Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Robert O. Brinkerhoff

Second Advisor

Dr. Edward J. Mayo

Third Advisor

Dr. Charles C. Warfield


The Social Style Model served as the central theoretical framework of this study. The purpose of this study was twofold:

1. To assess whether performance evaluations of salespeople are related (a) to their social styles, (b) to the social styles of the sales managers who supervise their work, or (c) to the differences between their social styles and the styles of their sales supervisors.

2. To test the assumption that self-evaluations of social style are often significantly different from evaluations supplied by others who are familiar with a person’s behavior.

Two types of empirical data were collected: <1) measures of three social style variables—assertiveness, responsiveness, and versatility—for salespeople and sales supervisors, and (2) measures of salespeople’s overall job performance. Job performance was assessed using both self-ratings and supervisory ratings on five constructs of sales performance: (1) ability to meet sales objectives, (2) technical knowledge and application of that knowledge, (3) control of company expenses, (4) information processing, and (5) presentation skills. Social style was assessed using self-, peer and supervisory ratings.

Mail surveys were sent to 47 sales directors (supervisors) and to 170 sales account executives (salespeople) at four Midwestern food brokerage organizations. A nonprobability judgment sample was used to select the four participating organizations for this study. The survey had a response rate of 77%.

The study found a positive correlation between salesperson versatility and job performance; however, supervisory versatility was not related to salesperson performance. Evidence was found that salesperson job performance was significantly different by the social style of the salesperson, but not significantly different by the social style of the supervisors. The study suggests that the more similar a salesperson be to his or her supervisor’s social style, the more likely one is to receive more favorable performance evaluations.

Self-reports were found to differ significantly from supervisory evaluations for overall measures of sales performance. Self-ratings for assertiveness, responsiveness, and versatility were found significantly different, in an upward direction, from both peer and supervisory ratings. Peer ratings were found to differ significantly, in an upward direction, from supervisory ratings.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access