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Salesperson work engagement and flow: A qualitative exploration of their antecedents and relationship

journal contribution
posted on 2016-03-14, 00:00 authored by A R Medhurst, Simon AlbrechtSimon Albrecht
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide an interpretation of the lived experiences of salespersons’ work engagement and work-related flow and how these states are related. Design/methodology/approach – A mixed-methods qualitative investigation on a sample of 14 salespeople from a large Australian-based consumer goods enterprise was conducted. Using interpretative phenomenological analyses and ethnographic content analyses the antecedents and conditions for salesperson work engagement and work-related flow were investigated. Findings – The data showed that affective, cognitive and conative dimensions underpinned the experience of work engagement and work-related flow. Work engagement was interpreted as an aroused and self-regulated psychological state of energy, focus and striving aimed to address the situational and task relevant opportunities and demands encountered. Work-related flow was characterized by passion, absorption, eudaimonia and automatic self-regulation of goal pursuit. Research limitations/implications – The sample was from a single manufacturing organization with sales roles focussed primarily on business-to-business selling, and as such the generalizability of results to salespeople working in different contexts (e.g. retail sales, telesales) needs to be established. Practical implications – The research helps sales managers to take more account of the conditions that foster salesperson engagement and flow. Originality/value – This study represents one of the first attempts to interpret, compare and contrast the lived experience of salesperson work engagement with that of work-related flow. The study also adds to the relative paucity of research published on work engagement using qualitative methods.

History

Journal

Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal

Volume

11

Issue

1

Pagination

22 - 45

ISSN

1746-5648

eISSN

1746-5656

Publication classification

C Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2016, Emerald Group Publishing

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