• Document: The Relationship between Personality and Job Performance in Sales:
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The Relationship between Personality and Job Performance in Sales: A Replication of Past Research and an Extension to a Swedish Context Andreas Klang Stockholm University - Department of Psychology Master’s Thesis, 30 Credits Spring of 2012 Supervisor: Anders Sjöberg 1 THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PERSONALITY AND JOB PERFORMANCE IN SALES Andreas Klang This study examined the relationship between personality dimensions and supervisory ratings of job performance, in a sales context in Sweden. A sample of 34 telesales workers, employed at two major telecom companies, completed the NEO PI-3 (McCrae & Costa, 2010). As hypothesized, it was found that Extroversion, Conscientiousness, and Neuroticism correlated moderately with job performance. In line with past research, this suggests that individuals, who display high levels of Extroversion and Conscientiousness, as well as low levels of Neuroticism, perform better in sales related occupations. Unlike hypothesized, no correlation was found between job performance and Agreeableness and Openness to Experience. Additional computations indicated the importance of specific sub dimensions of Extroversion and Conscientiousness in respect to job performance. Practical implications in respect to recruitment and directions of future research are discussed. It is critically important for organizations today to recruit high performing employees. One big question that organizations may find hard to answer is how to separate individuals who will perform well from those who will not. The answer may to some extent relate to the type of personality that one exhibit. Discussions that concern personality as a valid predictor of job performance have flourished ever since Barrick and Mount (1991) conducted a substantial meta-analysis on the same topic. The commercial aspect that comes along with personality testing has been one factor that has contributed to a more specialized focus in the field of personality psychology. However, ever since organizations started to incorporate personality testing in their recruitment processes there has been reasonable doubt in terms of their true usefulness (Giles, Burch & Anderson, 2008). To date, the major objective in most research studies have been to investigate the potential relationship between the famous Five-Factor Model (FFM) and overall job performance. More specifically, researchers have been motivated to discover the factual relationship between broad personality traits and their direct impact on job performance. Moreover, research suggests that personality traits as predictor variables can be generalized across all occupations and work tasks (Barrick & Mount, 1991). If true, it is interesting to further investigate the FFM and its association to job performance in specific occupations. One particularly interesting occupation is sales. It may be that some personality traits, more than others, are likely to be associated with successful performance, in sales related occupations. The value of realizing which personality traits that characterize top performers in sales may be beneficial to the extent that organizations may be able to identify, early in a recruitment process, those individuals who are more likely to achieve success. This paper seeks to advance and replicate previous work regarding personality and job performance by examining the relationship between the FFM and job performance in a Swedish business setting. Specifically, the purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between Neuroticism, Extroversion, Openness to 2 Experience, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and supervisory ratings of job performance, in a sales context. In order to get a deeper understanding of predictor variables, appropriate sub dimensions of Conscientiousness and Extroversion, will be examined. The Significance of Sales According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics BLS (2010) sales and related occupations are the second largest occupational group accounting for approximately 10% of the total number of employments in the US (US Department of Labour, 2010). Based on statistical data from BLS, organizations in the USA employ roughly 14 million workers within the occupation of sales (Farr & Tippins, 2010, as cited in US Department of Labour, 2007). More importantly, Farr and Tippins (2010) have addressed that sales occupations represent a significant portion of the total workforce in the world and that the success of businesses solely depend on their sales workers’ job performance. Competencies required in Sales O*NET scientific databases (onetonline.org) has through extensive scientific research gathered and categorized thousa

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