Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial/Organizational Psychology (PhD)


Industrial/Organizational Psychology

First Advisor/Committee Member

Dr. Joey Collins

Second Advisor/Committee Member

Dr. John Thoburn

Third Advisor/Committee Member

Dr. Gary Karns


sales, sales performance, sales drivers, transformational leadership, salesperson theoryof-mind, idealized influence, inspirational motivation, individualized consideration, contingent reward leadership, laissez-faire leadership


A customer revolution caused by the popularity of internet commerce, the reliance on social media, and the globalization of the retail industry, calls for an examination of a sales model driven by transformational salespeople. This study examined potential salesperson performance drivers and a proposed moderated mediation model of salesperson performance. This study relied upon a foundation of transformational and other leadership attributes and salesperson theory-of-mind (SToM). Although the conditional indirect effects of the model were not statistically significant, transformational leadership was found to be a statistically significant predictor of sales performance (c’=.024, t=2.63, p =.0088). Several sub-components of transformational leadership were also statistically significant such as individualized consideration (c’ = .133, t = 3.75, p = .0002). Other statistically significant leadership attribute predictors were contingent reward leadership (c’ = .102, t = 2.65, p = .0084), and laissez-faire leadership, negatively correlated, (c’ = -.061, t = -2.07, p = .039). The study also found that transformational leadership is positively related to SToM (ai = .768, t = 2.88, p = .0042). Although the study found these predictors statistically significant, caution must be exercised in the interpretation of results due to the low effect sizes. This study is suggestive for sales theory and for sales practice. The study contributes to the pioneering work of Bass (1997) who originally made the theoretical connection between transformational leadership attributes and effective sales performance. He theorized that because sales is an influence process involving the alignment of the customer’s goals and objectives with the organization’s solutions, it is like transformational leadership, which is also an influence process in which the leader responds to followers’ needs by aligning goals and objectives of individuals with the organization. The results not only confirm Bass’s theory, but also extend it with the addition of other leadership attributes, contingent reward leadership and laissez-faire leadership. This study employed a cross-sectional sampling approach and used data generated by an online package of surveys covering transformational leadership, salesperson theory-of-mind, and personality.