Academic journal article Academy of Strategic Management Journal

Relationship between Leader Behavior and Subordinate Intention to Remain: Mediating Role of Critical Thinking and Empowerment

Academic journal article Academy of Strategic Management Journal

Relationship between Leader Behavior and Subordinate Intention to Remain: Mediating Role of Critical Thinking and Empowerment

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Around sixty years back Christian (1960) pointed out that no industrial firm has its marketing work force problem really solved. With constantly growing economy the marketing work force problem persists. Even today, organizations face major difficulties in recruiting and retaining salespeople. On the other hand, the highly competitive market and tough margins are forcing employers to become more demanding of salespeople skillsets. At the same time sales people turnover brings higher costs in terms of lost sales and abandoned sales territories in addition to the costs associated with recruitment, training and managing new salespeople (Darmon, 2008). Furthermore, when a salesperson leaves an organization he carries valuable market information and customers along with him. In view of this, studying salespersons' retention remains an important research priority (Jones et al., 1996).

The basic question, then, centers on identifying the predictors those can influence employee intention to remain with current organization. An examination of existing research results into two important factors-leadership and employee empowerment that foster high intention to remain. In addition, in modern sales context, it is posited that critical thinking skills of salespeople will have significant relationship with intention to remain. Earlier research has demonstrated that leader behavior had positive influence on employee intention to remain (Albrecht & Andreetta, 2011; Chen et al., 2011). Despite recognition that an appropriate leader behavior can enhance employee intention to remain, there is limited research evaluating mechanism by which leadership behavior influences employee intention to remain. In understanding the mechanism by which leaders influence subordinates intention to remain, two concepts attracted much interest of researchers. They are critical thinking skills and empowerment. There exists handful research on empowerment relating to employee intention to remain (Klerk & Marius, 2014), but very dismal research on association between critical thinking skills and intention to remain. Recent research advised that salespeople should be trained on critical thinking skills for their better performance (Cecilia et al., 2015). Hopkins, Raymond & Carlson (2011) suggested that improved skillset is required by the changing role of salesperson in this milieu. Cecilia et al. (2015) opines that today's business environment is labeled by globalization, competition, technology and changing demographics and suggested that salespeople today need critical thinking skills to effectively perform in more challenging and multifaceted roles.

Employee retention is one of the important enduring managerial issues faced by employers. This issue is more relevant in highly demanding sales job. Past research demonstrated impact of employee attrition or intention to leave behavior on organizational performance. In response to this, many organizations are implementing different strategies to enhance employee intention to remain. However, the dynamics of sales people management and motivation is different. Salespeople work in a highly competitive and challenging job environment. In addition, customers are informative and demanding. In this context, this research tries to examine whether there is any relationship between leader behavior and employee intention to remain. The research questions that are to be discussed in this paper are: 1) is there a positive relationship between leadership and intention to remain, 2) what are the mechanisms that leaders adapt to foster intention to remain and 3) which mechanism yields better result.

Present study investigates influence of leadership and two mechanisms (critical thinking and empowerment) on intention to remain, more specifically, how far leader behavior, encouragement to subordinates to think critically and empowering behavior will influence salespersons intention to remain. …

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