– The purpose of this paper is to provide an interpretation of the lived experiences of salespersons’ work engagement and work-related flow and how these states are related.
The purpose of this paper is to provide an interpretation of the lived experiences of salespersons’ work engagement and work-related flow and how these states are related.
A mixed-methods qualitative investigation on a sample of 14 salespeople from a large Australian-based consumer goods enterprise was conducted. Using interpretative phenomenological analyses and ethnographic content analyses the antecedents and conditions for salesperson work engagement and work-related flow were investigated.
The data showed that affective, cognitive and conative dimensions underpinned the experience of work engagement and work-related flow. Work engagement was interpreted as an aroused and self-regulated psychological state of energy, focus and striving aimed to address the situational and task relevant opportunities and demands encountered. Work-related flow was characterized by passion, absorption, eudaimonia and automatic self-regulation of goal pursuit.
The sample was from a single manufacturing organization with sales roles focussed primarily on business-to-business selling, and as such the generalizability of results to salespeople working in different contexts (e.g. retail sales, telesales) needs to be established.
The research helps sales managers to take more account of the conditions that foster salesperson engagement and flow.
This study represents one of the first attempts to interpret, compare and contrast the lived experience of salesperson work engagement with that of work-related flow. The study also adds to the relative paucity of research published on work engagement using qualitative methods.