Determinants of sales performance in insurance industry
: a cross-cultural comparison between the UK and Malaysia

  • Nik K. Nik Mat

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis is concerned with an empirical investigation of the factors that predict a successful salesperson, using a cross-cultural comparison of two countries: the UK and Malaysia. Besides collecting quantitative data, qualitative data on organisational, environmental and cultural factors were also collected through interviews, personal and case observations. The quantitative data consist of sixteen independent factors and three dependent factors. The independent variables include self-efficacy, self-esteem, locus of control, self-monitoring, extrinsic motivation, intrinsic motivation, experience, training perception, role ambiguity, role conflict, role inaccuracy, gender, age, education, race and religion. The dependent variables are performance target achieved, performance earnings and performance ratings. Questionnaires were distributed to about 500 salespersons in each country, from three insurance companies in the UK and two insurance companies in Malaysia. Response rates were 75 and 50 percent from the UK and Malaysia respectively. The survey results indicated that a salesperson's performance in the UK is predicted by self-efficacy, internal locus of control, self-esteem, extrinsic motivation, experience, training perceptions, role conflict and gender. In Malaysia, a salesperson's performance is predicted by self-efficacy, self-monitoring, experience, role conflict, role ambiguity, education, gender, race and religion. Self-efficacy, experience, role conflict and gender are common predictors of salespersons' performance in both cultures. The likely explanation for these results is culture differences, i.e. UK has a homogeneous culture, while Malaysia has a heterogeneous one. Results from the case observations, such as organisational and environmental factors, give supporting evidence in explaining the empirical results. Implications from the findings are discussed from two aspects: (1) theoretical implications for divergence/convergence theory, Hofstede's model, Churchill's model, and (2) managerial implications for selection, training, motivation and appraisal.
Date of Award1995
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorViv J. Shackleton (Supervisor) & Jacky Swan (Supervisor)


  • sales performance
  • insurance industry
  • cross-cultural comparison between the UK and Malaysia
  • self-efficacy
  • personality
  • management
  • motivation
  • appraisal

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