that have existing employees who do not fit the appropriate learni ng or performance orientation. Additionally, it does not address training and how salespeo ple learn. Instead it examines specific orientations that are conducive to performance. Although these models are useful in solving the debate about performance according to orientation, th ey provide limited assistance in moving the literature forward concerni ng salesperson training. Avoiding limitations of pr evious sales research. It is necessary to develop models that accommodate the needs of both organizati ons and salespeople jointly; this research seeks to accomplish this. Specifically, these models address behaviors that salespeople can perform to help themselves in their jobs and in an individualized capacity rather than having managers require skills that individua ls may or may not need. Additionally, these models (Figures 2.3 and 2.4) ar e useful tools for seasoned sa lespeople as well as newly employed ones. This is a benefit lacking in previous models, which are better suited to the organization as a tool for selecting worthy new salespeople. Therefore, these models allow researchers and organizations to in fluence salespeople to use SDLPs during training and after hire, rather than only during the selection pr ocess. This wider range of benefits selection woul d clearly provide greate r utility for organizations. These models may facilitate the organization in understand ing how to help salespeople learn. The models in this dissertation incorporate trai ning that salespeople re ceive, types of learning
77 related to salespeople specifi cally, the support the organizatio n and supervisor provide to salespeople to facilitate the learning, and th e motivation to use methods of learning for the sake of improving performance. Finally, the models demonstrate how using different types of learning techniques and projects rela tes to levels of salesperson performance. SDL and Performance There is limited research regarding th e correlation between use of SDL and performance. Previous literature focuses on measures of SDL such as OCLI, SDLRS, and learning activities. Additionally, none of the studi es reported investigated salespeople or studied the type s of SDLPs salespeople use. Nonetheless, these studies form the primary existing link between SDL and performance justifying their examination in this research. Literature in adult education suggests th at SDL is a better or more effective learning or training model than traditional classr oom based methods. This is based on previous research examining the linkage be tween SDL and adult learner outcomes like grades and tests, typical indica tors of performance. Previous research demonstrates that the correlation between SDL indicators (e.g., SDLRS and OCLI) and performance outcomes in academic settings (e.g., end of semest er grades and tests) is positive (Bryan, 1995; Corbeil, 2003; Price, Kudrna, & Fega l, 1992; Reio, 2004). Corbeil (2003) examined 98 primarily white (71%) and fe male (67.4%) masters students with an average age of 40. The correla tion between the Oddi (1984) 26-item, 7-point OCLI and the final course grade on a scale from 0-100 was r = .52. Bryan (1995) examined 65 students enrolled in distance education using th e SDLRS. The average age of the sample
78 was 38.6 and the average years of educati on were 12.606. The sample consisted of primarily white (89%) males (83%). The 58item, 5-point SDLRS was used to measure SDL. Grades were measured on a 5-point scale, a (90-100), b ( 80-89), c (70-79), d (6069) and f (0-59). The correlation between SDLRS and course grade was r = .304. Therefore, the link between SDL and academic performance was positive and fairly consistent. One study tested three SDL scales in relation to job perf ormance (Jude-York, 1991). The OCLI, SDLRS, and learning activitie s scales were used to explain the link between SDL and job performance. The result s of the study demonstr ate the relationship between organizational learning climate, self-directed learne rs, and performance in the job setting. More specificall y, the study investigated the in fluence of the organizational learning climate within the organization on the relationship between self-directed learners and their performance at work. Significant pos itive correlations we re found between all measures of SDL and workplace performances indicating that the more self-directed an individual was while learning, th e better he would perform in the organization. The study was conducted in the household cleaning produc ts industry in the U.S. The sample consisted of 194 individuals of which 72% we re male and 13% white; average tenure was 7.17 years and the average age was 35.314. The 27-item, 7-point OCLI was used with a mean of 89, standard deviati on of .47, and reliability of = .83. Guglielminos (1977) SDLRSwas also used to examin e the relationship between SDL and performance. In this study, the mean SDLRS was 230 with a standa rd deviation reported of .45, and reported reliability of = .94. Learning activities were defi ned as the extent to which each individual had participated in specific learning activitie s during the previous year
79 measured on a 5-point, 20-item scale. Th e reported mean was 62, with a standard deviation of .71, and reliability of = .89. Performance was measured using BroomfieldDays (2000) manager rating form (MRF). The questionnaire provided a checklist of questions relating to observabl e behaviors, which the manager was expected to use to evaluate each employee. Some of the beha viors measured by the MRF were considered to be self-directed. The MR F is a 16-item, 5-point scale. Jude-York (1991) found a mean of 54, standard deviati on of .68, and reliability of = .93. Correlation between SDL and job performance, as measured by the MRF, were all positive (OCLI r = .24, SDLRS r = .32, and learning activities r = .18). Therefore, according to this research, the link between SDL and job performance is positive. Three additional studies examined th e relationship between SDLRS and job performance (Bromfield-Day, 2000; Middlemi ss, 1991; Yu ,1998). All of the research used the 58-item scale developed by Guglie lmino (1977) in her dissertation. BromfieldDay (2000) adapted the survey to have seven poi nts rather than the or iginal five points. Each of these found a positive relationship between the two variables. Middlemiss (1991) examined the relationship among SDL, job characteristics with job satisfaction using a sample of 115 various employees in the U.S. health care industry. The sample consisted of mostly women (93% female). The average age of the sample was 43 and the average education level was 17 years. The mean of SD LRS was 237, with a standard deviation of 23, and reliability of = .95. The measure of performance was the job diagnostic survey (JDS) by Hackman and Oldha m (1974), which is a three-item, 7-point scale. The reported mean was 5.25 with a stan dard deviation of 1.1, and scale reliability of = .68. The correlation between SDLR S and performance was positive (.31).
80 Another study used the same scales to measure readiness and performance (Bromfield-Day, 2000). The purpose of th e Bromfield-Day (2000) study was to determine what relationships exist among empl oyees self perceived readiness for SDL, employees perception of the supervisors ma nagement style, employee job satisfaction, and employee job performance. Signifi cant relationships were found between job satisfaction, performance, and management styl es with SDLRS scores. The sample used in the study consisted of employees in the f ood and nutrition department of a hospital in southern Mississippi. The mean for the SDLRS in this study was 214.6, and the correlation between SDL and job performance was positive (r = .206). Therefore, this presents another example in which the re lationship between SDL and performance is positive. A final study linking SDL and job performa nce used a self-reporting measure of performance (Yu, 1998). The purpose of this study was to determin e the significance of readiness for SDL, perception of job perf ormance, and demographic characteristics among high school principals serving public, private, and vocational high schools in Ohio. The sample was predominantly white (87.8%) and male (77.6%), with a mean age of 50. The average number of years of educa tion reported for those participating in the study was 19. The mean of the SDLRS scal e was 234.82 with a standard deviation of 14.15. Job performance was measured by self -assessment. Principals evaluated themselves in the areas of problem an alysis, judgment, organizational ability, decisiveness, leadership, sens itivity, stress, tolerance, or al communication, and written communication. The 14-item, 5-point scale reported a mean of 4.31. No standard
81 deviation was reported. The correlation betw een job performance and SDLRS in this study is also positive (r = .288). These studies demonstrate a promising li nk between various i ndicators of SDL and performance. Though similar to the st udies linking SDLRS to use of SDLPs, there are a few caveats to this conclusion. Thes e studies do not examine salespeople or the SDLPs used by them. This could mean that the relationship may be different in a sales context and with sales specific variables. N onetheless, the evidence is useful because it provides empirical support for the relations hip between SDL and performance, thereby providing a foundation on which to build hypothetical linkages for this research. Although previous linkages between SDL and performance have their stipulations, one study is of par ticular importance as it relates specifically to salespeople. First, it examines a link between performance and learning in a self-directed manner. Second, it examines self-directed behaviors pe rtaining to salespeople. In this study, Frayne and Geringer (2000) provided self-manag ement training to half of the sample of salespeople and used a social cognitive theore tical perspective to predict variances in performance. They predicted that providing training to salespeople with regard to selfmanagement skills like goal setting and self assessment would help salespeople become more self-directed and would foster a greater se nse of self efficacy that might get them to perform those same types of self-directed be haviors when left to work independently. This resulted in higher levels of performan ce for the treatment (self-managed) group. In fact, in an assessment 12 months after th e initial study, the training group, on average, made 50% more calls, sold twice as many policies, generated 150% more in sales revenues, and scored much higher on perfor mance appraisals than the control group.
82 Therefore, SDL can be distinctly linked to perf ormance. It can be concluded that use of SDLPs would be expected to positively impact performance. In this way, greater use of SDLPs will result in higher performance and less use of SDLPs will lead to lower performance. It is from this logic that the following hypotheses are created: H5A: Use of induced SDLPs will positively impact salesperson performance. H5B: Use of synergistic SDLPs will positively impact salesperson performance. The null form of these hypotheses suggests that use of SDLPs will not have any impact on salesperson performance. H5A0: Use of induced SDLPs will not impact salesperson performance. H5B0: Use of synergistic SDLPs will not impact salesperson performance. Conclusion This section introduced literature from sales and education to explore the link between learning and performance. The current sales literature fails to establish a strong link between learning and performance, whic h could be due to the focus on learning orientation. Literature of SDL provides several positive linkages between SDL and
83 performance. Therefore, it was concluded th at use of SDLPs w ould positively impact performance. Conclusions for the Literature Section The literature section presented previous em pirical research that resulted in the following conclusions relating to the relationshi ps between the relevant variables. Selfregulation training, POS for SDLPs, and PSS for SDLPs is expected to positively impact willingness to use SDLPs. Higher levels of willingness to use SDLPs is expected to lead to higher levels of use of SDLPs, while lower levels of willingness to use SDLPs is expected to lead to lower leve ls of use of SDLPs. Finally, use of SDLPs is expected to positively impact performance, so that greater use of SDLPs will lead to higher levels of performance while less use of SDLPs will lead to lower levels of performance. Two models (Figures 2.3 a nd 2.4) were conceptual ized, one relating to induced SDLPs and the other to synergistic SDLPs. Definition of Terms This section provides definitions to the key constructs used in the study. The definitions are provided in one cohesive table to give the reader a single resource to access definitions immediately. The constructs in the conceptual model are provided and operationally defined in Table 2.2. Following the definitions, hypotheses and conceptual models are presented.
84 Table 2.2 Definitions of Constructs Used in the Model POS for SDLPs Employees global beliefs about how ready the organization is to help him in times of need and reward extra effort and hard work related to the use of a specific type of SDL activity. POS for Induced SDLPs Employees global beliefs about how ready the organization is to help him in times of need and reward extra effort and hard work related to learning end eavors relating to fundamental skills and knowledge he must ac quire in order to perform a specific job in his industry. POS for Synergistic SDLPs Employees global beliefs about how ready the organization is to help him in times of need and reward extra effort and hard work related to learning endea vors undertaken to improve his performance which are not mandated by the organization, although the organization provi des the learning opportunity. PSS for SDLPs Employees global beliefs about how ready his supervisor is to help in times of need and reward him for extra effort and hard work related to the use of a specific type of SDL activity. PSS for Induced SDLPs Employees global beliefs about how ready his supervisor is to help in times of need and reward him for extra effort and hard work related to learning fundame ntal skills and knowledge he must acquire in order to perfor m a specific job in his industry. PSS for Synergistic SDLPs Employees global beliefs about how ready his supervisor is to help in times of need and reward him for extra effort and hard work related to learning endeavor s he undertakes to improve his performance which are not mandated by the organization, although the organization provi des the learning opportunity. Self-Regulation Training Training the employee has received related to: 1) setting clear, specific goals that are cha llenging, 2) understanding and planning to overcome obstacles and 3) self-monitoring and self-reinforcement methods used for motivation. Willingness to Use SDLPs Employees level of agreeablene ss or motivation to use one, some, or all of the four differe nt types of learning projects (induced, synergistic, voluntary, and scanning). Motivation to use learning projects comes from the employees valence of the outcome of the learning project, su ch that he cares or finds the outcome valuable, instrumentality that using the learning project will lead to that outcom e, and expectancy that he can perform that learning activity. Willingness to Use Induced SDLPs Salespersons valence, instrume ntality, and expectancy outcome for learning endeavors relating to fundamental skills and knowledge he must acquire in orde r to perform a specific job in his industry.
85 Table 2.2 Definitions of Constructs Used in the Model (Continued) Construct Definition Willingness to Use Synergistic SDLPs Salespersons valence, instrume ntality, and expectancy outcome for learning endeavors he undertakes to improve his performance, which are not mandated by the organization, although the organization provi des the learning opportunity. Use of SDLPs Amount of time (hours) spent im plementing a specific category of self-directed learning activities (induced, synergistic, voluntary, and scanning). Use of Induced SDLPs Amount of time (hours) spent implementing learning endeavors relating to fundamental skills a nd knowledge a salesperson must acquire in order to perform a specific job in his industry. Use of Synergistic SDLPs Amount of time (hours) spent implementing learning endeavors the salesperson undertakes to improve his performance which are not mandated by the organi zation, although the organization provides the lear ning opportunity. Performance The salespersons value to the firm determined by his past actions. List of Hypotheses The following chart is a comprehensive list of all hypotheses in the models (Figure 2.3 and 2.4). The chart is provided so that the reader can easily reference each hypothesis as related to the comprehensiv e models listed in Figures 2.3 and 2.4. Table 2.3 List of Hypotheses H1A Self-regulation training will positiv ely impact salesperson level of willingness to use induced SDLPs. H1B Self-regulation training will positiv ely impact salesperson level of willingness to use synergistic SDLPs. H2A Perceived organizational support for induced SDLPs will positively impact salesperson willingness to use induced SDLPs. H2B Perceived organizational support fo r synergistic SDLPs will positively impact salesperson willingness to use synergistic SDLPs. H3A Perceived supervisor support for induced SDLPs will positively impact salesperson willingness to use induced SDLPs.
86 Table 2.3 List of H ypotheses (Continued) H3B Perceived supervisor support for synergistic SDLPs will positively impact salesperson willingness to use synergistic SDLPs. H4A Willingness to use induced SDLPs w ill positively impact use of induced SDLPs. H4B Willingness to use synergistic SDLP s will positively impact use of synergistic SDLPs. H5A Use of induced SDLPs will have a positive impact on salesperson performance. H5B Use of synergistic SDLPs will have a positive impact on salesperson performance. Models Next is a presentation of the two models under investigation in the study with the hypothetical linkages previously discussed in the literature review The first model examines specific constructs modified to include induced SDLPs, and the second model is related to synergistic lear ning projects. Following the model is a list of hypotheses presented throughout the chapter. Again, this will help the reader make the connection between the model and the relationships that are expected to exis t between each of the constructs presented. Two models are necessary for two reasons. First, learning projects are unique and distinct. Therefore, two models are included in the re search to understand both induced and synergistic SDLPs. The research is desi gned to investigate i nduced and synergistic projects, but not voluntary and s canning projects. This is be cause the sample may not be suited for those types of proj ects. More qualitative rese arch is necessary prior to developing scales for voluntary and scanning SDLPs and testi ng them in a model. This research is the first test of an SDL model in sales research. Thus, the main effects need to
87 be examined prior to examining covariances between learning projects and their related variables. Second, at this point, it is not assumed th at one project influences the other in terms of support and willingness. For instan ce, if a salesperson be lieves using a learning library (synergistic) to access information wi ll be useful in enhancing performance and that he can do it, then that does not nece ssarily influence how willing he may be to participate in a completely different project su ch as certification atta inment (induced). In another example, the supervis ors support for induced proj ects (e.g., earning continuing education hours as require d by the industry) may not influence a salespersons willingness to engage in a synergistic proj ect (e.g., using company databases to find historical information). At this point, the interrelationships between the two models are outside of the scope of this study, but should probably be considered at a future time when more information is known about the construc ts individually as they relate to sales. The models in Figures 2.3 and 2.4 are base d on the literature review, theory, and discussion outlined in this chapter.
88 Figure 2.3 Model of Induced Self-Directed Learning for Salesperson Performance Self-Regulation Training Use of Induced SDLPs Performance POS for Induced SDLPs Willingness to Use Induced SDLPs PSS for Induced SDLPs H1A H2A+H3A+ H4A H5A+ + +
89 Self-Regulation Training Use of Synergistic SDLPs Performance POS for Synergistic SDLPs Willingness to Use Synergistic SDLPs PSS for Synergistic SDLPs H1B H2B +H3B + H4B H5B + + + Figure 2.4 Model of Synergistic Self-Directed Learning fo r Salesperson Performance
90 Conclusion/Discussion Theory, literature, and logic were used to determine appropriate scale development foundation, constructs for inve stigation, and to pred ict and explain the relationships among the variables in the model developed for th is research project. Many theories (social exchange theory, social cognitive theory, cognitive dissonance, attitude behavior consistency, adult l earning theory, and expectan cy theory) and streams of research (adult education, psychology, marketin g) were used to cr eate a comprehensive view of two models (induced and synergistic) of SDL relatin g specifically to salespeople and the types of learning projects they use. The antecedents were carefully chosen based on a varied selection of theories from the fields of psychology and adult education. Not only does this compiled construct provide academic advantages over its predecessors, it offers the dual benefit of new practical a pplications available to the sales industry, particularly from the adaptable nature of the antecedents. This adaptability, which offers more than one advantage, is characterized by the fact that the an tecedents are based on factors that can be moderated and controlled externally to the individual. This would provide organizations with an unprecedented opportunity to be actively involved in evaluating and promoting the willingness of employees to undertake a self-directed approach in which they would constantly st rive to improve their work endeavors. A further extension of this opport unity is based on the appropri ateness of the construct to edify new, as well as seasoned employees, and provide screening criteria for potential hires. Chapter Three explains the methodology proscribed to test these models, the scale development, and modification process.
91 CHAPTER THREE METHODOLOGY This chapter describes the methodology us ed to test induced and synergistic models of salesperson self-d irectedness presented in Chapter Two. This chapter is comprised of two major sections. First, th e research setting, sample characteristics, demand characteristic, and reliabilities are described. Second, the measures and data collection procedure are explained, along with ju stification of the analytical techniques. Research Setting and Sample Characteristics Sample The data for the study came from salespe ople in the financial services industry such as mortgage, securities, and insurance sa lespeople. Collecting data from salespeople within this industry has many be nefits. First, salespeople wh o sell financial services must take examinations and earn certifications to work in the industry. Fo r salespeople to earn certifications, they must perform induced SDLPs (study materials for certification requirements). Second, the insurance industr y utilizes historical databases to train employees, thereby providing a readily availa ble resource for employees to use at their discretion in order to serve th eir customers more effectively; this is an example of a synergistic project. Conse quently, testing models of both induced and synergistic SDLPs is viable with this sample. Third, salespeople in the insurance industry have a
92 variety of roles. The financial services sample will be comprised of salespeople who spend various amounts of time in the office. It is expected that salespeople who spend time only in the office, only outside of the office, and a mixture of both will comprise the sample. This provides the research with different types of boundary spanning roles and levels of organizational influence. Finall y, the financial industry was selected for the type of sales it conducts. The financial i ndustry provides sales for products that are intangible, technical, constantly changing, and related to service. These qualities affect the nature of the relationsh ip between the customer and the salesperson, whereby the customer must completely depend on the sa lespersons expertise since the customer cannot tangibly experience a product like insuran ce. For this reason, salespeople in this industry must not have lapses in their knowle dge base and must constantly stay current with changes in the industr y. Therefore, the nature of financial products makes the financial industry one in which performance in sales is clearly related to the amount of effort salespeople invest in knowledge of the i ndustry. It is expected that this link will make the insurance industry an ideal tes ting ground for the introduction of SDL as a model for training and developing salespeople. Investigating SDL in this Research Self-directed learning was investigated in this research in the form of SDLPs. Only two (induced and synergistic ) of the four learning projects were investigated in this dissertation for several reasons. Since the study investigates salespeople in the financial industry, it is expected that all salespeople had the opportunity to use both induced and synergistic projects. These individuals are requ ired to take certification exams in order to
93 work in the industry satisfying the criteria for induced projects. Additionally, financial agencies provide salespeople with databases and other resources that may facilitate the salesperson in serving customers. Many of th ese resources are used at the discretion of the salesperson and are not mandatory. This me ets the criteria of s ynergistic projects. With respect to voluntary and scanning proj ects, it is assumed that the majority of salespeople in the insurance industry will not use these projects. In fact, it is possible that only seasoned or outside salespeople use s canning projects, whereas all salespeople are expected use induced and synergistic projects Research is necessary to understand how voluntary and scanning projects are used, but they are outsi de of the scope of this dissertation. Therefore, it is important to first understand projects that a majority of salespeople use in this industry before investigating a population (only seasoned salespeople) that is less generalizable. Procedure Pretest Prior to final administration, the survey was pretested with a small sample that included salespeople in the financial servic es industry (25) including life insurance agents, securities dealers, and mortgage br okers. The pretest was used to assess the clarity of the instructions and individual sc ale items and to measure the time required to complete the survey. The results of the pret est indicate that the link to the survey was operational, the survey instructions and wo rding were comprehensible, the scale items were appropriate, and the averag e completion time was 15-25 minutes.
94 Research design Salespeople were asked to participate in the study via email from the National Alliance of Insurance group. The survey de sign incorporated each of the constructs tested in the model. The survey format wa s administered through th e electronic software program Qualtrics. The electronic survey wa s sent out to salespeople who are customers of the national insurance sales group. Electronic survey software has many benef its. First, turnaround time is quick. In fact, usually half of surveys sent out are re turned in the same day (Churchill & Iacobucci, 2005). Also, the electronic survey does not allow for missing data that may result from paper and pencil formats when respondents forget to answer a question. This is due to a function within the survey soft ware that does not allow participants to move to the next page of questions until all questions are co mplete. The electronic survey is also beneficial because participant responses are tran sferred directly into a data analysis file preventing any data entry errors by the rese archer. Although no missing data is due to skipped questions, dropout due to survey leng th and not applicable items resulted in 392 of 518 completed surveys. Table 3.1 displays the demographic components of the sample. Of the completed surveys, 62.5% of participants were male while 37.5% were female. Most participants fell between the age ranges of 36 and 55. The majority of the sample had been in their current position for over four years (68.4%). Average income for the sample fell between $50,000-$100,000 (44%). On average, the salespeopl e in the sample worked in sales for over 13 years (58.9%). Typically, participants had completed at least a four-year degree (55.1%).
95 Table 3.1 Demographic Statistics for the Sample Demographic Factors Category Frequency % of sample Gender Male Female 245 147 62.5 37.5 Age 18-25 26-35 36-45 46-55 56+ 11 57 104 130 90 2.8 14.5 26.5 33.2 23 Tenure Position (months) Less than 6 6-12 13-18 19-23 24-48 +48 12 20 25 7 60 268 3.1 5.1 6.4 1.8 15.3 68.4 Income Less than 50,000 50,000-100,000 101,000-150,000 151,000-200,000 +200,000 86 175 66 26 39 21.9 44.6 16.8 6.6 9.9 Years in Sales Less than 1 1-3 4-6 7-9 10-12 13+ 7 39 42 29 42 231 1.8 9.9 10.7 7.4 10.7 58.9 Education Complete High school 2-year college 4-year college Graduate degree 90 46 216 38 23 11.7 55.1 9.7 Demand characteristics Demand characteristics are those features of the experimental situation that may affect the subjects behavior. In particular, participants may have expectations about what they are required to do or have work ed out what the experimenter wants to happen. In this way, participants may change th eir behavior or respons es to be consistent with what they believe the experimenter desires. It is for this reas on that questions were
96 carefully considered to ensure participants were unable to determine the purpose of the research. When participants filled out the questionnaires, there was a section at the end that allowed them to leave other relevant comments. The respondents typically viewed the survey as requesting information regardi ng general learning in the workplace, based on their comments. Common method variance Research is divided regard ing the biasing effect on the relationship between variables that are measured with the same met hod, such as self-report su rveys. This is an important topic to the research given that self-report was used as the data collection method. Common method variance, also known as monomethod bi as, is the inflation of the relationship between two va riables that are measured w ith the same method. Some researchers suggest that this inflation is a potential problem in research (Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Lee, & Podsakoff, 2003). Ot hers (Crampton & Wagner, 1994; Spector 1987, 1994, 2006) agree that the problem is ove rstated. Spector (2006) suggests that: if we measure two or more variables with the same met hod, such as selfreport, some of the observed correlati ons might be inflated due to shared biases however, just because some va riables share biases does not mean that all variables share biases. Overall, Spector (2006) sugge sts that certain variables may share a common bias such as social desirability; however, the method alone is not su fficient to produce a
97 biasing effect. Therefore, to account for th e method, self-report, and to provide evidence that common method variance is not artifi cially inflating the relationships between variables, a scale was included in the survey that should not relate to the performance variable. This is also know n as the marker-variable tec hnique. Lindell and Whitney (2001) proposed this technique to account for problems with a single-method research design such as the one in this study using self-report. The marker variable was specifically incorporated into the survey with the variables of interest. The marker variable was theoretically unrelated to pe rformance. This way, common method variance is evaluated based on the correlation between the marker variable and the theoretically unrelated variable. Just as in Malhotra et al. (2006), th e correlation between the marker variable and the unrelated construct i ndicates common method variance and is represented as rM. Given that the marker variable approach does not force a multi-method approach and provides a specific estimate of common method variance, a marker variable was applied in this research to account for common method variance. The marker variable used in the study was fashion consciousness. Fashion consciousness is the extent to which an individual places importance on being fashionably dressed (Lumpkin & Darden, 1982; Malhotra, Kim, & Patil, 2006; Wells & Tigert, 1971). Fashion consciousness doe s not theoretically link to salesperson performance and, therefore, was not expected to vary with the level of performance. Since the two variables are unrelated, the extent to which they correlate is a measure of common method variance or bias from using self-report measurement. In Appendix 4, a correlation table is presented providing eviden ce that there is no significant correlation between fashion consciousness and either measure of performance. The correlation
98 matrix was created by comparing the mean score for each scale. Consequently, the measurement itself, or self-repor t, is not expected to inflat e the relationships between the variables in the study, speci fically performance. Th e scale items for fashion consciousness are located in Appendix 1. Measurement This section presents an overview of the measures used in the study. Two scales measuring performance were taken from the extant sales literature. Measures for POS/PSS for induced and synergistic SDLPs a nd use of induced and synergistic SDLPs were modified from their original form. Two different scales of willingness to use induced and synergistic SDLPs were created; one is based on expectancy theory and the other by asking how willing the participant was to use a specific type of SDLP (induced or synergistic). Table 3.2 reports the original authors of the scales the number of items, and any modifications made to the scale. Sp ecific examples of these modifications and additions are included in Appendix 1. Appendi x 2 is the survey instrument. Appendix 3 presents each scale and its rela tive reliabilities and loadings from the factor analysis. Appendix 4 demonstrates the means, standa rd deviations, and correlations among the constructs. Instruments Limitations in self-directed learning measurement Several limitations exist in SDL measuremen t. First, SDL measured as a whole does not differentiate between work and leisur e types of SDL. Sec ond, SDL originated in
99 the field of adult education. Consequently, the means of measurement that are currently in use were adapted specifically for that field with only a few applications to the business field. Clardy (2000) was the fi rst to create a classification system for SDLPs applicable to business by conducting in-d epth interviews as an extension of Toughs (1967) interview process. Prior to this study, no scal es have been created to measure SDLPs in a quantitative manner. Thus, quant itative measures were needed. Instrument development process The overall goal in the instrument devel opment process was to create valid and reliable scales to test the constructs within the model. There were scales relevant to the models in the study, self-regulat ion training, and two measures of performance. Other scales (self-regulat ion training, perceived organiza tional support for induced and synergistic SDLPs, perceived supervisory s upport for induced and synergistic SDLPs, use of induced and synergistic SDLPs, a nd one measure of performance) required modification to be consistent with conceptual de finitions of the constructs and to relate to the sales population. Finally, two scales were created fo r the study: willingness to use induced SDLPs and willingness to use syne rgistic SDLPs. Table 3.2 displays the measures used in the study with their reliabilities.
100 Table 3.2 Measurement Scales and Relevant Modifications Construct Author Desc ription Modification Self-Regulation Training Leach et al. 2005 JPSSM 5-item, 7-point Likert type scale None Performance 1 Leach et al. 2005 JPSSM 3-item, 6-point scale Add 1 question Performance 2 Behrman and Perreault 1984 JM Seven-item, 11-point scale None POS Eisenberger et al. 1986 JAP 36-item, 7-point Likert type scale SDLPs and shortened version PSS Kottke & Sharafinski 1988 Ed. & Psych. Measurement 36 item, 7-point Likert type scale SDLPs and shortened version Use of SDLPs Boyer 2008 5 items each categorical New Willingness to use SDLPs Boyer 2008 13 and 9-item, 7point induced and synergistic New expectancy Willingness to use SDLPs Boyer 2008 5-item, 7-point induced and synergistic new Instrument development process for new and modified measures This section discusses the process of developing new measures and modifying current measures for the research. This proce ss is broken up into six steps. Step One is a review of the literature relating to those constr ucts. Step Two uses in-depth interviews to generate measurement items. Step Three genera tes and refines scale items. Step Four is a preliminary test of the scales. Step Five is item purification. And finally, Step Six is an analysis of the pilot study data after factor analyzi ng the data. Each step is explained in further detail below.
101 Chapter Two provided the review of the literature. Each construct was assessed and conceptually defined using resources from the literature. Then, scales that were deemed acceptable were evaluated using the cr iteria listed above. Finally, a decision was made determining evaluative fit and whether further investigation was necessary in the literature. Since willingness to use SDLPs did not exist in the appropriate form in the literature, a new scale was developed. Th e following scales, self-regulation training, POS, PSS, use of SDL, and one scale of pe rformance, did not satisfy the evaluative criteria. Thus, modifications of the existi ng scales were necessar y. The new modified scales are self-regulation training, POS for i nduced SDLPs, POS for synergistic SDLPs, PSS for induced SDLPs, PSS for synergistic SD LPs, use of synergistic SDLPs, use of induced SDLPs, and performance. A review of the literature confirmed that willingness is conceptualized as a form of motivation. Therefore, a motivation theory was the most useful form of conceptualizing a willingness scale. The th eory that appeared most appropriate and explanatory in the literature was expectancy theory by Vroom (1964) Related to this research, this is made up of three precepts: 1) a salespersons ability to use a learning project, 2) belief that the pr oject will meet a specific outcome, and 3) the perception that the outcome is important. During the in-depth interview process, the researcher examined salespeople within the financial industr y, which encompassed individual s in the insurance industry. Individuals participating earned certifications to work in th e industry and participated in on-the-job training. Following research by Cl ardy (2000), during each interview session, participants were asked to write down activities related to specific learning projects that
102 were defined for them. A few examples were given for the participants to use as a reference. Participants were asked to identify activi ties related to specific learning projects. The researcher discussed the activities with the participant, requesting clarification and more detailed information by asking questi ons such as how are these items you list different and what do you mean by (specific verb iage used to descri be activity)? This helped the researcher to understand the diffe rences between the constructs and move on to Step Three. Additionally, the researcher asked part icipants whether their willingness to perform an activity was based on the three principles from expectancy theory. Participants agreed that when they feel they can do a project, that project will lead to a specific outcome, and the specific outcome is important, they would be willing to do that project. This helps confirm the researcher s assumption that expectancy theory may provide a solid foundation for the conceptu alization and items used to measure willingness to use SDLPs. Moreover, items that assess willingness by asking participants how willing they are to use a SD LP were included as a comparison for the expectancy theory driven measure. The item pool was generated using previous scales, the literatur e search, and data from the in-depth interviews. Each item and scale was assessed for substantive and content validity when adding it to the item pool. Once scale items were created, they were refined for interpretability of the sample. The researcher examined items to determine whether questions would make se nse to those in the population and whether modification would harm validity. If questi ons were not interpretable to the population,
103 then the study would be corr upt. Therefore, readability for the sample was vitally important. The researcher and committee members examined questions several times prior to running preliminary test s of the scales in Step Four. The entire survey, in the form of 20 pa ges, including constructs for all four different types of learning projects, were pretested on pa rticipants from the larger population of the financial i ndustry including life insurance agents, managers in the insurance agency, and mortgage brokers. The pretests were used to determine the appropriateness of the length, format, and questions. Several versions of the questionnaire were pretested. First, the twenty-page version that included all four types of learning projects was te sted. Participants took, on average, at least one and a ha lf hours filling out the survey an d another two to three hours discussing the survey with the researcher. Ov erall, it was determined that the survey should be broken down to less than half or ev en a quarter of the number of pages. In addition, several items were modified to enhan ce interpretability for the reader. Finally, a five-page version of the original survey was created that used page space more efficiently, and only included analysis of two of the types of learning projects: induced and synergistic. Managers of the salespe ople, the researcher, and committee members decided this version was more realistic and each item was interpretable to the population. This lead to Step Five, the pilot study. The data was purified through factor analysis to filter the items into the most useful and applicable measures for the study. Factor analysis of the scales is included in Appendix 3 and described below in further detail in each of the variables sections of this chapter. First, exploratory f actor analysis was used to calc ulate factor loadings. For all
104 of the constructs, with the exception of willingness to use induced SDLPs and willingness to use synergistic SDLPs stemming from expectancy theory, principal axis factoring was used as the extraction me thod due to its unidimensionality. The willingness constructs rooted in expectancy theory were multidimensional and used the maximum likelihood extraction method with varimax rotation to determine factor loadings. These results can be found in Appe ndix 3. The factor loadings represent the correlations of each scale item and the underlying construct, and can be used to purify the constructs measurement items (Hair, Bush, & Ortinau, 1998). The factor loading used for scale elimination was set to .4, which is .1 above that of pr evious recommendations from Hair et al. (1998). As demonstrated in Appendix 3, all of the scale items had factor loadings above .4 except the willingness to use induced SDLPs based on expectancy theory, which only had one item that did not meet this criterion. Second, Cronbachs was used to assess the reliabilities of each of the scales. Reliabilities were calculated for self-regulation training ( performance 1 ( performance 2 ( POS for induced SDLPs ( PSS for induced SDLPs ( POS for synergistic SDLPs ( PSS for synergistic SDLPs ( willingness to use induced SDLP s with expectancy theory ( willingness to use synergistic SDLP s with expectancy theory ( willingness to use induced SDLPs ( willingness to use synergistic SDLPs ( use of induced SDLPs ( and use of synergistic SDLPs ( All measures fall within the acceptable range for Cronbachs al pha reliability of .7 and above (Nunnally & Bernstein, 1994). Reliability for the in struments self-regulation training and two
105 measures of performance are consistent with th e literature (Behrm an & Perreault, 1994; Leach et al., 2005). To analyze the hypothesized relationships several structural equation models were used. Even though some latent variab les had more than one scale to measure the construct, only the most reliable measur es for the constructs were used in the measurement models. This is described in detail in Chapter 4. Evaluative criteria for asse ssing measurement scales Each of the measurement scales were examined using evaluative criteria to determine whether they were a good fit for the study or required modification. First, the scales were assessed for consistency with th e conceptual definition of the construct. Then, each scale was assessed based on statisti cal and psychometric adequacy. Table 3.3 illustrates these forms of evaluative criteria and how they are assessed in the dissertation.
106 Table 3.3 Evaluative Criteria Evaluative Criteria Definition How Tested in Dissertation Content/Face Validity The extent to which the construct is represented by the items in the scale on face value. Examination of scale items and conceptual definition by researcher and respondents. Substantive Validity Theoretical linkage between the latent variable and the scale items. Examination of scale items by researcher after pretest and scale item deletions. Unidimensionality The extent to which the scale items load on only one factor of the latent variable. Confirmatory factor analysis. Reliability Internal consistency of the scale. Cronbachs alpha. Convergent Validity The degree to which the latent variable (scale) correlates to other items (scales) designed to measure the same latent variable. Confirmatory factor analysis, additional scales are measured for performance. Discriminant Validity The degree to which the measure (scale) of the latent variable is different from other scales that measure different latent variables. Confirmatory factor analysis. In determining consistency with the con ceptual definition, the scale had to meet both content and substantive validity. Cont ent validity, also know n as face validity, assesses whether the scale items appear to be consistent with the definition of each construct. For each scale, the researcher comp ared the construct definition to the items in the scale and either confirmed or denied that the two were consistent. Additionally, individuals from the population were provided with the definitions and asked whether the items used were consistent with the defin itions. When inconsistencies were found, the scale was modified, a different scale was unc overed from the literature, or a new scale was created to be consiste nt with each definition. While content validity examines consiste ncy between items in the scale with the conceptual definition, substantive validity addresses the linkage between the items and
107 the construct at hand. In this sense, when content validity exists, substantial validity exists. Therefore, it was vitally important for the researcher to keep in mind theoretical and conceptual inclusion of each scale item even if statistical analysis recommended dropping items to maintain validity of the c onstruct. When items were dropped, a second check for content validity of the construct was employed to ensure that the construct maintained consistency with the con ceptual definition after any deletions. Whether the scales were pre-existing, ne w to the literature, or newly modified, they all were evaluated based on statisti cal standards. These standards include unidimensionality, reliabili ty, and construct validity. Some scales were multidimensional. This means that more than one unidimensional scale makes up the overall scale. Although this may be useful fo r some research, each scale must be taken in its own unidimensional form in order to assess the reliability of th e construct (Gerbing & Anderson, 1988). Each scale proposed in this study is assumed to be unidimensional with the exception of the two scales m easuring willingness to use SDLPs based on expectancy theory. In this case, the scales had three dimensions related to valence, instrumentality, and expectanc y. The willingness scales were broken down into three subscales and unidimensionality was assessed. In this dissertation, confirmatory factor analysis was used to determine unidimensionality. To assess whether unidimensionality had been established through confirmatory f actor analysis, criteria such as the overall measurement model and components of the measurement model were examined (Steenkamp &VanTrijp, 1991). These compone nts include standardized residuals and modification indices, direction of the pa rameter estimates, and significance of the
108 parameter estimates. When scales are considered unidimensional, tests for reliability began. To assess reliability of the scales, a measure of internal consistency using Cronbachs alpha was obtained. To assess inte rnal consistency using Cronbachs alpha, at least three items in a scale were requi red. Therefore, two items would not yield accurate reliability measurements (Dunn, Seaker, & Waller, 1994). Typically, scales with an alpha reliability ove r .7 are considered reliable (N unnally, 1978). Scores lower than .7 may not be internally consistent meaning that the s cale items may not be the most appropriate indicators of the construct. There are some limitations to using Cronb achs alpha as a measure of reliability in addition to the parameters presented above First, the coefficient alpha can become artificially inflated when in creasing the number of items in the scale (Churchill & Peter, 1984; Dunn et al., 1994). The researcher mu st avoid adding items to reach a specific level of reliability for the scale as this may create problems for construct and content validity. Alternatively, coefficient alpha may underestimate the reliability of the scale (Bollen, 1989; Steenkamp & Van Trij p, 1991). Although both problems pose many threats to the research, the former issue of inflating the validity is most severe. Conversely, decreasing validity es timates may create inaccurate unfavorable evaluations of the scale. Increasing the validity artificially may create inaccurate favorable evaluations of the scale. Finally, Cronbachs alpha is only appropriate with a single factor or unidimensional construct (Cotton, Ca mpbell, & Malone, 1957). Therefore, it is unclear how alpha is affected by dimensionalit y (Cortina, 1993). This poses an issue for the measure of willingness to use SDLPs gi ven the multidimensional scale derived from
109 expectancy theory. Thus, the scales were broken down into three smaller unidimensional scales. Construct validity was determined by a ssessing both convergent and divergent validity. Overall, cons truct validity determined the extent to which the scale measures what it intends to measure (Churchill, 1979; Churchill & Surprenant, 1982). Convergent validity assessed the degree to which the scale correlated to other scales designed to test the same construct (Dunn et al., 1994). Disc riminant validity a ssessed the degree to which the scale measured only the construct th at it intended to meas ure and not others. This was assessed through confirmatory fact or analysis. This can be established by examining factor loadings on scale items. Wh en scale items load together at a specific magnitude for the construct, convergent validi ty is achieved. To test for discriminant validity, items from one scale were analyzed along with items fr om another scale. In this way, scale items for one construc t should not load high with othe r constructs tested in the model. Low correlations between construc ts indicate discriminant validity (Gerbing &Anderson, 1988). This is displayed in Appendix 4. Therefore, following Gerbing and Anderson (1988), confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was administered to investigate the va lidity of each construct used with attention given to the scales that were developed. Items that load weakly on the construct were eliminated. The CFA revealed an excellent fit between the model and the data set when the items loaded on the hypothesized cons truct significantly and the findings for convergent and discriminant validity were acceptable. According to Bagozzi, Yi, and Philliips (1991), correlations between constructs should be significantly different from one. In terms of construct level discriminant validity for the model, all correlations
110 between constructs were significantly less than one. For convergent validity not using a comparison scale, the standardized loadings of each item must be greater than .5 (Fornell & Larcker, 1981). This informa tion is displayed in Appendix 3. Evaluation of existing scales Two popular measures of performance are widely used in the sales training and performance literature (Behrm an & Perreault, 1984; Leach et al., 2005). Performance by Leach et al. (2005) is a 6-poi nt, 3-item scale measuring salesperson self-report of performance regarding attaini ng high profit customers, averag e goal attainment, and last performance evaluation. A sample of 411 sa lespeople in the in surance underwriting industry was used in their study and this scale received an alpha of = .66. The scale was modified for the current study to include one additional item and rate performance compared to peers. The additional questi on was, how do you rate compared to your peers at performing your job well? The reliab ility reported for the data collected in the current study was higher at = .79. These items are listed in Appendix 1. Behrman and Perreaults (1984) self-assesse d measure rates performance compared to peers on an 11point, 7-item scale on items relating to market share, profit, sales do llars, sales targets, and meeting goals. These items are listed in Appendix 1. Behrma n and Perreault (1984) used a holdout sample to assess reliability over = .75. The scale was later adapted by Sujan et al. (1994) and received a reliability of = 91. Both measures of performance fell within the acceptable alpha range over .7. Th e factor analysis in Appendix 3 displays factor loadings for both measures. The ev aluative criteria assessment for each of the scales is included in Table 3.4.
111 Table 3.4 Evaluation of Performance Measures Performance Leach et al. 2005 3-item, 6-point scale Not clear to reader, low reliability Acceptable Performance Behrman and Perreault (1984) 7-item, 11-point scale Acceptable Acceptable Self-regulation training was measured by L each et al. (2005) and defined as sales training that intends to improve the self-regulation capabilitie s of salespeople (Leach et al., 2005). This scale appears consistent with the conceptual definition for self-regulation training in this study, although more items on goal setting would better represent the construct. Leach et al. (2005) used a 5-item 7-point measure of self-regulation training. These items are included in Appendix 1. Leach et al. (2005) examined salespeople in the insurance industry, specificall y, life insurance salespeople. Four hundred eleven usable questionnaires were returned via a mailed survey instrument. On average, salespeople had 14 years of experience, held both c onsumer and business accounts, and were 79% male. Forty-five percent of the population reported having training in self-regulation. The scale reported an alpha reliability of = .92. This study used a modified version of the scale, adding five items, in Appendix 1. Table 3.5 Evaluation of Se lf-Regulation Training Construct Author Description Content and Substantive Validity Psychometric Properties Self-regulation training Leach et al. 2005 5-item, 7-point Likert type scale Acceptable, may want to add items Acceptable
112 Perceived organizational support and perc eived supervisor support reflect the employees perception of how valued he is by the organization or the supervisor. Stemming from the psychology lite rature, these scales are not specific to salespeople and not specifically relate d to the types of learning projects they employ. Eisenberger et al. (1986) created the perceived organizational support (POS) scale and it has received a great deal of research attention (Eisenberg er et al., 2001; Eisenberg er et al., 2002; Shore & Tetrick, 1991; Settoon, Bennett, & Liden, 1996 ). The scale was created to understand the employees view of the organizations commitment to them. Eisenberger et al. (1986) found underlying patterns of employee ag reement with items relating to whether the organization appreciated employee work e fforts and would treat employees favorably or unfavorably in different circumstances. Th e original 36-item scale (Eisenberger et al., 1986) had a strong inte rnal reliability, Cronbachs alpha of = .93, and demonstrated unidimensionality. Shorter versions were cr eated due to this high internal consistency (Armeli, Eisenberger, Fasolo, & Lynch, 1998; Eisenberger, Fasolo, & Davis-LaMastro, 1990; Lynch et al., 1999; Shore & Tetrick, 1991; Shore & Wayne, 1993). POS has been found to be related to effo rt-reward expectancies (Eis enberger et al., 1990), job satisfaction (Shore & Tetrick, 1991) and organizational commit ment (Eisenberger et al., 1990; Rhoades, Eisenberger, & Armeli, 2001 ; Settoon, Bennett, & Liden, 1996; Shore & Tetrick, 1991). The majority of studies use the 17-item short form using only the highest loading items in the POS scale (Eiseberger et al., 1986). A shorter form was created using high-loading items from the original PO S scale. Rhoades and Eisenberger (2002) justify this usage by saying:
113 Because the original scale is unidimensional and has high internal reliability, the use of the shorter version does not appear problematic. Prudence nevertheless dictates that bo th facets of the definition of POS (valuation of employees contributio n and care about employees wellbeing) be represented in short versions of the questionnaire. Items from the Eisenberger et al. (1986) orig inal scale that should be considered when using the shortened 8-item version include: 1. The organization values my c ontribution to its well-being. 3. The organization fails to appreciate any extra effort from me. (R) 7. The organization would ignore any complaint from me. (R) 9. The organization really cares about my well-being. 17. Even if I did the best job possible, the organization would fail to notice. (R) 21. The organization cares about my general satisfaction at work. 23. The organization shows very little concern for me. (R) 27. The organization takes pride in my accomplishments at work. The scale has been modified to measure similar variables. For instance, the original 36 items were modified to measur e supervisor support by changing the word "organization" to "superviso r" (Kottke & Sharafinski, 1988). The modification worked very well. In fact, the scale had an internal consistency Cronbachs alpha of = .98.
114 Boyer and Edmondson (2007) examined differences between the scales (POS and PSS) in a meta-analysis to determine whether the scales were testing different constructs. They found an effect size of .6 providing evidence th at the scales are in fact unique, although they utilize the same questions with only the subject interchanged (supervisor in one set, organization in the other). Although the scales are differe nt and reliable, they are not salesperson specific. Riggle (2007), in his sales di ssertation research, suggests that the POS scale is not specific enough for salespeople, and that an additional scale must be created to fit the salesperson population. Along with this, the research is concerned with how much support the employee perceives the supervisor and organization provide for specific types of SDLPs. A scale that measures both SDLPs (induced, synergistic) is multidimensional. Therefore, it was necessary to modify the current POS and PSS scales to create four different and unique cons tructs: POS for induced SDLPs, POS for synergistic for SDLPs, PSS for induced SDLP s, and PSS for synergistic SDLPs. Since only two types of SDLPs of the four are unde r investigation, only sc ales for induced and synergistic SDLPs were create d as modified versions of the support scales. Table 3.6 evaluates the criteria of the existing POS and PSS scales, along with the modified versions of the scales for the study, which are included in Appendix 1 and Appendix 2. Instruments were developed based on Clar dys (2000) classifica tion of SDLPs and modified to relate specifically to salespe ople in the insurance i ndustry. The instrument development process is outlined in detail later in this chapter. Reliabilities for the current study are as follows: POS for induced SDLPs ( = .926), POS for synergistic SDLPs ( = .95), PSS for induced SDLPs ( = .964), and PSS for synergistic SDLPs ( = .964).
115 Table 3.6 Evaluating Support Scales Construct Author Description Content and Substantive Validity Psychometric Properties POS Eisenberger et al., 1986 36-item, 7-point Likert type scale Not consistent with definition Acceptable PSS Kottke & Sharafinski, 1988 36 item, 7-point Likert type scale Not consistent with definition Acceptable POS for Induced SDLPs Boyer, 2008 6-item, 7-point Likert type scale Acceptable Acceptable POS for Synergistic SDLPs Boyer, 2008 6-item, 7-point Likert type scale Acceptable Acceptable PSS for Induced SDLPs Boyer, 2008 6-item, 7-point Likert type scale Acceptable Acceptable PSS for Synergistic SDLPs Boyer, 2008 6-item, 7-point Likert type scale Acceptable Acceptable Although the literature provi des examples of scales for willingness to use SDL and use of SDL, the willingness to use SDL (Burns, 1995) scale does not measure willingness to use SDL. Instead, it measures personal characteristics of the individual that may increase or decrease the likelihood of usi ng self-directed lear ning, which is not based on motivation as defined in this re search. Additionally, the measure is not specifically related to any of the four form s of SDLPs described by workers, including salespeople, as described by Cl ardy (2000). Finally, use of SDL is typically measured in the literature by asse ssing how often or how many hours in the past six months SDLPs have been used. Although this is useful, it fa ils to directly measure the different types of learning projects. Therefore, the typical measure, following Toughs (1967) interview
116 schedule regarding frequency and hours spent using learning projects, was modified to account for induced and synerg istic SDLPs as categorized by Clardy (2000). The measures for use of induced and synerg istic SDLPs are found in Appendix 3. Reliabilities in this study for the full scales (use of induced SDLPs = .728, use of synergistic SDLPs = .81) were above the recommended = .7 level as prescribed by Nunnally and Bernstein (1994). Willingness wa s measured through expectancy theory and by directly asking participants how willing they were to perform certain induced and synergistic lear ning endeavors. For willingness measured directly, w illingness to use induced SDLPs ( = .942) and willingness to use synergistic SDLPs ( = .932) had strong reliabilities and all items loaded above .5, as seen in Appendix 3. For willingness with expectancy theory, multidimensional scales were created. The overall scale, willingness to use induced SDLPs with expectancy theory ( = .914) and willingness to use synergistic SDLPs with expectancy theory ( = .901), had strong reliabilities. However, with a multidimensional scale, the items were broken in to unidimensions to test reliability of each dimension. The individual items loaded to a great extent, as expected. Appendix 3 displays factor loadings for the constructs. For willingness to use induced SDLPs, factor 1 (items related to expectancy ) all loaded at .5 or higher wh en rounded to the nearest .1. One item, WUIE8, also cross loaded and shoul d have loaded on instrumentality (which it did, but also on expectancy at .511). All it ems loaded as expected on valence and on instrumentality except item WUIE2, which load ed at only .350 for instrumentality of job training.
117 For willingness to use synergistic SDLPs for expectancy theory, all items related to valence loaded as expected. Expectan cy items WUSE6 (.320) and WUSE10 (.382) did not load at .5 or above. Instead, these items loaded on the instrumentality construct at .537 and .574, respectively. This might be due to the content of th e question regarding educational materials and company resources All other items expected to load on instrumentality loaded at .5 or higher. Cronbachs reliabilities for the individual willingness scales, using expectancy for w illingness to use induced instrumentality dimension ( = .780), willingness to use i nduced valence dimension ( = .876), willingness to use induced expectancy dimension ( = .774), willingness to use synergistic induced dimension ( = .882), willingness to use synergistic valence dimension ( = .869), and willingness to use synergistic expectancy dimension ( = .862) were all above .7 as recommended by Nunnally and Bernstein (1994).
118 Table 3.7 Evaluating SDL Construct Author Description Content and Substantive Validity Psychometric Properties Willingness to Use SDL Burns, 1995 15-item, 7-point Likert type scale Not consistent with definition Acceptable Willingness to Use Induced SDLPs Boyer, 2008 5-item, 7-point Likert type scale Acceptable Acceptable Willingness to Use Induced SDLPs (expectancy) Boyer, 2008 9-item, 7-point Likert type scale Acceptable Acceptable Willingness to Use Synergistic SDLPs Boyer, 2008 5-item, 7-point Likert type scale Acceptable Acceptable Willingness to Use Synergistic SDLPs (expectancy) Boyer, 2008 11-item, 7-point Likert type scale Acceptable Acceptable Use of Induced SDLPs (hours) Boyer 2008 5-item, 7-point Likert type scale Acceptable Acceptable Use of Induced SDLPs (frequency) Boyer, 2008 5-item 7-point Likert type scale Acceptable Acceptable Use of Synergistic SDLPs (hours) Boyer, 2008 5-item 7-point Likert type scale Acceptable Acceptable Use of Synergistic SDLPs (frequency) Boyer, 2008 5-item 7-point Likert type scale Acceptable Acceptable Methodology Testing the SEM Model This dissertation employs structural equa tion modeling (SEM) to test both the fit of the model and the hypothetical relationships among the constructs. Structural equation modeling is preferred, for several reasons, over other types of analysis. First, SEM is
119 chosen over traditional multiple regression me thods as employing SEM allows a test of the entire model at one time, rather than onl y portions of it. Consequently, using SEM in this way allows for a test of the model' s random measurement error, which may create biasing effects if not accounted for (Tab achnick & Fidell, 2001). Second, SEM can compare the fit of the actual measurement m odel chosen for the study to other possible forms of the model. This will help enhance theory building and confirmation that the model is a good fit for the data that will be co llected. Since the research is using a novel model of self-direction, many other relationshi ps between the variables can be explored for optimal fit and explanation. Third, SEM assimilates forms of confirmatory factor, regression, and path analysis in a way th at capitalizes on the usefulness of each technique, while at the same time overcom ing downfalls of each technique related to testing a larger causal model. Finally, SEM a llows testing for errors of latent variables making this superior to other techniques, such as regression analysis Other statistical analyses exist including cluster analysis, simp le linear regression, analysis of variance, multiple analysis of variance, logit modeling, hierarchical linear modeling, meta-analysis, and factor analysis (Johnson, 1998). Each of th ese tools is useful, but structural equation modeling is most efficient and effective at te sting this measurement model, its theoretical linkages, and answering the research questions. The SE M models are presented in Appendix 5. Hypotheses Testing for SEM To determine whether the hypotheses were significant, the beta weights were analyzed, along with specific f it indices of the model for total model analysis. Only the
120 most reliable measures for the constructs were used in the measurement models. Therefore, willingness to use induced or synergistic SDLPs was tested in the measurement model by the shorter and more reliable direct willingness scales (induced Cronbachs = .942; synergistic Cronbachs = .932) and the longer performance scale (Behrman & Perreault, 1984) was used to measure performance (Cronbachs = .944). The model parameters of the structural models were estimated using AMOS 16. Hypotheses testing followed a two-step process. First, the fit of the model was assessed using Chi-Square, CFI, RMSEA, NFI, RFI, etc., as recommended by Hair et al. (1998). Second, the signs and statistical signif icance of the path coefficients were used for hypothesis testing. Non-significant paths of the exogenous variab le self-regulation training were eliminated from the induced and synergistic models and two new models were presented. Given the multicollinearity of th e latent variables and the desire to test each hypothesis, perceived organization support for induced SDLPs and perceived supervisory support for induced SDLPs, and perceived organization support for synergistic SDLPs and perc eived supervisory support for synergistic SDLPs, four models were created. Two induced SDLP models were created, one with POS for induced SDLPs and one with PSS for induced SDLPs as the exogenous variables. Two synergistic SDLP models were created, one with POS for synergistic SDLPs and one with PSS for synergistic SDLPs as the e xogenous variables dropping one construct from each model (OBrian, 2007) and allowing a test for each hypothesis. Results of the procedures outlined in this chapter are presented in Chapter Four.
121 Methodology Summary The five-page questionnaire in Appendi x B is similar to the pretest; any differences are due to the formatting of the online software program Qualtrics and randomization of questions. Both models will be open to modification pending the pretest results. Several scales (POS for induced SDLPs, POS for synergistic SDLPs, PSS for induced SDLPs, PSS for synergistic SDLPs, willingne ss to use induced SDLPs, willingness to use synergistic SD LPs, use of induced SDLPs, use of synergistic SDLPs, and performance) were ex amined and created for use in testing the measurement models. The most reliable scales for each construct were used to test the Hypotheses 1A-5B looking at standardized estim ates and fit statistic s. The measures were all reliable at the = .7 level or higher and the CFAs in Appendix 3 presented strong measures for each construct. Chapte r Four presents the results of this methodology.
122 CHAPTER FOUR RESULTS Chapter Four presents the measurement scale descriptive statistics and the results of the structural equation meas urement models used to test the hypotheses. When using larger sample sizes (Johnson, 1998), structur al equation models are robust against moderate departures from normality (Dia mantopoulos & Siguaw, 2000); however, when using larger sample sizes, signi ficant violations from normality may result in an inflated 2 statistic and an upward bias in the path significance (J ohnson, 1998; Hair et al., 2000). The sample size in this dissertation is 392, which is not a large sample size. Table 4.1 Descriptive Statis tics for Model Constructs Construct Range Minimu m Maximum Mean Std. Self-regulation training 617 4.591.49 Perceived organizational support for induced SDLPs 617 5.301.48 Perceived supervisory support for induced SDLPs 617 5.361.62 Perceived organizational support for synergistic SDLPs 617 5.071.67 Perceived supervisory support for synergistic SDLPs 617 5.081.67 Willingness to use induced SDLPs 617 6.52.88 Willingness to use synergistic SDLPs 617 6.35.97 Use of induced SDLPs 314 2.53.74 Use of synergistic SDLPs 314 2.10.766 Performance 10111 8.061.81
123 The AMOS 16 statistical package was used to analyze the structural models. There was a linear dependency between two of the variables, POS and PSS for induced SDLPs and POS and PSS for synergistic SD LPs (see Appendix 4). Due to this collinearity, discriminant validity could not be established for the POS and PSS scales and the measures could not be used in the same model (Gerbing & Anderson, 1988). Discriminant validity was assessed through a correlation matrix of the means of each construct (Campbell & Fiske, 1959). The correla tion matrix is presented in Appendix 4. Thus, the models were examined separately with POS or PSS as an exogenous factor. Four models were examined for best fit: Mode l 1A examines induced projects with POS, Model 1B examines induced projects with PSS, Model 2A examines POS with synergistic projects, and Model 2B examines PSS and synergistic projects. As a result, Model 1 A and B examine induced projects and Model 2 A and B examine synergistic SDLPs. Model 1 and 2 A examine POS and Model 1 and 2 B examine PSS. The structural equation model with self-regul ation training is taken out of further investigation given the insi gnificant relationship between self-regulation training and willingness to use induced or synergistic SDLPs. Each of the models use va rious absolute fit measures The advantage of using absolute fit measures is to assess the model as a whole (Johnson, 1998). To assess absolute fit, 2, the root mean squared error of ap proximation (RMSEA), NFI, RFI, IFI, TLI, and CFI are used. Given that the 2 tests perfect fit (null hypothesis states that the model fits the population exact ly) and is a very restrict ive assumption (MacCallum, Browne, & Sigawara, 1996), researchers use ot her less restrictive measures of fit like RMSEA (Diamantopoulous & Siguaw, 2000) because 2 is not expected to hold up in
124 behavioral research (Ramaswami & Singh, 2003). NFI, RFI, IFI, TLI and CFI are all baseline comparison statistics used to assess how much better the models fit compared to the simplest and most restrictive model. Typically, results of baseline comparison are suitable over .9 (Hair et al., 1998; Johns on 1998). Additionally, a RMSEA below .08 suggests a moderate fit. For all of the m odels in Table 4.2, the RMSEA is below .08 and the baseline comparison models are generally ab ove .9 suggesting an acceptable fit for all models (Diamantopoulos &Siguaw, 2000; Ha ir et al., 1998; Johnson, 1998). All four models were used to test the hypotheses. Table 4.2 Models After Taking Out SRT Model 2 RMSEA NFI RFI IFI RNFI 1A 497.0 .060 .917 .898 .950 0.441 1B 529.5 .063 .916 .897 .947 0.589 2A 538.7 .064 .921 .903 .950 0.727 2B 581.8 .068 .944 .891 .941 0.797 The four structural models in Figures 4.1-4.4 represent Models 1A through 2B as depicted in Table 4.1. Appendix 7 displays th e models in Table 4.2 as compared to each measurement model. It is important to note that the good fit of the models in Table 4.2 is partially due to the good fit of the measurem ent models. When examining the relative normed fit index (RNFI), the low outputs are a clear indication that the measurement model has a very strong fit. The relative normed fit index indicates only the fit of the structural portion of the model, irrespectiv e of how well the latent constructs were measured by their indicators(Hatcher, 1994). The models in the figures present each construct with its relative standardized estimate. For the estimates, ** is significant at the
125 = .001 level, is significant at the = .05 level, and no asterisk represents an insignificant standardized estimate. In Models 1A and 1B (induced models), there is no signifi cant relationship between use of induced projects and performa nce. For the POS model (Model 1A), there is no significant relationship between willingness to use induced SDLPs and use of induced SDLPs. In the PSS model (Model 1B), the relationship between willingness to use induced SDLPs and use of induced SDLPs is also insignificant. In Models 2A and 2B (synergistic models), all of the relationships are significant at the = .05 level. The POS model (Model 2A ) illustrates the strongest relationship between willingness to use synergistic SDLPs and use of synergistic SDLPs with a difference of .003. The relationship between PO S for synergistic SDLPs and willingness to use synergistic SDLPs has a standard estimate of .145. The relationship between PSS for synergistic SDLPs and willingness to use synergistic SDLPs (Model 2B) has a standard estimate of .117. Therefore, for every one-unit increase in perceived organizational support, there is a .145 increase in willingness to use synergistic SDLPs, and for every one-unit increase in PSS for synerg istic SDLPs there is a .117 increase in willingness to use synergistic SDLPs. Wh en comparing Models 1A and 1B (induced models), the standard estimate and fit statistics are better for the POS model. The same is true for the synergistic mode ls. Therefore, Models 1A and 2A best fit the data.
126 Figure 4. 1 Model 1A POSI-WILI-SDLI-PERF Figure 4.2 Model 1 B PSSI-WILI-SDLI-PERF ** Significant at the = .001 level Significant at the = .05 level No asterisk represents an in significant standardized estimate. PSS for induced SDLPs Willingness to use induced SDLPs Use of induced SDLPs Performance .095** .045 .136 POS for Induced SDLPs Willingness to use Induced SDLPs Use of Induced SDLPs Performance .104** .046 .136
127 Figure 4.3 Model 2A POSS-WILS-SDLS-PERF Figure 4.4 Model 2B PSSSWILS-SDLS-PERF ** Significant at the = .001 level Significant at the = .05 level No asterisk represents an in significant standardized estimate. PSS for synergistic S DLP s Willingness to use synergistic SDLPs Use of synergistic SDLPs Performance .117** .096* .396* POS for synergistic SDLP s Willingness to use synergistic SDLPs Use of synergistic SDLPs Performance .145** .099* .396*
128 Hypothesis Testing The significance and direction of the si gns of the paths were used to test Hypotheses H1A through H5B (Diamantopoulos & Siguaw, 2000). Table 4.3 displays the directionality of the relationships be tween the constructs in the model, the standardized path estimates, the level of significance for th e paths, and support for the hypotheses. Table 4.3 Hypotheses Table1 Hypothesis Sign R2 Estimate3,6S.E.6 P6,4 Support5,6 H1A: Self-regulation training to willingness to use induced SDLPs + .067NS -.002 .03 .959 NS H1B: Self-regulation training to willingness to use synergistic SDLPs + .074 NS -.024 .032 .462 NS H2A: Perceived organizational support for induced SDLPs to willingness to use induced SDLPs + .209 .104 .027 ** S H2B: Perceived organizational support for synergistic SDLPs to willingness to use synergistic SDLPs + .296 .145 .029 ** S H3A: Perceived supervisory support for induced SDLPs to willingness to use induced SDLPs + .2 .095 .027 ** S H3B: Perceived supervisory support for synergistic SDLPs to willingness to use synergistic SDLPs + .231 .117 .031 ** S
129 Table 4.3 Hypotheses Table1 (Continued) Hypothesis Sign R2 Estimate3,6S.E.6 P6,4 Support5,6 H4A: Willingness to use induced SDLPs to use of induced SDLPs + .025 NS .046/ .045 .028/ 028 .1/ .105 NS/NS H4B: Willingness to use synergistic SDLPs to use of synergistic SDLPs + .069NS .099/ .096 .041/ .041 .016/ .019 S*/S* H5A: Use induced SDLPs to performance + .065 NS .136/ .136 .269/ .269 .613/ .613 NS/NS H5B: Use of synergistic SDLPs to performance + .196 .396/ .396 .157/ .158 .012/ .012 S*/S* 1 The models were tested using only the most reliable measures of each construct: Performance 2, 5 indicator of willingness for induced and synergistic, and number of SDL hours for induced and synergistic as a measure of use of SDLPs. 2 Correlations are significant at = .01 unless otherwise noted. 3 Estimate = Standardized Path Estimate; 4**< 001 5 S=supported at = .01, S*=supported at = .05 NS = Not Supported 6 Organizational Support Model/ Supervisory Support Model Antecedents of Willingness to Use SDLPs This dissertation hypothesized that prior training in self-regulation (H1A, H1B), perceived organizational support (H2A, H2B) and perceived supe rvisory support (H3A, H3B) would positively impact willingness to us e induced and synergistic SDLPs. As displayed in Table 4.3, four of th e six hypotheses are supported at the = .001 level. The structural equation models for induced a nd synergistic SDLPs with self regulation as an endogenous construct leading to willingness to use SDLPs had a 2 value of 1,141, and the relationship between self-regulation training and willingness to use induced SDLPs ( = -.02, = .959) and willingness to use synergistic SDLPs ( = -.024, = .462) was insignificant at = .05. Hypotheses H1A and H1B are not supported. However, the relationship of both percei ved organizational su pport and perceived supervisory support for induced and synergis tic SDLPs with bot h willingness to use
130 induced and synergistic SDLP s was significant at the = .001 level. Perceived organizational support for induced SDLPs pos itively impacted salesperson willingness to use induced SDLPs ( = .104, = .000). Therefore, when POS for induced SDLPs goes up by one, willingness to use induced SDLPs goes up by .104. Perceived organizational support for synergistic SDLPs had a positive impact on willingness to use induced SDLPs ( = .145, = .000). When POS for synergistic SDLPs goes up by one, willingness to use synergistic SDLPs goes up by .145. Hypotheses H2A and H2B are supported. Perceived supervisory support for induced SDLPs positively impacts salesperson willingness to use induced SDLPs ( = .095, = .000). For every one unit increase in PSS for induced SDLPs, willingness to us e induced SDLPs will increase by .095. Perceived supervisory support for synergistic SDLPs posit ively impacts salesperson willingness to use synergistic SDLPs ( = .117, = .000). For every one unit increase in PSS for synergistic SDLPs, willingness to use synergistic SDLPs will increase by .117. Hypotheses H3A and H3B are supported. Willingness to Use SDLPs This dissertation hypothesized that willi ngness to use SDLPs would positively impact use of SDLPs. Speci fically, willingness to use induc ed SDLPs would positively impact use of induced SDLPs (H4A) and w illingness to use synergistic SDLPs would positively impact use of synergistic SDLPs (H4B). As displayed in Table 4.3 and Figures 4.1-4.4, two models were used to test Hypothesis H4A and two models were used to test Hypothesis H4B due to the collinearity of POS and PSS.
131 Using the POS-induced model (Figure 4.1), willingness to use induced SDLPs positively impacts use of induced SDLPs but not at a significant level ( = .046, = .1). Using the PSS-induced model (Figure 4.2), wi llingness to use induced SDLPs positively impacts use of induced SDLPs ( = .045, = .105); however, the relationship is insignificant at the = .05 level. Therefore, H4A is not supported. Using the POS synergistic model (Fi gure 4.3), willingness to use synergistic SDLPs positively and significantly impacts use of synergistic SDLPs ( = .099, = .016). For every one unit increase in willingn ess to use synergistic SDLPs, use of synergistic SDLPs increases by .099. Using the PSS synergistic model (Figure 4.4), willingness to use synergistic SDLPs positively and significantly impacts use of synergistic SDLPs ( = .096, = .019). For every one unit increase in willingness to use synergistic SDLPs, use of synergistic SDLPs increases by .096. The relationship between willingness to use synergistic SDLP s and use of synergistic SDLPs was positive and significant at the = .05 level for both the POS and PSS models. Therefore, H4B is fully supported. Impact of SDLP Use on Performance This dissertation hypothesized that use of induced (H 5A) and synergistic (H5B) SDLPs would positively impact performance. As displayed in Table 4.3 and Figures 4.1-4.4, two models were used to test Hypothesi s H4A and two models were used to test Hypothesis H4B due to the collinearity of POS and PSS. Using the POS-induced model (Figure 4.1) and the PSS-induced model (Figure 4.2), the relationship between use of induced SDLPs and performance was insignificant
132 at the = .05 level. Therefore, H5A is not supported. Conversel y, using the POS and PSS synergistic models (Figure 4.3 and 4.4), th e relationship between use of synergistic SDLPs and performance is pos itive and significant at the = .05 level. For the POS model, use of induced SDLPs positively impacts performance ( = .396, = .012). For the PSS model, use of induced SDLPs positively impacts performance ( = .396, = .012). Therefore, for both models, a one un it increase in use of synergistic SDLPs increases performance by .396. Hypot hesis H5B is fully supported. Post Hoc Analysis A post hoc analysis was performed to de termine whether any of the demographic variables moderated the relationships between the constructs in the model. A simple regression was used with a mean center of the antecedent variables as prescribed by Aiken and West (1996). To test for moderati on, the interaction be tween the antecedent and the demographic variable were examined for significance. If the interaction was significant, then the demographic variable moderated the relationship between the antecedent and the dependent construct. The demographic variables used in the analysis include gender (male vs. female), age (44 a nd under vs. 45 and over), income (less than $100,000 vs. $100,000 and above), tenure in the positi on (less than 2 years vs. two years and above), number of years in sales (less than 13 years vs 13 plus years), and degree status (four year degree vs. no degree). For the relationshi p between use of induced or synergistic SDLPs and performance, no m oderation exists among th e variables in the sample.
133 Moderation exists between support for induced SDLPs and willingness to use induced SDLPs. Between perceived orga nizational support for induced SDLPs and willingness to use induced SDLPs, age ( = .163 at = .036) and years in sales ( = .157 at = .049) moderates the relationship. Therefore, the relationship between perceived organizational support for induced SDLPs and willingness to use induced SDLPs is stronger for the older group and the group with a greater number of years in sales. Moderation also exists between perc eived supervisory support for induced SDLPs and willingness to use in duced SDLPs through number of years in sales ( = .184 at = .020). Therefore, for those with 13 or more years in sales, the relationship between perceived supervisory support for induced SDLPs and willingness to use induced SDLPs is stronger. More moderation was shown in the relati onship between support for synergistic SDLPs and willingness to use synergistic SDLPs. The relationship between perceived organizational support for synergistic SDLPs and willingness to use synergistic SDLPs was moderated by gender ( = .300 at = .000), income ( = .176 at = .003), years in sales ( = .152 at = .053), and degree status ( = .204 at = .005). Thus, for those who are male, who make $100,0000 or more, who have 13 or more years in sales and/or have a degree, the relationship between POS for s ynergistic SDLPs and willingness to use synergistic SDLPs is stronge r. In the relationship be tween perceived supervisory support for synergistic SDLPs and willingness to use synergistic SDLPs, gender ( = .209 at = .007), income ( = .183 at = .003), and years in sales ( = .202 at = .011) moderate the relationship. Consequently, for males, those who make $100,000 or more and/or those with 13 or more years in sales, the relations hip between PSS for synergistic
134 SDLPs and willingness to use synergistic SD LPs is stronger. Table 4.4 displays the significant moderation results at the = .05 level. Table 4.4 Post Hoc Moderation Analysis Antecedent Dependent Variable Moderator Interaction Beta Perceived organizational support for induced SDLPs Willingness to use induced SDLPs Age POSI*AGE .163 .036 Years in sales POSI*YEARSSALE .157 .049 Perceived supervisory support for induced SDLPs Willingness to use induced SDLPs Years in sales PSSI*YEARSSALE .184 .020 Perceived organizational support for synergistic SDLPs Willingness to use synergistic SDLPs Gender POSS*GENDER .3 .000 Income POSS*INCOME .176 .003 Years in sales POSS*YEARSSALE .152 .053 Degree POSS*DEGREE .204 .005 Perceived supervisory support for synergistic SDLPs Willingness to use synergistic SDLPs Gender POSI* GENDER .209 .007 Income POSI*INCOME .183 .003 Years in sales POSI*AGE .202 .011 Summary This chapter presented the measurement scale descriptive statistics and the results of the four structural equation measurement mode ls used to test the 10 hypotheses. Six of the ten proposed hypotheses were significant at the = .05 level or higher. The perceived organizational support for synergisti c SDLPs model had the highest strength and relative measures of signi ficance. Using synergistic SD LPs had a greater impact on performance than using induced SDLPs. Chapter Five presents the discussion, conclusions, limitations, and managerial implications of these results.
135 CHAPTER FIVE DISCUSSION The purpose of this study was to crea te reliable measurement scales for salesperson-relevant self-directed learning projects (SDLPs) and to integrate the extant marketing, psychology, and adult education litera ture to empirically investigate how, in a sales context, differences in use of SDLPs influence salesperson performance. An important contribution of this research is that it is the first empirical study to investigate the different forms of SDLPs, the link between use of SDLP s and salesperson performance, willingness to use SDLPs, and organizational factors that impact willingness to use SDLPs. Additionally, th e study provides empirical support for the future study of self-direction in the marketing domain. This research provides evidence that organizations and supervisors can influe nce salesperson willingness to use SDLPs. Given this empirical support, numerous imp lications and research opportunities come forward from this study. This chapter is broken up into two s ections. The first section discusses the constructs used in the model (self-regul ation training, perceive d organizational and supervisory support for induced and synergis tic SDLPs, willingness to use induced and synergistic SDLPs, use of induced and syne rgistic SDLPs, and pe rformance) and in scale development (perceived organizationa l and supervisory support for induced and synergistic SDLPs, willingness to use indu ced and synergistic SDLPs, and use of
136 induced and synergistic SDLPs). The second section discusses implications and future research. Willingness to Use SDLPs This dissertation proposed that willin gness to use SDLPs could be best represented by applying expectancy theory as a basis for measurement. This was not necessary, if the goal of the research was to measure only willingness overall with a short questionnaire. The generic measure worked slig htly better and is better suited for use in practice due to the shorter fiveversus nine -item version for induced and a fiveversus 13-item version for synergistic SDLPs. In practice, organizations may want to administer the shorter 5-item scale to employees to understand their basic willingness to use the induced or synergistic projects. For those employees who demonstrate a lo w level of willingness to use SDLPs, organizations can administer the longer version of the willingness scale based on expectancy theory to determine where the de ficiency lies. By doing so, the organization and management will know whether the employee lacks motivation due to instrumentality, valence, or expectancy. Then, the organization can provide the employee with the skills he needs to pe rform the SDLP and assess organizational standard operating procedures to ensure using SDLPs results in the appropriate outcomes that are intended, and that these outcomes are important to employees. This measure of willingness has more depth; however, if only knowledge of employee willingness versus unwillingness is neede d, the shorter version would suffice.
137 Both the long and short version measur es of willingness to use induced and synergistic SDLPs were reliable and signifi cant. The short versi on is appropriate for individuals who allocate little time for part icipating in survey data. Given that salespeople are extremely busy, and allocating time to participate in survey research takes time away from meetings or speaking with clie nts, handling administrative tasks, or other work functions, it is suggested that future re searchers use the shorter five-item scale to prevent participant exhaustion or dropout, especially if there are several constructs in the study. Antecedents of Willingness SRT Self-regulation training did not impact will ingness to use SDLPs. This could be due to many factors. For willingness to use induced SDLPs, since it is mandatory in the industry to use these types of SDLPs, pr ior training may not impact willingness given the necessity to perform such tasks to get or keep a job. Therefore, prior training in selfregulation does not impact willingness. Fo r synergistic SDLPs, training in selfregulation like setting goals, attaining performance sta ndards, and assessing ones progress toward goals may not enhance willin gness to use synergistic SDLPs such as using a learning library or database or attending a non-mandatory seminar provided by the company. Perhaps this type of traini ng would better help employees using higher order (such as voluntary and scanning) SDLPs where individual initiation is a greater component than learning endeavors that the organization provides. It is possible that employees do not need training in self-regul ation to perform self-directed tasks.
138 Although many salespeople in th e sample reported not having prior training in selfregulation, they were still perf orming synergistic SDLPs. Ther efore, it is possible that training may not yield appropriate results. This may go back to the issue that traditional training is not effective. It is possible that salespeople can be willing to use synergistic SDLPs regardless of prior training in self-regulation and th at training does not necessarily improve motivation or willingness to use SDLPs. Als o, while a salesperson receives training on self-regulati on, it does not mean that he is an effective se lf-regulator. Thus, it is unclear at this point whether skills in self-regulation positively impact individual willingness to use SD LPs, but the data from this study indicate that simply receiving training in self-regulation will not improve individual willingness to use SDLPs. Support In this study, POS and PSS showed mu lticollinearity, thus preventing the two scales from demonstrating discriminant validi ty. Since the two constructs were highly correlated, and respondents were unable to si gnificantly discriminate between the two constructs, placing them both in the struct ural equation model together would be equivalent to including the same construc t in the model twice when using regression (Campbell & Fiske, 1959). For SEM, the model was insignificant when using both constructs without changing the model to in clude correlation between the constructs. Given the research parameters, there was no theory to suggest the link between the two constructs or hypotheses testing the corre lation. The correlation between the two constructs is probably due to the unique characteristics of the population and this sample.
139 Although research suggests that POS and PSS are two different constructs (Kottke & Sharafinski, 1988), this study suggests that the co nstructs are too simila r to differentiate. The participants in this study were salesp eople in the financial services industry; specifically, the insurance industry. In this pa rticular sample, participants did not come from one large company, but from many organiza tions of various sizes. In this industry, it is likely that insurance agents represent themselves as sole proprietors working for a larger organization, so they may see themselves as their own boss and either do not identify with a supervisor or organization, or perceive the support from the organization and supervisor as the same. Given this col linearity, and the need to test each of the hypotheses, the models are assessed separatel y. The following details the remarks for each linkage and construct. The spec ified models appear in Appendix 5. POS and PSS POS positively impacts willingness to use SDLPs. POS has a stronger effect on willingness to use synergistic projects than indu ced projects. This is probably due to the mandatory nature of the induced SDLPs. If salespeople are required to use induced SDLPs to work in the industry, then the support may have less of an impact on those projects than projects that are not required. PSS positively impacts willingness to use SD LPs. Synergistic SDLPs are more heavily impacted by PSS than induced SDLPs, but to a lesser degree when compared to POS. For example, the estimate for PSS fo r induced SDLPs to willingness to use induced SDLPs is .2, where synergistic is .230. This is a smaller increase when moving from induced to synergistic than for POS, which is a di fference of .296 for synergistic
140 and .209 for induced. Therefore, the POS models present stro nger standardized estimates and parameters. Willingness to Use SDLPs to Use of SDLPs This study examined the causal link betw een willingness to use SDLPs and use of SDLPs. Consistently, willingness to use synergistic SDLPs significantly and positively leads to use of synergistic SDLPs Therefore, an individuals willingness to use SDLPs was a predictor of his or her use of SDLPs. For induced SDLPs, the indicator of willingness was not a significant predictor. This was probably due to the non-mandatory nature of synergistic SDLPs Since induced SDLPs are required to work in the industry, a salesp erson will perform an induced SDLP even if he does not wish to in order to keep from losing his license or certification. Use of SDLPs to Performance The relationship between use of SDLPs and performance tells an interesting story. The hypotheses predict that using SDLPs in general wi ll positively impact performance; however, this is not the case. Induced SDLPs are t hose learning endeavors that are mandatory to work in the industry, so it makes perfect sense that using them will not have a correlation with performance. If it did, then everyone who works in the industry would be a high performer, which is simply not the case. Synergistic projects, learning endeavors that are not required or mandatory to work in the industry, demonstrate a higher degree of self-directedness as the salesperson must take the learning initiative, rather than being forced to do it to get or keep a license or position. These
141 projects are more individually initiated and require more knowledge about the industry and more contextual understanding. These fi ndings are consistent with the foundations of adult learning theory (Sp eck, 1996; Boyer, 2008). As a result, salespeople using synergistic SDLPs will have higher levels of performance than those salespeople who do not use these learning endeavors as is evidenced from the SE M model. It suggests that a one unit increase in use of synergistic SD LPs will lead to a .396 increase in performance. Managerial Implications There are various goals, object ives, and implications for this research at many levels of the firm. From a strategy pers pective, organizations can focus on improving intellectual capital and comp etitive advantages (Boyer & La mbert, 2008). Executive management can promote and implement organizational learning. Sales managers can promote organizational goals via SDL by thei r sales teams. The HRD staff, who has some authority over training, can work to en sure organizational goals are being met and monitor the use and effectiven ess of SDL. Recruiters can look for employees who can effectively implement SDL in their work. Salespeople who need to improve their expertise to help better serve customers a nd to achieve higher performance can work toward being more self-directed in their activities (Boyer & Lamb ert, 2008). Each of these will be explained further below.
142 Organizations For organizations wishing to improve inte llectual capital and create a competitive advantage, there are several activities that may help facilitate that goal. First, organizations can work toward setting up an environment that is less competitive or cut throat internally so that employees want to he lp others in the organization. This must be displayed top down in organizati ons, not only at the sales level. In extremely competitive organizations, employees may not want to help each other as assisti ng others would result in personal loss rather than personal gain. Rather, organizations can incentivize the use of SDL in the overall structure of compensati on related to performance evaluations or for improving organizational functions via feedb ack from salespeople and others in the organization. To receive feedback from employees, organizations must first create feedback loops so that information can be filtered and received. This is a vital step that may aid organizations becoming more marketing oriented given sales teams' direct contact with the environment. One method to implement such a program would be to create company-wide intranets with forums to pos t information. Different threads can be created for various topics so that employees can quickly and easily find a topic that is relevant to them. For organizational employees to feel comfortable using SDL, they must be supported for doing so. This means organizations must support employees in both times of need and times of success. Organi zations can provide assistance to employees demonstrating self-directed behaviors when complications occur and they can set up structural channels that will praise and reward employees who implement SDL successfully. Part of this comes through pr oviding resources for employees to use to
143 facilitate their use of SDL. Organizations can facilitate the ef fective use of SDL by testing salespeoples efficiency in using SDL upon selection and during training; then companies can train employees to better impl ement and use SDL. After employees begin using SDL, the organization should create pro cedures and methods to measure the use of SDL and any increases in efficien cy or performance. In this way, organizations can assist their employees in expanding their knowledge and gaining the most they can out of SDL. Executive Management For executive management to promote organizational learning, they must remember that for the organization to l earn, individuals must learn (Hurley, 2002). Executive management can implement a coachin g and mentoring strategy to work with subordinates and bridge the gap between ex ecutive management a nd employees within the organization so they feel that management truly supports the initiativ e. This will help to ensure the internal environment is suppor tive and helpful, not cut throat. Executive management can work toward creating the a ppropriate forums for employees to express their difficulties and successe s. Executive management should be open to suggestions and work towards helping employees feel comf ortable in using these resources. They can also provide support for sales managers by prov iding training and resources so that sales managers can support their sa lespeople in using SDL. Executive management should also ensure resources are av ailable to salespeople to le arn both through the organization and independent of the organization. Ex ecutive management should provide training resources for salespeople and sales managers to evaluate their own deficiencies. Executive management should be open to fee dback from organizati onal employees on the
144 use and implementation of SDLPs and on the materials the organiza tion provides as well as other resources available for training. Finally, executi ve management should test whether SDLP use is effectiv e and what needs improvement. Sales Managers Sales managers can work toward organi zational goals through their sales teams with SDL. First, sales managers should k eep in mind that the SDL approach calls for coaches and mentors in the managerial positions. Sales managers who are unfamiliar with this approach or who need their own training should request guidance regarding how to support salespeople in using SDL and look for training independently. Sales managers should try using SDL by remaining focused a nd keeping up to date with any materials that will help them learn about the in dustry. Sales managers should encourage salespeople to provide environmental feedback to the company. If salespeople struggle with this, sales managers should help sale speople provide feedback effectively and efficiently. Sales managers, in their mentoring role, should list en to sales issues and keep up with threads of other salesp eople to aid their staff in fi nding the information they need to solve problems. Sales managers can go w ith salespeople on calls to see the types of struggles they face and to help them dete ct deficiencies. Sales managers can note salespeople who are not deficient in certain aspects and coordinate sales person to sales person training. In this way, salespeople can mentor each other. Sales managers should make sure the incentives are appropriate for using SDLPs, so that salespeople want to use them. Sales managers should constantly ke ep up to date with salespeople so the sales person knows he is important, his opinion is valued, and that offering his feedback is not
145 a waste of time. Not only should sales manage rs listen to salespeople, but they should also act on the needs of salespeople. Ov erall, the sales manager should act as a facilitator, a friend, a coach, and a mentor. Th e sales manager is the servant to the sales person and should do everything possible to help him better perform and adapt. Human Resources Human resources can have little to co mplete control over training within organizations. In using SDL, the role of human resources will change. Rather than conducting training sessions, HRD will ensure SDL is implemented, administrate the process, and measure its effectiveness. Hu man resources will monitor the training needs of employees and ensure a coaching role is assumed by sales managers and other organizational employees. They will bring to gether different salespeople to help coach and mentor each other. Human resources can ensure training materials are up to date based on feedback from employees. Human re sources must remain current with updates in learning programs and make more resource s available to employ ees. Human resources must listen to not only salespeople, but also sales managers regarding what is needed. Human resources should measure the effectiv eness of learning and help salespeople navigate through forums, teach sales mana gers how to better coach and mentor salespeople, and ensure incentives are appropria te for salespeople that are using SDLPs. Finally, human resources should monitor a nd help employees navigate through the forum. This is the best way to identify common issues and solutions.
146 Recruiters Recruiters wishing to attract employees who will be more likely to use SDL can look for a few key traits, skills, and abilities in new hires. Potential employees who are motivated, interested in learning, self-direc ted, interested in cooperating with other salespeople, interested in keeping up w ith knowledge on customers, technology and the environment, and those who are adaptable would be ideal candidates for SDL based on previous research (Confessore & Conf essore, 1994; Sandsbury, 1996; Savoy, 2004). Additionally, employees who disp lay a strong ability or aptitu de (Artis & Harris, 2007), strong reading skills (Artis, 2008), and demonstrate strong communication sk ills (Boyer, 2008) may also be solid candidates to use SDL. Recruiters can also look for employees who update their skills on a regular basis, those who are lifelong learners, or who currently use SDLPs in their work as this may help facilitate SDL use (West & Bentley, 1991). Those who may show the most potentia l for using SDLPs are those who have used SDLPs, those who want to remain curr ent with industry info rmation, and those who are adaptable. For employees who want to remain current, the desire to update their skills will help them implement SDL. Salespeople Salespeople who need to improve their expertise to better se rve their customers and increase performance can work toward this by implementing SDL. Some of the activities include learning to use SDLPs, l earning to assess performance, being open to help other salespeople or to get help from other salespeople, and communicating with salespeople, supervisors, and the organization about the successes and failures in using
147 SDL. Salespeople can use the forum, learn to read and search for information more efficiently (Artis, 2008), and subscribe to trade magazines regarding learning and the industry to be constantly show ered with relevant information. They can assess their own performance and find their deficiencies (Boye r, 2008). When sale speople learn about their deficiencies, they should look to sources for help such as the forum, HR, company resources, sales management, other experts, and the internet. Sale speople should not stop at the organization and self-assessed perf ormance; instead, they should talk with customers about how to better serve them, e xplore competitor initiatives, remain updated with changes in the industry and technology, and try to lear n something new on a regular basis to avoid complacency and comfort. Salespeople should remember that using SDL is not always easy and using SDLPs will enhance performance; therefore, they should keep the goal in mind and reach out for assistance. Limitations and Future Research The limitations for this study were typical of sales research. First, the study uses survey data, which tests a cross section of the population at one time. This cannot account for changes over time in training or l earning and development. Additionally, the survey was administered to a customer group of salespeople from an education company. Due to this factor, the data come from sale speople in diverse areas of insurance sales, rather than stemming from one organization or one type of insurance sales. Conversely, the benefit of this is increased generalizablity of the findings, but this is only gained at the expense of internal reliability. Furtherm ore, the measures for performance were selfreported therefore, posing a potential bias from common method. To account for this, the
148 measure of fashion consciousness was used to account for any bias to the performance measure from a self-reported measure. Th ere was no significant correlation between the two. Thus, common method variance due to se lf-report measures did not bias the data. Another major gap in this research is th e focus on only two of the four SDLPs. Although the objective of this research was to provide support for implementing SDL and in determining how organizations can facilitate employees in using SDL, investigation of two SDLPs, voluntary and scanning, were not addressed. Instead, th is research focused on the two SDLPs, induced and synergistic that are most used by organizational employees. Since voluntary and scanni ng projects require higher contextual understanding, and since the sample include d both novice and expe rienced employees, only the projects that required less contextual understanding were examined to maximize the sample. To fully understand the impact of SDLPs on organizations, it is imperative that the additional pr ojects be examined. Future research should account for some of the aforementioned limitations and extend the current findings. Research in SDL can be performed longitudinally and through modules to explore expe rimental and time series fi ndings. Additionally, future research may assess one larger company and all four SDLPs to create a total measure of willingness for both novices and more seasoned salespeople. Finally, future research should examine the antecedents to both willi ngness to use SDLPs and use of SDLPs given the positive linkage between use of SDLPs and performance. Research that is given the hi ghest priority is that whic h answers questions relevant to both academicians and practitioners. Pr ior to implementing SDL into organizations, practitioners want to underst and exactly what performance increases can be expected
149 from implementing SDL. Differences may ar ise based on industry and the types of sales positions. These differences should be explored. However, given the positive relationship to performance, the most releva nt question for an organization is how can employees effectively implement SDL? Therefor e, research must solve questions such as How can organizations select employees who will use SDL? What personal characteristics or traits are important in effectively implementing SDL? How can organizations motivate employees to use all f our SDLPs? What skills can help improve employee ability to use SDLPs? Is SDL a ppropriate for all employees? What is the most effective mix of SDL and traditional learning? What is the most effective method for teaching employees to use SDLPs? What is the return on investment for SDL? Can SDL solve other organizational problems su ch as technology adoption? How can sales managers best facilitate salespeople in im plementing SDL? These questions are most relevant as they will facilitate organiza tions in implementing SDL paradigms. Organizations require the tools to help their employees use SDL. Without these tools, organizations may not realize the importance of SDL and at the same time, they will lack the guidance of effective implementation. The next tier of questions must resolv e discrepancies between industries and the contexts that may facilitate or hinder the use of SDL. Some of these questions include what environment is SDL most appropriately implemented? In times of turbulence, organizations must adapt to constant change s. Some organizations may realize less variability; thus, a different type of learning may be more appropriate. Additionally, when should organizations encourage employees to use SDL? Should all projects be promoted immediately to all employees, old an d new? Are different skills required at
150 each level? Which industries would reali ze the greatest benefit from implementing a SDL paradigm? Should SDL be evaluated diffe rently in different industries? How does the organizational climate influence the us e of SDL? How does the type of position influence the benefits of SDL? For instan ce, will employees who are removed from the organization, such as outside salespeople, benefit from greater use of SDL? How are these employees implementing SDL currently? Is their use of SDL effective? How can SDL effectiveness be measured and compared across industries? What are the cross cultural differences in SDL? Will organizati ons in collective countries realize similar benefits from using SDL as organizati ons in independent countries? How does technology impact the use of SDL? Moreover, the demographic moderators seen in the post hoc analysis may be analyzed to examin e where and why differences exist in gender, age, income, years in sales, and degree st atus. These differences may facilitate organizations in determining the mo st appropriate adoption of SDL. Conclusions Overall, the results are very encourag ing for sales researchers wishing to investigate self-directed learning. This st udy provides empirical support for using a selfdirected learning paradigm for sales training. Of major importance is that salespeople who use self-directed learning (synergistic ) are better performers. Additionally, the research found a positive and significant relationship between willingness to use synergistic SDLPs and use of synergistic SDLPs. For organizations who wish to encourage employees to use SDLPs, providi ng a supportive environmen t relating to both the supervisor and organization should help f acilitate this. Therefore, this research
151 provides support for using SDLPs in a sale s context and explains how support can be used to encourage employees to be more willing to use SDLPs. Furthermore, the measurement scales are reliable and are good in dicators of willingness to use SDLPs and use of SDLPs. Future researchers can take advantage of the scales and can focus on model building rather than scale development. This means the door is open for future researchers to move sales research in SDL forward. Likewise, the results suggest many positive implications for industry. First, those organizations searching for a means to create a learning organization can turn to SDL. Self-directed learning provides the building bloc ks of individual lear ning at the core of the organization, the sales force. The sales force has a huge task of learning from the external environment (customers, competitors, and technology) and disseminating this information back into the organization. When there are appropriate channels for salespeople to bring this knowledge back in to the organization, the entire organization will learn and adapt to changes before those organizations that do not have appropriate feedback channels. Additionally, organizations that employ a self-directed sales force strategy will have a competitive advantage due to stronger market orientation. Finally, providing feedback channels and accountab ility for training w ill help individual salespeople. This can be achieved by creati ng forums with different threads for problems commonly associated with salespeople in the industry. When a salesperson has a problem, he or she can upload a new thread a nd ask for help from peers in the industry. For this to happen, the organiza tion must create a structure that rewards salespeople for their contributions in a way that encourages peer to peer learning and assistance. This can also be extended outside of the salesp erson to the sales manager, where sales
152 managers can come together globally via online forums to provide company wide solutions. For SDL to thrive in the orga nization, managers must undergo training that teaches them to support salespeople in using SDL and salespeople must be given training on how to use SDL effectively. Salespeople w ill need to build their SDL skills, have resources and funds available for seminars and other training that is needed, and be given authority in the training decisi on making process. Overall, th is change in the paradigm for sales training will not only create a reduction in costs, but also an increase in training outcomes and, to a larger extent, organizat ional stability (Boyer & Lambert, 2008). This research also extends to those involved in boundary spanning positions. Therefore, realized benefits can extend to those in service positions as well. For employees who interact with both custom ers and the organization, SDL may provide similar benefits to those of sales personnel. These employees must adapt to customer needs and provide individualized solutions. In this way, service personnel may benefit from employing SDLPs at every level. So me examples of employees who could benefit include customer service, police officers, nur ses, lawyers, doctors, physical therapists, teachers, and politicians. For these empl oyees, increased learning efficiency and adaptability would impact ove rall performance. Moreover, when these employees use SDL and disseminate the new knowledge back into the organization, the organization will benefit and adapt to the changing needs of customers.
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168 Appendix 1. Scales and Scal e Definitions/Details Fashion Consciousness The level of importance an individual attaches to being fashionably dressed (Lumpkin and Darden, 1982; Wells and Tiger, 1971). Please select the number that best expresse s the extent to which you either agree or disagree with each of the following statements. If a statement does not apply to you, please circle N/A for not applicable. Responses are rated on a 7-point Likert scale anchored at 1=strongly disagree to 7=strongly agree When I must choose between the two, I usua lly dress for fashion, not for comfort. An important part of my life and activities is dressing smartly. A person should try to dress in style.
169 Appendix 1. Scales and Scale De finitions/Details (continued) Self-Regulation Training The amount of training the salesperson receives with the specific goal of improving self-regulation capabilities of salespeople (Leach et al., 2005). Please select the number that best expresse s the extent to which you either agree or disagree with each of the following statements. If a statement does not apply to you, please circle N/A for not applicable. Responses are rated on a 7-point Likert scale anchored at 1=strongly disagree to 7=strongly agree I have received training that focused on how to effectively *represents my inclusion SRT1 Plan how to overcome obstacles to my goals. SRT2 Self-monitor my progress toward my goals. SRT3 Motivate myself on a day-to-day basis. SRT4 Manage my time. SRT5 Persist at working to ward my goals every day. SRT6 *Assess my progre ss toward my goals. SRT7 *Set achievable goals. SRT8 *Set clear goals for myself. SRT9 *Set challenging goals for myself. SRT10 Identify situations that would prev ent me from staying on track toward my goals.
170 Appendix 1. Scales and Scale De finitions/Details (continued) Perceived Organizational Suppor t for Induced SDL Projects* Salesperson perception of to what degr ee the organization values them in using skills and acquiring information to fulfill basic job requirements or professional standards related to their work (unstr uctured employee on-the-job trai ning, acquiring certifications, and continuing education). Please select the number that best expresse s the extent to which you either agree or disagree with each of the following statements. If a statement does not apply to you, please circle N/A for not applicable. Responses are rated on a 7-point Likert scale anchored at 1=strongly disagree to 7=strongly agree. POSI1 My organization values produ cers studying for certifications. POSI2 My organization provides the proper tool s I need to attain my certification requirements. POSI3 My organization appreciates any extra effort on my part during on-the-job training. POSI4 My organization notices wh en I study for certifications. POSI5 My organization cares that I mainta in a level of know ledge about the industry. POSI6 My organization values me st udying for certifications for the job. *Modified from Eisenberger 1986 POS scale.
171 Appendix 1. Scales and Scale De finitions/Details (continued) Perceived Organizational Support for Synergistic SDL Projects* Salesperson perception of to what degr ee the organization values them in using optional and salesperson motivated learni ng opportunities provided by someone else (learning endeavors that ma y help the employee perform their job better, which are unstructured and not mandated or eval uated by the organization, although the organization may provide the material or acce ss to the material) related to their work. Please select the number that best expre sses the extent to which you either agree to disagree with each of the following statements. If a statement does not apply to you, please circle N/A for not applicable. Responses are rated on a 7-point Likert scale anchored at 1=strongly disagree to 7=strongly agree. POSS1 My organization values me using comp any databases/resources to learn job related information. POSS2 My organization provides the tools and resources required to learn the business. POSS3 My organization appreciates any extra effort on my part in using company databases/resources to learn the business. POSS4 My organization notices when I at tend optional company sponsored seminars to get a bette r handle on the business. POSS5 My organization cares about me usi ng company resources/databases to learn more about the business. POSS6 My organization really cares abou t me using the learning resources provided. *Modified from Eisenberger 1986 POS scale.
172 Appendix 1. Scales and Scale De finitions/Details (continued) Perceived Supervisory Support for Induced SDL Projects* Salesperson perception of to what degr ee the supervisor values them in using skills and acquiring information to fulfill basic job requirements or professional standards related to their work (unstr uctured employee on-the-job trai ning, acquiring certifications, and continuing education). Please select the number that best expresse s the extent to which you either agree or disagree with each of the following statements. If a statement does not apply to you, please circle N/A for not applicable. Responses are rated on a 7-point Likert scale anchored at 1=strongly disagree to 7=strongly agree. PSSI1 My supervisor values produ cers studying for certifications. PSSI2 My supervisor provides the proper tools I need to attain my certification requirements. PSSI3 My supervisor appreciates any extra effort on my part during on-the-job training. PSSI4 My supervisor notices when I study for certifications. PSSI5 My supervisor cares that I maintain a level of knowledge about the industry. PSSI6 My supervisor values me studyi ng for certifications for the job. *Modified from Eisenberger 1986 POS scale.
173 Appendix 1. Scales and Scale De finitions/Details (continued) Perceived Supervisory Support for Synergistic SDL Projects* Salesperson perception of to what degr ee the supervisor values them in using optional and salesperson-motivated learni ng opportunities provided by someone else (learning endeavors that ma y help the employee perform his job better that are unstructured and not mandated or evaluated by the organizat ion although the organization may provide the material or access to the material) related to their work. Please select the number that best expresse s the extent to which you either agree or disagree with each of the following statements. If a statement does not apply to you, please circle N/A for not applicable. Responses are rated on a 7-point Likert scale anchored at 1=strongly disagree to 7=strongly agree. PSSS1 My supervisor values me using comp any databases/resources to learn jobrelated information. PSSS2 My supervisor provides the tools a nd resources required to learn the business. PSSS3 My supervisor appreciates any extra effort on my part in using company databases/resources to learn the business. PSSS4 My supervisor notices when I attend optional company-sponsored seminars to get a better handle on the business. PSSS5 My supervisor cares about me using company resources/databases to learn more about the business. PSSS6 My supervisor really cares about me using the learning resources provided. *Modified from Eisenberger 1986 POS scale.
174 Appendix 1. Scales and Scale De finitions/Details (continued) Willingness to Use Induced SDL Projects* Salespersons level of motivation to acquire skills and information to fulfill basic job requirements or professional standards (unstructured employee on-the-job training, certifications). Please select your willingness to do the following activities. Responses are rated on a 7-point Likert scale anchored at 1=comp letely unwilling to 7=completely willing. How willing are you to WI1 learn information that is requ ired to work in your industry. WI2 study material for certification requirements. WI3 study material to meet educational requirements. WI4 learn standardized material that is required to work in your industry. WI5 learn about the specific way your organization wants you to do your job. Please select the number that best expresse s the extent to which you either agree or disagree with each of the following statements. If a statement does not apply to you, please circle N/A for not applicable. Responses are rated on a 7-point Likert scale anchored at 1=strongly disagree to 7=strongly agree WUIE1 I can participate in on-the-job training. WUIE2 Participating in on-the-job traini ng will help me unde rstand the industry. WUIE3 Understanding the industry is important to me. WUIE4 I can study for the certifi cations required for the job. WUIE5 Studying for certifications will help me pass certification exams. WUIE6 Passing certifications required for the job is important to me. WUIE7 I can study for educational requirements fo r the industry. WUIE8 Studying educational requirements will help me pass educational requirement exams. WUIE9 Completing educational requi rements is important to me. *new
175 Appendix 1. Scales and Scale De finitions/Details (continued) Willingness to Use Synergistic SDL Projects (new scale) Salespersons level of mo tivation to take advantage of a learning opportunity provided by someone else in which the lear ning is optional and not mandated by the job (learning endeavors that ma y help the employee perform his job better that are unstructured and not mandated or evaluated by the organizat ion although the organization may provide the material or access to the material). Please select your willingness to do the following activities. Responses are rated on a 7point Likert scale anchored at 1=completely unwilling to 7=completely willing. How willing are you to WS1 attend optional training sessi ons your organization provides. WS2 use sales resources that are av ailable through your organization. WS3 use sales resources availabl e through your company intranet. WS4 use databases of past sale s provided by your organization. WS5 attend optional skill-development seminars provided by your organization. Please select the number that best expresse s the extent to which you either agree or disagree with each of the following statemen ts. If a statement does not apply to you, please circle N/A for not applicable Responses are rated on a 7-point Likert scale anchored at 1=strongly disagree to 7=strongly agree. WUSE1 Learning to do my job better is important to me. WUSE2 I can attend optional training sessions provide d by my organization. WUSE3 Attending optional training sessions provided by my organization will help me learn to do my job better. WUSE4 My company provides resources for em ployees that we can use at our discretion. WUSE5 My company provides educational mate rials for employees that we can use at our discretion. WUSE6 I understand how to use co mpany educational materials. WUSE7 Using educational materials that my company provides will help me learn to do my job better. WUSE8 Using educational materials that my company provides will help me attain higher performance. WUSE9 Learning about the indu stry is important to me. WUSE10 I understand how to use res ources that my company provides. WUSE11 Using resources that my company provi des will help me learn to do my job better. WUSE12 My company provides training materials that I ca n use at my discretion. WUSE13 Attaining higher perfor mance is important to me.
176 Appendix 1. Scales and Scale De finitions/Details (continued) Use of SDL Projects* Amount of time spent, effort and fr equency of using SDL projects (induced, synergistic). In the past 6 months approximately how many hours did you USEI1 learn information that is re quired to work in your industry. USEI2 study material for certification requirements. USEI3 study material to meet educational requirements. USEI4 learn standardized material that is required to work in your industry. USEI5 learn about the specific way your organization wants you to do your job. *new for types of projects, but assessing SDL used this way in the literature (Guglielmino 1977; 1996; 2002) USES1 attend optional training sessi ons your organization provides. USES2 use sales resources that are available through y our organization. USES3 use sales resources availabl e through your company intranet. USES4 use databases of past sa les provided by your organization. USES5 attend optional skill development seminars provided by your organization.
177 Appendix 1. Scales and Scale De finitions/Details (continued) Salesperson Performance Assesses the salespersons value to the firm provided by a salespersons past actions (Leach et al., 2005). Please rate responses on a 6-point Likert scale anchored at 1=extremely below average to 6=extremely above average. How do you rate relative to your peers regarding retaining high-profit customers. average goal attainment past three quarters. last performance evaluation. *******Changed to******** Please evaluate yourself relative to your peers based on the following statements. A rating of 1 is extremely below average and a rating of 6 is extremely above average. Please circle N/A if the statemen t is not applicable to you. How do you rate relative to your peers regarding PERF11 retaining hi gh-profit customers. PERF12 goal attainment in the past three quarters. PERF13 your last pe rformance evaluation. PERF14* performing your job well. *new item
178 Appendix 1. Scales and Scale De finitions/Details (continued) Salesperson Performance Assesses the salespersons performance on self-evaluations relative to other salespeople working for their company on achie ving quantity and quality sales objectives. Taken from Behrman and Perreault (1982) and then Sujan, Weitz, and Kumar (1994) added a couple. Please indicate scale items on a scale from -5 to +5. -5 is much worse, 0 is average, and +5 is much better. ****Instructions changed to****** Please evaluate yourself compared to other salespeople at your level in your industry based on the following statements (-5 is much worse, 0 is average, and 5 is much better). Please select N/A if it is not applicable to you, or if you do not know. PERF21 Contributing to your compa nys acquiring a good market share. PERF22 Selling high pr ofit-margin products. PERF23 Generating a high level of dollar sales. PERF24 Quickly generating sa les of new company products. PERF25 Identifying major accounts in your territory and selling to them. PERF26 Exceeding sales targets. PERF27 Assisting your sales supervis or in meeting his or her goals.
179 Appendix 1. Scales and Scale De finitions/Details (continued) Demographic Questions Relati ng to the Sales Industry Please indicate your gender Male Female Please indicate your age (cir cle one) 18-25 26-35 36-45 46-55 56+ What is your current title? How many years have you worked in your current position? How many years have you worked with your current company? How many years have you worked in sales? What type of products/services do you sell? What type of industry do you work in? What is your highest degree? (please circle one) high school 2-year 4-year graduate degree About how much money do you earn per year? (please circle one) Less than 50,000 50,000-100,000 100,000-150,000 150,000+ What type of customer contact do you have? (please circle all that apply) phone email face-to-face fax outside of office inside office Please feel free to add any comments here (c ontinue on back of paper if necessary):
180 Appendix 2: Scale in Survey Format Learning for Business Literature: A Scale to Measure the Preferences of Salespeople Regarding the Use of Learning Forms This survey is designed to study the atti tudes of salespeople toward the different types of learning used in their sales career s. Specifically, we want to better understand how salespeople feel about lear ning related to their work (learning materials, certification requirements, training and development). Please select the number that best expre sses the extent to which you either agree or disagree with each of the following statements. If a statement does not apply to you, please circle N/A for not applicable. I have received training on how to effectively Strongly Disagree Strongly Agree 1 plan how to overcome obstacles to my goals. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 2 self-monitor my progress toward my goals. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 3 motivate myself on a day-to-day basis. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 4 manage my time. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 5 persist at working toward my goals every day. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 6 assess my progress toward my goals. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 7 set achievable goals. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 8 set clear goals for myself. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 9 set challenging goals for myself. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 10 identify situations that would prevent me from staying on track toward my goals. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A
181 Appendix 2: Scale in Survey Format (continued) Please select the number that best expresse s the extent to which you either agree or disagree with each of the following statements. If a statement does not apply to you, please circle N/A for not applicable. Strongly Strongly Disagree Agree 1 I can participate in on-the-job training. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 2 Participating in on-the-job training will help me understand the industry. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 3 Understanding the industry is important to me. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 4 I can study for the certifications required for the job. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 5 Studying for certifications will help me pass certification exams. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 6 Passing certifications required for the job is important to me. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 7 I can study for educational requirements for the industry. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 8 Studying educational requirements will help me pass educational requirement exams. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 9 Completing educational requirements is important to me. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 10 I can attend optional training sessions provided by my organization. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 11 Attending optional training sessions provided by my organization will help me learn to do my job better. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 12 Learning to do my job better is important to me. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 13 My company provides reso urces for employees that we can use at our discretion. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 14 My company provides historical databases for employees that we can use at our discretion. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 15 I understand how to use company historical databases. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 16 Using historical databases that my company provides will help me learn to do my job better. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 17 Using databases that my company provides will help me learn about the industry. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 18 Learning about the industry is important to me. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 19 I understand how to use re sources that my company provides. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 20 Using resources that my company provides will help me learn to do my job better. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 21 When I must choose between the two, I usually dress for fashion, not for comfort. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 22 An important part of my life and activities is dressing smartly. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 23 A person should try to dress in style. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A
182 Appendix 2: Scale in Survey Format (continued) Please rate the extent to which you either agree or disagree with the following statements first about your a) CURRENT ORGANIZATION and second about your b) IMMEDIATE SUPERVISOR If the statement is not applicable to you, please circle N/A. Please answer this question about your ORGANIZATION Please answer this question about your SUPERVISOR Strongly Strongly Strongly Strongly Disagree Agree Disagree Agree 1 My ______ values producers studying for certifications. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 2 My provides the proper tools I need to attain my certification requirements. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 3 My _______ appreciates any extra effort on my part during onthe-job training. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 4 My ______ notices when I study for required certifications. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 5 My ______ cares that I maintain a level of knowledge about the industry. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 6 My ______ values me studying for certifications for the job. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 7 My ______ values me using company databases/resources to learn job-related information. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 8 My ______ provides the tools and resources required to learn the business. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 9 My ________ appreciates any extra effort on my part in using company databases/resources to learn the business. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 10 My ______ notices when I attend optional company-sponsored seminars to get a better handle on the business. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 11 My _______ cares about me using company resources/databases to learn more about the business. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 12 My _______ really cares about me using the learning resources provided. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A
183 Appendix 2: Scale in Survey Format (continued) Please select the number that best describe s how willing you are to perform each activity. 1=completely unwilling and 7=completely willing Please select N/A if your organi zation does not offer the materials or services in question. How willing are you to Completely Completely Unwilling Willing 1 learn information that is requir ed to work in your industry. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 2 study material for certification requirements. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 3 study material to meet educational requirements. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 4 learn standardized material th at is required to work in your industry. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 5 learn about the specific way your organization wants you to do your job. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 6 attend optional training sessions your organization provides. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 7 use sales resources that are avai lable through your organization. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 8 use sales resources available through your company intranet. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 9 use databases of past sales provided by your organization. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A 10 attend optional skill-development seminars provided by your organization. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 N/A
184 Appendix 2: Scale in Survey Format (continued) Please indicate the number of hour s in the past six months th at you have spent on the followi ng activities. If you have not performed the activity, please select zero. It may be difficult to remember exactly how many hours you pe rformed these activities, so please enter an approximate amount from the choices below. In the past six months, approximately how many hours did you 1 learn information that is requir ed to work in your industry. 0 hours 1-6 hours 7-12 hours 13+ hours 2 study material for certification requirements. 0 hours 1-6 hours 7-12 hours 13+ hours 3 study material to meet educational requirements. 0 hours 1-6 hours 7-12 hours 13+ hours 4 learn standardized material th at is required to work in your industry. 0 hours 1-6 hours 7-12 hours 13+ hours 5 learn about the specific wa y your organization wants you to do your job. 0 hours 1-6 hours 7-12 hours 13+ hours 6 attend optional training sessions your organization provides. 0 hours 1-6 hours 7-12 hours 13+ hours 7 use sales resources that are available through your organization. 0 hours 1-6 hours 7-12 hours 13+ hours 8 use sales resources ava ilable through your company intranet. 0 hours 1-6 hours 7-12 hours 13+ hours 9 use databases of past sales provided by your organization. 0 hours 1-6 hours 7-12 hours 13+ hours 10 attend optional skill-development seminars provided by your organization. 0 hours 1-6 hours 7-12 hours 13+ hours
185 Appendix 2: Scale in Survey Format (continued) Please evaluate yourself relative to your peers ba sed on the following stat ements. A rating of 1 is extremely below average and a rating of 6 is ex tremely above average. Please circle N/A if the statement is not app licable to you. How do you rate relative to your peers regarding Extremely Extremely below average above average 1 retaining high-profit customers. 1 2 3 4 5 6 N/A 2 goal attainment in the past three quarters. 1 2 3 4 5 6 N/A 3 your last performance evaluation. 1 2 3 4 5 6 N/A Please evaluate yourself compared to oth er salespeople at your level in your industry based on the following statements (-5 is much worse, 0 is average, and 5 is much better). Please select N/A if it is not applicable to you, or if you do not know. Much Worse Much Better 1 Contributing to your companys acquiring a good market share. -5 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 4 5 N/A 2 Selling high profit-margin products. -5 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 4 5 N/A 3 Generating a high level of dollar sales. -5 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 4 5 N/A 4 Quickly generating sales of new company products. -5 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 4 5 N/A 5 Identifying major accounts in your territory and selling to them. -5 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 4 5 N/A 6 Exceeding sales targets. -5 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 4 5 N/A 7 Assisting your sales supervis or in meeting his or her goals. -5 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 4 5 N/A Please answer the following questions abou t yourself for classification purposes. 1 Please indicate your gender Male Female 2 Please indicate your age (circle one) 18-25 26-35 6-45 46-55 60+ 3 What is your current title? 4 How many years have you worked in your current position? 5 How many years have you worked with your current company? 6 How many years have you worked in sales? 7 What type of products/services do you sell? 8 What type of industry do you work in? 9 What is your highest degree? (please circle) high school 2-year 4-year \ graduate degree 10 About how much money do you earn per year? (please circle one) less than 50,000 50,000-100,000 100,000-150,000 150,000+ 11 What type of customer contact do you have? (circle all that apply) phone email face-to-face fax outside of office inside office 12 Please feel free to add any comments here (continue on back of paper if necessary):
186 Appendix 3. Unidimentional Scale Items, Factor Loadings and Reliabilities Construct Items Factor Construct Items Factor SRT SRT1 SRT2 SRT3 SRT4 SRT5 SRT6 SRT7 SRT8 SRT9 SRT10 .866 .911 .841 .830 .919 .911 .900 .918 .905 .866 .92 PERF2 PERF21 PERF22 PERF23 PERF24 PERF25 PERF26 PERF27 .897 .842 .910 .873 .820 .877 .840 .944 PERF1 PERF11 PERF12 PERF13 PERF14 .824 .845 .876 .884 .796 FC FC1 FC2 FC3 .843 .885 .863 .824 POSI POSI1 POSI2 POSI3 POSI4 POSI5 POSI6 .933 .763 .872 .818 .829 .912 .926 PSS1 PSSI1 PSSI2 PSSI3 PSSI4 PSSI5 PSSI6 .945 .834 .916 .851 .877 .940 .964 POSS POSS1 POSS2 POSS3 POSS4 POSS5 POSS6 .945 .874 .928 .887 .948 .941 .95 PSSS PSSS1 PSSS2 PSSS3 PSSS4 PSSS5 PSSS6 .944 .896 .935 .877 .932 .946 .964 WI WI1 WI2 WI3 WI4 WI5 .925 .945 .923 .904 .831 .942 WS WS1 WS2 WS3 WS4 WS5 .895 .918 .821 .908 .904 .932 USEI USDLI1 USDLI2 USDLI3 USDLI4 USDLI5 .747 .363 .728 .769 .499 .728 USES USDLS1 USDLS2 USDLS3 USDLS4 USDLS5 .753 .749 .744 .837 .698 .811 Construct abbreviations: (SRT) Self-Regulated Training, (POSI) Perceived Organizational Support for Induced SDLPs, (PSSI) Perceived Organizational Support for Induced SDLPs, (POSS) Perceived Organizational Support for Induced SDLPs, (PSSS) Perceived Organizational Support for Induced SDLPs, (WI) Willingness to Use I nduced SDLPs, (WS) Willingness to Use Synergistic SDLPs, (USEI) Use of Induced SDLPs, (USES) Use of Synergistic SDLPs, (PERF1) Performance Measure, Leach et al., 2005 (PERF2) Performance Measure, Behrman and Perrault, 1994, (FC) Fashion Consciousness 1Cronbachs alpha scale reliability
187 Appendix 3. Unidimentional Scale Items, Factor Loadings and Reliabi lities (continued) Construct Items Factor Willingness to use induced SDLPs WUIE1 WUIE2 WUIE3 WUIE4 WUIE5 WUIE6 WUIE7 WUIE8 WUIE9 F13 .467 .371 .373 .667 .264 .330 .800 .511 .377 F24 .275 .375 .580 .331 .328 .763 .355 .337 .745 F35 .122 .350 .297 .424 .906 .328 .264 .507 .248 .914 Willingness to use synergistic SDLPs WUSE1 WUSE2 WUSE3 WUSE4 WUSE5 WUSE6 WUSE7 WUSE8 WUSE9 WUSE10 WUSE11 WUSE12 WUSE13 F15 .221 .365 .694 .238 .170 .537 .789 .841 .308 .574 .752 .296 .243 F23 .057 .569 .193 .830 .928 .320 .259 .176 .132 .382 .241 .871 .133 F34 .778 .237 .293 .156 .050 .282 .194 .188 .753 .223 .282 .037 .866 .901 1 Cronbachs alpha scale reliability. 2 Willingness using the measures derived from expectancy theory with instrumentality, valence, and outcome expectancy comprising willingness. 3 Items highlighted in gray related to expectancy. 4 Items highlighted in gray related to valence. 5 Items highlighted in gray related to instrumentality. 6 Maximum likelihood extraction method with varimax rotation.
188 Appendix 4. Means, Standard Deviations and Correlations Mean S.D. SRT POSI PSSIPOSSPSSSWIE WSE WI WS USEIUSESP1 P2 SRT 4.59 1.49 1 POSI 5.30 1.48 .364 1 PSSI 5.36 1.62 .360 .857 1 POSS 5.07 1.67 .417 .873 .801 1 PSSS 5.08 1.67 .420 .781 .894 .888 1 WIE 6.23 .91 .211 .347 .352 .307 .308 1 WSE 5.80 .96 .400 .646 .626 .650 .621 .568 1 WI 6.52 .88 .074 .209 .200 .200 .145 .450 .322 1 WS 6.35 .97 .067 .277 .253 .296 .231 .471 .410 .876 1 USEI 2.53 .74 .161 .210 .178 .222 .200 .115 .207 .107 .122 1 USES 2.10 .766 .266 .377 .394 .482 .487 .080 .371 .023 .143 .506 1 P1 4.84 .87 .232 .077 .126 .081 .062 .074 .118 .001 -.019 -.044 .083 1 P2 8.06 1.81 .417 .205 .252 .230 .236 .068 .232 .025 .113 .119 .228 .667 1 FC 4.62 1.33 .085 .188 .122 .196 .129 .236 .177 .170 .203 .177 .115 .053 .073 1bold is significant at = .05 SRT Self-regulated training POSI Perceived organizationa l support for induced SDLPs PSSI Perceived supervisory support for induced SDLPs POSS Perceived organizational support for synergistic SDLPs PSSS Perceived supervisory su pport for synergistic SDLPs WIE Willingness to use induced SDLPs derived from expectancy theory WSE Willingness to use synergistic SDLP s derived from expectancy theory WI Willingness to use induced SDLPs WS Willingness to use synergistic SDLPs USEI Use of induced SDLPs USES Use of synergistic SDLPs P1 Performance measure Leach et al. 2005 P2 Performance measure Behrman and Perrault 1994 FC Fashion Consciousness
189 Appendix 5. Path Diagrams of Specified Models E1 E6 E2 E3 E4 E5 POSI1 POSI3 POSI2 POSI5 POSI4 POSI6 E7 E8 E9 E10 E11 WI1 WI3 WI2 WI5 WI4 E17 E22 E18 E19 E20 E21 PERF1 PERF3 PERF2 PERF5 PERF4 PERF6 E12 E13 E14 E15 E16 USEI1 USEI 3 USEI 2 USEI 5 USEI 4 POSI USEI PERF WI E23 E24 E25 E26 1 1 1 1
190 Appendix 5. Path Diagrams of Specified Models (continued) E1 E6 E2 E3 E4 E5 PSSI1 PSSI3 PSSI2 PSSI5 PSSI4 PSSI6 E7 E8 E9 E10 E11 WI1 WI3 WI2 WI5 WI4 E17 E22 E18 E19 E20 E21 PERF1 PERF3 PERF2 PERF5 PERF4 PERF6 E12 E13 E14 E15 E16 USEI1 USEI 3 USEI 2 USEI 5 USEI 4 PSSI USEI PERF WI E23 E24 E25 E26 1 1 1 1
191 Appendix 5. Path Diagrams of Specified Models (continued) E1 E6 E2 E3 E4 E5 POSS1 POSS3 POSS2 POSS5 POSS4 POSS6 E7 E8 E9 E10 E11 WS1 WS3 WS2 WS5 WS4 E17 E22 E18 E19 E20 E21 PERF1 PERF3 PERF2 PERF5 PERF4 PERF6 E12 E13 E14 E15 E16 USES1 USES3 USES2 USES5 USES4 POSS USES PERF WS E23 E24 E25 E26 1 1 1 1
192 Appendix 5. Path Diagrams of Specified Models (continued) E1 E6 E2 E3 E4 E5 PSSS1 PSSS3 PSSS2 PSSS5 PSSS4 PSSS6 E7 E8 E9 E10 E11 WS1 WS3 WS2 WS5 WS4 E17 E22 E18 E19 E20 E21 PERF1 PERF3 PERF2 PERF5 PERF4 PERF6 E12 E13 E14 E15 E16 USES1 USES3 USES2 USES5 USES4 PSSS USES PERF WS E23 E24 E25 E26 1 1 1 1
193 Appendix 6. Maximum, Minimum, Mean a nd Standard Deviation of Indicators Construct Indicator N MaximumMinimum Mean Standard Deviation Perceived organizational support for induced SDLPs POSI1 364 7 1 5.34 1.745 POSI2 362 7 1 5.53 1.783 POSI3 357 7 1 5.15 1.750 POSI4 357 7 1 4.73 1.936 POSI5 371 7 1 5.86 1.511 POSI6 365 7 1 5.31 1.773 Perceived supervisory support for induced SDLPs PSSI1 324 7 1 5.31 1.833 PSSI2 316 7 1 5.45 1.841 PSSI3 319 7 1 5.29 1.831 PSSI4 317 7 1 4.77 2.012 PSSI5 330 7 1 5.85 1.685 PSSI6 322 7 1 5.25 1.862 Perceived organizational support for synergistic SDLPs POSS1 360 7 1 5.16 1.763 POSS2 363 7 1 5.09 1.891 POSS3 358 7 1 5.11 1.809 POSS4 367 7 1 4.99 1.852 POSS5 357 7 1 5.07 1.811 POSS6 357 7 1 5.02 1.754 Perceived supervisory support for synergistic SDLPs PSSS1 317 7 1 5.12 1.754 PSSS2 317 7 1 4.95 1.977 PSSS3 314 7 1 5.14 1.840 PSSS4 325 7 1 5.14 1.795 PSSS5 316 7 1 5.07 1.760 PSSS6 317 7 1 5.08 1.752 Willingness to use induced SDLPs WI1 389 7 1 6.65 .863 WI2 381 7 1 6.50 .983 WI3 384 7 1 6.55 .921 WI4 388 7 1 6.55 .946 WI5 383 7 1 6.40 1.076 Willingness to use synergistic SDLPs WSI1 374 7 1 6.42 1.075 WS2 369 7 1 6.32 1.069 WS3 355 7 1 6.26 1.212 WS4 367 7 1 6.38 1.017 WS5 373 7 1 6.43 1.015 Use of induced SDLPs USEI1 392 4 1 2.91 .996 USEI2 392 4 1 2.41 1.231 USEI3 392 4 1 2.65 1.136 USEI4 392 4 1 2.54 1.031 USEI5 392 4 1 2.17 .949
194 Appendix 6. Maximum, Minimum, Mean a nd Standard Deviation of Indicators Use of synergistic SDLPs USES1 392 4 1 2.23 5.070 USES2 392 4 1 2.18 1.020 USES3 392 4 1 1.89 .931 USES4 392 4 1 2.08 .978 USES5 392 4 1 2.13 1.069 Performance PERF1 361 11 1 8.48 1.902 PERF2 341 11 1 7.93 1.980 PERF3 358 11 1 7.90 2.184 PERF4 350 11 1 7.63 2.143 PERF5 351 11 1 7.80 2.157 PERF6 355 11 1 7.77 2.259 PERF7 290 11 1 8.14 2.061
195 Appendix 7. Measurement Model Comparison Model 2 RMSEA NFI RFI 1A 497.0 .060 .917 .898 Measurement Model 1 A 515.139 .061 .914 .896 1B 529.5 .063 .916 .897 Measurement Model 1 B 546.395 .064 .914 .895 2A 538.7 .064 .921 .903 Measurement Model 2 A 574.608 .067 .915 .898 2B 581.8 .068 .944 .891 Measurement Model 2 B 607.901 .070 .907 .888 RMSEA= Root mean squared error of approximation NFI= Normed fit index RFI= Relative fit index
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Stefanie Boyer is a fifth-year Ph.D. candida te at the University of South Florida, where she also received her B.A. and M.B.A. Her research is cen tered on self-directed salesperson training and development. She was awarded the 2007 AMA Sales Sig/D.S.E.F. grant for her dissertation pr oposal and is a doctoral fellow for the 2008 National Conference in Sales Management, the 2008 American Marketing Association Sheth Foundation Doctoral Consortium, and the 2005 Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals. Stefanie has pres ented her research at American Marketing Association, Academy of Marketing Science conferences, and has articles published at the Journal of the Academy of Marketi ng Science and Training and Development Her work experience is diverse. She has sold fi nancial services, worked as a firefighter and EMT, interned with the United States Custom s Service, and taught at USF. Her personal interests include traveling, snowboarding, and restoring her 1966 Mustang. She can be contacted at email@example.com
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b measures and models for salesperson training and development /
by Stefanie Leigh Boyer.
[Tampa, Fla.] :
University of South Florida,
Title from PDF of title page.
Document formatted into pages; contains 195 pages.
Dissertation (Ph.D.)--University of South Florida, 2009.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic dissertation) in PDF format.
ABSTRACT: Academic researchers and marketing practitioners are exploring methods to improve salesperson training. Recently, self-directed learning projects were proposed as a new paradigm for learning to take place in the sales domain (Artis & Harris, 2007). Current conceptual work provides a strong foundation for understanding salesperson self-directed learning; however, prior to quantitatively testing proposed models, scales must be created and modified to address salesperson specific learning endeavors. The purpose of this dissertation is: 1) to develop scales to measure salesperson willingness to use self-directed learning projects (SDLP's), 2) to develop a conceptual model of salesperson self-directed learning, 3) to modify current scales to specifically examine salesperson self-directed learning, and 4) to test this model empirically.To accomplish this, the relevant theories and literature were analyzed to create a theoretical model that would test the following research questions: 1.What factors contribute to salesperson willingness to use SDLP's? 2.What is the relationship between salesperson willingness to use SDLP's and salesperson use of SDLP's? 3.What is the relationship between salesperson use of SDLP's and salesperson performance? Two conceptual models were created to account for two categories of learning projects, induced and synergistic SDLP's. The following variables reflect the conceptual models: willingness to use induced/synergistic SDLP's, use of induced/ synergistic SDLP's, perceived supervisor/organizational support for induced/synergistic SDLP's, and self-regulation training and performance.Data from 392 salespeople within the financial services industry fit the measurement model and suggest that use of synergistic (non-mandatory) SDLP's positively impacts performance (.396) and use of induced (mandatory) SDLP's does not impact performance. Willingness to use synergistic SDLP's positively impacts use of synergistic SDLP's. Support from the organization and supervisor positively impact willingness to use induced and synergistic SDLP's. Surprisingly, training in self-regulation did not positively impact salesperson willingness to use induced or synergistic SDLP's. The new measures for all constructs exhibit Cronbach's alpha reliability statistics over .7 and acceptable confirmatory factor analysis results. The study provides reliable measurement scales and empirical support for the future study of self-directed learning in a sales context.
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t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.