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Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management
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The Effects of Perceived Supervisor Support, Perceived
Organizational Support, and Organizational Justice on
Turnover among Salespeople
James B. DeConinck & Julie T. Johnson
Published online: 23 Sep 2013.

To cite this article: James B. DeConinck & Julie T. Johnson (2009) The Effects of Perceived Supervisor Support, Perceived
Organizational Support, and Organizational Justice on Turnover among Salespeople, Journal of Personal Selling & Sales
Management, 29:4, 333-350
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.2753/PSS0885-3134290403

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These direct costs can be substantial given the high rate of turnover among salespeople.g. When viewed in light of the revenue associated with a salesperson’s account base.. One study estimated that the turnover rate among salespeople was double the rate for other jobs (Richardson 1999). and Ford 1977. Johnson (Ph.edu. 2007). Barksdale. James B. Julie T. Arnold. Johnston et al. and Hunt 2007. and Jackson 2000. Kashyap et al. Avlonitis and Panagopoulos 2007. Podsakoff. Oliver and Anderson 1994.. There is.wce. but the indirect costs may be significantly greater. Three types of organizational justice have been discussed and tested in nonsales settings—distributive justice. the potential for diminished corporate profitability is noteworthy. Organizational commitment mediated the relationship between POS and turnover intentions. the customer relationships the salesperson developed may be at risk.00. Results indicated that PSS is an indirect predictor of turnover intentions through POS and performance. jjohnson@email. it is surprising that there is little empirical data that tie salesperson performance to actual salesperson turnover (MacKenzie. and the fact that organizational justice is managerially controllable. Director of the Center for Professional Selling and Marketing. DeConinck and Julie T. and Ford 1977) and salesperson performance (e. Walker. Salesperson turnover has been studied for many years. PERCEIVED ORGANIZATIONAL SUPPORT.D. Weitz. 2006). Given the importance of this issue. Other indirect costs of turnover result from “ramp-up” time associated with a new salesperson taking over an unfamiliar account base. Sujan. Jaramillo. Piercy et al. procedural justice. For example. Churchill. Johnson Downloaded by [Aston University] at 20:22 05 September 2014 This study examined effects of three dimensions of organizational justice on salesperson perceived organizational support (POS). Widmier. Procedural justice had a direct. A primary reason for the number of studies is because of its cost to organizations.. The critical nature of the sales position. deconinck@email. and Ahearne 1998). Reducing turnover of salespeople who are meeting and exceeding sales goals could make a substantial contribution to a company’s bottom line. Another study reported that the turnover rate for insurance sales representatives during the first year was about 50 percent (Landau and Werbel 1995). Although costs associated with salesperson turnover may be substantial.D. understanding reasons for sales force turnover is important to organizations if they are to reduce costs associated with attrition. and interactional justice. Brown and Peterson 1993. perceived supervisor support (PSS). The cost of hiring and training a new employee has been estimated to be 200 percent of his or her salary (Griffeth and Hom 2001). If a salesperson leaves an organization. and actual salesperson turnover in a business-to-business setting using a sample of 384 salespeople. empirical research examining organizational justice in a sales force setting is very limited. Direct costs associated with salesperson turnover are important. and Barksdale 2000) and customer retention (Johnson. One antecedent of salesperson performance that has been widely researched is that of sales management control mechanisms (Anderson and Oliver 1987. suggests that this construct merits careful consideration (Chang and Dubinsky 2005. and Sujan 1986).g. 4 (fall 2009). DOI 10. Western Carolina University. For example. one underresearched control mechanism is organizational justice (Kashyap et al. Georgia State University). and interactional justice were indirect predictors of turnover through other variables. 1988. 1987. Lucas et al. However. Jaramillo et al. DeConinck (Ph. Walker. AND ORGANIZATIONAL JUSTICE ON TURNOVER AMONG SALESPEOPLE James B. procedural justice. Thus. vol. © 2009 PSE National Educational Foundation. 1985. an abundance of research that examines antecedents to both salesperson turnover/turnover intentions (e. Mulki. however. 333–350. During this period. University of Arkansas)..2753/PSS0885-3134290403 . Futrell and Parasuraman 1984. Western Carolina University. Churchill et al.edu.wcu. Johnson. Distributive justice. ISSN 0885-3134 / 2009 $9. Professor of Marketing. 2007. no. However. and Boles 2001) is critical. a low-performing salesperson may be replaced with a higher-performing individual. All rights reserved. The salesperson’s performance was related directly to both turnover intentions and turnover. and Solomon 2006. performance. Churchill. positive influence on performance. the role the salesperson plays in building quality relationships (Boles. 2007). there are some instances when attrition is positive for a corporation. pp. and empirical studies examine only two (procedural and distributive) of the three dimensions Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management.THE EFFECTS OF PERCEIVED SUPERVISOR SUPPORT. Flaherty.50 + 0. new salespeople are generally not able to generate the revenue of a seasoned salesperson. Naumann. XXIX.

PSS. Babin and Boles 1996. dimensions of organizational justice have been linked to salesperson turnover (Sager 1991). pay and promotion) as another person with whom he or she believes has equal inputs (e. even if the outcome is unsatisfactory to participants. respect. However. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK Organizational Justice Organizational justice examines employees’ perceived fairness in the workplace. we examine one dimension of organizational justice—interactional justice—which has not been addressed in the sales force literature. PSS has received limited attention in a sales context (e. Management literature has used perceived organizational support (POS) to examine this concept. Based on the literature review. including turnover intentions/turnover (Rhoades and Eisenberger 2002). on salesperson POS. The fostering of justice is an important requirement for the effective functioning of a sales force (Kashyap et al. which focuses on the interpersonal treatment subordinates receive from management. Support for the model is presented below.. 2007). 2006). an employee expects to receive similar outcomes (e. In a sales force setting. we discuss each of these three dimensions. and Rich 2001) and has not been included in studies of actual salesperson turnover. and Hall 2006). Buttner. and propriety. Buttner. and behaviors (Kashyap et al.’s study found that POS was an outcome of sales manager control mechanisms and an antecedent to salesperson performance. the employee’s reaction is directed more toward the supervisor rather than the organization (Masterson et al. However. interactional justice is composed of two independent constructs—interpersonal justice and informational justice. Greenberg (1993). Procedural justice examines the process by which rewards are allocated. The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of three dimensions of organizational justice. justification. The study called for future research to examine other outcomes of POS. 2007). Based on Colquitt’s (2001) work. and PSS on turnover. However. MacKenzie.g. Thus. Adams viewed the relationship between employee and organization as a social exchange. 2007). Employees’ perceptions of equity or inequity are based on a social comparison with a reference person or group. An important distinction between procedural justice and interactional justice is how the employee reacts to injustice. organizational justice is underresearched and only the dimensions of distributive and procedural justice have been empirically examined (Kashyap et al. and actual salesperson turnover in a businessto-business setting. POS has only recently been examined in a sales context (Piercy et al. In the sales literature. Moreover. They determined that although the outcome of the procedure was important. In nonsales settings. Colquitt based his conceptualization of interactional justice on the work of Bies and Moag (1986). For example. Shapiro. whereas interactional justice is concerned with peoples’ perception of interpersonal treatment (Elicker. Distributive justice relates to the perceived fairness of reward allocation and has been mentioned as the beginning of organizational justice (Byrne and Cropanzano 2001). and Shapiro. POS. Relational aspects between the sales force and sales manager result in an assumption that ongoing interactions will be mutually beneficial (Kashyap et al.g. Podsakoff. no study has examined the combined effect of these constructs on salesperson performance and actual salesperson turnover. A key component of procedural justice is voice (Folger 1977). no empirical research has looked at the combined effect of all three components of organizational justice.Downloaded by [Aston University] at 20:22 05 September 2014 334 Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management (Kashyap et al.g.. and Barry (1994) extended . 2007). Piercy et al. and organizational justice have been the focus of extensive research in the management literature and have been linked to various behaviors. Procedural justice examines the process by which rewards are allocated. PSS. Distributive justice evolved from equity theory (Adams 1965). The basis for procedural justice was Thibaut and Walker’s (1975) work regarding litigants’ perceived justice in legal proceedings. In cases of interactional injustice. Jaramillo and Mulki 2008. They evaluated two stages in the proceedings—a process stage and a decision stage. Bies and Moag (1986) identified four rules of interpersonal treatment—truthfulness. POS. and Barry (1994). their reaction is directed toward the organization (DeConinck and Stilwell 2004. Another construct that influences employee job attitudes and behavior is perceived supervisor support (PSS). 2000). Moreover. Levy.. Martin and Bennett 1996). the hypothesized model was developed (see Figure 1). organizational justice has been examined as a three-dimensional construct consisting of (1) distributive justice. Below. 2007). when employees perceive procedural injustice. attitudes. performance. allowing a voice in the process can alleviate dissatisfaction. (2) procedural justice. the same level of education and seniority). The perceived ratio of what an employee obtains from his or her job compared to what an employee puts into his or her job when compared to a similar person or group helps to determine equity or inequity. sales force relationalism. and (3) interactional justice. Bies and Moag (1986) introduced the concept of interactional justice. the process by which the outcome was determined was also important in certain situations. Employees contribute time and effort to the organization (inputs) and in return receive compensation and benefits (outcomes). It involves how management is communicating toward subordinates regarding the degree of respect and honesty shown to them. Allowing participants a voice in the proceedings can mitigate the outcome. including salesperson turnover.

2006). 2003). Greenberg (1993) showed that interactional justice is formed along the two dimensions interpersonal and informational justice. and Barry (1994). Buttner.Fall 2009 335 Downloaded by [Aston University] at 20:22 05 September 2014 Figure 1 Hypothesized Model this definition of interactional justice by including three items that explained the adequacy of explanations—timeliness. 91–92). specificity. and reasonableness as proposed by Shapiro. One . Interpersonal justice is composed of items measuring respect and propriety as proposed by Bies and Moag (1986). POS derived from social exchange theory (Blau 1964) and the norm of reciprocity (Gouldner 1960). and reasonableness. Blau defines social exchange as “voluntary actions of individuals that are motivated by the returns they are expected to bring and typically do in fact bring from others” (1964. and provide adequate working conditions (Eisenberger et al. 501). 1986). Understanding the relationship between sales management control mechanisms and POS can provide important insight for helping sales managers increase desired salesperson behaviors (Piercy et al. POS involves the degree to which the organization is willing to compensate employees for their efforts. for example. Essentially. specificity. Perceived Organizational Support POS is “the extent to which employees perceive that their contributions are valued by their organization and that the firm cares about their well-being” (Eisenberger et al. The concept of POS and its importance in salesperson performance has only recently been examined in the literature (Piercy et al. Social exchanges differ from economic exchanges in that social exchanges involve high levels of trust and obligation and go beyond the employment contract (Murphy et al. According to POS theory. social behavior involves an exchange of resources (Homans 1958). Informational justice contains items measuring truthfulness and justification from Bies and Moag (1986) along with items measuring timeliness. leading to long-term obligations (Rhoades and Eisenberger 2002). provide them with interesting work assignments. feelings of trust between the parties will develop. the employee gets paid a specified wage for performance. Social exchanges involve unspecified obligations in contrast to economic exchanges where. 2006). pp. p. 1986.

sales force research has examined satisfaction with the supervisor and its link to various job outcomes. 2007. Rhoades and Eisenberger (2002) cited 70 studies that had investigated the antecedents and consequences of POS. Thus. has been linked to POS (Eisenberger et al. Perceived Supervisor Support. Perceived Supervisor Support The Relationship Between Organizational Justice. and Griffeth 2003. and organizational justice. 2001). 2006). In addition. Rhoades and Eisenberger 2002. However. Part of the problem is that prior research has . Eisenberger. and Grewal (1989) reported only a small statistically significant relationship between supervisor satisfaction and turnover. 2006) has examined POS within a sales context. Stinglhamber.g. (2006) indicate a need for additional research focusing on POS in a sales environment. Intuitively.. 2007. POS has been the focus of many empirical studies in nonsales settings. In turn. The supervisor’s influence on employees can be seen in the research conducted in leader–member exchange (e. the following hypothesis is offered to be tested. Research has provided mixed results regarding the relationship between POS. supervisor support. Muse and Stamper 2007. Shore and Shore 1995). (1988) reported that satisfaction with work. Their findings indicated that POS is correlated highly with fair treatment. Avila. 2006) and procedural justice (Cohen-Charash and Spector 2001. Shore. Shanock and Eisenberger 2006. and Mercken 2006). PSS is an important variable influencing employees’ job attitudes and behavior for nonsales employees (Chan 2006. 2002. whereas economic exchanges involve receiving reciprocation now. For example. Subsequent research since Rhoades and Eisenberger’s (2002) study was published has confirmed these results (e. 1997. POS theory emphasizes the importance of employees supporting the organization and vice versa. Shanock and Eisenberger 2006). employees’ organizational commitment will increase as a result of developing a positive attitude toward the organization based on their perception of being treated fairly. but not the sales manager. POS should be an important variable influencing salespersons’ job attitudes and behaviors. they have been shown to be distinct constructs (Hutchison 1997).Downloaded by [Aston University] at 20:22 05 September 2014 336 Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management major difference between social and economic exchanges is that social exchanges involve the parties working for a future unspecified reward. The study found that POS was related directly to salespersons’ job satisfaction. Johnston et al. rewards and job conditions. Jaramillo and Mulki 2008. Colquitt et al. the results supporting a statistical link between POS and both job satisfaction and organizational commitment are not surprising (Bishop et al. It is important to note that PSS and job satisfaction are considered to be distinct and separate constructs (Chan 2006). Some research indicates that the sales manager influences salespersons’ propensity to leave and turnover (Futrell and Parasuraman 1984. However. Research has indicated that the supervisor has an important role in developing employees’ perceptions of the organization. Eisenberger et al. Rhoades. Johnston et al. and Perceived Organizational Support While much research has analyzed the influence of POS in organizations. Shore. PSS. Other research has supported PSS being an antecedent to POS (Maertz et al. correlated (Rhoades and Eisenberger 2002). However. The results reported in studies involving employees in non-sales-related jobs and the results reported by Piercy et al.g. Although PSS and POS are highly Hypothesis 1: PSS is related positively to POS. PSS. PSS also has been shown to have an important influence on employees’ attitudes and behavior. Liden et al. Generally. organizational commitment. During the past 15 years. was a significant predictor of propensity to leave. Rhoades and Eisenberger (2002) concluded that PSS is an antecedent to POS because supervisors serve as agents of the organization and the treatment that employees receive from the supervisor is a reflection of how they are viewed by the organization. given the limited research analyzing perceived support in a sales environment and its distinctiveness from both job satisfaction and organizational commitment (Allen. and Rich 2001). few studies in the sales area have examined PSS (Babin and Boles 1996. a need appears to exist to include the concept in a study of sales force turnover. In their meta-analysis. DeCremer. Rhoades and Eisenberger 2002. However. 2007). 2005. the extent to which the supervisor values the employee’s contributions. Thus.. Support by the organization may be interpreted by employees as a commitment to them (Rhoades and Eisenberger 2002. MacKenzie. Vandenberghe et al. Stinglhamber and Vandenberghe 2003). Fern. employees will feel an obligation to reciprocate this support by their enhanced commitment to the organization. only one empirical study (Piercy et al. 1987). Podsakoff. Gerstner and Day 1997. and organizational citizenship behavior and indirectly related to performance through these variables (Piercy et al. and Liden 1997). and Armeli 2001). when the organization provides employees with proper training and fair compensation for their efforts. Maertz et al. support from the organization should enable the sales force to meet its goals better. An important difference between this study and prior research is the inclusion of POS and PSS as links between organizational justice and other job outcomes. and affective commitment. Wayne.

In addition. the sales manager is presumed to play an important role in developing the sales force to be more productive. Most of the prior research has included only POS rather than investigating the influence of both variables in the turnover process. DeCremer. Ng and Sorensen 2008. Two studies reported empirical support for POS mediating the relationship between procedural justice and job outcomes (Masterson et al. Piercy et al.51 between POS and turnover intentions and a correlation of –0. Rhoades.51. research results indicate that POS moderates the relationship between PSS and organizational commitment (Maertz et al. Rhoades and Eisenberger 2002. 2001. Wayne. Stinglhamber. organizational commitment was not included in the analysis. establishing specific hypotheses is difficult. In addition. POS and PSS are hypothesized to be mediators between organizational justice and job outcomes. Rhoades and Eisenberger (2002) reported a correlation of 0. However. However. Perceived Supervisor Support. Salespeople who receive more support from their sales manager should be more productive. Rhoades and Eisenberger (2002). in their meta-analysis. Sparse research exists examining the relationship between PSS and performance. Eisenberger et al. whereas interactional justice is related to PSS. reported a mean corrected correlation between POS and turnover of –0. Shore. A similar finding was reported by Eder and Eisenberger (2008). Camerman. (2001) reported that POS was both a direct and indirect predictor of withdrawal behavior (e. Another study reported that both procedural justice and distributive justice were significant predictors of POS and mediated the relationship between the two organizational justice constructs and organizational commitment and intention to leave (Loi. PSS was not included. However.11 and the correlation between POS and turnover intentions was –0. Vandenberghe et al. Blakely. But. However. 2000. Additional research appears to support that organizational commitment and turnover intentions mediate the relationship between both POS and turnover (Allen. and Vandenberghe (2007) found support for only procedural justice being an antecedent to PSS. and Griffeth 2003. and Armeli 2001. Thus. Interactional justice was not included in this study. Eisenberger et al. in a sales context. Hypothesis 2c: Interactional justice is related positively to PSS. and Niehoff 1998). Shore. Ambrose and Schminke (2003) included all three forms of organizational justice in their study. Few studies have analyzed the relationship of POS and PSS with turnover. and Foley 2006). Distributive justice was not included in their study. Two meta-analyses reported a high correlation between POS and turnover intentions. 2007. Intuitively.Downloaded by [Aston University] at 20:22 05 September 2014 Fall 2009 seldom included all three forms of organizational justice and both POS and PSS together in one study. Ng and Sorensen 2008). Perceived Organizational Support. The sales manager assumes responsibility for coaching. and Mercken (2006) reported that procedural justice was related to POS.54 between procedural justice and POS. 2007). and Job Outcomes Rhoades and Eisenberger (2002) reported only a modest relationship between POS and employees’ performance. establishing goals. a reason exists to assume that POS has a direct relationship with turnover intentions. Specifically. whereas the correlation between distributive justice and POS was less significant (Peelle 2007). Prior research has indicated that POS is linked to organizational commitment (Muse and Stamper 2007. and Taylor 2005. Takeuchi.g. Ng and Sorensen (2008) reported a correlation of –0. other research reports a direct relationship between POS and turnover. Shore. In their meta-analysis. Thus. Other variables such as organizational commitment and job satis- 337 faction have been shown to mediate the relationship (Muse and Stamper 2007. Given the divergent results of prior research. Recently. PSS is hypothesized to be related positively to performance: Hypothesis 3: PSS is related positively to salespersons’ performance. and perhaps training the sales force. . research tends to indicate that distributive justice and procedural justice are related to POS. in the Eder and Eisenberger study. Hypothesis 2b: Distributive justice is related positively to POS. Tekleab. Ng and Sorensen (2008) concluded that the relationship between POS and turnover intentions was mediated by organizational commitment. and Liden 1997).. But. Ngo.41). employees who receive more support from the organization should be more inclined to stay (Wayne. and Liden 1997). Shore and Shore (1995) proposed that both distributive justice and procedural justice are related to POS. motivating. and distributive justice (r = 0. another study reported that both procedural justice and interactional justice were correlated highly with POS. However. Moorman. While research has reported a significant correlation between PSS and organizational commitment.53).36 between PSS and turnover intentions. the following hypotheses are offered to be tested: Hypothesis 2a: Procedural justice is related positively to POS. Thus. based on prior research results. 2006). the employee comes to work on time). Cropanzano. For example. interactional justice (r = 0. Eisenberger. whereas interactional justice was an antecedent to PSS.52). The results showed significant correlations between POS and all three measures of organizational justice—procedural justice (r = 0.

and Brooks (2005) found that both distributive justice and procedural justice were direct predictors of turnover among a sample of business-to-business salespeople. Hom. Futrell and Parasuraman 1984. Antecedents of Turnover Organizational justice has been the focus of many studies. Johnston.. Churchill et al. neither POS nor PSS is assumed to be related directly to either turnover intentions or turnover. reported a correlation between performance and turnover to be only –0. Podsakoff. 1985.19. Sujan. Wotruba and Tyagi 1991). 1990.g. in a sales context. performance has been linked to various job attitudes and outcomes such as organizational citizenship behavior (Piercy et al. and Hair 1997. but its relationship with turnover has not been analyzed extensively. Lucas et al. Johnston. Hypothesis 4: POS is related positively to organizational commitment. Therefore. Coulson. and Gaertner (2000) indicated that the correlation between quit intentions. while being highly significant. However. However. most of the studies conducted in sales force turnover have used propensity to leave (turnover intentions) as a surrogate for turnover (e. Shanock and Eisenberger 2006). and Marshall 2005. Thus. and Solomon 2006). For example. Widmier. and Sujan 1986). their model did not analyze the mediation effects of other variables. Some research exists examining the influence of organizational justice on salesperson turnover. 2002 for reviews of the literature) and sales employees that organizational commitment is an antecedent of turnover intentions (e. and turnover in question. the following hypothesis will be tested: Hypothesis 5: Organizational commitment is related negatively to turnover intentions. Thus. and turnover or turnover intentions (MacKenzie. 2003. the following hypothesis will be tested: Hypothesis 6: Turnover intentions are related positively to turnover. 2002. 2006). 1990. Thus. Folger and Konovsky 1989). Mulki et al.. Mulki. Motowidlo 1983. Weitz. turnover intentions do not translate perfectly in predicting turnover. 1987. and Solomon 2006. Brashear et al. Brashear. Bashaw and Grant 1994. MacKenzie. Given the scarcity of empirical research regarding organizational justice and actual salesperson turnover along with evidence that the effect of organizational justice on turnover is indirect. Roberts. organizational commitment (Brown and Peterson 1993. Most of the empirical research indicates that PSS is an antecedent to POS and is not directly related to turnover (Eisenberger et al. Rhoades. The preponderance of prior research appears to indicate that POS is a direct predictor of organizational commitment and an indirect predictor of turnover through organizational commitment. Griffeth. The lack of including both PSS and POS in prior studies along with inconsistent findings reported from past studies leave the relationship among PSS. and Ahearne 1998. Another study examined the influence of organizational justice on turnover among salespeople. A major purpose of this study is to examine not just turnover intentions. Jaramillo. and Ahearne 1998. but indirectly through organizational commitment. prior research has shown that the relationship between organizational justice and turnover is mediated by other variables such as turnover intentions (Aquino et al. and organizational commitment (Colquitt et al. Podsakoff. job satisfaction (DeConinck and Bachmann 2005). 2001. Generally. Johnston et al. Naumann. Eisenberger. Job performance is one of the most important concerns for any organization and has received much attention in the area of sales force research (Brown and Peterson 1993. and Jackson 2000). If the poor performing salespeople are leaving. Hom. Walker. With few exceptions (Johnston et al. and Ford 1977.g. was only 0. Some turnover may be good. in their meta-analysis. 2008. role perceptions (Miao and Evans 2007). but the relationship between performance and turnover intentions or actual turnover is less certain. then turnover can be functional. 2002 for literature reviews). The relationship between performance and turnover/ turnover intentions has been inconsistent. and Chonko (1999) determined that perceptions of equity (distributive justice) were related positively to organizational commitment and indirectly related to turnover intentions. the meta-analysis by Griffeth. However. 2008). Grant et al. Jaramillo. Churchill. an important question remains concerning their relationship with turnover. Manolis. An abundance of research indicates with both nonsales (see Griffeth. then turnover can be dysfunctional for the organization. Williams and Livingstone 1994). However. Hom. and Gaertner (2000). Mulki et al. One of the purposes of this study is to attempt to better clarify the relationship among these three variables. but actual turnover. if the best performing salespeople are leaving. . Jones and Skarlicki 2003). Parasuraman. An important aspect of performance is how it relates to turnover. Podsakoff. MacKenzie. 2001. POS.Downloaded by [Aston University] at 20:22 05 September 2014 338 Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management Because both POS and PSS have rarely been included in a model of turnover. Ng and Sorensen 2008. we maintain that the effect of organizational justice on actual salesperson turnover will be indirect. 1997. and Gaertner 2000 and Meyer et al. Mulki. job satisfaction (Babin and Boles 1996. Research has shown a fairly high correlation between performance and organizational commitment (see Meyer et al. In addition to its importance regarding revenue. Boles.38. and Bommer 1996). and Armeli 2001.

At the end of one year. as stated earlier. Measures The questionnaire appears in the Appendix.7 years of sales experience. the term “sales manager” was substituted for “organization” (α = 0. specifying hypotheses is difficult. Perceived Supervisor Support was measured in the same manner as has been done in many other studies (e. (2001). Shore and Tetrick 1991). An introductory letter was sent stating the purpose of the survey and asking the sales managers to encourage their salespeople to participate in the study. They were promised a summary of the overall results upon completion of the study. However. 3. The three scales measured procedural (α = 0. A list of sales managers (400) was purchased by a company specializing in direct mailing lists. Turnover Intentions was measured using four items developed by DeConinck and Stilwell (2004) (α = 0. (1986) (α = 0.88). Two weeks later the survey accompanied with a cover letter was sent to the sample of 148 sales managers. Eight surveys were deleted because of missing data. much of the research on the antecedents of turnover in samples of salespeople has involved turnover intentions and not actual turnover.85 in more than 40 studies. They were informed that responses from their salespeople would not be available to ensure confidentiality for the salespeople and to have their salespeople return the survey to the researchers. 17 of the salespeople had been promoted and they were not counted toward turnover.. Podsakoff.. and Ahearne (1998) reported a significant relationship between in-role performance (obtaining sales goals) and turnover. about 78 percent were male.g. Meyer and Allen (1997) reported an average internal consistency of 0.95). they had an average of 11. Thus.4. Most of the salespeople (319) worked in a variety of manufacturing and services industries. and Smith (1993) (α = 0. In this study. 2. No statistical difference in demographics was found between the salespeople who stayed and those salespeople who left. A total of 148 sales managers agreed to participate in the study (37 percent).93). One year after the initial contact was made a telephone call was placed to all of the sales managers who had agreed to participate in the study to determine 339 turnover among their sales force. The procedure that was used to obtain respondents was as follows: 1. Turnover was measured as a dichotomous variable. With the exception of turnover. is job performance a direct predictor of turnover or is the relationship moderated by other variables (e.91). 4. RESEARCH METHOD Sample and Data Collections A similar procedure as employed by Miao and Evans (2007) was used to obtain respondents.g.Fall 2009 MacKenzie. and informational justice (α = 0. Analytic Approach The data were analyzed using the LISREL 8 program (Jöreskog and Sörbom 2005).2 percent) worked for companies with the number of employees ranging from 25 to 300.90) (informational and interpersonal justice are forms of interactional justice). A problem with analyzing the relationship between turnover and job performance is that. Allen. Organizational Commitment was measured using the six-item version of the scale developed by Meyer. Twelve surveys were returned as undeliverable. Hypothesis 8: Job performance is related negatively to turnover intentions. In addition. The demographic profile for the sample of 384 salespeople is as follows: the average age of the salespeople was 36. Procedural Justice and Interactional Justice were measured using three scales developed by Colquitt (2001). and Armeli 2001. Eisenberger. 116 salespeople had left their job. interpersonal (α = 0. Distributive Justice was measured using the five-item scale developed by Price and Mueller (1986) (α = 0. the literature appears to support the following hypotheses: Downloaded by [Aston University] at 20:22 05 September 2014 Hypothesis 7: Job performance is related positively to organizational commitment.90). A total of 392 surveys were returned from salespeople working for the sales managers. Performance was measured using four items from the scale used by Low et al. Turnover was . Perceived Organizational Support was measured using four items from the survey of perceived organizational support (SPOS) developed by Eisenberger et al.74). Before analyzing the structural models. the fit of a confirmatory factor analytic model to the observed data was evaluated to determine if the items loaded on their respective scales. It was coded 2 for salespeople who left their jobs after one year and 1 for salespeople who were still employed.83). the items were used as indicants of the latent variables. These names were removed from the sample. which made the sample of salespeople to be 384. 281 (73. Prior research has substituted the word “supervisor” for “organization” in the SPOS. organizational commitment or turnover intentions)? Given this situation. Rhoades. However. they were informed that the researchers would contact them one year later to determine turnover among their sales force.

indicated a good fit (χ2 = 1. 0. p < 0. and CFI indicated a good model fit. GFI = 0. 0.46). 0. NFI = 0.036–0. and procedural justice → performance.08. p < 0. df = 801.04. performance → turnover. degrees of freedom [df ] = 858. This hypothesis was not supported (β = 0.50. NFI = 0.94. p = 0. The second hypothesis examined the relationship between POS. Support was found for the perceived level of support from the sales manager influencing a salesperson’s performance (β = 0.044. and organizational justice.01).76 to 0. and dropping the path distributive justice → POS.01. and 0. CFI = 0. confidence interval [CI] = 0. CI = 0. t = 5. t = 3. adjusted goodness-of-fit index (AGFI). 0. Hypothesis Testing The next step in analyzing the data was to test the hypothesized model.95. The result indicates that the sales manager has an important role in influencing salespersons’ perception of the level of support they receive from the organization. work performance was not only related to higher turnover intentions. NFI.92 for distributive justice.65. in this study. t = 5. Both measures of interactional justice (interpersonal justice: β = 0.98. However. the relationship between procedural justice and organizational commitment is mediated through POS. t = 3. GFI = 0.26. H4 examined the relationship between POS and organizational commitment. p < 0.91 for POS. These results support the findings reported by Cohen-Charash and Spector (2001) that distributive justice is a direct predictor of organizational commitment and procedural justice is a direct predictor of work performance. t = 4.82 for affective organizational commitment. POS was related positively to organizational commitment among this sample of salespeople (β = 0. RMSEA = 0.340 Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management assumed to be measured without error.72 to 0.05 for RMSEA indicates a very good model fit. According to H2b. Interestingly. CFI = 0.042–0.93. distributive justice is related positively to POS.049).86 to 0. p < 0. procedural justice was related positively to POS (β = 0.041. Traditional goodness-of-fit measures were used to assess the fit of the model—goodness-of-fit index (GFI). AGFI = 0.9 for GFI.244. p < 0. Support was found for this hypothesis. However.41. 0.043.97. p < 0. 0. p < 0. normed fit index (NFI). p < 0. GFI = 0.53.26.95. CFI = 0. p < 0. [nonsignificant]). RESULTS Downloaded by [Aston University] at 20:22 05 September 2014 Assessment of Measurement Model The correlations among the variables. one of the procedural justice items and one of the performance items (the items appear in the Appendix) loaded highly on one or more scale items and were dropped.77 to 0. t = 8.30.051). Deleting these two items improved the χ2 by 224.83.22. according to the modification indices. AGFI. CFI = 0. AGFI = 0.84 for PSS.046. RMSEA = 0. p < 0. t = 8. t = 6. and root square mean of approximation (RMSEA).s. The results of the CFA indicated a very good model fit by most indices (χ2 = 1. As hypothesized (H2a). p < 0. p = 0.90 for turnover intentions.58.01) and turnover intentions were related positively to turnover (β = 0.0.11. In addition.01) and job performance was related negatively to turnover intentions (β = –0.18. The modification indices indicated that three paths could be added to improve the model’s fit. . df = 775. GFI = 0. A salesperson’s job performance was related positively to the level of commitment to the organization (β = 0.62. distributive justice → organizational commitment (β = 0.84 for informational justice. NFI = 0. comparative fit index (CFI). The data were analyzed again with the deletion of those variables.42. The loadings estimates ranged from 0.75 to 0. p < 0.73 to 0. RMSEA = 0.75 to 0. According to H1. p = 0.12. t = 3. An important aspect of turnover is the issue of performance.68.01).84.01).81. The third hypothesis examined the relationship between PSS and a salesperson’s performance level.23. PSS.79 for interactional justice.60. PSS was related positively to POS.95. Values above 0. The results indicated a good fit by most indices (χ2 = 1.22. These paths were performance → turnover (β = –0.67 to 0.01) were related positively to PSS. t = 3.83.00. 0.81.00. n.15. The fit statistics for the final model.76.00. A value below 0.01).98. AGFI = 0.82.376.00. p = 0. which included adding the paths distributive justice → organizational commitment. Organizational commitment was related negatively to turnover intentions (β = –0. informational justice: β = 0. and procedural justice → performance (β = 0.01). RMSEA = 0.56. Support was found for this hypothesis (β = 0. df = 803.25. p < 0.30. The hypothesis also was supported.01).12 (χ2 = 1. prior research has found that procedural justice is more highly related to organizational commitment than is distributive justice. t = 6. H2c examined the relationship between interactional justice and PSS. means.81. t = 2.97. H5 and H6 examined the relationship between organizational commitment and turnover intentions and turnover intentions and turnover.79.94. t = 4.215. NFI = 0. but directly to turnover.35. AGFI = 0. and standard deviations appear in Table 1.34.81 for performance. CI = 0. and thus the path linking the construct to the latent variable was set to 1 and the measurement error was set at 0.41.152. The first step in analyzing the data was to conduct a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) of the variables.01). using a sample of salespeople.01). Which employees are leaving the firm? H7 and H8 attempted to answer this question.01).88 for procedural justice.039–0.67 to 0.11.

30 –0.27 16.72 0.45 0.26 0.35 –0.35 0.39 3.30 0.4 Performance Fall 2009 341 .13 –0.91 0.32 0.80 –0.67 4.15 0.45 0.56 0.31 –0.33 3.09 4.18 Distributive Justice 11.24 –0.94 3.96 0.14 0.48 PSS POS PSS Organizational Commitment Turnover Intentions Turnover Procedural Justice Interpersonal Justice Informational Justice Distributive Justice Performance POS 19.43 0.–0.66 0.44 0.23 –0.36 Procedural Justice 14.12 –0.33 –0.15 5.41 0. Means.26 0.70 Means Standard Deviations 13.54 0.30 Interpersonal Informational Justice Justice Table 1 Correlations Matrix. and Standard Deviations Downloaded by [Aston University] at 20:22 05 September 2014 14.25 0.38 0.4 3.46 0.28 –0.09 –0.47 –0.34 Turnover Intentions 1.62 0.25 0.44 0.45 3.66 0.12 –0.1 2.38 Organizational Commitment 9.62 –0.25 0.46 0.30 14.40 –0.37 Turnover 25.82 0.52 0.32 0.

22 0. The final model with path coefficients appears in Figure 2 and the fit statistics appear in Table 2.043 CI = 0.93 1.94 0.95 0. The findings have several important implications for expanding our understanding of turnover among salespeople.046 0. this study both supports and extends prior research by showing the influence of POS.83 0.041 0. organizational justice in turnover among salespeople.41 1. This study confirms the importance of organizational justice in the turnover process.84 0.215. and turnover. PSS. performance.98 0.53 1.82 0.81 0. performance.81 0. PSS.376. Table 2 Goodness-of-Fit Indices Model df χ2 GFI AGFI NFI CFI RMSEA CFA Model Revised CFA Model Hypothesized Model Final Model 858 775 803 801 1. and THEORETICAL IMPLICATIONS Few studies have included organizational justice in models of turnover. Unlike previous turnover studies that have included organizational justice (Aquino et . turnover intentions.038–0. Specifically.94 0.97 0.342 Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management Downloaded by [Aston University] at 20:22 05 September 2014 Figure 2 Final Model Note: A nonsignificant relationship is represented by a dotted line.81 0.047).98 0. organizational justice. CONCLUSIONS The purpose of this study was to test a model of turnover examining the relationship among POS.97 0.244.152.79 0.044 0.83 0.95 0.

Salespeople reported that they perceived greater organizational support and lower turnover intentions when their sales manager took pride in their accomplishments. however. He developed and validated the two measures of interactional justice used in this study. DeCremer. The results indicate that the sales manager plays an important role in improving salesperson performance and reducing actual salesperson turnover. contributed to their well-being. Regarding organizational justice. and Mercken (2006). some of the results confirm prior research. and Mercken by including distributive justice. applies to senior salespeople. PSS was related directly to POS. Ask the salespeople if they need more assistance. which confirms prior research results (Maertz et al. assistance and encouragement may be important. (2001) that separate measures of organizational justice should be used. In other words. In addition. Do some salespeople perceive that they need more training or coaching? The sales manager has the responsibility to determine if these needs are being met. Other studies have included both constructs. Colquitt et al. the results have practical implications for sales organizations. and was willing to help them. But. While previous research has shown a high correlation between procedural justice and organizational commitment (Cohen-Charash and Spector 2001. The company should not assume that all salespeople have the same level of preparation to succeed. 2001). The results indicate that distributive justice is not related significantly to either POS or PSS. In addition. both POS and PSS are important variables in the turnover process. the results here found that procedural justice was not related directly to organizational commitment. but not always. Perhaps some salespeople are comfortable with little supervision. Are salespeople receiving adequate sales training? This situation applies to both selling skills and product knowledge. For example. This study and others have shown the important role that distributive justice plays in developing employees’ job attitudes and behaviors. few efforts have been made to determine their influence on turnover. The results of this study support the recommendation of both Cohen-Charash and Spector (2001) and Colquitt et al. In terms of POS. Rather.Downloaded by [Aston University] at 20:22 05 September 2014 Fall 2009 al. Even though treating salespeople in a constructive manner appears to be “common sense. doing so can assist the sales manager in both increasing the performance of the salespeople and reducing turnover. How can sales managers determine if the salespeople are receiving adequate support? A first step is to determine the needs of each salesperson. Perhaps simply offering support may create greater commitment from the sales force and ultimately lower turnover. and Mercken reported that interactional justice had a direct relationship with PSS. the company needs to determine why the salespeople perceive greater or less organizational support. the results have several important implications. Stinglhamber. PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS FOR ORGANIZATIONS Beyond the theoretical importance of these findings. the company needs to ascertain if the sales manager is performing his or her job effectively.” obviously some sales managers are not doing it. the organization may perceive adequate support is being provided for each salesperson to succeed. but rather had an indirect relationship through POS. indirect predictors of turnover through other variables. DeCremer. 343 negative effect on his or her turnover intentions and actual turnover. The level of a salesperson’s performance has a direct. However. Neither POS nor PSS were related directly to either performance or turnover. But. Sales managers should not take an approach that all salespeople should be managed in a similar fashion. The other important aspect of this study is the inclusion of both PSS and POS. whereas other results contradict prior findings. Both forms of interactional justice were related to a salesperson’s perceived supervisory support and were antecedents indirectly related to turnover. both the organization and the sales manager need to determine what needs are being met. A key point is that the level of perceived support from the supervisor leads to an increased belief that the organization is willing to support the sales force. Similar to the situation with the sales manager. But. 1997. the sales manager is the . But. the influence of distributive justice on turnover was through organizational commitment. Thus. However. their importance in the turnover process is indirect rather than direct. this study expands the research of Stinglhamber. DeConinck and Stilwell 2004). Rhoades and Eisenberger 2002). whereas interactional justice involves the thoroughness by which the evaluation was conducted and the communication style of the sales manager. the CFA results indicate that interactional justice is composed of two distinct constructs— informational and interpersonal justice. even for more accomplished salespeople. 2007. These results support Colquitt’s (2001) work on interpersonal and informational justice. DeCremer. the most productive salespeople were choosing to remain with their company. Perhaps the initial sales training program is inadequate for success or additional training is needed as new products are introduced. All four dimensions of organizational justice were significant. which supports the findings reported by Stinglhamber. The last important practical implication regards performance. At least with this sample of salespeople. Informational justice refers to the treatment received by the salesperson during the performance review. this study expands our understanding of organizational justice by also including two measures of interactional justice. This situation probably. which also was confirmed here.

An important point is that performance appraisal is not simply a task performed at the end of the evaluation period. But. These results indicate that procedural justice influences the level of POS and that it plays an important role in influencing both performance and turnover. First. and turnover. If the sales force believes they are not being rewarded fairly given their efforts and job responsibilities. New York: Academic Press. Determining answers to these questions can assist the organization to increase retention. this study has shown the importance of including organizational justice. Griffeth (2003). 267–299. Testing the model within a single organization may be important. “The Role of Perceived Organizational Support and Supportive Human Resource Practices in the Turnover Process. Interactional justice is related to a salesperson’s perceived support from the sales manager. Future studies could expand the model by including other variables such as leader–member exchange or trust (both supervisory trust and organizational trust).” Journal of Management. “Inequity in Social Exchange.Downloaded by [Aston University] at 20:22 05 September 2014 344 Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management direct link between the sales force and upper management and has the responsibility to ascertain the needs of the sales force and report concerns to upper management. Second. An important implication of these findings regarding all forms of organizational justice is for management at all levels to determine if perceptions of injustice exist. the role of informational justice is important. simply treating salespeople with respect during the performance review can lower turnover. Leonard Berkowitz. and Marshall Schminke (2003). The way in which the performance evaluation is conducted influences salespersons’ performance. organizational justice. 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4. To what extent: 1. Did he or she explain the procedures thoroughly? 3. Was his or her explanation regarding the procedures reasonable? . My sales manager is willing to help me if I need help. My organization is willing to help me if I need help. Procedural Justice (items measured on a scale ranging from 1 “to a small extent” to 5 “a large extent”) The following items refer to the procedures used to arrive at your performance appraisal. My sales manager strongly considers my goals and values.) Interpersonal Justice (items measured on a scale ranging from 1 “to a small extent” to 5 “a large extent”) The following items refer to the person who performed the performance appraisal. How fair has your company been in rewarding you when you consider the work that you have done well? Perceived Organizational Support (items measured on a scale ranging from 1 “strongly disagree” to 5 “strongly agree”) Downloaded by [Aston University] at 20:22 05 September 2014 1. 3. 6. My sales manager really cares about my well-being. 2. 3. 2. How fair has your company been in rewarding you when you take into account the amount of education and training that you have? 3. My organization strongly considers my goals and values. 4. 5. Have you been able to express your views and feelings during the performance appraisal? Have you had influence over the decision arrived at during the performance appraisal? Has that procedure been applied consistently? Has that procedure arrived free of bias? Have those procedures been based on accurate information? Have you been able to appeal the decision arrived at from the performance appraisal? Have those procedures upheld ethical and moral standards? (Item dropped after CFA conducted.Fall 2009 349 APPENDIX Distributive Justice (items measured on a scale ranging from 1 “very unfair” to 5 “very fair”) 1. Perceived Supervisor Support (items measured on a scale ranging from 1 “strongly disagree” to 5 “strongly agree”) 1. My organization takes great pride in accomplishments. 2. Did he or she treat you in a polite manner? Did he or she treat you with dignity? Did he or she treat you with respect? Did he or she refrain from improper remarks or comments? Informational Justice (items measured on a scale ranging from 1 “to a small extent” to 5 “a large extent”) The following items refer to the person who performed the performance appraisal. How fair has your company been in rewarding you when you consider the responsibilities you have? 2. How fair has your company been in rewarding you when you consider the amount of effort that you have put forth? 4. 3. 4. 4. 3. To what extent: 1. My sales manager takes great pride in accomplishments. To what extent: 1. 7. 2. My organization really cares about my well-being. How fair has your company been in rewarding you when you consider the stresses and strains of your job? 5. Was he or she candid in his or her communication with you? 2.

Increasing territory market share. 4. Within the next six months. I intend to leave this profession. I rate the likelihood of searching for a job in a different profession as high. (Reverse coded) I do not feel “emotionally attached” to this organization. I really feel as if this organization’s problems are my own.350 Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management 4. (Item dropped after CFA conducted. (Reverse coded) Downloaded by [Aston University] at 20:22 05 September 2014 Turnover Intentions (items measured on a scale ranging from 1 “strongly disagree” to 5 “strongly agree”) 1. Within the next year. Achieving annual sales targets and other objectives. I would rate the likelihood of leaving my present job as high. (Reverse coded) This organization has a great deal of personal meaning for me. 3. 4. 4. 3. 2. Within the next six months. Within the next year. Did he or she tailor his or her communications to your specific needs? Organizational Commitment (items measured on a scale ranging from 1 “strongly disagree” to 5 “strongly agree”) 1. Keeping expenses at acceptable levels. 2. 6. 3. I would be very happy to spend the rest of my career in this organization. . Performance (items measured on a scale ranging from 1 “needs improvement” to 5 “outstanding”) 1.) Understanding customer needs and work processes. I do not feel a strong sense of belonging to my organization. I intend to search for another job. Did he or she communicate details in a timely manner? 5. 2. 5. I do not feel like “part of the family” at my organization.