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This study investigates the role of supervisors in implementing changes in marketing strategy. The authors propose that perceptions of outcome-oriented supervisory actions influence salespeople's primary appraisals of a strategic change (i.e., whether the change will affect them) and that perceptions of process-oriented supervisory actions influence salespeople’s secondary appraisals (i.e., whether they can cope with the impact of the change on them). The results from a study of 828 salespeople in 204 branches of a large distributor of industrial goods provide evidence that perceived outcome risk containment and outcome reward emphasis enhance primary appraisals, whereas perceived process risk containment and process reward emphasis enhance secondary appraisals. In turn, the authors find that salespeople's primary and secondary appraisals influence their change implementation behaviors, leading to successful change implementation. Notably, they also find that (outcome and process) risk containment has a greater influence on appraisals of salespeople with a higher performance orientation, but the effects of (outcome and process) reward emphases are invariant across salespeople’s performance orientation. The findings suggest that successful implementation of strategic change may depend not merely or even primarily on giving rewards to salespeople for implementing change but also on limiting salespeople's risks and recognizing them for their change-related efforts.

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This document was originally published by American Marketing Association in Journal of Marketing Research. Copyright restrictions may apply. DOI: 10.1509/jmr.07.0466

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