Social networks and sales performance

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Danny Pimentel Claro
Sílvio Abrahão Laban Neto


This paper argues that an informal network can itself be a basis for the increase in a sales manager's performance. Informal networks create a structure that surpasses the formal hierarchical structure defined by the firm. We concentrated on the advice network and considered two different views of network structure that claim to have impact on performance. To explore this claim, we examined whether sales managers develop either a highly cohesive network structure (i.e. Coleman's view) or one containing structural holes (i.e. Burt's view) in order to achieve higher sales. We also investigated the matter of tie strength put forward by Granovetter in his seminal 1973 work. Census data was collected from about 500 personnel from an agricultural input retailer having 23 divisions. Estimates from a sample of 101 sales managers showed the importance of a highly cohesive structure (degree centrality) for the three measures of sales manager's performance. The strong ties have a positive impact on performance, suggesting the importance of building up strong bonds with network contacts. Sales managers' age, time within the retailer and education also influence performance. These results imply that firms should stimulate contacts among personnel to spread technical and commercial information.


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How to Cite
Claro, D. P., & Laban Neto, S. A. (1). Social networks and sales performance. Journal of Contemporary Administration, 15(3), 498-512.