UK sales managers’ perceptions of the antecedents and moderating factors influencing the outsourcing of sales activities

  • Beth Rogers

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Theory development in the field of sales is relatively limited compared to other disciplines, particularly since sales managers have lower rates of participation in academic studies than other professions. By exploring in depth the perceptions of sales managers about their resourcing choices, this study brings rich linguistic data to bear on the “make-or-buy” question in sales, which could be further tested by quantitative means. It is the first comprehensive approach to the topic in the sales function, exploring constructs across three theoretical schools – transaction cost economics, the resource-based view and real options theory.

    This study explores how UK sales managers perceive that they make their sales resourcing decisions, focusing particularly on the resourcing option of using third parties such as “contract sales organisations” rather than recruiting employees. Given the lack of research about the sales function to date, and in particular the lack of research on outsourcing in the sales function, the resulting model of the make or buy decision in the sales function is a significant contribution to an emerging body of literature, discerning antecedents from two levels of moderating factors, and accommodating exceptions as well as probable scenarios.

    This study posits that, depending on context, cost, access to skills or speed to respond to the market are important antecedents of resource changes and resourcing decisions in the sales function; desire to control on the basis of reputational risk is a primary moderating factor, and ability to manage third parties together with availability of suitable suppliers are secondary moderating factors. The primary research in this study involved in-depth telephone interviews with an under-researched managerial elite - senior sales managers and sales directors. It adds to the recent evidence that telephone interviewing can be successful in gathering large quantities of data from respondents without loss of rapport or emotional emphasis.
    Date of AwardMay 2013
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Portsmouth
    SupervisorBeth Rogers (Supervisor), Colin Wheeler (Supervisor) & Paul Trott (Supervisor)

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