As Sales Teams Proliferate, Sources Of Conflict Are Being Studied
With more practitioners working in a sales team environment, educators are examining the different elements that impact the effectiveness of a team.
The American College, Bryn Mawr, Pa., is working in partnership with professors at three universities to study sales teams and the role conflict resolution plays in building those teams.
The study addresses the effective development of sales teams and the management of conflict among team members, according to Amy Dewey, director of agency and association marketing for The American College. The study is being done jointly with professors at Miami University, the University of Kentucky and the University of Cincinnati.
“Different personalities come out in any type of team,” she says. “You want to be as efficient and effective as possible, but theres going to be that social dimension that may prevent something from being as effective as it can be.”
The colleges goal with the study is to “develop knowledge that we can share with our students that will improve the sales process,” adds Eric Gordon, director of public relations for the college.
In the financial services industry, companies have the opportunity to build teams in a couple of different ways, explains Andrea Dixon, assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati, who is one of the primary researchers working on the study. The two design strategies used in building a team are the organizational-directed team, where a field leader selects participants for a team, and a self-directed team, where team members come together on their own, she says.
One of the issues Dixon expects to address in this study is the degree of conflict that occurs in relation to how the team was built and the impact of that conflict on the team.
For example, it is helpful for an individual joining a team to know if someone external to the team designed it, she explains. It may give that person a better idea of what to expect in terms of conflict within the group, vs. what one would expect in a self-directed team, she says.
Dixon adds that the study will not determine whether one strategy is better than the other. Rather, the study will help organizations understand the types of conflict that may occur more frequently in each situation and what types of conflict resolution are likely to occur, she says.