Social Networks within Sales Organizations: Their Development and Importance for Salesperson Performance

Academic Article


  • Although the study of salesperson performance traditionally has focused on salespeople's activities and relationships with customers, scholars recently have proposed that salespeople's intraorganizational relationships and activities also play a vital role in driving sales performance. Using data from 286 salespeople in a unique social network analysis, the authors explore the effects of salespeople's intraorganizational relationships on objective salesperson performance as well as the role of political skill in developing intraorganizational relationships. The results indicate that two types of social network characteristics (i.e., relational centrality and positional centrality) contribute substantially to salesperson performance. Moreover, salespeople's political skill is shown to be an antecedent to relational centrality but, surprisingly, not positional centrality. This finding demonstrates that researchers should not assume that all centralities represent similar underlying network characteristics. In light of these results, the authors discuss several implications for both managers and researchers as well as directions for further research.
  • Authors

  • Bolander, Willy
  • Satornino, Cinthia
  • Hughes, Douglas E
  • Ferris, Gerald R
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • November 2015
  • Has Subject Area

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 1
  • End Page

  • 16
  • Volume

  • 79
  • Issue

  • 6