Journal of Financial Services Marketing in 2014



Division of Industrial Marketing

Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm, Sweden




The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of the Big-Five Personality dimensions on Resistance-to-change (RTC). The data from a sample of 200 sales people was collected from a large financial services firm in South Africa. Principal-components factor analysis, followed by Varimax rotation, was undertaken to test the factor structure and the internal validity of the measures employed. Correlation analysis was undertaken to determine whether insurance salespersons personality types are related to the reported levels of Resistance-to-Change. The results are reported, the limitations are noted, and directions for future research are indicated.

Key words: Sales performance, Personality, Resistance-to-Change

The Effect of Respondents' Personality on Resistance-to-Change and the Salespersons 

 Paper was accepted for publication in Special issue of the Journal of Financial Services Marketing in 2014




Division of Industrial Marketing

Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm, Sweden




School of Management, IT & Governance, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

& Division of Industrial Marketing Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) Stockholm, Sweden




Department of Marketing Management University of Pretoria

Pretoria, South Africa





Identifying the personality traits of effective sales people has been a long-standing challenge to sales managers and researchers in a wide range of contexts, from business to business, to retail and services. A definitive identification of the characteristics of the ideal salesperson remains elusive. We investigate the impact of the Big 5 personality traits on the performance of salespersons in a large financial services organization, our purpose being to graphically illustrate how personality traits differ, according to different levels of sales performance. We present the results graphically using Chernoff faces. The study demonstrates that this approach provides valuable insights to sales managers, and has several possible applications in relation to financial salesperson-performance management.

Key words: Financial salesperson performance, Big 5 Personality, Chernoff faces

Big-Five Personality Traits and Financial Salesperson Performance: an Application of Chernoff Faces

Your results are our focus. 

 The paper was submitted to the Journal of Personal Selling in 2014.



Division of Industrial Marketing

Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm, Sweden



Clifford F. Youse Chair of Marketing & Strategy

Information Design & Corporate Communications

McCallum School of Business

Bentley University

Waltham, 02452, USA



This study explores salespersons’s views of Linderbaum’s and Levy’s (2010) Feedback-Orientation Scale (FOS). A qualitative study of in-depth, face-to-face interviews was conducted with salespersons from the petrochemical and financial-service industries. While the study confirmed the perceived validity of the six dimensions of the FOS, it emerged that for salespersons, feedback orientation was only part of a wider picture, which we term the quality of the feedback environment (QFE). Content analysis of the interviews suggests that quality of the feedback environment is a function of four dimensions: source (who), content (what), manner (how), and time (when) the feedback was given.  The study synthesizes insights into four propositions on the quality of a person’s feedback environment, and its relationship with feedback orientation. 

The study concludes with a discussion of the implications of the new construct for future research and practice.

Key words: Feedback orientation, quality, performance, feedback environment

Beyond Feedback Orientation: Exploring the Quality of the Feedback Environment

Published in the Journal of Psychology Reports 2014

Lilford, N.; Caruana, A.; Pitt, L. (2014).  Psychological Reports: Measures and Statistics, V114, 1, 126-133. (ISDN 0033-2941).


 Feedback to employees is an important management tool; and the literature demonstrates that it has a positive effect on learning, motivation, and job performance. This study investigates in a non-U.S. context the psychometric properties of the Feedback-Orientation Scale. The data were gathered from a sample of 202 salespersons from a large South African firm in the industrial fuels and lubricants sector. Confirmatory-Factor Analysis provided evidence for the intended dimensionality, reliability, convergent, and discriminant validity of the scale.

Most organizations provide feedback to employees in one way or another. Such feedback might be informal, as when a manager or supervisor casually comments on an individual's work. However, more frequently, feedback is formal; and typically, it is part of some kind of performance appraisal and re- porting system. Feedback to employees is an important management tool; and most of the literature demonstrates that it has a positive effect on learning, motivation, and performance (Ilgen, Fisher, & Taylor, 1979; Kluger & DeNisi, 1996; London, 2003).

Effective feedback provides an organization's perspective on the job performance of employees; and it informs them on the progress towards goals, thereby reducing uncertainty, while boosting the self-perceptions of competence and self-confidence among the recipients (Ashford & Cummings, 1983; Bernichon, Cook, & Brown, 2003; London, 2003). Unfortunately, individuals do not all respond to feedback in the same way; and it would therefore be helpful to managers, or those providing feedback, to know beforehand how different people might react.

In an attempt to understand just how individuals might differ in their response to feedback, Linderbaum and Levy (2010) developed the Feedback-Orientation Scale (FOS).

An important consideration in the adoption of a scale by both practitioners and researchers is a body of evidence that shows that the scale performs well in contexts other than those in which it was originally developed. The current study assesses the FOS in a different context, and among a different group of respondents. Firstly, given the salespersons context that will be employed in this study, the importance of feedback in the functioning of an effective salespersons is discussed. The role of a feedback orientation is highlighted; and this is followed by a brief overview of the FOS and its dimensionality. Next, details on the collection of the data from a sample of business-to-business (B2B) salespersons in a large South African firm are described; and the psychometric properties of the scale are presented. Finally, the paper concludes by identifying practical implications, while acknowledging the limitations, and suggesting various avenues for future research.

Psychometric Properties of the Feedback- Orientation Scale Among South African Salespersons

Authors: Esther Hoffman, Dennis Farrell, Neil Lilford, Mariaan Ellis, Michael Cant

Juta & co.

Copyright 2007 Juta & Co,

ISBN: 978 0 702 17704 0

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