Monash University
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Salesperson work engagement: how employee involvement climate, psychological capital, and engagement influence attitudinal and performance outcomes

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posted on 2017-01-31, 04:48 authored by Medhurst, Adrian
The overall focus of this thesis was to explore the concept of work engagement for sales professionals. More specifically, the research program sought to examine the motivational state of work engagement and then determine the degree to which organizational resources and personal resources influenced salesperson work engagement. Furthermore, the research aimed to determine the degree to which salesperson work engagement influenced salesperson performance, overall work attitude and intention to turnover (ITO). Paper 1, a theoretical paper, focused on establishing links between antecedent organizational resources in the form of employee involvement climate (EIC), and personal resources in the form of psychological capital (PsyCap), with work engagement conceptualized as a motivational mechanism mediating the EIC and PsyCap relationships with salesperson performance. Paper 2, a qualitative paper, examined the lived experience of salesperson work engagement and the links this has with the experience of work-related flow. More specifically, fourteen sales professionals working across a range of companies in one large Australian-based consumer goods enterprise were interviewed about their experiences of engagement and flow at work. The data, analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA), provided insight into salespersons’ experiences of work engagement and led to the interpretation of salesperson engagement as a positive psychological state reflected by a sense of energy, focus, and striving that is consciously self-regulated in order to meet the situational and task relevant demands encountered within one’s job role. Salespersons’ experiences of work-related flow were characterized by eudaimonia and vitality, complete absorption, and intuitive striving. Paper 3 reported on a quantitative study focused on empirically testing an elaborated version of the model of salesperson engagement proposed in Paper 1. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was used to establish the dimensionality of all of the constructs included in the model and to verify the appropriateness of specifying EIC, PsyCap, salesperson work engagement, overall work attitude and salesperson performance as second-order latent factors. The proposed theoretical model was tested using structural equations modeling (SEM) and moderated structural equations modeling (MSEM). The study sample comprised participants recruited from three large Australian-based organizations and a sample of sales professionals (N = 226) recruited via the researcher’s personal and professional networks. Salesperson work engagement, EIC, PsyCap, salesperson performance, overall work attitude, and intention to turnover were assessed via an online self-report questionnaire. The results showed a good-fitting structural model which verified the majority of the proposed paths (seven out of 10) and which explained sizable amounts of variance in the outcomes investigated (50% to 72%). The discussion focused on the contributions to the literature which emerged from the findings and the theoretical and practical implications for the measurement and modeling of salesperson work engagement. The key study limitations, including the use of self-reported data and a cross-sectional design, were acknowledged. Future research opportunities were also outlined. Overall, given the significant relationships with salesperson performance, work attitudes, and intentions to turnover, this thesis supported the importance of EIC and PsyCap resources to the study of salesperson work engagement and outcomes using the JD-R model motivational process.


Principal supervisor

Simon Albrecht

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Psychological Sciences

Campus location



Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Type



Faculty of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences