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Master of Business Administration
Submitted to the Faculty of the
It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s that I stay with problems longer.
~ Albert Einstein
The present study was designed to add knowledge to the specific topic of sales performance in the business-to-business sales environment while also contributing to the broader body of knowledge related to job performance.  The study is unique in its f...
The results of the study provide several fascinating items for discussion, which are discussed in detail below.  Acknowledgment is also given to the limitations of the present study. Suggestions are made for future research to address both the limitat...
The Proven Value of Extraversion
The dominance of Extraversion in a sales environment has been noted in the past (Vinchur et al., 1998, p. 591).  This study confirms that in a business-to-business sales environment involving large dollar transactions and highly paid salespeople, Extr...
Grit vs. Conscientiousness
Grit consists of two main sub-traits, perseverance of effort (POE) and consistency of interests (COI).  In the defining paper (Duckworth et al., 2007), these two sub-traits are analyzed with a Cronbach alpha (α = 0.78) for POE and (α = 0.84) for COI a...
One topic not discussed in Duckworth’s grit study is the factor loadings of the two sub-traits of COI and POE onto the grit construct.  In the present study, these two sub-traits did not effectively define one theoretical construct from a mathematical...
In the model used for the present study, the presence of grit, which correlates with Conscientiousness (r = 0.546), overwhelms the contribution that Conscientiousness might make and leaves Conscientiousness as a non-significant variable.  However, the...
COI seems to be the weaker component of grit.  Like the present study, a study of Filipino college students (Datu, J. A. D., Valdez, J. P. M., & King, R. B., 2015) found that COI and POE would not load successfully onto grit.  The authors explain that...
In summary, the present study indicates that the grit construct functions in place of Conscientiousness and is only slightly more robust.  Grit does not function well as a higher-order construct because its sub-traits do not converge onto the higher o...
The Failure of Honesty-Humility
In the present study, the two hypotheses relating to Honesty-Humility (H1: HH>PsyCap and H5:HH>[email protected]) were both non-significant.  There is a negative correlation between Honesty-Humility and PsyCap that is significant in the measurement model data...
The Power of Psychological Capital
Psychological capital proved to provide the most insight into the performance of the salespeople studied.  Without psychological capital as a mediator, there would be no significant relationships in the model studied with given data.  Psychological ca...
Figure 30: Comparison of Fit Statistics for the Psychological Capital Construct
Psychological capital appears to be a robust, higher order construct that produced similar results ten years ago in the original work done by Luthans and today in the present study with a much different data sample.  Psychological capital in a high-le...
A Challenge to Psychological Capital
As I considered why psychological capital is a significant predictor of job performance, I took a closer look at the twenty-four questions in the psychological capital questionnaire.  I also took all 148 questions from the present study’s salesperson ...
The non-significance of Agreeableness and Emotional Control
As anticipated, Agreeableness and Emotional Control do not correlate significantly with psychological capital or [email protected]  This confirms the meta-analysis by Vinchur et al., 1998.
Why the Negative Impact of Openness to Experience?
Griffin and Hesketh, 2004 (p. 243) investigated reasons why Openness to Experience is typically not a good predictor of job performance.  In fact, they highlight that Openness to Experience is the worst trait in the Big Five for predicting job perform...
Q85 - My friends would describe me as being unconventional.
Q105 - I enjoy spending time at art galleries.
These two questions fall into the category of “openness to internal experience.”  Griffin and Hesketh propose that “perhaps people who are open to their internal states might have heightened awareness of negative feelings and, therefore, recognize or ...
Other Interesting Insights from the Data
While reviewing additional research on psychological capital, I found that the paper “The Mediating Role of Psychological Capital in the Supportive Organizational Climate-Employee Performance Relationship” (Luthans, Norman, Avolio, Avey, 2008, p. 224)...
As seen in Figure 31, the factor loading for POE (perseverance labeled PCAPP) is 0.745 onto PsyCap.  The Cronbach Alpha for the entire construct improves from α = 0.86 to α = 0.88.  From a mathematical and theoretical perspective, POE fits into the ps...
Figure 31. Positive Perseverance Analysis Results
In an effort to further evaluate this Positive Perseverance concept as potential for future research, a model was evaluated that removed grit, [email protected], and psychological capital from the study model and utilized Positive Perseverance as a mediator b...
The proposed future research model fits better theoretically with past research in that it shows the contribution of both Extraversion and Conscientiousness to performance.  In this model, the total effect of Conscientiousness, fully mediated by POSPE...
Contributions of the Present Study
The present study makes several contributions to the body of knowledge related to HEXACO, grit, psychological capital and job performance in a sales environment. First, data and analyses support the significant contribution of Extraversion and psycho...
Interestingly, Honesty-Humility was not a significant predictor of psychological capital or job performance in the group of salespeople studied.  While other industries analyzed in previous studies have shown incremental predictive benefit from Honest...
A work-contextualized version of grit, the [email protected] scale, was developed during the pilot study and may be useful in future research studies. The [email protected] construct was not shown to operate as a mediator between the HEXACO personality traits and job...
A challenge to the grit construct was presented that may help focus research interest on the issue of perseverance of effort and consistency of interest not loading onto the grit construct.  As a result, a new construct that adds grit’s perseverance o...
A challenge to one of the items that makes up the psychological capital scale was presented that showed the item, a performance self-rate question, is the most significant predictor of performance of the twenty-four items in the scale.  This may lead ...
Finally, unexpectedly, Openness to Experience was a predictor of job performance in the group of sales professionals studied.  The purpose of the present study is to identify a model that incorporates personality measures that will explain more varian...
Limitations of the Present Study
There were several limitations to the present study. First, the study group consisted of a very specific niche in the business-to-business sales environment.  Findings from the study may not extrapolate to other industries.  Second, while a large and ...
Future Research Opportunities
As previously mentioned, grit needs to be studied at a deeper level to resolve the struggle found with the two sub-traits not converging onto the higher order grit construct.  The present study’s findings would not argue in favor of grit but would ins...
Psychological capital has received significant attention for its ability to predict job performance.  However, I believe—and confirmed in the present study—that without the item that directly asks survey participants to rate their job performance, the...
As a 52-year-old PhD student and serial entrepreneur, I have a unique perspective on the present study.  When I was 26, I started my first business.  It was a software company, and I often worked 18-hour days, sometimes seven days a week.  I had two p...
Document Text Contents
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Dissertation Approved:

J. Craig Wallace, PhD

Dissertation Adviser

Bryan D. Edwards, PhD

Dursun Delen, PhD

Aaron Hill, PhD


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Figure 10: Phase Ib Theorized Model with Standardized Estimates

The model fit parameters were good: χ2 = 24.58 (p < .05), CFI = .977, RMSEA = .120,

SRMR = .026. Also note that the relationship between [email protected] and the Self-Report

Role Based Performance Scale is non-zero and is significant (p < .05). It appears that a

better measure (although a self-report) of job performance solved the specification issues

found in Phase Ia testing. This second model test also provides an opportunity to look at

the consistency of the relationships in the model from Phase Ia to Phase Ib. A

comparison of the standardized path estimates for each model are shown in Figure 11.


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Figure 11: Comparison of Standardized Path Estimates Phase Ia vs. Phase Ib

Phase Ia Phase Ib
Hypothesis Path Estimate p value Estimate p value

H1 Honesty-Humility > PsyCap 0.100 0 0.145 0
H2 Conscientiousness > PsyCap 0.264 0 0.377 0
H3 Extraversion > PsyCap 0.561 0 0.504 0
H4 Grit > PsyCap 0.143 0 0.072 0.15
H5 Honesty-Humility > [email protected] 0.127 0 0.108 0
H6 Conscientiousness > [email protected] 0.184 0 0.328 0
H7 Extraversion > [email protected] -0.037 0.11 -0.005 0.88
H8 Grit > [email protected] 0.672 0 0.599 0
H9 PsyCap > Job Performance* 0.654 0 0.642 0
H10 [email protected] > Job Performance* -0.003 0.93 0.138 0.01

* Job Performance was measured by a Job Satisfaction Index in Phase Ia and by a self-report RBPS in Phase Ib

Phase Ia and Phase Ib Model Comparison

The two models generated similar path estimates for the 10 hypothesized

relationships. This indicates the strong possibility that our Phase II testing will produce

significant results. The relationship between grit and PsyCap was not significant in Phase

Ib but was significant in Phase Ia. The relationship between these two constructs has not

been investigated or discussed anywhere in the extant literature (although theoretically it

makes sense that one’s level of grit would lead to life experiences and mental tendencies

that would reflect a higher level of PsyCap). It will be interesting to see how Phase II

estimates this relationship.

In both Phase Ia and Phase Ib, the relationship between Extraversion and

[email protected] was not significant. This is interesting since Eskreis-Winkler et al. (2014, p.

36) did show a correlation between Extraversion and grit (the Duckworth measure and

not the [email protected] measure) in a sales environment of 0.25. However, this relationship


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Working as part of a team or work group.

Seeking information from others in his/her work group.

Making sure his/her work group succeeds.

Responding to the needs of others in his/her work group.

ORGANIZATION (going above the call of duty in one's concern for the company)

Doing things that helps others when it's not part of his/her job.

Working for the overall good of the company.

Doing things to promote the company.

Helping so that the company is a good place to be.

CUSTOMER SERVICE (working with clients or customers internal or external to the
organization toward the success of the project.)

Accurately anticipating customer’s needs.

Establishing excellent rapport with customers.

Interacting professionally with customers

Providing high quality service to customers

To what extent did this salesperson reach his\her financial goals during the most recently
completed evaluation period?

How would you rank the overall sales performance of this salesperson? Think of five tiers
where each tier represents 20% of the salespeople. The list below is designed to help you
visualize what we are asking. Remember, this is a relative ranking of your salespeople. You
should attempt to allocate your salespeople evenly among the five tiers.

Enter the total annual compensation, including salary, bonuses, commissions and any other
incentive pay. Please provide the best estimate of the total compensation of this employee.
For consistency, we suggest you use the number as reported on the employee's W-2 for 2014,
Box 5, Medicare wages and tips.


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