All Theses, Dissertations, and Capstone Projects

Year of Award



Master of Business Administration (MBA)


College of Business & Professional Studies

Degree Program



Business Administration


motivation, Herzberg, Maslow, Vroom, incentives, sales, performance


The proposed thesis focuses upon an issue which is critical to the effectiveness and survival of a salesforce, as well as the company overall, effective sales motivational techniques. In developing the ideas from which this thesis will be written, extensive research has been gathered and analyzed to provide a basis for quantifying and measuring sales motivational levels.

Sales motivational levels are very significant to the overall success of a company because corporate/company objectives are closely aligned with sales goals. Consequently, it is extremely important, and necessary, to determine the best ways to motivate the salesforce to reach these goals.

Specific techniques have been successfully applied by major companies like Digital Equipment Company, Mary Kay Cosmetics and the Coty Company originating from early theories and philosophies. Herzberg and Vroom both made contributions that have been incorporated by businesses all over the world. Expectancy theory has also helped shed light upon goals and objectives which are realistic for a salesforce to achieve.

Although research has shown that salespeople are motivated by their desire to succeed, as well as company induced pressures, incentives have also been linked as a high motivational factor toward achieving results. Incentives vary in form ranging from cash to travel to merchandise.

Sometimes, however, non-monetary incentives can work just as well. Recognition and acknowledgements have also been proven to be effective motivational tools.

It would be very tempting to measure the success/failure rate of a salesforce by its contribution to the company's "bottom-line" profits, however, other factors need to be looked at closely.

Research shows that companies measure success in many different ways which are not always directly related to "bottom-line" sales performance. Recognition for non-sales related successes has been proven to be motivational in increasing future sales success rates by raising a salesperson's self-esteem and self-worth.

Changing philosophies on sales motivational techniques have brought new insights into what makes a salesforce successful. Many ideologies from the past include motivation with pressure to perform, job security, internal competition, etc. rather than the individual's needs. More recent theories tend to incorporate the individual or group's needs by offering direct/specific motivational stimuli/incentives to gain peak performance.

This study will look at several useful motivational models and theories, as well as the history of sales motivational techniques, past and present, and evaluate their effects on the salesforce and the company. Through this evaluation it will give us a better understanding of how to determine potential success rates in the future.

Document Type

Restricted Thesis

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
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