Salespersons and sales managers: A descriptive study of topics and perceptions of retail sales performance appraisals


For many retailers, the performance of their sales force can have significant implications, which are largely derived from the fact that a retailer's sales force represents both a source of revenue and a significant expense. Based on these facts, it would seem that retail sales managers would want to manage performance as effectively as possible. The research reported in this article examines one aspect of performance management—the performance appraisal. Performance appraisal topics and perceptions were evaluated from the vantage points of both retail sales personnel and their managers. The results indicate that salespeople have strong perceptions regarding the criteria used in their appraisal—perceptions indicating that salespeople are predisposed to favor evaluative criteria that are more qualitative in nature and perhaps more amenable to self-control. The results also indicate that sales-person perceptions differ from manager perceptions with regard to the importance of the alternative criteria used. These differences indicate that salespeople believe that the criteria used are more important in the evaluative process than do their managers. The findings also show that managers perceive that they evaluate their sales personnel more frequently and more specifically than do the salespeople evaluated. These findings provide the basis for conclusions and implications for sales practitioners and academicians. © 1999 Wiley Periodicals, Inc., A Wiley Company.

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Human Resource Development Quarterly