Date of Award

Summer 2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

First Advisor

Barry Babin

Abstract

This dissertation extends the dual theory of salesperson information processing by examining the relationship between salespersons' emotional intelligence (EI) and their preference for and use of decision-making styles (intuition and/or deliberation) in the selling process. This dissertation contains two studies, Study 1 employs a descriptive research design and Study 2 uses experimental manipulations to investigate the role that intuition and deliberation play within the sales process. Data for both studies come from a sample derived from a national online panel of business to business salespeople.

Study 1, using a survey approach, assesses two competing models and one post hoc model that are theoretically differentiated on the bases of cognitive awareness and effort. Findings from Study 1 demonstrate that a salesperson perceived use of intuition and deliberation are unique constructs that each positively influence creative selling and job performance. Also, emotional management relates to intuition and is a positive antecedent to deliberation. This provides supporting evidence for the theory of emotional intelligence. Finally, the post hoc model reveals that creative selling plays an important supporting role in shaping job performance.

Study 2 employs a between subjects 2 (intuition versus deliberation decision mode) X 2 (positive versus negative emotional perception) X 2 (positive versus negative message) experimental design.

Findings from Study 2 reveal that salesperson deliberation is necessary to perceive accurately emotions in others. This is in line with the theory of emotional intelligence, which holds that EI is an ability. In addition, there is evidence that subjects in the intuition condition retain less information regarding the sales dialogue but have roughly the same pattern of responses for purchase probability, tone of the sales dialogue, and attitude toward the product. This provides evidence that a salesperson's intuition is a valuable input to guide actions during the sales interaction. Finally, there is evidence of the two processing systems, deliberation and intuition, working together and affecting how salespeople process information and make decisions. These findings support the theory of dual processing and provide insight into the decision making process within the context of sales. The work also provides a strong basis for future research.

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