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Study 1 investigates the beneficial effects of experiencing pride. Pride was found to have two different effects. First, it increases salespersons’ performance-related motivations. Specifically, it promotes adaptive selling strategies, greater effort, and self-efficacy. Secondly, it positively affects organizational citizenship behaviors. Study 2 takes an emotion-process point of view and compares excessive pride (hubris) with positive pride. The results show that salespeople are capable of self-regulating the expression of these emotions via anticipated feelings of fear, shame, and regret. Salespeople in other words are affected by their emotions, but they also are capable of controlling them to their advantage.
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The Adaptive Consequences of Pride in Personal Selling
Willem Verbeke, Frank Belschak and Richard P. Bagozzi
ERIM R
EPORT SERIES RESEARCH IN MANAGEMENT
ERIM Report Series reference number ERS-2004-012-MKT
Publication January 2004
Number of pages 46
Email address corresponding author verbeke@few.eur.nl
Address Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)
Rotterdam School of Management / Rotterdam School of
Economics
Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam
P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Phone: +31 10 408 1182
Fax: +31 10 408 9640
Email: info@erim.eur.nl
Internet: www.erim.eur.nl
Bibliographic data and classifications of all the ERIM reports are also available on the ERIM website:
www.erim.eur.nl
ERASMUS RESEARCH INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT
REPORT SERIES
RESEARCH IN MANAGEMENT
BIBLIOGRAPHIC DATA AND CLASSIFICATIONS
Abstract
Study 1 investigates the beneficial effects of experiencing pride. Pride was found to have two
different effects. First, it increases salespersons’ performance-related motivations. Specifically,
it promotes adaptive selling strategies, greater effort, and self-efficacy. Secondly, it positively
affects organizational citizenship behaviors. Study 2 takes an emotion-process point of view
and compares excessive pride (hubris) with positive pride. The results show that salespeople
are capable of self-regulating the expression of these emotions via anticipated feelings of fear,
shame, and regret. Salespeople in other words are affected by their emotions, but they also are
capable of controlling them to their advantage.
5001-6182 Business
5410-5417.5 Marketing
Library of Congress
Classification
(LCC)
HF 5438.4 Sales management
M Business Administration and Business Economics
M 31
C 44
Marketing
Statistical Decision Theory
Journal of Economic
Literature
(JEL)
M 31 Marketing
85 A Business General
280 G
255 A
Managing the marketing function
Decision theory (general)
European Business Schools
Library Group
(EBSLG)
290 s Selling
Gemeenschappelijke Onderwerpsontsluiting (GOO)
85.00 Bedrijfskunde, Organisatiekunde: algemeen
85.40
85.03
Marketing
Methoden en technieken, operations research
Classification GOO
85.40 Marketing
Bedrijfskunde / Bedrijfseconomie
Marketing / Besliskunde
Keywords GOO
Account management, Verkooptechnieken, Trots, prestatiebeoordeling
Free keywords Pride, hubris, work motivation, organizational citizenship behaviors, meta-emotions
The Adaptive Consequences of
Pride in Personal Selling
Willem Verbeke
1
,
Frank Belschak
2
, and
Richard P. Bagozzi
3
(1) Willem Verbeke is Chair Professor in Sales and Account Management in the Marketing and
Organization Department, Faculty of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam; P.O. Box 1738,
3000 DR Rotterdam, The Netherlands; phone: +31-10-4081308; fax: +31-10-4089169; email:
verbeke@few.eur.nl
(2) Frank Belschak is Assistant Professor in the Marketing and Organization Department, Faculty
of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam; P.O. Box 1738, 3000 DR Rotterdam, The
Netherlands; phone: +31-10-4081308; fax: +31-10-4089169; email: belschak@few.eur.nl
(3) Richard P. Bagozzi is the J. Hugh Liedtke Professor of Management, the Jesse H. Jones
Graduate School of Management, and Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychology, Rice
University, Houston, Texas, 77005, USA; MS-531; phone: 713-348-6307; fax: 713-348-5251;
email: bagozzi@rice.edu
Abstract
Study 1 investigates the beneficial effects of experiencing pride. Pride was found to have two different
effects. First, it increases salespersons’ performance-related motivations. Specifically, it promotes
adaptive selling strategies, greater effort, and self-efficacy. Secondly, it positively affects
organizational citizenship behaviors. Study 2 takes an emotion-process point of view and compares
excessive pride (hubris) with positive pride. The results show that salespeople are capable of self-
regulating the expression of these emotions via anticipated feelings of fear, shame, and regret.
Salespeople in other words are affected by their emotions, but they also are capable of controlling
them to their advantage.
2
In order to fire up front line personnel, organizations attempt to instill pride in their employees
(Katzenbach and Santamaria 1998) because pride functions as a resource, motivating employees and
enhancing their goal attainment (Fredrickson 2002; Brown, Cron, and Slocum 1997). Feelings of
pride emerge when salespeople experience personal worth because they match or even exceed
expectations with respect to performance. Expectations refer to salespeople’s own internalized
standards of achievement as well as the standards of other persons that are significant to them, for
instance their sales managers. As a consequence, managers can intentionally stimulate and manage the
pride in their salespeople.
Such organizations as Mary Kay use elaborate rituals in which management visibly expresses
its approval publicly to its employees when they have exceeded or matched company goals (Kay Ash
1995). As the emerging literature on positive psychology shows, feelings of pride should make a
salesperson more self-assured (promoting assertiveness in relation to different members of their role
set), more creative and flexible, as well as more altruistic (see Fredrickson 2001, 2002; Bagozzi,
Gopinath, and Nyer 1999). Indeed, researchers stress that pride has adaptive social functions (Barret
1995).
But pride also has a dark side (Tangney 1999). At times pride induces overconfidence and
leads to displays of conceit and egotistic behaviors, which, in turn, threaten one’s social capital and
one’s sales performance. Such excessive pride is called hubris in the literature (Lewis 2000; Fischer
and Tangney 1995). Similarly, when employees witness the pride displayed by others, which draws
attention to their own performance and one’s relative frailness, feelings of envy can result. Because
salespeople are embedded in networks with others in and outside their organization (e.g. Rindfleisch
and Moorman 2001; Ibarra 1992), it is important that they learn to manage the expression of their
pride in nondisruptive ways (Salovey et al. 2000).
The goal of this paper is to study the way salespeople feel and experience pride and the effects
3
that this has on their in-role performance (sales performance-related motivations) and extra-role
performance (organizational citizenship behaviors). First, we present the results of a pre-study
designed to empirically determine to what extent pride is a salient emotion within personal selling.
Specifically, compared to nine other emotions, pride is shown to be perceived as a frequently and
intensely experienced emotion by salespeople. We then focus in Study 1 on the consequences of pride.
More specifically, we seek to study how pride affects a salesperson’s behavior and enhances the way
s/he seeks to achieve multiple goals (in-role and extra-role performance), thus illustrating adaptive
functions of this positive emotion. Next, in Study 2, we take a process point of view and show how
excessive pride (hubris), and positive pride (beta pride) unfold and how salespeople self-regulate these
emotions. Building on Fischer and Tangney’s (1995) work on meta-emotions, we propose a theory of
how salespeople self-regulate their emotions so as to coordinate and fit in with different members of
their role set. Finally, we discuss implications of our research for management and suggest future
research topics.
PRIDE AS A SELF-CONSCIOUS EMOTION
Self-conscious emotions, like shame, pride, or guilt, emerge when a person’s “I” (one’s self as
an active agent) reflects on and becomes conscious of his/her “Me” (one’s categorical or social self).
Under this process, the “I” takes the “Me” as an object of self-reflection and self-evaluation (Harter
1999). Pride specifically emerges when a person reaches or exceeds social standards or expectations
(Fischer and Tangney 1995; Lewis 2000). A person may adopt such standards from significant others
(e.g. their parents) and make them his/her own, but people significant to the person (for instance,
one’s supervisor) will also be able to instill pride by providing feedback whether a specific action has
met their standards or expectations. These social cues are self-relevant to the person, that is, they
center on people’s reputation concerning how well they accomplish their goals within their social
environment (Parkinson 1995). It is the evaluation of the “Me” by the “I” that creates a new self-
categorization and brings pride into consideration. Such self-categorizing is an ever-continuing
4
dynamic process that lasts as long as one remains in one’s organization (Feldman 1976; 1981). Pride
emerges as a consequence of emotional appraisal processes (Bagozzi, Gopinath, and Nyer 1999)
where particular positive evaluations of self-produced performance yield the typical appraisal pattern
for pride. (Ruth, Brunel, and Otnes 2002). Specifically, a person’s internal
attribution of achievements
to one’s specific self arise when one is publicly complimented by others. Defined from a
phenomenological perspective, the typical appraisal/attribution pattern for pride is experienced as a
self-categorization (for example, “Now I know quite well what I have to do to be a
good salesperson”)
that is subjectively experienced as positive feelings: e.g., “I feel proud” or “I feel exhilarated” (see
Lewis 2000).
PRE-STUDY
A study on pride is only of practical relevance for sales if that emotion is frequently and
intensely experienced within the selling context. Therefore, we asked 141 salespeople to indicate on 7-
point scales how frequently (1 = never, 7 = always) and intensely (1 = not at all, 7 = very intensely)
they experienced 6 different self-conscious emotions (i.e., shame, embarrassment, guilt, pride, hubris,
and envy) and 4 classic basic emotions (i.e., joy, disappointment, anger, and fear) in their work
situations. The salespeople worked in the financial sector and spent at least 30 percent of their time
with customers. The sample can be described as follows: a majority (about 87%) of the salespeople
were men, about 10% of the salespeople were younger than 30 years old, 48% were between 30 and
40, 34% between 40 and 50, and 8% was older than 50. With respect to experience, about 8% of the
sample had been with the organization less than 2 years, 28% had been with the firm between 2 and 6
years, and 64% were with the company from 7 to 20 years. Finally, 15% graduated with basic or
advanced vocational training, while 85% had a university or college degree.
Table 1 summarizes the findings. As can be seen in the top panel, pride and joy are the most
frequently experienced emotions at work, while all other emotions (whether self-conscious or basic)
are experienced at relatively lower frequencies and are more or less equal in this regard. Note,
5
however, that the felt frequency of occurrence of hubris still approaches moderate levels. The second
panel in Table 1 shows that pride (together with joy) is also the most intensely felt emotion, with
somewhat lower levels of intensity felt for each of the other emotions. It should be noted, however,
that hubris is felt at moderately intense levels. Despite the apparent prevalence and salience of pride
for salespeople, the focus of research on emotions within personal has been on negative rather than
positive emotions (e.g., Verbeke and Bagozzi 2000, 2002, 2003). We know little about the functions
of pride in personal selling.
[Table 1 about here]
STUDY 1. BENEFICIAL EFFECTS OF PRIDE ON SALESPEOPLE’S MULTIPLE GOALS
We seek to study the adaptive effects of pride in Study 1. We conceive of salespeople as
multiple goal strivers. In particular, salespeople pursue two main goals:
· First, salespeople seek to accomplish in-role performance
goals. In-role performance is defined
as those officially required
outcomes and behaviors that directly serve the mission of the
organization (Motowidlo and Van Scotter 1994). Among other things, in-role performance
includes meeting sales objectives and executing effective sales presentations (e.g., Behrman
and Perreault 1984). As many studies show, sales performance is positively related to
motivational variables, particularly self-efficacy, willingness to work hard, and adaptive
selling strategies (e.g., Spiro and Weitz 1990; Sujan 1986; Szymanski 1988; Lambert,
Marmorstein, and Sharma 1990; Szymanski and Churchill 1990; Goolsby, Lagace and Boorom
1992; Sujan, et al. 1994).
· Second, salespeople strive at times to achieve extra-role performance
goals (Morrison 1994).
Extra-role performances are defined as discretionary
behaviors on the part of salespeople that
indirectly
influence the effective functioning of an organization, without necessarily
influencing a salesperson’s own in-role performance (e.g., MacKenzie, Podsakoff, and Fetter
1991). Examples are willingness to help colleagues who have heavy workloads (henceforth
termed, “helping”), making a point to be courteous to others (“courtesy”), avoiding creating
6
problems with colleagues (“sportsmanship”), and suggesting improvements for practices in the
organization (“civic virtue”). Extra-role performance is also known as “organizational
citizenship behaviors” in the literature (Organ and Paine 1999; Bolino 1999).
Study 1 hypotheses
Pride is a positive self-conscious emotion, and as Fredrickson (e.g., 2001, 2002) argues,
positive emotions trigger different responses than negative emotions. Fredrickson observes that
current research on emotions, whether self-conscious or not, has been inspired by the negative
emotions, specifically by negative feelings generating particular action tendencies (such as flight-or-
fight responses in anxiety) (e.g., Frijda 1986), thus leaving out other key processes that are normally
activated by positive emotions. Pride, for example, might be modeled according to a so-called
broadening
point of view on emotions (Fredrickson, 2000, 2001, 2002). That is, positive feelings
broaden a person’s momentary thought-action repertoires by widening the array of thoughts and
actions that come to mind in any situation. This promotes cognitive flexibility and helps the “I” to
overstep social inhibitions or habitual modes of thinking and acting. More specifically, broadening
effects of positive emotions are motivational consequences on people’s domain specific thoughts and
behaviors (Skinner 1999). In Study 1, we focus on the broadening effects of pride on both in- and
extra-role performance of salespeople:
a) First, pride stimulates a person to expand his/her cognitive repertoire. The broadening effects that
are triggered by positive emotions have been demonstrated to stimulate flexibility, receptivity, and
creativity in thinking (e.g., Isen, Daubman, and Nowicki 1987; Kahn and Isen 1993; Estrada, Isen,
and Young 1997) as well as facilitate on-going action (Carver and Scheier 1990; Clore 1994). In
addition, Fredrickson argues that positive feelings increase optimism (Fredrickson and Branigan
2001). For the sales domain, such motivational constructs are manifest as sales-specific self-
efficacy, ability to work hard and sustain effort, and ability to engage in adaptive selling, which
7
reflects receptivity and flexibility in salesperson-customer interactions (e.g., Spiro and Weitz 1990;
Sujan, Weitz, and Kumar 1994).
b) The broadening tendency triggered by pride also stimulates prosocial behavior. Research shows that
individuals with positive versus negative, and on occasion even neutral, feelings engage in altruistic
and other helping behaviors (Clark and Isen 1982; Isen and Simmonds 1978; Schaller and Cialdini
1990). Within work settings, altruistic behaviors are embodied in organizational citizenship
behaviors (Organ and Payne 1999; MacKenzie, Podsakoff, and Fetter 1991; Podsakoff and
MacKenzie 1994).
We thus propose the following hypotheses on the effects of pride:
Hypothesis 1
: Pride increases adaptive selling, working hard, and self-efficacy.
Hypothesis 2: Pride increases organizational citizenship behaviors.
Study 1 method
We distributed questionnaires to 93 sales managers attending a seminar on selling
technologies. The salespersons sold financial products to small business. All persons in the seminar
responded, and all items were completed. The sample consisted of 73% male and 27% female
salespersons. A total of 19% of the participants were younger than 30 years old, 53% were aged
between 30 and 40 years, 16% between 41 and 50, and 12% were older than 50 years. Only 15%
worked less than 2 years with their company, the majority (about 50%) had been between 2 and 6
years in their firm, and another 35% were more than 6 years with their company. In terms of
education, 76% had a university degree, the rest the equivalent of a high school or vocational
education.
Scenarios were used to study the effects of pride, because we wished to learn how salespeople
respond to emotion-inducing encounters, but it is unethical to directly manipulate the emotions of
participants. Our approach followed contemporary practice in psychology, whereby emotions are
8
indirectly induced by asking respondents to put themselves in the place of a protagonist in a vignette,
wherein pride and hubris are manipulated (e.g., Roseman 1991; Smith and Lazarus 1993). Some
researchers have criticized the use of vignette methodologies, suggesting that a respondent’s implicit
beliefs about emotions bias their reporting of their own emotions (e.g., Parkinson and Manstead 1992;
1993). However, recent research shows that direct manipulation and scenario methods actually
produce converging results for the measurement of emotions (e.g., Robinson and Clore 2001). In the
pride-inducing vignette, we asked salespeople to imagine that they had performed very well. They
were praised by their manager, their colleagues applauded them, and their excellent performance was
printed in the organization’s newsletter that is also sent to all customers. In so doing, we followed the
suggestions of researchers who have found that felt pride is especially strong when others are co-
present or aware of one’s accomplishments (Meindl, Ehrlich, and Dukerich 1985; Kroll, Toombs, and
Wright 2000). Summaries of the vignette and questions are presented in Appendix 1. Table 2 shows
that all measures achieved satisfactory reliabilities.
To develop measures of pride, we began by inspecting definitions and research in the existing
psychology literature (Lewis 2000; Tangney 1990; 1999; Ruth, Brunel, and Otnes 2002). Most
authors capture emotions by measuring the cognitive activities comprising the emotional content of
these states and one’s subjective experience (see Bagozzi, Gopinath, and Nyer 1999). We therefore
conceived of pride as a syndrome consisting of (1) cognitions associated with pride, i.e., pride creates
positive expectations for the person experiencing it, measured by 3 items (e.g., “Now I know quite
well what I have to do to be a good salesperson”), and (2) related subjective experiences, measured
with 3 items (e.g., “I feel exuberant and exhilarated”).
In-role performance is closely linked to motivation. For the case of sales performance, prior
research in marketing has demonstrated the positive impact on sales of adaptive selling, working hard,
and self-efficacy as motivational variables (e.g., Goolsby et al. 1992; Lambert, Marmorstein, and
Sharma 1990; Spiro and Weitz 1990; Sujan 1986; Sujan et al. 1994; Szymanski 1988; Szymanski and
9
Churchill 1990). Scales for measuring the three motivational variables were adapted from Spiro and
Weitz (1990) and Sujan et al. (1994). Adaptive selling captures the ability of salespersons to adapt
their sales techniques to the particular customer at hand and is measured by 8 items (e.g., “I can easily
use a wide variety of selling approaches”). Working hard refers to the persistence and amount of work
invested by salespeople and consists of 3 items (e.g., “I work untiringly at selling to a customer until I
get an order”). Finally, self-efficacy is a sales domain-specific form of self-confidence and 7 items are
used to measure it (e.g.,
It is difficult for me to put pressure on a customer”).
Finally, measures of extra-role performance were adapted from MacKenzie et al. (1991) and
include: (1) helping, measured by 3 items (e.g., “I help colleagues who have heavy work loads”), (2)
sportsmanship, measured with 4 items (e.g., “I always look on the bright side of the matter”), (3) civic
virtue, measured with 3 items (e.g., “I suggest improvements for procedures and practices of the
company”), and (4) courtesy, measured by 4 items (e.g., “I consider the impact of my actions on
others”).
[Place Table 2 about here]
To assess convergent and discriminant validities of the scales used in Study 1, we used
confirmatory factor analyses (CFA). Satisfactory model fits are indicated by non-significant chi-
square tests, RMSEA values less than .08 and CFI values greater than or equal to .90. Discussions of
indices can be found in Bentler (1990), Browne and Cudeck (1993), and Marsh, Balla, and Hau
(1996). Because we used 38 items as measures, we combined these into parcels of 2 items each so as
to yield two to four indicators for each latent variable. This meant that we used a type of “partial
disaggregation” model for our test of the CFA, as recommended by Bagozzi and Edwards (1998), to
yield a satisfactory ratio of sample size to parameters to be estimated.
Study 1 results
Confirmatory factor analysis. The results of the CFA confirm the stability and validity of the
scales used in Study 1. The overall fit is χ
2
(124) = 142.23 (p=.13), CFI=.97, and RMSEA=.04. The
10
factor loadings were consistently high for pride (.68 to .76), adaptive selling (.74 to.88), working hard
(.72 and .95), self-efficacy (.61 to .71), civic virtue (.68 to .81), sportsmanship (.78 to .94), helping
(.73 to .97), and courtesy (.79 to .88), demonstrating good convergent validity. The intercorrelations
among the factors are low to moderately high (ranging from -.08 to .66), suggesting that discriminant
validity has been achieved as well.
Test of hypotheses. We ran sets of hierarchical regressions with pride experience as the
independent variable, and the performance-related motivations, as well as citizenship behaviors, as
dependent variables. In the first step, we included only salespeople’s pride as an independent variable.
In the second step, we added work experience, age, and education as additional variables to take into
consideration and control for salespeople’s personal backgrounds. Since education was only measured
on an ordinal level, we split the sample in two groups, namely high education (college or university
degree) versus low education (lower than college degree), thus creating a dichotomous variable to be
included in the regressions. The findings of the regression analyses are presented in Table 3.
[Place Table 3 about here]
As can be seen in the top panel of Table 3, pride has a significant positive effect on in-role
performance, as hypothesized. The size of the effect ranges from high (adaptive selling and self-
efficacy) to medium (working hard), resulting in explained variances between 7 and 31 percent.
Salespeople experiencing pride thus show more adaptive sales behaviors, work harder, and develop
higher feelings of self-efficacy. Inclusion of the demographic variables did not increase the
explanatory value of the independent variables, nor did it reduce the effect size of pride on the
dependent variables significantly. Hypothesis 1 is therefore substantiated.
Looking next at the bottom panel of Table 3, we see that pride also has a significant positive
effect on engagement in organizational citizenship behaviors, as hypothesized. Again, entering the
demographic variables in a second step did not change the effect of pride on organizational citizenship
behaviors significantly: the stronger a salesperson experiences pride, the stronger s/he shows civic
11
virtue, courtesy, and helping. In addition, we found that age has a significant effect on civic virtue
behaviors, whereas a high education level significantly increased helping and courtesy. However,
contrary to hypothesis, pride fails to influence sportsmanship, i.e. salespeople’s complaints about their
companies are not reduced by felt pride.
Social desirability. Respondents also completed a selection of 7 items from the Marlowe-
Crowne Social Desirability Scale. Social desirability was not significantly correlated with the pride
scale or with the demographical variables, nor was it correlated with the performance-related
motivation scales. Social desirability, however, was moderately and positively correlated with the four
organizational citizenship behavior scales (ranging from r=.20 to r=.32). Including social desirability
in the regressions, however, did not change the size or significance level of the effects of pride on the
dependent variables, nor did it change the significance of any of the other independent variables.
Study 1 discussion
One objective of this paper was to study how salespeople experience and profit from pride (a
positive self-conscious emotion). Fredrickson (e.g., 2001, 2002) conjectured in her broadening model
that such effects should occur for positive emotions, but she did not test pride, and the emotions she
did investigate were tested experimentally with students. Seligman (2002) also calls for more research
on the effects of positive emotions. Tangney (1999, p. 560) notes further that “pride remains an area
wide open for empirical research”. Our study shows that pride has pervasive effects across a range of
performance outcomes. First, pride stimulates in-role performance-related motivations, specifically a
salesperson’s ability to use adaptive selling strategies, work hard, and feel self-efficacious. These are
probably the effects that most managers have in mind and aim for when praising their employees.
Second, pride stimulates extra-role performance in the form of organizational citizenship behaviors.
The reasons here are probably twofold. On the one hand, pride might directly stimulate citizenship
behaviors. As the broadening model of positive emotions posits (e.g., Fredrickson and Branigan
2001), positive emotions trigger non-selfish and altruistic urges. On the other hand, felt pride might
12
lead a salesperson to consider the costs that the public expression of pride might bring. Here a
salesperson takes into account the effects of felt pride stemming from the relationships with customers
on the relationships with colleagues. Katz (1999) terms such spill-over effects, trans-situational
concerns. Thus, when salespeople experience pride in the field, they feel elated and superior, yet at the
same time, they might come to feel that they should strengthen relationships with colleagues so as not
to stand out too much and make co-workers feel uncomfortable. Performing extra-role behaviors are a
form of such compensatory processes. In this regard, Diener, Lucas, and Oishi (2002) speak about a
dialectic function for emotions.
Although our findings support this idea, the hypothesis was not confirmed for sportsmanship. A
possible explanation here might be that sportsmanship (i.e. the endurance of inconveniences without
complaining, Organ 1988) is not directly related to other people’s goodwill. At least to some degree,
complaining is tolerated as part of many organizational cultures because it links people with each
other and gives them the opportunity to find common topics for conversation and sharing, thus
facilitating interactions and the development of affect-based trust (e.g., Coleman 1957; Granovetter
1973; McAllister 1995) and relational social capital (Nahapiet and Ghoshal 1998).
In sum, Study 1 shows that pride facilitates goal striving and has adaptive consequences for
salespeople. Next, we consider the self-regulatory processes that occur between the experience of
pride and performance outcomes.
STUDY 2. THE ABILITY OF SALESPEOPLE TO SELF-CONTROL PRIDE
In Study 2 we take a closer look at the dynamics of felt pride. Specifically, we explore how
salespeople self-manage their expressions of pride to advantage.
Pride in everyday life has been studied extensively by psychologists Lewis (2000) and
Tangney (1999). Lewis (2000) differentiates hubris from positive pride. Tangney and Fischer (1995,
p. 512-513) term these beta and alpha pride, respectively. Hubris and positive pride share the same
attributional configuration. Both are triggered by positive
support from others, and both reflect an
internal attribution and a consequent expectation or hope to continue the activities that have been
13
reinforced. However, in the case of hubris, the attribution is primarily to one’s global self (e.g., “I am
a superior person”), while in the case of positive pride, the attribution is primarily to one’s behavior or
outcomes (e.g., “I performed well”). Baumeister, Boden, and Smart (1996) note that hubris is a
socially destructive emotion because it makes people egotistic and arrogant and, as a consequence,
they might become envied, shunned, and avoided by others who might even look for retribution
(Kroll, Toombs, and Wright 2000; Lewis 2000). Hubristic people also tend to be over-confident and
take irrational, overly risky decisions (Hayward and Hambrick 1997; Kroll, Toombs, and Wright
2000). In this regard, positive evaluations by managers that were originally intended to elicit pride in
their salespeople might -- when attributed to one’s global self instead of one’s achievements -- result
in hubris and the related negative reactions instead of positive pride.
According to emotion theorists (e.g., Lazarus 1991; Oatley 1992), pride and hubris arise from
cognitive appraisals, have a phenomenological tone, are accompanied by physiological processes, are
often expressed physically, and result in specific actions to affirm or cope with them. The attributional
configuration in hubris produces specific self-categorizations: the salesperson might say, “See, I
always knew I was an excellent salesperson”; and in the case of positive pride, a salesperson might
say, “Now I feel confident that I can accomplish those tasks.” Such self-categorizations are
subjectively experienced through positive, pleasant subjective feelings/sensations (see Bagozzi,
Gopinath, and Nyer 1999), such as “I feel proud”. Further, and as a consequence of self-
categorizations and exuberant feelings, the salesperson will experience such action tendencies as an
“urge to tell my friends how well I am doing”. We now study whether these three components of pride
can be modeled according to speculations made by Fischer and Tangney (1995, p. 7) on parallel
processes. As shown in Figure 1, (pleasant) subjective experiences (e.g., exhilaration) and action
tendencies are parallel outcomes of appraisal processes, and action tendencies in turn produce
negative self conscious emotions (e.g., shame, regret) and fear. Shame, regret, and fear function as
both anticipated and post-outcome processes to alter one’s future emotional reactions. In this sense,
they are important aspects of self-regulation. Note that the relationships shown in Figure 1 apply
separately for hubris and pride (see Figure 2).
[Place Figure 1 about here]
14
Based upon the arguments developed so far, we state two propositions:
Proposition 1: Hubris occurs when a salesperson attributes achievements to his/her total self,
and this appraisal leads to feelings of euphoria (subjective experiences), which in turn give rise
to the display of the emotion to colleagues and customers.
Proposition 2: Pride occurs when a person attributes achievement to his/her own behaviors, or
outcomes, and this appraisal leads to feelings of euphoria (subjective experiences), which in
turn give rise to the display of the emotion to colleagues and customers.
Given that salespeople appraise their own displays of pride and hubris, we study whether these
appraisals also feedback on the expressions of pride and hubris. Psychologists call the ability to self-
regulate emotions, response-focused modulation (Gross 1999) or emotional dissemblance (i.e., putting
communicative intent into one’s emotions, Saarni 1999). With Figure 1 being a general model for the
unfolding of salespeople’s emotions, we expect to find particular pathways for pride and hubris as
specified in Hypotheses 3-6 below.
As Fischer and Tangney (1995, p. 10) point out, “if pride is too extreme or too public, it
becomes shameful, and then the shame self-control comes into play.” Similarly, Lazarus and Lazarus
(1994, p. 103) note, “pride has competitive, and sometimes moral overtones. We cope with it by
walking a fine line between justifiable pride and overweening pride (hubris), which could lead to
social criticism.” Will salespeople engage in self-control when they express pride and hubris? Spiro
and Weitz (1990) and Sujan (1999) propose that salespeople should be adaptive with their cognitive
and emotional expressions during customer contact, if they want to succeed. Similarly, Soldow and
Thomas (1984) propose that salespeople prefer to take a stance of deference to prevent provoking
competitive feelings in customers. Therefore, when salespeople interact with customers they have
reason to dampen the expression of their pride and hubris. The dampening will occur in response to
anticipated feelings of shame, regret, and fear, where these latter feelings function as meta-emotions
(note: shame and regret as negative self-conscious emotions and fear of retribution are discussed
below). But will salespeople also dampen their display of pride and hubris in front of colleagues? We
believe that salespeople will have less reason to dampen their expressions of pride toward colleagues
because displays of pride draw positive attention from colleagues and enhance salespeople’s
15
reputation and ultimately strengthen social capital within the firm. Expressions of pride elicit
complementary and reciprocal emotions (e.g., sympathy and admiration) and behaviors (e.g.,
eagerness to team up with successful or assertive persons) (Keltner and Haidt 1999; Clark and
Brissette 2000). Salespeople will, however, seek to dampen their expression of hubris towards
colleagues because it makes them appear egotistic and arrogant (Baumeister, Boden, and Smart 1996)
and, as a consequence, they might become envied, shunned, and avoided by others who might even
look for retribution (Kroll, Toombs, and Wright 2000; Lewis 2000). Hence, we hypothesize:
Hypothesis 3: Salespeople will dampen the expression of hubris (i.e., feel anticipated regret
and fear) towards customers and colleagues.
Hypothesis 4: Salespeople will dampen the expression of pride (i.e., feel anticipated regret and
fear) towards customers but not towards colleagues.
We suggested that salespeople will engage in self-control when they display their emotions to
different members of their role-set, especially customers. To the extent that salespeople are aware of
possible negative consequences, we might expect them to experience certain emotions designed to
regulate the negative effects of pride and hubris. Fischer and Tangney (1995) call these meta-
emotions, and Salovey et al. (2000) propose that meta-emotions help people self-regulate their
emotions.
To understand what meta-emotions are and how they operate, it is useful to construe emotions
as processes extended in time (e.g., Fischer and Tangney 1995; Frijda, Manstead, and Bem 2000). The
emergence of any particular emotional reaction is often followed by one or more other emotions that
function to help the person experiencing the original emotion adapt to it. In a sense, the original
emotion is transformed into one or more other emotions, which serve to regulate the original emotion.
The transformation occurs as a result of self-appraisals of the meaning of the original emotion and
self-monitoring of one’s action tendencies that follow (Fischer and Tangney 1995, p. 9; Thoits 1990,
p. 184). For instance, the development of pride is often followed by a sense of anxiety: “Sometimes it
scares me when I feel arrogant and brag after things go really well.”
When salespeople experience hubris and pride, what meta-emotions follow? Exline and Lobel
(1999) show that when people outperform colleagues (or friends), “striving for dominance might clash
16
with their affiliative feelings” (p. 310) and people develop mixed emotions (p. 312). Kitayama,
Markus, and Matsumoto (1995) and Fischer and Tangney (1995) note that such reactions lead to
dialectic feelings. For instance, after displaying pride, people tend to feel some shame and then may
develop anger towards those who have provoked their shame. We propose that two groups of meta-
emotions are central in the self-regulation of pride and hubris. First, because people who witness
excessive pride in others may be envious and even feel destructive if given the chance, salespeople
might become fearful of retribution. Second, salespeople might conclude that their open expression of
pride and hubris in front of others violates norms and feel shame and regret (i.e. negative self-
conscious emotions) as a consequence (Lewis 2000; Tangney and Fischer 1995). These negative
emotions act as regulators of pride by lowering its felt physiology and action tendencies (Fredrickson
and Levenson 1998; Fredrickson et al. 2000).
Another question is whether fear and negative SC-emotions occur more readily or strongly in
front of customers than in front of colleagues. We expect so. An important goal of many salespeople
is to develop long-term relationships with customers because they depend on their customers for their
livelihood. But long-term relationships can be damaged if a salesperson displays hubris, and
knowledge of this possibility can produce regret after one displays hubris in front of his/her
customers. Similarly, might negative SC-emotions ensue after the display of pride or hubris in front
of colleagues? We believe that salespeople will feel ashamed and regret having expressed hubris in
front of colleagues, but not pride. By showing hubris, salespeople know that they may lose social
capital. The drawbacks with arousing envy and making enemies in one’s own organization should
lead to anticipated negative SC-emotions and fear, so as to suppress hubris. Pride, on the other hand,
is a positive SC-emotion that reveals one’s self-confidence to reach goals, and given the fact that
people with pride obtain a certain degree of attention getting power from colleagues, displays of pride
might become functional. Therefore, salespeople should be less likely to develop negative SC-
emotions after expressing pride in front of colleagues than in front of customers. We thus hypothesize:
Hypothesis 5: Salespeople will develop negative SC-emotions and fear as a consequence of
displaying hubris in front of customers and colleagues.
Hypothesis 6: Salespeople will develop negative SC-emotions and fear as a result of
17
displaying pride in front of customers but not in front of colleagues.
Study 2 method
A total of 780 questionnaires were sent to salespeople who worked in two automotive
dealerships. Two hundred and fifty salespeople returned the questionnaires for a 32 % response rate.
In exchange for their participation they received a gift worth $12. The sample can be described as
follows: a majority (about 78 %) of the salespeople were men, about 34 % of the salespeople were
younger than 30 years old, 39% were between 30 and 40, 13% between 41 and 50, and 14% was older
than 50. With respect to experience, about 24% of the sample had been with the organization less than
2 years, 51% had been with the firm between 2 and 6 years, and 25% were with the company between
6 and 20 years. Finally, most salespeople had finished basic and advanced vocational studies. Only 4
% had a university or college degree, which is typical for automotive salespeople.
The questionnaire can be found in Appendix 2. Table 4 presents means, standard deviations,
and alphas, and Table 5 shows the correlation matrix of constructs. Salespeople simultaneously
develop pride in the actions they take and outcomes they achieve, on the one hand, and in their global
self (“being a good salesperson”), on the other hand. Whereas in Study 1, salespeople responded only
to questions about pride, in Study 2, all salespeople were exposed to the scenario twice, measuring
both the development of pride, and the development of hubris. Questionnaires were printed in
different versions such that they either started with the questions referring to pride first, followed by
those referring to hubris, or began with the questions for hubris first, followed by those for pride.
Drawing upon the literature on appraisal themes of pride and hubris (Lewis 2000; Tangney
1999; see also Bagozzi, Gopinath, and Nyer 1999; Ruth, Brunel, and Otnes 2002) and the descriptions
of the emotional process in the psychological literature (e.g., Lazarus 1991; Oatley 1992), we
developed a questionnaire for hubris consisting of (1) cognitive appraisals, measured with 3 items
(e.g., “I think I am a top salesperson”), (2) related subjective experiences, measured by 3 items (e.g.,
“I feel invincible”), (3) action tendencies towards both customers and colleagues, where each was
measured by 2 items (e.g., “I feel an urge to tell colleagues (customers) I am doing well”), (4)
negative self-conscious emotions in front of both colleagues and customers, where each was measured
by 2 items (e.g., “I feel ashamed that I could not contain my pride to colleagues (customers)”, and (5)
18
fear towards both colleagues and customers, where each was measured with 3 items (e.g., “I think my
colleagues (customers) will gossip that I am a big-headed person”). Pride was conceived in a parallel
manner to hubris, except that the cognitive appraisals included such items as, “Now I know quite well
what I have to do to be a good salesperson.”
[Place Table 4 and Table 5 about here]
Scenarios were used as a basis to study the effects of hubris and pride. People were exposed to
the scenarios and asked to put themselves in the place of a salesperson who performed relatively well
and under conditions where customers and people in their own organization became aware of this and
praised them.
To perform confirmatory factor analyses and test hypotheses, LISREL8 was used (Jöreskog
and Sörbom 1996). The goodness of fit of the models were assessed with chi-square tests, the
RMSEA, and the CFI (Bentler 1990; Browne and Cudeck 1993; Marsh et al. 1996).
Study 2 results
Confirmatory factor analysis. The results of the CFA performed on the measures of pride and
hubris, respectively, confirmed reasonable discriminant and convergent validity of the scales for each
of the two types of pride. Both measurements models fit the data satisfactorily: for hubris, c
2
(142) =
469.82, p ~ .00, RMSEA = .10, CFI = .90; for positive pride, c
2
(142) = 433.03, p ~ .00, RMSEA =
.09, CFI = .91. The factor loadings of all factors are consistently high: cognitive appraisals (hubris: .79
to .87; positive pride: .61 to .84), subjective experiences (hubris: .70 to .87; positive pride: .74 to .89),
action tendencies toward customers (hubris: .82 and .92; positive pride: .85 and .89), action tendencies
toward colleagues (hubris: .85 and .88; positive pride: .84 and .90), negative SC-emotions for
customers (hubris: .88 and .90; positive pride: .86 and .97), fear for customers (hubris: .79 to .95;
positive pride: .78 to .96), negative SC-emotions for colleagues (hubris: .86 to .87; positive pride: .79
and .90), and fear for colleagues (hubris: .70 to .95; positive pride: .76 to .95). The interfactor
correlations range from .03 to .79 for hubris, and from -.10 to .80 for positive pride.
Test of hypotheses. Figure 2 presents the findings for tests of Hypotheses 3-6. The overall
model fit the data well: c
2
(df=8, N = 221)= 6.11, p ~ .64, RMSEA = .00, and CFI = 1.00. Notice
that, in both the cases of hubris and pride, the general flow of effects is from cognitive appraisals to
19
both physiological awareness and felt action tendencies. Thus, the data are consistent with
Propositions 1 and 2. Note also that cognitive appraisals under hubris and pride correlate at a
relatively low level (f= .42), thereby suggesting that discriminant validity has been achieved.
[Place Table 6 and Figure 2 about here]
Looking first at the findings for Hypotheses 3 and 4, we see that, for both hubris and pride,
subjective experiences dampen action tendencies toward customers, as hypothesized (see Figure 2).
Also, for pride, subjective experiences do not dampen action tendencies toward colleagues, as
proposed. But for hubris, subjective experiences did not dampen action tendencies toward colleagues,
contrary to expectations. We turn next to the self-regulatory reactions of negative SC-emotions and
fear in response to felt action tendencies as proposed in Hypotheses 5 and 6 (note that tests of direct
paths from cognitive appraisals and subjective experiences to both negative SC-emotions and fear
showed that these paths were non-significant; thus action tendencies fully mediate the effects of
appraisals and subjective experiences). For hubris, we discover that action tendencies toward
customers influence both negative SC-emotions and fear, as hypothesized, and action tendencies
towards colleagues influence fear but not negative SC-emotions, also as forecast. For pride, action
tendencies toward customers affect negative SC-emotions and fear, but action tendencies toward
colleagues fail to affect negative SC-emotions and fear, as predicted.
Finally, we wish to test the relative strength of paths between hubris and pride and within
hubris and pride. Although not having specific hypotheses here, we want to discover whether the
emotional processes unfold similarly for positive pride and hubris or show distinctive emotion-
specific features. First, we tested whether the path from cognitive appraisal to subjective experiences
is larger under pride than hubris (see Figure 2). This was indeed sustained (c
2
d
(1) = 9.99, p < .01).
Second, the following paths do not differ between hubris and pride: subjective experiences ® action
tendencies towards customers (c
2
d
(1) = .01, ns), action tendencies toward colleagues ® fear (c
2
d
(1)
= .31, ns), action tendencies towards customers ® negative SC-emotions (c
2
d
(1) = .31, ns), and
action tendencies toward customers ® fear (c
2
d
(1) = .57, ns).
Study 2 discussion
20
Study 1 demonstrated the effects of felt pride, but in Study 2 we looked deeper into how pride
is self-managed in what might be termed, the emotional system. The emotional system is built upon
four different components: cognitive appraisals, subjective experiences, action tendencies (towards
customers and colleagues), and subsequent meta-emotion responses (i.e., negative SC-emotions and
fear). These components of the emotion systems operate in parallel, but hubris and pride each
constitute a specific emotion system configuration. Hubris and pride unfolded in a way that is largely
consistent with the propositions by Fischer and Tangney (1995) and as presented in Figure 1. Yet,
hubris and pride also show some emotion-specific features that suggest a reformulation of the process
for self-regulation as offered in Figure 2 and described as follows. For hubris, appraisals produce
subjective emotional experiences, as well as felt action tendencies, towards colleagues and customers.
For positive pride, appraisals also produce subjective experiences, but only action tendencies towards
customers. In addition, cognitive appraisals in the case of pride more strongly provoke subjective
experiences than in the case of hubris. We interpret this configuration of the emotional system as an
indication that hubris creates a fuzzier emotional pathway than pride. Such an interpretation is
consistent with Lewis’ (2000, p. 628) observation that, when the total self is involved in a self-
conscious emotion, “The self becomes embroiled in the self. It becomes embroiled because the
evaluation of the self by the self is total. There is no way out…There is little wonder that in using such
global attribution one can think of nothing else, and one becomes confused….”
Consistent with the literature on emotions (Fischer and Tangney 1995; Katz 1999; Kitayama,
Markus, and Matsumoto 1995), we conceived of pride as a relatively long-term emotion that is
intimately connected with meta-emotions (fear and negative SC-emotions), and the meta-emotions
feedback to modulate the way in which salespeople express pride. As Fischer and Tangney (1995)
note, people not only experience positive emotions like pride, but they also evaluate and appraise the
expression of those emotions. What was apparent in our study is that salespeople are keen to appraise
the negative consequences of their pride and hubris in front of customers, but to a lesser extent
21
towards colleagues. This is consistent with the view that salespeople’s most important concern is their
long-term relationship with customers, and in order to secure these relationships, they endure some
fear and negative SC-emotions. Fear and negative SC-emotions ought to be conceived as emotional-
based sensors that signal that overt expressions of pride and hubris might backfire.
The findings imply that meta-emotions can be conceived as signposts buffering the expression
of pride. Indeed, fear and negative SC-emotions in response to expressed pride made salespeople
inhibit their overt expressions of pride and hubris in relation to customers. This then shows the
paradoxical nature of pride. Salespeople are energized by pride and hubris, but they also control the
expression of pride and hubris in order to secure long-term relationships with customers because they
fear, among other things, that customers might respond negatively to their pride and hubris.
With colleagues, however, salespeople did not reduce their expressions of hubris and pride.
Apparently, by expressing pride and hubris towards colleagues, salespeople signal to these significant
others that they match the expectations of the firm and their colleagues. We interpret this in two ways.
First, salespeople express to others their fundamental need to belong (Baumeister and Leary 1995) --
specifically they signal that they match the norms and expectations of their specific reference group --
but they also seek to attract and hold attention. That is, they also signal a sense of superiority or self
puffery within their social group (Gilbert 1990). We believe that pride is an important social emotion
because it gives salespeople confidence in themselves, allowing them to remain assertive across
different members of their role-set (e.g., Parkinson 1995; Fredrickson and Branigan 2001). When
salespeople feel confident, they posses an emotional resource “that allows relationships to be defined
and maintained…” (Waldron 2000, p. 73). Salesperson’s self-confidence in other words may have
positive and even contagious effects on different members of their role set.
GENERAL DISCUSSION
This study looked at pride within a selling environment and conceived of it as a positive SC-
emotion that originates in salespeople's response to positive judgments by significant others within
22
their role-set. The results of our first study show that pride possesses broadening characteristics (e.g.,
Fredrickson 2002). Pride increases performance-related motivations, specifically a salesperson’s self-
efficacy as well as the willingness to adapt one’s selling strategies and to work harder. Secondly, pride
stimulates salespeople to engage in organizational citizenship behaviors. In our second study, we more
closely investigated how pride functions by differentiating between alpha pride (hubris) and beta pride
(positive pride) and scrutinizing the emotional systems involved in these two types of pride; both
emotions were similar, yet emerged from two different appraisal processes. We especially were
interested in how salespeople manage their pride and hubris, and we found that fear and negative SC-
emotions have a positive effect on salespeople’s behavior in that these emotions press salespeople to
self-control their pride and hubris.
Now that we have shown that pride is an emotion that has positive effects and also is an
emotion that is self-regulated by salespeople, one might question whether pride can be influenced by
management as a strategic tool. To be clear, we do not recommend that managers instill hubris. If
emotions function according to specific paths -- in our case, pride emerges due to the fact that a
person is capable of matching significant others’ expectations and because others overtly express their
approval -- then managers can use this knowledge as a managerial tool (e.g., Elster 1999).
Six points can be made in this regard. First, because pride results from positive or negative
evaluations from significant others, instilling pride is a fruitful management tool. While pride might
occur when salespeople succeed at a difficult task (Weiner 1992), it can also be triggered through task
accomplishment that conforms to what significant others expect (Tangney 1990; 1999). The latter
possibility provides interesting implications for managers on how to reward and motivate their
employees by openly and strategically praising them. By instilling pride, managers can motivate
employees to engage in what might not be very difficult, per se, but what is nevertheless necessary to
accomplish within the organization. Not surprisingly as Katzenbach and Santamaria (1998) point out,
pride can be an important strategy to motivate employees for service firms that involve repetitive
23
actions. In this regard, Brown and Peterson (1993) suggest that salespeople not only should receive
honor for excellent performance but also for their efforts along the way.
Second, there is a dark side related to efforts at instilling pride. By instilling pride, managers
may contribute to hubris in salespeople (even though the data in this paper show that hubris can be
well contained), if the salespersons attribute achievements too much to their total selves as opposed to
their actions. We suspect that some salespeople with specific personality traits might be prone to
develop hubris as opposed to pride (e.g., Lewis 2000). Likewise, when salespeople who are already
committed to the organization discover that they cannot reach the expectations of their managers, this
might damage one's self and lead to destructive behavior or job withdrawal (Baumeister, Boden, and
Smart 1996).
Third, the results of our study show that when salespeople self-regulate their pride they in fact
"flow with their pride". Pride energizes them (broadening effects), yet salespeople also dampen their
expression of pride so as to avoid negative effects (development of fear and negative meta-emotions).
This ability to ride with the flow has similarities with previous findings. Singh, Goolsby, and Rhoads
(1994) and Singh (1996) show that salespeople need a certain amount of stress to perform well but too
much stress has negative effects on performance. Singh and colleagues suggest that the secret of
working in stressful environments is to cope with stress at the right time. Pride seems to function in a
parallel way.
Fourth, when praising their salespeople, managers might at times want to mention the possible
negative social consequences of expressing pride. By doing so, they can try to stimulate fear and
anticipation of shame and regret about showing pride. These meta-emotions help salespeople regulate
their pride experiences and keep them within socially acceptable limits. In this regard, salespeople
engage in emotional labor (e.g., Ashforth and Humphrey 1993; Morris and Feldman 1996), they use
fear and negative meta-emotions (shame and regret) to facilitate the dissemblance of the experience of
pride on the one hand, and its expression on the other hand. In doing this, salespeople are able to
24
profit from the positive consequences of experiencing pride and, at the same time, escape the negative
social consequences of expressing pride.
Fifth, over the years, we have had the opportunity to discuss our research with managers and
salespeople. We learned that salespeople sometimes feel a bit uncomfortable with expressions of
pride, especially when management attempts to instill pride. This is surprising for two reasons. First,
pride was one of the two most frequently and intensely felt emotions in our prestudy, and second, as
Kitayama, Markus, and Matsumoto (1995) suggest within Western cultures, pride is the dominant
emotion. So why should salespeople feel uncomfortable with their feelings of pride? For our sample
of Dutch salespeople, it is possible that a common cultural prohibition against showing pride creates a
built-in suppression of it. Such prohibitions are typical of the Protestant Work Ethic, which pervades
the Netherlands (Hofstede 2001).
Finally, by instilling pride, managers should always communicate to their salespeople that
although it is good to feel proud, pride should be displayed carefully, especially with customers. Our
study shows that meta-emotions aid salespeople in managing the expression of pride, but managers
should also coach and train salespeople on how to become more emotionally intelligent (e.g., Salovey
et al. 2000). Emotional intelligence implies the ability to understand how expressions of one’s own
emotions affect other people. Training programs based on role-playing during the experience of
emotional episodes of pride could help salespeople develop the proper balance between showing
healthy levels of self-assurance on the one hand and avoiding the appearance of arrogance on the other
hand.
FUTURE RESEARCH
Although our findings indicate that salespeople manage the expression of their emotions, it is
possible to study in even greater depth how salespeople specifically control their emotions (e.g., Gross
1999). For instance, one could develop an emotional coping style scale in order to estimate the degree
to which salespeople manage the development of their pride feelings as well as the expression of their
25
pride as a disposition.
In our samples, we could not distinguish gender effects because of the dearth of female sales
representatives. There is some evidence in the literature that males and females experience and cope
differentially with emotions (Brody 1999). Gender differences need to be explored in the future.
Similarly, it can be assumed that non-emotional dispositions play an important role in
experiencing certain emotions (e.g., Smith et al. 1999). Some researchers, for instance, argue that
pride arises from a need to belong to an organization or subgroup within it and also points to a
willingness to define one’s worth to the extent that one receives recognition from the organization and
its members (Baumeister and Leary 1995). However, this proposition should be tested formally. Such
a research project could investigate whether salespeople who have a substantial need to belong will
develop hubris rather than pride. Other personality traits might make a salesperson prone to
developing hubris rather than pride and vice versa: chronic self-confidence, self-consciousness,
optimism-pessimism, and need for power may be worth investigating in this regard (e.g., Hayward
and Hambrick 1997).
Finally, as we move more toward an era of diversity, it could be that different ethnic groups or
cultures experience self-conscious emotions (and pride in particular) in different ways, or respond to
them differently. Asians, for instance, experience shame more readily than pride (e.g., Kitayama,
Markus, and Matsumoto 1995). Cross-cultural research on shame demonstrates that members of
Western and Eastern cultures experience this SC-emotion similarly yet have different responses to it,
which in turn impact performance differently (e.g., Bagozzi, Verbeke, and Gavino 2003).
26
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35
APPENDIX 1
During your quarterly feedback with your sales manager, he/she tells you that you did
excellent work. He/she tells you that you performed better than most salespeople and that you now
belong to the top 10 of the salespeople. This will be mentioned in the next edition of your
organization’s newsletter that is being sent to all of your customers. In addition many of your
colleagues already congratulated you.
Please express how strongly you feel in each of the following cases…
1. Now I know quite well what I have to do to be a good salesperson.
2. Now I have self-assurance how I can reach my sales quota’s.
3. I am now convinced that I can persuade my customers to buy from me.
4. I feel exuberant and exhilarated.
5. I feel invincible.
6. I feel proud.
36
APPENDIX 2
“During your quarterly feedback with your sales manager, he/she tells you that you did
excellent work and that you now belong to the top 10 of the salespeople. In the next edition of your
organization magazine this will be announced, in fact many of your customers also read this
magazine.”
Please express how strongly you feel each of the following…
Deep inside I think (positive pride)
1. Now I know quite well what I have to do to be a good salesperson
2. Now I have self-assurance how I can reach my sales quota’s
3. I am now convinced that I can persuade my customers
Deep inside I think (hubris)
4. I often think: "See I am a good salesperson"
5. I always thought: "I am a real salesperson"
6. I think I am a top salesperson
Deep inside I feel (subjective experience)
7. exuberant and exhilarated.
8. invincible.
9. proud.
Having read those sentences what tendencies do you have (action tendencies):
10. I feel an urge to tell my colleagues I am doing well.
11. I have a strong desire to tell colleagues I am the best.
Having shown my pride to colleagues (customers)
Negative self-conscious emotions:
12. I feel ashamed that I could not contain my pride to colleagues (customers).
13. I regret that my colleagues (customers) could see my pride.
Fear:
14. I think my colleagues (customers) will gossip I am a bigheaded person.
15. I think my colleagues (customers) will seek to match my accomplishments.
16. I think my colleagues (customers) will avoid me.
37
Table 1. Pretest results: Frequency and intensity of emotions at work (means with
standard deviations in parentheses).
Emotion Frequency Intensity
Pride 5.04 (.96) 5.16 (1.11)
Hubris (excessive pride) 3.43 (1.61) 3.67 (1.61)
Shame 2.27 (1.11) 2.57 (1.34)
Guilt 2.40 (.99) 2.70 (1.30)
Envy 2.11 (1.04) 2.25 (1.06)
Embarrassment 2.25 (1.01) 2.60 (1.25)
Jealousy 2.37 (1.17) 2.37 (1.07)
Joy 5.35 (.93) 5.40 (.98)
Disappointment 3.62 (1.09) 3.96 (1.40)
Anger 3.17 (1.13) 3.43 (1.47)
Sales call anxiety 1.93 (1.01) 2.03 (.96)
Frequency was measured on a 7-point scale (1=never, 7 always), and intensity
was measured on a 7-point scale (1=not at all, 7=very intensely). N = 141.
38
Table 2. Reliability (alpha), means, and standard deviations of the scales from Study 1.
Scales Number of
items
Alpha Means Standard
deviations
In-role performance
Pride 6 .70 5.71 .64
Adaptive selling
8 .86 5.66 .81
Working hard
3 .73 5.26 1.05
Self-efficacy 7 .66 5.33 .77
Extra-role performance
Helping
3 .83 5.42 1.05
Sportsmanship 4 .83 5.71 1.13
Civic Virtue 3 .77 5.19 .96
Courtesy 4 .80 5.20 1.03
39
Table 3. The broadening effects of pride (standardized coefficients) (Study 1).
Dependent variables (In-role performance)
Independent
variables
Adaptive selling Working hard Self-efficacy
Pride .51** .28** .56**
Adjusted R
2
.25 .07 .31
Pride .50** .26* .56**
Work experience .12 .12 -.04
Age -.02 .10 -.01
Education -.07 .06 -.16
Adjusted R
2
.24 .07 .31
Dependent variables (Extra-role performance)
Independent
variables
Civic virtue Sportsmanship Helping Courtesy
Pride .34** .15 .37** .26**
Adjusted R
2
.11 .01 .13 .06
Pride .35** .14 .38** .26*
Work experience .29* .09 .14 .12
Age -.09 -.06 .03 .11
Education -.02 -.04 .23* .27*
Adjusted R
2
.14 .00 .16 .10
* p < .05 ** p < .01
40
Table 4. Reliability (alphas), means, and standard deviations of the scales in Study 2.
Scales
Number of
items
Alpha Means Standard
deviations
Hubris
Cognitive appraisal 3 .83 4.12 1.50
Subjective experience 3 .80 5.13 1.25
Action tendencies colleagues 2 .84 2.64 1.45
Neg. SC-emotions colleagues 2 .86 3.01 1.65
Fear colleagues 3 .88 2.51 1.42
Action tendencies customer 2 .86 2,22 1.30
Neg. SC-emotions customer 2 .88 3.02 1.75
Fear customer 3 .91 2.52 1.55
Pride
Cognitive appraisal 3 .79 5.05 1.10
Subjective experience 3 .84 5.30 1.17
Action tendencies colleagues 2 .88 3.08 1.58
Neg. SC-emotions colleagues 2 .84 3.10 1.59
Fear colleagues 3 .90 2.50 1.40
Action tendencies customer 2 .88 2.16 1.27
Neg. SC-emotions customer 2 .90 3.04 1.79
Fear customer 3 .92 2.38 1.53
41
Table 5. Correlation matrix of constructs, Study 2.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
1. Cognitive
appraisal hubris
2. Subjective
experience hubris
.55*
4*8*
9*.05 .10
1*.10 3*7*
*
3. Action tendencies
Colleagues hubris
.3* .1*
4. Negative SC-
emotions
colleagues hubris
.1*
5. Fear colleagues
(hubris)
.2* .2* .6*
6. Action tendencies
customers hubris
.26** .01 .59** .21** .29**
7. Negative SC-
emotions
customers hubris
.15* .03 .08 .69** .64** .21**
8. Fear customers
(hubris)
.15* .02 .15* .60** .73** .23** .80**
9. Cognitive
appraisal pride
.36** .34** .12 .09 .07 .01 .01 -.04
10. Subjective
experience pride
.34** .55** .11 .00 -.00 -.04 -.07 -.10 .64**
11. Action
tendencies
colleagues pride
.29** .16* .41** .08 .13* .34** .04 .11 .34** .27**
12. Negative SC-
emotions
colleagues pride
.06 .01 .09 .62** .43** .24** .58** .48** .11 .07 .07
42
13. Fear colleagues
(pride)
.06 -.01 .20** .48** .64** .31** .50** .61** -.01 -.01 .13* .68**
14. Action
tendencies
customers pride
.15*
-.01 .47** .12 .24** .57** .13 .21** -.00 -.06 .48** .19** .31**
15. Negative SC-
emotions
customers pride
.11 -.05 .07 .60** .46** .19** .70** .59** .10 -.01 .04 .73** .59** .21**
16. Fear customers
(pride)
.13* -.03 .17* .53** .64** .25** .62** .72** -.02 -.05 .11 .60** .78** .26** .73**
*p< .05 (2-tailed); ** P< .001 (2-tailed)
43
Table 6. Tests of differences between selected paths for pride and for hubris, Study 2.
Model Goodness-of-fit Test of differences between paths
1. Baseline c
2
(8)= 6.11
P = .64
2. Cognitive appraisal –
subjective experience across
pride and hubris
c
2
(9) = 14.58
M2 – M1: c
2
d (1) = 8.47
P< .001
Conclusion: Path larger for pride than
for hubris
3. Subjective experience –
action tendencies for
colleagues compared to
customers under pride
c
2
(9) = 13.78
M3 – M1: c
2
d (1) = 7.67
P< .01
Conclusion: Path larger for
physiology to action tendencies for
customers than for colleagues
4. Subjective experience –
action tendencies for
colleagues compared to
customers under hubris
c
2
(9) = 10.27
M4 – M1: c
2
d (1) = 4.16
P< .05
Conclusion: Path larger for
physiology to action tendencies for
customers than for colleagues.
44
Figure 1. Path model for pride and for hubris, Study 2.
Cognitive
appraisals
Neg. SC-emotions
(customers)
Neg. SC-emotions
(customers)
Subjective
Experience
Fear
(colleagues)
Neg. SC-emotions
(colleagues)
Action
tendencies
(
collea
g
ues
)
Action
tendencies
(
customers
)
45
Figure 2. Path model for tests of Hypotheses 3-6, Study 2 (standardized parameter estimates).
Hubris
Cognitive
appraisals
Subjective
experience
Neg. SC-emotions
(colleagues)
Fear
(colleagues)
Neg. SC-emotions
(colleagues)
Fear
(colleagues)
Action tendencies
toward customers
Action tendencies
toward colleagues
.47***
.53***
.18*
.16*
.03
.19*
-.12
Cognitive
appraisals
Subjective
experience
Neg. SC-emotions
(colleagues)
Fear
(colleagues)
Neg. SC-emotions
(colleagues)
Action tendencies
toward customers
.21**
.19**
.15
-.03
Positive pride
-.32**
.37**
.28**
-.31*
-.04
.12
.81***
.18*
.22*
.52***
Φ
21
= .42***
Action tendencies
toward colleagues
Fear
(colleagues)
*p < .05, **p < .01, *** p < .001
N
ote: Correlated errors among latent variables and nonsignificant paths not
hypothesized are omitted for simplicity.
46
Publications in the Report Series Research
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ERIM Research Program: “Marketing”
2004
Account Managers Creation of Social Capital: Communal and Instrumental Investments and Performance Implications
Willem Verbeke, Frank Belschak, Stefan Wuyts and Richard P. Bagozzi
ERS-2004-011-MKT
http://hdl.handle.net/1765/1166
The Adaptive Consequences of Pride in Personal Selling
Willem Verbeke, Frank Belschak and Richard P. Bagozzi
ERS-2004-012-MKT
*
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... Brand pride rests on the premise of the congruity theory (Osgood and Tannenbaum, 1955;Gaustad et al., 2018). Individuals evaluate self-brand congruency as a function of either self-appraisal (Roseman and Smith, 2001;Ahuvia et al., 2018) or reflected appraisals in owning a brand valued by others (Verbeke et al., 2004). ...
... The first examines pride from an employee's (Helm et al., 2016) viewpoint as experienced by them for their employer brand (Kuppelwieser et al., 2011). This brand pride (Durrah et al., 2020) leads to positive performance motivations (Verbeke et al., 2004), superior employee performance and creativity (Durrah et al., 2020). The second assesses pride as experienced by customers for brands they consume (Septianto et al., 2020). ...
... In some instances, these reflections are self-appraisals with a cognitive evaluation of personal acquisitions (brands) that become the source of pride. In others, pride occurs through reflected appraisals (Verbeke et al., 2004), where an individual feels proud of acquiring objects (brands) that are uncommon and valued by others. It garners social recognition (Ahuvia et al., 2018). ...
Article
Purpose This paper aims to draw on the appraisal theory and the theory of self-brand congruence (SBC) to study the multidimensional emotion of brand pride. It conceptualizes and validates the relationship of brand pride with SBC, brand loyalty and oppositional brand loyalty and establishes the role of narcissism as a moderator. Design/methodology/approach Standardized scales, including a new brand pride scale developed by the authors, were used to collect data from 522 respondents. Covariance-based structural equation modeling was used to test the conceptual model. Multi-group moderation analysis tested the differences in the proposed relationship between high and low narcissists. Findings Results posit brand pride as a multidimensional construct with SBC as its significant antecedent. The findings also support most hypothesized relationships between brand pride and behavioral outcomes. In addition, the study confirms the moderating effect of narcissism on the relationship between brand pride dimensions and brand loyalty and opposition brand loyalty. Research limitations/implications The study sample was from a developing nation – India. Similar cohorts from developing and developed countries could provide a unique cross-nation comparison. Practical implications The role of brand pride in impacting brand loyalty and oppositional brand loyalty has significant implications for practice. Marketing communication to inculcate brand pride among consumers will significantly impact the brand’s profitability. Originality/value Validation of SBC as a precursor to brand pride and the relationship of brand pride with brand loyalty and oppositional brand loyalty contributes significantly to branding theory and practice. This study also establishes narcissism as a moderator between brand pride and loyalty outcomes.
... Building on the emotion appraisal theory (Lazarus, 1991) and the broaden-and-build theory (BBT) of positive emotions (Fredrickson, 2001), this study proposes that an ethical climate based on trust and responsibility enhances salesperson creativity by increasing the self-conscious emotion of pride, thus triggering a positive emotion-based response. This study focuses on pride because, like joy, it is one of the most frequently and intensely experienced emotions at work (Verbeke et al., 2004). Similarly, perceiving an unethical climate in terms of aggressive selling practices might reduce salesperson creativity by means of a negative emotion-based response. ...
... In the words of Fredrickson (2008, p. 2), "positive emotions momentarily broaden people's attention and thinking, enabling them to draw on higher-level connections and a wider-thanusual range of percepts or ideas." In the specific case of self-conscious emotions, Verbeke et al. (2004) demonstrated that pride possesses broadening characteristics, for example, performance-related motivations. These broadening effects encourage both creativity in thinking (Isen et al., 1987) and optimism (Fredrickson & Branigan, 2005), which have been found to be positively related to employee creativity (Rego et al., 2012). ...
Article
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Research on salesperson creativity remains as one of the most under‐researched topics in the sales literature despite the evidence that encouraging creativity in the sales domain is a source of competitive advantage. This paper aims to fill this research gap by exploring the influence of perceived ethical climate on salesperson creative performance, paying special attention to the role that emotions play in this process. Data provided by 176 supervisor–salesperson dyads confirm that the trust/responsibility dimension of an ethical climate is positively related to salesperson creative selling by increasing salespeople's organizational pride. Similarly, the perception of unethical selling practices negatively affects salesperson organizational pride, reducing the expression of creative behaviors. Moreover, the negative effect of unethical selling practices on creative performance is stronger (more negative) when salespeople's identification with an organization increases. Managerial implications and future research directions are also addressed.
... This result aligns with existing literature on positive outcomes of employees' pride in work. To specify, pride emotion leads to employees' self-satisfaction, achievement-seeking behavior (Ross et al., 2005), and a strong motivation for job performance, productivity, and success (Williams and DeSteno, 2008;Verbeke et al., 2004). The study reinforced Ineson and Berechet's (2011) findings that confirmed the work pride's significance to hotel employee retention. ...
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... For example, individuals with hubristic pride are likely to engage in behaviors such as cheating and fraud in order to increase their chances of achieving their goals (Magnan et al., 2008;Bureau et al., 2013). Given that hubristic pride could reduce individuals' moral judgment and prosocial motivation (Verbeke et al., 2004;Kim and Johnson, 2014), we speculate that hubristic pride may increase employee unethical behavior. Therefore, we propose the following hypothesis: ...
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