Salesperson Goal Orientations and the Selling Performance Relationship: The Critical Role of Mediation and Moderation

Harri Terho, Liisa Kairisto-Mertanen, Danny Bellenger, Wesley J. Johnston


Over the last two decades studies have demonstrated the importance of goal orientations in the context of selling and established a body of the main antecedents and outcomes. A closer look at the empirical findings reveals that the relationship between goal orientations and performance remains partly inconsistent as there is mixed evidence of the learning orientation performance relationship partly conflicting with theory. We propose that these findings can be clarified by studying moderation effects related to the nomological network of goal orientations. In testing a research model focused on the interrelations of goal orientations, selling experience, adaptive selling and salesperson selling performance, we confirm the established relationships and show that the learning orientation performance relationship is more complex than earlier studies suggest. The findings indicate that the effectiveness of learning orientation is contingent on selling experience and it affects performance also indirectly by helping salespeople adapt their sales styles more effectively. Ignoring these interaction effects will undermine the role of learning orientation in selling performance bearing also concrete implications for sales management.


Selling behaviors, goal orientations, learning orientation, performance orientation, selling experience, ADAPTS, salesperson selling performance, interaction effects

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Since 2012, vol 5(1), this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.