The aim of this research was to generate a theory to predict the success levels of assurance sales representatives. A sample of 245 participants from a life insurance company in South Africa was selected to participate in the study. The sample consisted of 213 males and 32 females; of these, 159 were European, 78 African and 8 Asian; the average age was 40.37 years. The Schepers Locus of Control Inventory (Schepers, 1995), the Entrepreneurial Attitude Orientation Scale (EAOS) (Robinson, Stimpson, Huefner&Hunt, 1991) and a biographical questionnaire were administered to the participants. Factor analysis was conducted to test the psychometric quality of the locus of control and the attitude scale. Hypotheses were tested for the variables with two performance outcomes: commissions earned and lapse ratios. Using the information obtained from the analyses, a model was built of the significant relationships between the performance criteria and the independent variables. Results indicated that neither the EAOS nor the Locus of Control Inventory scales predicted performance outcomes as hypothesized for sales professionals. The significant correlations that did result were generally counter to expectations. Demographic variables had limited success in predicting performance outcomes of sales professionals. The nature of the employment contract (full or part-time w/NEK, F = 5.61; p<0.05), population groups (White South Africans vs. African South Africans w/NEK, F = 5.22; p<0.05), job status (Manager vs. Sales Representative wNEK, F = 3.51; p<0.05), years in sales (w/NEK, r = •0.14345; p<0.05), and desired salary (w/NEK, r = 0.19571; p<0.05) were correlated with the performance outcome measures. Cultural and management implications are discussed with regard to the use of psychometric measures for selection. Research implications also are discussed.
Dissertation (MA (psychology))--University of Pretoria, 2006.