A combinatory approach to affective and cognitive orientations of the intrinsic and extrinsic motivation of salespeople

  • Rushana Khusainova

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Salesperson motivation is one of the key themes in sales management research and practice. Traditionally, it has been predominantly linked to financial incentives and pay packages assuming that extrinsic motivation is a prime driver of sales performance.However, later studies have demonstrated the crucial importance of intrinsic motivation in influencing salesperson job outcomes, although there is a number of inconsistencies and ambiguity within the research domain. The growing evidence that both types of motivation contribute to employee performance increasingly suggest that concentrating on one single type of motivation may be much less effective than utilizing a more balanced approach. Specifically, by combining intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.Research in psychology suggests that certain orientations of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation can co-exist and in combination enhance work outcomes.This study contributes to the knowledge on salesperson motivation in the following ways. First, by providing a comprehensive systematic review on how motivation is defined, major theories underpinning motivation, how motivation has historically been measured, and key methodologies employed over time. Second, by investigating how the combinations of cognitive and affective orientations of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation affect salesperson performance and work engagement. Third, by examining the effect of formal and informal sales force control systems onto the motivational orientations.Data in this study is collected from a cross-sectional sample of B2B salespeople. Findings from the main study using polynomial regression with response surface analysis reveal that salesperson intrinsic and extrinsic motivational orientations can co-exist, and have a positive combined effect on performance and work engagement. Findings from the third study utilising multiple regression analysis shed the light on the importance of informal control systems (e.g. cultural control) in influencing salesperson motivation.The study also offers vital managerial recommendations and propose some avenues for future research in the area of salesperson motivation.
Date of Award30 Oct 2018
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorAd De Jong (Supervisor), John M Rudd (Supervisor), Greg Marshall (Supervisor) & Nicholas J Lee (Supervisor)


  • sales motivation,
  • intrinsic and extrinsic motivation
  • polynomial regression with response surface analysis
  • (in)congruence analysis
  • salesforce control systems

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