Causes and Consequences of Abusive Supervision in Sales Management: A Tale of Two Perspectives



Abuse may characterize some most important relationships, and it is estimated that 20 million Americans face abusive work situations on a daily basis. Given this statistic, there is a clear need to investigate this topic within the marketing literature. As a result, the purpose of this study is to explore antecedents and outcomes of abusive supervision in sales management, where the performance-driven nature of salesperson–sales manager relationships often creates a highly stressful situation. This research looks at several characteristics of sales managers from their perspectives as well as subordinates, and it considers how abuse influences professional and personal lives of both parties. Causes under investigation include leadership style, justice perceptions, negative affectivity, and experiences of abusive leadership by sales managers. Their impact is measured on salesperson and manager job satisfaction and organizational commitment. A model is used to help readers visualize the processes involved with both salespersons and sales managers, and theoretical and practical implications are provided in the close.