Past studies have shown that a sales
agent’s attributional style for positive and negative events is related to
sales performance. The aim of the present study was to examine an agent’s
length of sales experience as a moderator of the relation between sales
performance and attributional style for positive/negative events. 360 Japanese
life insurance sales agents were assessed with attributional styles for
positive and negative events (would be referred to as positive attributional
style and negative attributional style, respectively), sales performance and
their lengths of sales experience. It was found that relationship between sales
performance and the two types of attributional styles was largely different
depending upon length of an agent’s insurance sales experience. Among “novices”
(n = 183) whose lengths of insurance sales experience were less than three
years, sales performance was related significantly to negative attributional
style, whereas it was not related to positive attributional style. By contrast,
among “veterans” (n = 177) whose lengths of insurance sales experience were
three years or more, sales performance was related significantly to positive
attributional style, whereas it was not related to negative attributional
style. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
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