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Examining the differences in salesperson motivation among different cultures

Christopher R. Moberg (Marketing Department, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, USA)
Megan Leasher (Macy's Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio, USA)

American Journal of Business

ISSN: 1935-5181

Article publication date: 28 October 2011




Although salesperson motivation has been widely researched within the USA, the purpose of this paper is to examine similarities and differences in salesperson motivation in different countries and cultures.


Hypotheses of differences in motivation dimensions between Eastern and Western sales forces are proposed based on previous cross‐cultural and motivation research. An archival assessment database with data from over 120,000 salespeople is used to examine the hypotheses.


Salespeople from Western cultures are more motivated by the needs for achievement, relationships, and power than salespeople from Eastern cultures. The results for the relationship hypothesis were unexpected.

Research limitations/implications

The study provides an important first step to conduct more research on global sales force motivation.


Identifying or confirming the salesperson motivations that exist in other countries will provide critical insight to sales managers as they recruit and develop a global sales force operating in multiple markets. Recruiting a sales force with motivations consistent with the cultural norms of a foreign market could lead to a significant competitive advantage.



Moberg, C.R. and Leasher, M. (2011), "Examining the differences in salesperson motivation among different cultures", American Journal of Business, Vol. 26 No. 2, pp. 145-160.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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