Date of Award

Spring 1995

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Business Administration-Marketing

Committee Director

Earl D. Honeycutt

Committee Member

John B. Ford

Committee Member

Edward Markowski

Committee Member

Stephen W. Tonelson

Committee Member

J. Taylor sims


The focus of sales management is on insuring the success of the corporation by selling its goods or services. The most significant impact on the firm's success is the ability of the sales force to perform. Research to determine what makes a successful salesperson is extensive; however, the results are inconsistent and disappointing. In light of the significant financial impact the sales force has on the firm, additional research that identifies determinants of sales success is necessary.

The purpose of this dissertation was to examine the relationships between personal characteristics and sales performance. Specifically, Machiavellianism, self-monitoring, and adaptiveness were hypothesized to be related positively to sales performance. Additionally, it was hypothesized that the scales used in this research, Christie and Geis's Mach IV Scale, Snyder and Gangestad's Self-Monitoring Scale, and Spiro and Weitz's ADAPTS Scale were all positively correlated.

Data were collected via a questionnaire distributed to real estate professionals in the Hampton Roads area. Hypotheses were investigated using correlational analysis. The reliability of all scales was assessed by calculating Cronbach's Alphas and item-to-item total statistics. Confirmatory factor analysis was performed on the Mach IV Scale to assess the validity of the scale.

The hypothesis that adaptiveness was related positively to performance in terms of income from real estate sales was supported for both 1992 and 1993 income. The hypotheses that Machiavellianism and self-monitoring were related positively to performance were not supported. As hypothesized, there were significant positive correlations between the ADAPTS Scale and the Self-Monitoring Scale, and between the Mach IV Scale and the Self-Monitoring Scale. The correlation between the Mach IV Scale and the ADAPTS Scale was not significant. The results of the study indicate that more adaptive real estate sales agents have higher incomes than less adaptive agents; that adaptiveness and self-monitoring are related positively; and Machiavellianism and self-monitoring are related positively. Possible alternative hypotheses for the unexpected findings are discussed.

Further investigation to replicate the findings of this study with other populations is warranted. Additionally, some alterations to the methodology of the current study are suggested.


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