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School of Business | Department of Marketing | Marketing | 2015
Thesis number: 14016
Learned optimism in sales teams: An illustration of optimistic explanatory style and its application in three different contexts
Author: Kalske, Antti
Title: Learned optimism in sales teams: An illustration of optimistic explanatory style and its application in three different contexts
Year: 2015  Language: eng
Department: Department of Marketing
Academic subject: Marketing
Index terms: markkinointi; marketing; myynti; sales; tiimit; teams; tiimityƶ; team work; asenteet; attitudes; tehokkuus; effectiveness; johtaminen; management
Pages: 81
Full text:
» hse_ethesis_14016.pdf pdf  size:337 KB (345040)
Key terms: learned optimism; explanatory style; sales organization effectiveness; sales management; leadership
Quantified measures of antecedents of sales organization effectiveness often fail to capture the unique contexts and qualitative aspects of sales manager behaviors. This researched gap is exemplified by using the explanatory style of a sales team as a lense to illustrate the contextual nature of managerial actions in different situations. Explanatory style was chosen as a lense because it has already been suggested to be an antecedent of sales organization effectiveness. This exemplification is done through a multiple case study where the explanatory style of the sales team and factors affecting it are described, analyzed and compared. Eight in-depth interviews from top sales teams of three different large multinational business-to-business companies were conducted.

Through emergent coding, the multiple case study produced findings which were classified under four broad themes: (1) explanatory style and attitude towards failure, (2) learning from failure, (3) leadership style and error management and (4) team atmosphere. Findings included descriptions of different approaches to collective and personal explanatory style, attitude to failure as well as intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. These different approaches indicated personal differences, but also deliberate managerial decisions aiming to create an explanatory style suitable to the team's context.

The results illustrate that there is not a single "one size fits all" form of explanatory style or set of managerial actions through which to achieve it. At least this antecedent of sales organization effectiveness seems to come in different forms and needs to be sought after in diverse ways depending on context. The findings also provide a benchmark for managers against which to reflect the status of their own sales team.
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