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Thought self-leadership strategies and sales performance: integrating selling skills and adaptive selling behavior as missing links

Rakesh Singh (Department of Marketing, IMT, Ghaziabad, India)
Narendra Kumar (Allergan Singapore Pte Ltd, Singapore, Singapore)
Sandeep Puri (Department of Marketing, Institute of Management Technology, Ghaziabad, India)

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

ISSN: 0885-8624

Article publication date: 5 June 2017




This study aims to address the need to study salespersons’ thought self-leadership (TSL) and its effectiveness through the interplay of self-efficacy, skills and behavior at the individual level. It also advances the agenda of integrating self-leadership into marketing literature.


A model was tested using survey data collected from salespeople within pharmaceutical companies located in India and other Asian countries. A structural equation model was used to test the hypotheses.


The results suggest an interesting interplay between a salesperson’s TSL and his/her sales performance. The results also demonstrate the relationship between TSL and self-efficacy and the mediation mechanism through which self-efficacy influences sales performance. Results support the role of TSL as a distal predictor of performance and delineate the complexity of the mediation mechanism through theoretical grounding and empirical evidence.

Research limitations/implications

The research suggests that a salesperson’s TSL relates positively with the sales performance through three process variables; self-efficacy, selling skills and adaptive selling behavior. The results should encourage managers to leverage salesperson’s TSL strategies to build a self-leading sales force and optimize supervision cost. Moreover, training the sales force for enhanced TSL has immediate payoffs in terms of increased selling effectiveness. The study also discusses theoretical implications.


By examining TSL in the sales context, the study makes an original contribution to the extant literature. The results of the study enrich the extant information on self-leadership and sales performance linkages by suggesting a mediation mechanism and proposing an integrated framework with selling skills and adaptive selling behavior.



Singh, R., Kumar, N. and Puri, S. (2017), "Thought self-leadership strategies and sales performance: integrating selling skills and adaptive selling behavior as missing links", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 32 No. 5, pp. 652-663.



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Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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