Academic journal article Interdisciplinary Journal of Information, Knowledge and Management

The Effect of Personality Traits on Sales Performance: An Empirical Investigation to Test the Five-Factor Model (FFM) in Pakistan

Academic journal article Interdisciplinary Journal of Information, Knowledge and Management

The Effect of Personality Traits on Sales Performance: An Empirical Investigation to Test the Five-Factor Model (FFM) in Pakistan

Article excerpt


Sales occupations can be challenging but are a widely growing field across the world. The US Department of Labor (2015) notes that sales related employment will grow 5% between 2014 and 2024 and provide nearly a billion new jobs in that country. Concurrently, sales occupations significantly contribute to the overall workforce around the globe (Farr & Tippins, 2010). After all, the success of a business often depends on a salesperson's job performance (Erdheim, Wang, & Zickar, 2006; Zoltners, Sinha, & Lorimer, 2009). Personality also plays an important role when there are differences involving unique traits and characteristics of an individual (Maslow, Frager, Fadiman, McReynolds, & Cox, 1970). Within sales occupations, one's personality is often the key component for success (Burch & Anderson, 2008). In addition, many researchers have argued that personality may perform a major role in sales and can result in higher levels of performance (Behrman & Perreault, 1982; Churchill, Ford, Hartley, & Walker, 1985; Deeter-Schmelz & Sojka, 2007; Sitser, van der Linden, & Born, 2013; Verbeke, Dietz, & Verwaal, 2011; Vinchur, Schippmann, Switzer, & Roth, 1998).

In the past, the relationship between personality traits and sales performance has been well examined (Barrick & Mount, 1991; Chow & Ong, 2015; Furnham & Fudge, 2008; Matthews, Deary, & Whiteman, 2003; Pendharkar & Pandey, 2011). Likewise, Sitser et al. (2013) explained there are five big personality traits that are valid predictors of sales performance: extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience. Miller (2015) notes the five-factor model (FFM) is based on the assertion there is a strong connection between the personality of a salesperson and their work performance. Prior studies have investigated this notion in the retail, banking, insurance and hotel industries (Barrick & Mount, 1991; Hurtz & Donovan, 2000; Magandini & Ngwenya, 2015; Yakasai & Jan, 2015). Sung and Choi (2009) claimed there is a nexus between personality and an individual's creativity. Additionally, Caisdy (2012) believes there is a link between fashion consciousness and prestige sensitivity. However, there was no known study that measured the impact of FFM to sales performance within Pakistani organizations.

Pakistan is the world's 6th highest populated country with 189 million people and a growth rate of 2.1% (WorldMeters, 2016). Pakistan's culture is based on numerous norms and values that are focused on being productive and creative (Evans et al., 2014). Per Evans et al. (2014), the government of Pakistan resists non-traditional cultural activities while embracing operational success in both national and multinational organizations. The current study investigates such multidimensional insights within three major industries in Pakistan: pharmaceutical, insurance, and electronics.


Personality is an individual's pattern, emotion, cognition, and behavior (Goldberg & Lingle, 1985; Matthews et al., 2003; Maslow et al., 1970). It is recognized as the enduring disposition, which causes patterns of the characteristics to interact with one's environment (Goldberg & Lingle, 1985). Personality is made up of distinctive feelings, thoughts, and behaviors that make an individual unique (Goldberg & Lingle, 1985). It has been described as a factor influencing an individual's interaction to the environment in complex situations (Tadepalli, Moreno, & Trevino, 1999). Per Padberg and Rinaldi (1991), several researchers have investigated the correlation of personality and sales performance. While some researchers have expressed the positive correlation between those two factors, others believe there is no such association. So, understanding the personality of a salesperson is especially important for management to understand to improve sales efficiency and to create the longterm relationship with customers (Harris, Ladik, Artis, & Fleming, 2013). …

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