Knowledge sharing behaviors of industrial salespeople: An integration of economic, social psychological, and sociological perspectives

Seigyoung Auh, Bulent Menguc

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    20 Scopus citations


    Purpose: This paper extends the sales literature by moving beyond salespeople's role as knowledge gatherers to their role as knowledge sharers with personnel outside the sales unit. The aim is to develop and test a conceptual model to establish how pay-for-performance (economic factor) affects knowledge sharing behaviour under the contingency roles of coworker relationship quality (social psychological factor) and knowledge sharing norms (sociological factor). Design/methodology/approach: Using the Dun & Bradstreet database, the authors collected responses from 374 salespeople in 51 Canadian industrial firms through an on-line survey. The authors used hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) as multiple salespeople were nested within the organization and the data were comprised of individual- and organizational-level constructs. Findings: When there is misalignment between rewards and knowledge sharing behavior, motivational loss hampers knowledge sharing. However, when employees are provided with an environment that fosters high coworker relationship quality and consensual knowledge sharing norms, the motivational loss resulting from the incongruence between pay-for-performance and knowledge sharing behavior is mitigated. Research limitations/implications: Implications regarding how salespeople's knowledge sharing contributes to relationship marketing along with practical ramifications for how sales managers can encourage knowledge sharing are discussed. Originality/value: This study contributes to the sales literature (e.g. control, key account management, expanding role of sales) by testing a model that integrates different theoretical perspectives to examine what types of control mechanisms and which combinations of these controls affect salespeople's engagement in knowledge sharing behaviors.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1333-1355
    Number of pages23
    JournalEuropean Journal of Marketing
    Issue number8
    StatePublished - Jul 1 2013


    • Canada
    • Coworker relationship quality
    • Interpersonal relations
    • Knowledge sharing
    • Knowledge sharing behaviours
    • Knowledge sharing norms
    • Pay-for-performance
    • Sales force

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Marketing


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