“A little competition goes a long way”: Substitutive effects of emotional intelligence and workplace competition on salesperson creative selling
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Despite receiving significant attention in the popular press, the topic of creative selling remains underexamined in the sales literature. The current research helps to correct this notable omission by exploring the antecedents—and consequences—of salesperson creative selling. Drawing on the componential theory of creativity, we demonstrate that both individual difference (emotional intelligence; EI) and workplace environment (competition inspired by co-workers; CIC) variables drive salesperson creative selling, and that salesperson creative selling behaviors have positive, downstream consequences for performance. However, the interaction of EI and CIC reveals an attenuating effect of emotional intelligence, such that the effect of emotional intelligence on workplace creative selling is stronger at lower—rather than higher—levels of internal competition. In so doing, we take the counterintuitive position that a competitive, rather than collaborative, internal workplace environment might be best suited for sparking creative selling within the salesforce. We conclude our study by providing implications and offering suggested avenues for future research.
This accepted article is published as Kalra, A., Dugan, R. & Agnihotri, R. “A little competition goes a long way”: Substitutive effects of emotional intelligence and workplace competition on salesperson creative selling. Mark Lett (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11002-021-09599-z. Posted with permission.
Emotional Intelligence, Creative Selling, Salespeople, Competition, Sales performance