To empower or not to empower your sales force? An empirical examination of the influence of leadership empowerment behavior on customer satisfaction and performance.J Appl Psychol. 2005 Sep; 90(5):945-55.JA
This research focuses on the impact of leadership empowerment behavior (LEB) on customer service satisfaction and sales performance, as mediated by salespeople's self-efficacy and adaptability. Moreover, the authors propose an interactive relationship whereby LEB will be differentially effective as a function of employees' empowerment readiness. The authors' hypotheses are tested using survey data from a sample of 231 salespeople in the pharmaceutical field, along with external ratings of satisfaction from 864 customers and archival sales performance information. Results indicated that contrary to popular belief, employees with low levels of product/industry knowledge and low experience benefit the most from leadership behaviors that are empowering, whereas high-knowledge and experienced employees reap no clear benefit. The authors conclude with directions for future research and application.