The role of status and leadership style in sales contests: A natural field experiment

This paper addresses the question whether status alone, as compared to a combined financial/status incentive, is strong enough to motivate team members taking part in a retail sales contest to sell more goods to customers. Using a two-phase natural field experiment, we studied the impact of a sales contest on actual sales growth in 102 discount stores. The first experimental phase included a financial/status reward and status-only condition; the second experimental phase included financial/status reward, status-only, and control conditions. Compared to the control condition, the status-only condition had a significant effect on sales volume. Store managers' leadership style, however, was found to have a moderating effect. Greater sales growth resulted in the financial/status reward condition when store managers had a transformational leadership style.


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Verbeke, W., Bagozzi, R. P., & Belschak, F. D. (2016).

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