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Sales Person Organization Fit: A Review of the State of the Art


Research Scholar, Shri Jagdishprasad Jhabarmal Tibrewala University, Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan 333001, India


Associate Professor, Management Development Institute, Gurugram, Haryana 122007 Gurgaon, India

*Corresponding Author:
Research Scholar
Shri Jagdishprasad Jhabarmal Tibrewala University
Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan 333001, India
Tel: +91-9447203637
E-mail: [email protected];[email protected]

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In the present economic and business scenario the role of front line sales persons has become highly vital as market place is becoming more and competitive and customers are spoilt for choice. In most of the organizations a large work force of sales personnel’s is employed and this is more prominent in the service sector. The company workers or agents working in the sales function and using their own inter personal relations to enlighten, influence and make relationships with prospective customers; consumers and clientele with the endeavor of persuading them to buy the companies goods and services are called salespersons. A large number of persons are occupied in direct selling for concerns and companies across the globe. Sales people add value to their organizations by contributing to the revenue. They are the actual face of the corporation in community and supervise the firm-buyer liaison. The present paper traces the evolution of study of this field and brings out the research conducted in various parts of the world to analyze and promote the Fit between sales Persons and Organizations.


Sales Person; Sales Force; Relationships; Organization Behavior


The sales managers in the present scenario face two major challenges regarding sales persons i.e. recruiting and retaining high-performing sales force. Reduction of the moving out of sales people who are achieving and performing above targets can contribute a major input to a firm’s bottom line. Intentional turnover is an important part of retention which has a more lasting and ripples down effect on the organization because in an uncovered territory, the creation, sustainability and increase of mutually advantageous relationships with consumers shall suffer [1]. The premeditated turnover always leads to loss of sales because clients are left unattended and it takes at least 18 months to recuperate after a sales person leaves [2].

Job Satisfaction

Job fulfillment or satisfaction is a very significant variable in the study of aspects of organization behavior as well as sales management. It can be understood by exploring the implications of person-job (P-J) Fit and also person-organization (P-O) Fit on the employee’s job satisfaction, organization loyalty and turn over tendencies of sales persons. There is barely any significant research about the job fulfillment of sales persons operating in developing market places although job satisfaction is one of the core concerns in management and is the most deeply studied variable in industrial psychology and organization behavior. There are two main rationales behind this. The pivotal one is that, the huge business potential in developing markets is being recognized and addressed by both global and local firms [3]. Secondarily, firms from developing markets are making their presence felt in countries outside their home markets [4].

The sales person’s role is extremely significant in the profit making activities of organizations and the sales person performance has a major impact on many positions inside the concern. Therefore for more thirty years in developed economies, a lot of research has been carried out over the job satisfaction of salespersons [5].

Person-Environment Fit

P-E Fit is a crucial factor within organization behavior research. It is expressed as the measure of how compatible people are in their job environment [6]. P-E Fit is thought to envelop four domains: P-O, P-J, person-group (P-G), and person-supervisor (P-S) Fit. Earlier exploration in organizational behavior has acknowledged associations between above described variations of Fit and personalized out comes such as work satisfaction, performance, withdrawal behavior and term [7].

Person-Job Fit

P-J Fit is expressed as the level to which an individual’s preference, comprehension, actions, skill, desires and ethics match the job necessities [8]. A worker can feel excellent P-J Fit once she feels comfortable doing the occupation she pursues and is motivated by it, and as soon as she acquires the skill and know-how to execute soundly in her job [6].

Person-Organization Fit

P-O Fit happens when congruity and coherence exists between workers and the business for which they are working [9]. Congruity may well be present whilst the workers and organization are comparable in some manner. This likeness can be ascertained in four different ways. First, there can be comparison involving persons and the business in terms of ethics or customs. Second, there can be resemblance of targets. A third way of conceiving P-O Fit is in form of correspondence amongst the wants and wishes of individuals and also the organization’s structure and process. Lastly, there can be compatibility amid the individual workers personality and the concerns environment [10]. Liu et al. [11] researched the link involving P-O Fit, work contentment and turn over intent with a sampling of Chinese Executives from public sector.

Organization Commitment

Most of the work force opines that the organization they work for is a super concern to be in. What's more, they have a faith that the goals of the business merit working for it and the principles of the business are worth standing up for Mowday et al. [12].

Review of Past Works

In this section research papers, theses, conference papers, and contributions by different researchers are discussed. The available literature is studied exhaustively so as to understand the work already done in this field. The major trends in research are analyzed. Summary of some of the reviewed papers is presented in the ensuing part of the section.

Greenbaum [13] describes the administration’s duties for implementing organizational communication systems. In-house administration can devise, fashion, and sustain a communication structure that enhances the chances of superior organizational efficiency. An critique by Minter [14] explores a few of the major participative decision making (PDM) theories and analogy study concerning the interpersonal kinetics of organizational communiqué in superior-subordinate associations. Business concerns or their managers who build up a communication method based on regulations will be ignoring the actuality of and showing insensitivity to the communication dynamics inside the business.

Roberts and O'Reilly [15] regarding organizational communication to study a group of variables likely to be linked by means of the communicating role of people engaged in at work. The results show that lack of communication isolates and participants are differentiable in terms of affective and behavioral responses to work.

Presented results using Structural equation modeling (SEM) show that sales managerial conduct is linked to sales force perception of job stress. Also, the appraisal shows job conflict, administrative communication, leader deliberation, and leader commencement of structure are important predictors of sales force job contentment [16].

This manuscript puts forward a benchmark to enhance interactional models as well as a representation of P-O Fit, which can satisfy these criterions. Q-sort methodology is used to compare individual person’s value profiles to organization value profiles so as to establish Fit and to forecast change in ethics, norms, and behaviour [17].

Bowen et al. [10] proposes a novel method for recruitment wherein staff is recruited to fit the distinctiveness of a business and does not focus on just the necessities of a specific post. The proposed model is successfully employed in concerns where employees are allowed adequate autonomy to explore and apply their special qualities to sway professional performance.

In the presented work, organizational communication has been given great importance as an augurer of work satisfaction and less prop up as a mediator of the work performance-work fulfillment association. It was found that lateral communication moderates the affiliation amongst contentment between salary and performance, whereas correctness of information has been revealed to moderate the association between fulfillment with job and performance [18].

To avoid negative consequences in a setting where downscaling and reorganization is the rule; it has to be ensured that administrators hired from other firms are compatible to their projected situation, and to the business traditions and aims. Therefore it is necessary to go in for Personality characteristics testing (PCT) previous to accepting aspirants and a guiding agenda after approval of candidature [19].

MacKinnon et al. [20] conclude that the link amongst the disciplines of management science and organizational communication is weak and frequently debatable. These fields need to be joined due to the recent trends towards participative business organizations.

A study on how a firm’s socialization stratagems help formulates P-O Fit between new comers and organizations are done. The analysis showed that recruits subjective Fit discernment, at the same time as variation in their ethics, were connected with two kinds of socialization plans: substance and societal aspects [21].

Baldauf and Cravens [22] say that sales person conduct is analyzed as a forecaster of output performance and sales group efficacy. The outcome of mediator regression analysis indicates that sales person capability, artifact category, as well as business growth are appropriate mediators.

This paper by Montes et al. [23] tries to establish if the operational atmosphere which the bank staff understands is linked to their emotional response and the perception concerning the service value that the bank provides. An academic representation is developed and tested by means of experimental evidence obtained from the Spanish banking sector. Outcome sustains the theoretical representation.

Schwepker Jr [24] in his empirical examination advocates that moral conflict, emerging due to inconsistency in moral principles between sales people and their companies’ apex board, has a pessimistic effect due on one constituent of work performance, meeting sales targets.

In the study by Carmeli [25] the outcomes show that organization culture increases business relation’s environment and organization communication. While organization communication does not enhance either business relation’s environment or perceived external prestige, business relations environment affects perceived external prestige.

Caldwell et al. [7] in their work evaluate individual workers perception of transformation in P-E Fit in relation to organization level transformation taking place in 34 diverse work units of the organization. Outcome suggests that the relationship involving organization change and assumed transformation in Fit are better appreciated as interactions between the features of the process of change, the dimensions of change, and entity dissimilarity.

Martin et al. [26] say that the workers whose perception of the business and atmosphere where they work (i.e. emotional climate) was more affirmative, were expected to take change more sympathetically and show enhanced tuning in and display elevated professional fulfillment, emotional comfort, organization dedication, and lesser non-attendance and turn over intent.

The OCB–CWB relationship is explained by doing a meta-analysis. Outcome shows that there is a humble pessimistic correlation. A worker focused viewpoint is projected wherein both OCB and CWB are professed as adaptive behaviour. Inferences are drawn for use by organizations [27].

Adopting a contingency perspective, Olson et al. [28] propose and evaluate a fitas moderation representation that hypothesizes that organizations presentation in totality is impacted by how credibly the selling businesses organizational structure properties which include formalization, specialization, centralization and tactical behavioural emphasis considering customer, innovation, cost control, and competitor, go together with alternative company strategies viz. analyzer, low-cost defender, prospector, and differentiated defender.

Martin and Bush [29] in their study analyzed previous circumstances and work performance linked cost of consumer focused sales. The outcomes show that transformation oriented leaders, empowering, and explicit components of the psychosomatic atmosphere are vital predictors of consumer leaning selling.

Investigations have always shown that both entity level environmental insight and organization level environment are connected to work satisfaction. This analysis of the relative significance of individual and entity level environment on worker satisfaction was presented with a sample of over one thousand workers from 120 branch offices of a United States based bank [30].

Newton and Jimmieson [31] propounded that a significant investigation has given varied outcomes pertaining to the anxiety buffering result of participative control on worker Fit. Their research propounded that anxiety buffering result of participative control is likely to be more evident for persons feeling high, as against low, subjective Fit.

Simon [32] has gauged contentment and performance on three everyday jobs like judgment, idea creation and intellect among seventy five dyads functioning by means of one of three methods of communication viz. instantaneous messaging, video conferencing, and personal physical interface.

Edwards et al. [33] distinguished 3 methods in the study of supposed P-E Fit viz. atomistic, molecular and molar. The presented research has found the significance and associations amongst the molecular, atomistic, and molar methods to Fit and analyzed features that manipulate the potency of these associations. Outcomes have shown that the associations between the methods depart noticeably from the academic judgment which joins them mutually.

Outcomes revealed that OCB associated substantially to turn over intent, with sportsmanship cropping up as the most significant forecaster of turn over intent in all cultures. Cultural diversity in OCB rankings was observed, with the Malaysian feedback generally achieving higher score than the other two outcomes. Nonetheless, the affiliation amongst OCB and turn over intent was same among every culture grouping [34].

Boles et al. [35] in their work opine to testify the linking amongst different aspects of sales person work contentment which is examined by employing the INDSALES measurement and sales person organization dedication. Research outcomes show that different features of work contentment are more sturdily associated to organization dedication.

Research with survey data from one twenty two sales person supervisor dyads from thirty five organizations established that P-OF it has an affirmative outcome on OCB as a consequence of the effect it has on the salespeople's work contentment. The outcomes also confirmed the conclusive consequence of OCB on the overseer’s appraisal of the salesman’s performance [36].

This paper by Moynihan and Pandey [37] analyzes the sway of societal networks and value similarity on turn over intent between civic and non-profit workforce. It is pointed out that workers are a part of community networks within and outside their company, and these networked groups mould worker attitude and conduct. To expound this hypothesis turn over intent is employed.

Dietz [38] discusses on the subject of supervising employees in business so as get good performance concentrating on trio of major areas like HR stratagem, leader ship, and team work. A HR stratagem as a scheme of features was conceived and it was propounded that unity amongst these qualities shall guide to synergic effects on organization performance.

The evaluated research tries to describe an original construct named salesperson opportunity recognition, which add to explanations selling efficiency as well as effectiveness. A framework for the composition of sales people opportunity appreciation as well as precursors and out comes is developed from a scrutiny and fusion of the existing writing on entrepreneurial cognition and inventiveness [39].

Many research and practicing managers agree that P-O Fit offer advantages to each worker, work groups, and organizational entities. This study examines the mediating influence of emotional empowerment on the relationship between P-O Fit and two significant individual out comes in part performance and intent to turnover [40].

While a lion’s share of presented study comes from the USA, several researchers have put forward the need for international data. The present article aims to look at experiential links amid foci of dedication, work fulfillment, and work association and OCB to determine which approach describes best the form of citizenship in French context [41].

To predict Organization obligation, P-O Fit is better than P-J Fit. However, it is not easy to establish P-O Fit through employment interview as issues like interviewer's perception of organizational values may not be valid and also other types of biases of both the interviewer and the candidates hampers in arriving at P-O Fit [42].

A study was done at Dalaman International Airport by conducting a survey on workers, and findings about P-O Fit and its results are obtained. The outcomes reveal that a statistically pessimistic correlation amongst P-O Fit and work anxiety and disagreement exists [43].

Mulky [44] in his working paper says that work satisfaction is a crucial variable in sales management as well as organizational behaviour. The research recognizes noteworthy straight pathway amongst P-E Fit construct and work contentment and its subsequent construct. An inference for administrators is the significance of determining Fit as well as work contentment.

Cross-sectional surveys were used to analyze the moderating consequences of central self-appraisal and P-O Fit on the association involving P-J Fit and personal opinion based well-being. Workers having a high level of P-O Fit depicted more remarkable rise in gladness than workers with low P-O Fit as P-J Fit rises. Moreover, features of P-J Fit displayed differential relations with psychological fitness which was consistent with past studies [45].

The purpose of this investigation, with focus on the service industry, was to talk regarding the affect of P-O Fit on job fulfillment and turnover intent. The outcome depicted that P-O Fit was optimistically interrelated to work fulfillment, whereas P-S Fit was directly affecting on turn over intent [46].

This investigation was intended to analyze the straight and roundabout effects of transformational management on salesperson’s turnover intent through moral climate, P-O Fit and organization dedication. Based on the conclusions of this work, businesses are provided with insight into the use of transformational leadership in controlling turn over so that it leads to improved financial results in companies in a market in Asia [47].

Viewing OCB engagement from the time cost standpoint; the presented research besides examining the straight effect of P-O Fit on OCB also examine the mediating effect of time estimation on the effectual extent of P-O Fit on OCB. It is shown that the affirmative relation amid P-O Fit and OCB will be made strong (weak) if workers include an elevated prospective (current) orientation time standpoint [48].

A formal model is proposed by Ribeiro Soriano et al. [49] which depict a sound basis on how organization know-how decides the involvement of centralization and formalization to the attainment of assimilation. The interdependent exchanges amongst design proportions show that, in order to achieve the desired organization Fit, all design variables should be accommodated on the same time at the optimum level, or else the positive impact of the adjusted variables may be nullified by the under Fit or over Fit of the remaining design variables.

Past works on HRM have stressed on the liaison between high performance work systems (HPWSs) and organization work performance in tactical HRM. The study puts forward that affirm can improve P-O Fit not with control oriented systems but via higher commitment to work systems. It is summarized with a arrangement of three major schemes connected with P-O Fit, HPWSs, and organization outcomes [50].

By means of the P-O Fit frame work and organizational justice theory, this work by Lindevall et al. [51] tests the hypothesis that gives importance to correspondence amidst the worker and the business as regards pay justice benefits, workers business dedication, work contentment and intent to stay put in the business.

This work by Chinomona et al. [52] researched the effect of the Fit parts of work embeddedness (worker Fit to work, Fit to society, and Fit to business) on workers work performance in Zimbabwe. The results reveal that worker Fit to work, Fit to business and Fit to community optimistically influence workers work presentation.

A longitudinal approach which could assuage the errors linked with common method variance that hinder most studies using concurrent information was utilized to find constructs propounded by this study using valid data of employees from Taiwan Bayer. Based on analytical results, P-J Fit was considerably correlated to psychological ownership, and then psychological ownership was considerably correlated to contextual performance [53].

This study by Jawad et al. [54] analyzed the relationship amidst P-O Fit and OCB, P-J Fit and OCB, P-O Fit and deviant behaviours (DB), P-J Fit and DB and the position of empowerment as moderator is also analyzed. Results inferred significant positive association of P-O Fit and P-J Fit with that of OCB. Relation of DB with that of P-O Fit remains unconfirmed whereas non supportive with of P-J Fit. Also empowerment was found to moderate only between P-J Fit and OCB, but not between P-O Fit and OCB.

Bourne and Jenkins [55] express the point that there are four separate types of organization ethics – advocated, ascribed, mutual and desired. These incomplete, but connected forms circumscribe deviation in temporal orientation and levels of analysis. They use these forms to show the dynamic nature of organization ethics by underlining the progression of gaps and over laps amongst them.

As a consequence of liberalization a number of firms of all sizes have entered in the pharmaceutical drug manufacturing and marketing sector with the same drug contents increasing a lot of competition in the market and alongside it is also providing a lot of work opportunities and occupational expansion for marketing personnel. This study by Pawase and Poonawala [56] focuses on the role of P-J Fit and P-O Fit on the work satisfaction, organization commitment and turn over intent of the medical representatives of pharmaceutical firms operating in Pune district.

The study being discussed makes a twin input. Firstly, it gives a concept which combines both P-O Fit and P-J Fit into a single model. Secondly, it proposes a three step model that hypothetically links P-J Fit and P-O Fit (antecedents) to worker engagement (outcome) and turn over intent (consequence). The advantage of adding a third step is in the appraisal of the outcomes (in terms of the consequences of the overall model) and enhancement of the overall scope of the framework [57].

This study by Spanjol et al. [58] analyzes as to how the match vs. mismatch amidst individual and firm level ethics relating to environmental liability affects worker creativity and work satisfaction and add to the three literature areas of corporate social responsibility, creativity, and P-E Fit. A practical inquiry shows that various environmental orientation Fit conditions affect creativity and work satisfaction differently. especially, environmental orientation Fit produces greater creativity and work satisfaction when the worker and business both exhibit great disquiet for the environment than when both exhibit harmonizing low concern for the environment.

Zhou et al. in their work analyze the consequence of knowledge workers’ emotional bond on managerial dedication and job contentment. The two dimensions of emotional bond were found to have a noteworthy optimistic correlation with organization commitment and job satisfaction. The three dimensions of organization dedication were found to have a noteworthy affirmative correlation with job satisfaction. The regression model helped in investigating and assessing that the realization of knowledge employee’s emotional contract, which added to the expansion of enlarged organization dedication, which in turn contributed to, increased knowledge employees work contentment level.

The current study analyses the optimistic association between P-O Fit and employees' self-rated creativity in the Turkish context. The paper by Saraç et al. [59] elaborates these issues. Subjective P-O Fit measures and a creativity measure were adapted for this research, and multiple regressions were used to compute whether and how P-O Fit relates to creativity. One of these important interaction effects was drawn on employee creativity. And the second is congruence between personal values and current organizational values would affect employee creativity positively.