The relationship between emotional intelligence and customer orientation for pharmaceutical salespeople: A UK perspective


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationships between salesperson emotional intelligence, dispositional affectivity, and customer-orientation levels in pharmaceutical marketing.

Design/methodology/approach: A total of 71 pharmaceutical salespeople working in the UK provided responses to scales designed to assess emotional intelligence, dispositional affectivity (positive affect (PA) and negative affect (NA) and customer orientation). The emotional intelligence and dispositional affectivity scores provided by the salespeople were then analyzed to determine the degree to which they related to customer-orientation levels.

Findings: The findings indicate that salesperson emotional intelligence levels are positively correlated with their customer-orientation scores. Positive dispositional affectivity levels are also significantly correlated with salesperson customer-orientation levels. This result suggests that UK pharmaceutical salespeople who possessed more PA tended to also be more positively oriented to the customer. However, NA levels are not significantly correlated with salesperson customer-orientation levels.

Research limitations/implications: From a theoretical perspective, these findings provide a venue for future research in professional sales which could focus on the relationships existing between salesperson behaviors/characteristics that relate to salesperson customer-orientation, skills, social desirability, and performance.

Practical implications: From a practical basis, the findings suggest that pharmaceutical firms in the UK who are focused on increasing the customer-orientation levels of their sales force would be well advised to assess the emotional intelligence and dispositional affectivity levels of both their potential and current salespeople and use this information in their selection and training activities.

Originality/value: The research reported provides an initial assessment of the relationship between these variables in a pharmaceutical sales situation in the UK.



Document Type





Customer orientation, Emotional intelligence, Marketing, Personal selling, Pharmaceuticals industry, United Kingdom

Publication Date


Journal Title

International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing