Academic journal article Indian Journal of Industrial Relations

Quality of Working Life among Sales Professionals in Pharmaceuticals, Insurance, Banking & Finance Companies

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Industrial Relations

Quality of Working Life among Sales Professionals in Pharmaceuticals, Insurance, Banking & Finance Companies

Article excerpt


Selling is at the core of any business. It is an art of communication that can effectively bridge the gap between the company and the customers. The level of communication in the relationship is affected by interpersonal bonds between the buyer and the seller (Geiger & Turley 2005). In the present scenario of global recession, companies are forced to defocus on peripheral activities and give a renewed thrust on the selling function. Despite their importance, most of the business strategies attribute least priority to the sales staff of the company and fail to justify the money spent on them. Sales profession can take a significant toll on its members due to imbalances between personal, family, and work related goals, making them sensitive to sales burnout (Cummings 2001). Lack of intrinsic motivation, role ambiguity, and role conflict are significant antecedents to sales burnout. Key outcomes of sales burnout are related to lower job satisfaction and sales performance, other indirect outcomes are decreased organizational commitment and intention to leave (Low et al. 2001). Accurate statistics on sales person turnover are not widely available (Purani & Sahadev 2008) . On an average, about 16 percent of a firm's sales force will quit in a given year (Churchill et al. 1997). Employee-turnover has always been problematic among salespeople (Richardson 1999), as it creates major expenses through lost sales, costs of separation, recruitment, selection, and training (Donaldson 1998). According to Times News, New York (2003), overall attrition rate is 42% in USA, 29% in Australia, 24% in Europe and 18% in India where as the global average is 24% (Shahnawaz & Jafir 2009). Catherine (2002) argued that turnover includes costs such as lost productivity, lost sales and management time. The on-cost of the attrition rates in India to the overall salary bill is estimated to override the benefits of wage costs. This again adds burden to the organization's monetary budgets for the temporary staffs and restricts it's investment on them. Therefore this viscous cycle continues neither profiting the employee nor the employer.

The general perception is that people leave organization for higher pay. This hypothesis, though intuitively quite appealing, is often not sufficient in describing the entire picture with regard to sales force turnover. Because the Hawthorne studies (19th century) have already proved long back that money is not the only motivator (Mayo 1960), where as other environmental factors also play a significant role for employee motivation and performance. It is important to recognize that individuals have unique motives for working (Hiam 2003) and quite often it is complex to know what motivates employees (Mishra & Gupta 2009).

Areas of Focus in Sales Research

Table 1 lists the areas of sales research carried out by different authors chronologically. Many comprehensive studies have been done on the sales persons to explore the possible factors in the work atmosphere that can motivate them and better contribute to their working quality. As per the definition given by Davis (1983), we consider that 'Quality of Working Life' (QWL) is the broader spectrum that exemplifies all the researched factors like satisfaction, commitment, turnover, compensation, relationship management, organization culture etc (as shown in Table 1) to represent the overall working condition of the sales persons.

Quality of Working Life: Theoretical Background

Quality of Working Life (QWL) has been defined by many researchers in a variety of ways, such as quality of work (Attewell & Rule 1984) and employment quality (Kraut et al. 1989). Davis (1983) has defined quality of work life as "the quality of the relationship between employees and the total working environment, with human dimensions added to the usual technical and economic considerations". Each work environment is characterized by three general dimensions established in series of Moos's researches (Moos 1974, 1981, 1994, Young 1998, Teh 1999) of psycho-social aspects in different organizational settings that reflects its quality of working life (fig. …

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