The Differential Effects of Functional Vis-à-Vis Relational Customer Orientation on Salesperson Creativity

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Journal of Business Research

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Drawing on creativity theory, this study investigates how customer orientation (CO) affects salesperson creativity and subsequent sales performance. The research distinguishes two types of CO, functional and relational CO, and examines how their effects on creativity may depend on contextual factors such as transformational leadership and team-based task environment. Data from a cross-sectional sample of business-to-business salespeople lend support for the theoretical framework. First, relational CO and functional CO have a positive interactive effect on creativity. Second, relational CO positively affects creativity only when the sales manager exhibits a higher level of transformational leadership, whereas functional CO is more impactful when the sales unit has a higher level of outcome interdependence. Third, salesperson creativity has a stronger positive effect on sales performance when the salesperson engages in customer-directed extra role behavior. Finally, results indicate that the effect of functional CO on sales performance is fully mediated by salesperson creativity.



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