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School of Business | Department of Marketing | Marketing | 2016
Thesis number: 14654
The role of emotional intelligence in B2B customer relationships: An analysis of a Finnish recruitment company
Author: Simonen, Mia
Title: The role of emotional intelligence in B2B customer relationships: An analysis of a Finnish recruitment company
Year: 2016  Language: eng
Department: Department of Marketing
Academic subject: Marketing
Index terms: tunneƤly; emotional intelligence; business-to-business; business-to-business; myynti; sales
Pages: 90
Full text:
» hse_ethesis_14654.pdf pdf  size:2 MB (1254680)
Key terms: Emotional intelligence, emotional competence, B2B sales, personal selling, buyer-seller interaction, inter-organizational communication, recruiting industry, content analysis
This master's thesis examines the role of emotional intelligence (EI) in business-to-business personal selling in a company that operates in the recruiting industry in Finland. The objective was to discover how EI is manifested and which of its elements are highlighted in the analyzed context. A growing body of research suggests that EI plays a central role in buyer-seller interaction and that it can significantly contribute to sales success, which makes it an important topic to be studied.

This study takes a qualitative perspective and an interpretive approach, which is built on the fundamental idea of a shared, subjective reality. My aim was to gain understanding of how salespeople create meanings and intentions when interacting with their customers. I investigated the sales efforts of the chosen company through four personal in-depth interviews, which were followed by a content analysis of the transcribed material. As the basis of my analysis I selected Goleman's (1998) EI framework, which has continued to be one of the primarily utilized EI models and is most applicable to the organizational context.

The findings revealed strengths and weaknesses of the studied company's salespeople with regard to their use of EI, as well as some differences in their interaction with new, established, and diminished customers. Strengths included the EI competences of self-confidence, self-control, innovation, and service orientation, as well as two competences that were introduced as new additions into Goleman's framework: enthusiasm and the desire to help. Weaknesses comprised emotional awareness, accurate self-assessment, adaptability, building bonds, and reflection, the latter of which was also suggested as a new addition into the framework in the form of an overarching umbrella competence. Other additions include the umbrella competences of authenticity and trust. Reflection and authenticity can be regarded as crucial elements that enable the objective of trust-building to be reached. Lastly, this research also shed light on some potential downsides that may either reside in an EI competence inherently or result from its exaggerated or inefficient utilization.
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