Sales force social exchange in problem resolution situations

Nick J. Lee, John W. Cadogan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While sales managers spend much of their time resolving sales force-related problems, existing theory offers little insight into the social exchange processes which occur in problem resolution situations. Using a qualitative inquiry method rooted in grounded theory, we uncover three key social exchange contributions used by sales managers when dealing with problem situations in the sales force: sales manager responsiveness, caring, and aggressiveness. We then show that the extent to which managers use these exchange contributions in problem situations is a function of manager characteristics, problem-specific characteristics, and the situational context. We also show that the extent to which managers invest in these three social exchange contributions has implications for the quality for the interpersonal relationships between salespeople and their managers, and for the effectiveness of problem resolution activity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-372
Number of pages18
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009


  • leadership
  • sales management
  • aggression
  • caring
  • ruthlessness
  • responsiveness
  • qualitative


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