Sample Research Projects by PAW Interest Group Faculty
This project is in progress. The authors/investigators are:
- Charlotte S. Alexander, J.D., Department of Risk Management and Insurance, J. Mack Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University
- Zev Eigen, Northwestern Law School and the Kellogg School
- Camille Gear Rich, University of Southern California Gould School of Law
Having multiple longitudinal observations of salesperson performance allows examination of the inter-relationships between various aspects of a salesperson's behavior, job-related attitudes, and management effectiveness and performance trends across a salesperson's tenure. We intend to also examine a wide range of factors potentially related to performance such as ethical climate, behavioral factors, management styles, and peer relations to mention a few. We hope to provide detailed insight into salesperson turnover beyond what is commonly found in sales research. We will explore reasons for both dysfunctional and functional turnover: among both successful salespeople that a firm would want to keep, as well as examine turnover among ineffective salespeople that provide less value to the firm or the firm's customers. Not only will the project allow us to look at individual and job-related factors as potential precursors of salesperson turnover, but also will present the opportunity to look at performance trends and management-related issues as possible predictors of turnover.
We intend to use data on customer profitability, salesperson performance using various metrics, survey measures of salesperson opinions on job-related attitudes and demographics, turnover data, and store Manager job performance data. We will analyze the data using longitudinal, hierarchical models of salesperson performance and turnover at the individual and store level/manager level. We will examine the relationships between behavior and latent psychological processes using both psychometric and econometric frameworks.
This study will provide a number of benefits. We hope to provide key insights into how to optimize salesperson performance from both a sales and customer satisfaction perspective. In addition we hope to provide insight into those factors that are associated with enhancing or attenuating performance at the salesperson and team levels. We also plan to identify personal and workplace factors associated with turnover of both effective salespeople (dysfunctional turnover) and ineffective salespeople (functional turnover). This research will illustrate the effects of a salesperson and manager's performance trends on current and future performance for both the individual and the store level. Findings will also help result in increased knowledge related to dysfunctional and functional salesperson turnover at both the individual and store level.
This is an emerging project. The collaborators are presently Jim Boles (Marketing), Todd Maurer (Beebe Institute and Managerial Sciences), and Nikos Dimotakis (Managerial Sciences).
Not all negotiation contexts are created equal. Oftentimes, individuals seek to capture the greatest amount of gain for themselves, and these gains come at the expense of their negotiation counterpart. These zero-sum negotiations are called distributive¸ and are essentially win-lose scenarios. Other negotiations, however, are based on uncovering areas of agreement and exchanging information to find potential tradeoffs that maximize the payoffs of both parties – these contexts are called integrative and represent situations with the potential of win-win solutions.
We wanted to see whether different personalities might be best suited toward one of these situations. We focused on the trait of agreeableness – a personality dimension that captures how cooperative and considerate individuals generally are. We hypothesized that the inherent conflict in distributive negotiations might be appropriate to the dispositional tendencies of disagreeable individuals, while the opposite might hold for integrative negotiation contexts. We argued that a mismatch between the requirements of the negotiation and the negotiators' personality would create an unpleasant experience that individuals could escape through acquiescence. In other words, being in a negotiation in which you don't know how to act can make an individual feel uncomfortable enough to encourage them to put an end to it, making them less likely to marshal the resources needed to persist in one's negotiation efforts.
Our theoretical support for this hypothesis was derived based on the defense defeat model, which associates activation with persistence in social dominance settings. While this model has been previously validated in laboratory rats, we provided a test of some of its conclusions in human subjects.
In order to do so, data was collected as part of two linked experiments. Study participants were asked to provide information on their moods and behavioral persistence at the beginning, middle and end of the negotiation. We also collected blood pressure measurements in order to capture an objective measure of activation.
Results indicated that people did indeed perform better in negotiations better matched to their dispositions. They had more energy, persisted longer, and demonstrated more vigor than their mismatched counterparts – furthermore, they ultimately did better in the negotiation.
Dimotakis, N., Conlon, D., & Ilies, R. (2012). The Mind and Heart (Literally) of the Negotiator: Personality and Contextual Determinants of Cardiac Arousal and Tangible and Intangible Outcomes in Negotiation. Journal of Applied Psychology, 97, 183-193.
This project is in progress and the investigators are presently:
- Mark Keil (Computer Information Systems)
- Todd Maurer (Beebe Institute and Managerial Sciences)
Zhang, J. Liu, L.A. & Liu, W. Trust and deception in negotiation: Culturally divergent effects. Forthcoming at Management and Organization Review.
- Jian-Dong Zhang, Shanghai University of International Business and Economics, China
- Leigh Anne Liu, Georgia State University, USA
- Wu Liu, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong
Liu, L.A., Friedman, R.A., Barry, B., Gelfand, M.J., & Zhang, Z-X. 2012. The dynamics of consensus building in intracultural and intercultural negotiations. Administrative Science Quarterly, 57(2), 269-304.
- Leigh Anne Liu, Georgia State University
- Ray Friedman & Bruce Barry, Vanderbilt University
- Michele J. Gelfand, University of Maryland
- Zhi-Xue Zhang, Peking University, China
This project is in progress and is funded by the U.S. Army Research Institute. The Principal Investigator is Todd Maurer. PhD students currently collaborating on this project include Dina Leheta, Greg Hardt and AJ Corner.
Career success is obviously important to both individuals and organizations, so understanding employees' career success is of great interest in the HR discipline. The study directly addressed variables from the research literature on employee development behavior in relation to career success. This study provides testing of the potential long-term accumulating effects of behavioral, situational, and stable individual variables on career success. The group of 289 employees sampled from across the U.S. workforce represented a very diverse population who was surveyed at two points in time across a ten year period. Employee outcomes studied, such as the number of promotions attained, salary level achieved, job satisfaction and career satisfaction, are all critical concerns with significant implications.
The study reached several conclusions. First, support for employee development by an employer played a key role. Such support includes support for development by other people such as supervisors, coworkers, and clients, and the availability of development resources at work. Early support for development by an employer (ten years ago) predicted current pay level (an indicator of extrinsic career success) as well as job and career satisfaction (indicators of intrinsic career success). A trend of increasing or accumulating support over time since the original support further contributed to job and career satisfaction. Human capital, socio-demographic and other behavioral variables were controlled for, suggesting the unique importance of this support from an employer to success. Thus, while we previously knew from research that organizational support for development may influence employee attitudes and behavior in the short-term—here we learned there can be a link to long-term career success over ten years. The report cites a related concept that might help to explain what is going on: The idea of "cumulative advantage" in careers might be at play. From the perspective of cumulative advantage, a favorable position helps achieve further gains that may become even greater with time. Prior literature on this phenomenon suggests this is a general process that may affect outcomes in many domains, including life course, family generations, education, and careers. In the literature, cumulative advantage -- such as that obtained from a very early strong and prestigious job assignment--has been referred to as "The Matthew Effect," based on part of the Gospel of Matthew. It says essentially that those who have something will receive more of it in greater amounts and those who do not have much of it will lose even what they have. In other words, those who have favorable support or resources early on may attract increasing rewards and support over time compared to those who do not receive such support early. Thus, along these lines, given how important employee development is to careers in the recent decade of workplace changes, perhaps having support for learning and development from an employer early on might put one in a strengthened position toward longer-term success. In the study report the authors suggest that concepts such as compounding in financial investments might have relevance to the investments made in careers via skill development. That is, early "investment" (support) may be important for the long term, possibly like in financial investing--early investment is influential.
There was also an effect in the study where an increasing trend of development participation over the decade related to promotions achieved by employees. Thus, while early support relates to the extrinsic outcome of salary achieved, an ongoing trend of development involvement related to promotions. In the report the authors suggested that perhaps development support provides a foundation and momentum toward pay and satisfaction achieved, while the ongoing development involvement provides a contribution to promotion into higher level jobs. The results of the investigation suggest implications for practice--there is long-term payoff for work support for employee development. Employees might become more satisfied with their jobs and careers and they may become more financially successful if they are employed early on by an organization that supports employee development and this support continues and grows over time within their careers.
A second set of findings in the study came from effects by individual differences on success during the study period. Proactive personality (a tendency for a person to identify opportunities and act on them, demonstrate initiative, persevere to bring about change, find and solve problems, and take it on themselves to have an impact on the world around them) had unique effects not accounted for by a variety of other personality and individual difference variables measured. This suggests that proactive personality may play a prominent role among all personality and achievement variables in predicting long-term career success. In the present study proactive personality (and agreeableness--another personality variable having to do with pleasant, cooperative, helpful behavior) predicted job satisfaction, and only proactive personality predicted career satisfaction over ten years. The results (and other research) suggests that personality was more relevant to subjective (or intirinsic) success than objective (financial) success, possibly because such personality variables more directly affect one's sense of well-being. Proactive personality may be a key predictor of this dimension of success—even going beyond other characteristics.
Another finding in the study was that specific achievement goal orientation profiles, rather than simple main or linear effects, had relations with success variables. That is, it was not one achievement goal dimension or another but two of them in combination that related to success. The idea that mastery or learning orientation is of primary importance for success may be too simplistic when it comes to long-term career success. Rather, two performance orientation constructs in combination may be more meaningful. For example, the study found that being motivated to prove one's performance to others and to avoid making errors or looking bad to others interacted in predicting success (promotions). Thus, proving one's value via ongoing performance achievements may lead to being promoted, but this is more likely to occur when one is also trying to avoid observable mistakes or poor performance episodes. This provides a fairly powerful "profile" for career success according to the findings in the study. While this may make good logical sense, it departs from a theme in the achievement goal orientation literature that seems somewhat slanted toward learning and mastery being good and performance orientation (prove, avoid) being undesirable. There was also a second such profile effect in relation to a salary variable: A focus on learning and mastery did relate to salary advancement, but this occurred more so if accompanied by a performance focus in which one tries to prove performance accomplishments to others. Thus again, a simple linear effect by achievement motivation did not explain the data as well as a "profile" which has not received much attention in this area of research. The findings in this SHRM-funded study bring some new attention to this approach to thinking about achievement goals in the areas of employee development and career success.
Maurer, Todd. & Chapman, Elizabeth. (2013). "Ten years of career success in relation to individual and situational variables from the employee development literature." Journal of Vocational Behavior, Volume 83, pages 450-465. This project was funded by the SHRM Foundation.
In progress, Author: Sushil S. Nifadkar, Institute of International Business, Georgia State University
Emerging study, Collaborators: Yu Yu, Department of Marketing, Georgia State University; Nikos Dimotakis, Department of Managerial Sciences, Georgia State University
Emerging study, Collaborators: Yu Yu, Department of Marketing, Georgia State University; Lisa Lambert, Department of Managerial Sciences, Georgia State University.
Emerging study, Collaborators: Yu Yu, Department of Marketing, Georgia State University; Sushil S. Nifadkar, Institute of International Business, Georgia State University.