Absolute versus relative sales failure

Document Type


Publication Date



Sales failure, Absolute failure, Relative failure, Job satisfaction, Organizational commitment, Turnover


Researchers and practitioners alike are striving to understand the consequences of sales failures on salespeople and sales organizations. This aim is increasingly important as organizations seek to persist toward goals, despite the occurrence of sales failures. However, despite indications that sales failure is not the inverse of sales performance, salesperson failures are under conceptualized as scholarly work focuses considerably more on the study of performance. Utilizing a sample of 626 salespeople, the present study seeks to introduce and understand the comparative impacts of two assessments of sales failure - absolute and relative. Results show the differential impact of absolute sales failure and relative sales failure on outcomes critical to organizational well-being, including salesperson job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and turnover intentions. Findings also evidence the moderated impact of company-related and salesperson-related resources which may influence the detrimental effects of each form of sales failure.

Recommended Citation

Johnson, Jeff S., Scott B. Friend, Brian N. Rutherford, and G. Alexander Hamwi. Absolute versus relative sales failure." Journal of Business Research 69, no. 2 (2016): 596-603."

DOI for the article