Assessing the Validity of Sales Self-Efficacy: A Cautionary Tale

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We developed a focused, context-specific measure of sales self-efficacy and assessed its incremental validity against the broad Big 5 personality traits with department store salespersons, using (a) both a concurrent and a predictive design and (b) both objective sales measures and supervisory ratings of performance. We found that in the concurrent study, sales self-efficacy predicted objective and subjective measures of job performance more than did the Big 5 measures. Significant differences between the predictability of subjective and objective measures of performance were not observed. Predictive validity coefficients were generally lower than concurrent validity coefficients. The results suggest that there are different dynamics operating in concurrent and predictive designs and between broad and contextualized measures; they highlight the importance of distinguishing between these designs and measures in meta-analyses. The results also point to the value of focused, context-specific personality predictors in selection research.

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