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JPSSM 2020 – Evolutionary shaped goal orientation in Homo sapiens how life sciences contribute to a better understanding of salespeople as knowledge brokers

Willem J.M.I. Verbeke & Jolly Masih

Life sciences uses the Latin name Homo sapiens to describe humans, an animal species. First, we discuss how “popular beliefs” about the brain have inhibited the progress of life science applications in the field of selling. Subsequently, we present the Tinbergen’s evolutionary perspective of life sciences and use “ultimate” and “proximate” explanations to understand the salesperson’s main goal of becoming a knowledge broker.

First, an ultimate explanation describes how the Homo sapiens evolved to acquire a big brain through natural selection processes, which led to the emergence of multiple cultures. This evoked a runaway selection of genes affecting brain functioning called “cultural drive hypothesis.” The big brain shapes people’s goal orientation and leads to better cooperation and exact copying of knowledge. Both are constitutive for the exponential emergence of innovations within and across cultures through multiple generations.

Second, the proximate view explains how, for example, neural-endocrine mechanisms modulate knowledge brokering. We explore five hard-wired processes associated with a salesperson’s skill in knowledge brokering, applying factual insights obtained from neuroscience, endocrinology, and genetics. Finally, we outline different strategies that researchers who seek to make new contributions to the field can undertake in doing research on selling.

AMTP 2020 – Preparing Performance Reports for Upper Management A Skills Building Project for Sales Management Students

Joseph Chapman, Ball State University
Russ Wahlers, Ball State University

This paper presents an in-depth assignment used in sales management courses to help students develop the skills needed to prepare a formal performance report for upper management. Students are divided into district management teams and are required to prepare a company performance report for four years of their company’s performance. The author provides the detailed guidelines which are given to the students to aid them in the development of the performance report. Example tables for the report, the grading process, and other information for the project are also included.

AMTP 2019 – Peer Evaluations for Extended Group Projects for a Sales Management Course

Joseph Chapman, Ball State University
Russ Wahlers, Ball State University

This paper presents an evaluation process that has work well for two extended group projects in a sales management course. Students help develop the peer evaluation instrument, submit several peer evaluations over the course of each project, and are required to fill out each form completely and submit the forms on assigned due dates. Students lose points on their individual project scores for not following the evaluation process guidelines.

FIP 2018 – Exploring the Effect of Attachment Styles and Winning or Losing a Status Contest on Testosterone Levels

Willem J. Verbeke, Frank Belschak, Tsachi Ein-Dor, Richard P. Bagozzi, and Michaéla Schippers

A person’s ability to form relationships and seek and attain social status affects their chances of survival. We study how anxious and avoidant-attachment styles and subsequent winning or losing affects the testosterone (T) levels of team members playing two status contests. The first is a management game played by teams striving to earn the most profits. Winners and losers emerge due to the cognitive endeavor of the players, which provokes intense status dynamics. Avoidant-attached winners do not show higher T levels whereas anxious-attached winners do. The second is an economic game which is rigged and favors some teams to become richer than others; teams have the option though to trade with each other and reduce the self-perpetuating rich-poor dynamics embedded in the game. Besides attachment styles, we here also explore how authentic pride as a self-conscious emotion affects team members’ T levels as players trade with others to create more fairness. As in the first status contest, players’ T levels are not significantly affected by their avoidant attachment style, neither as a main effect nor in interaction with winning or losing the game. However, similar to the first game, players’ anxious attachment style affects their T levels: anxious-attached players generate significantly higher T levels when winning the game, but only when experiencing high authentic pride during the game. In short, the moderating effects of attachment style on winners’ T levels are partly replicated in both status games which allows us to better understand the functioning of working models of attachment styles during and after status contests and gives us a better understanding of working models of attachment styles in general.

JAME 2018 – Entry-level Salesperson selection – An Engaging Experiential Exercise for Sales Management Students

M. J. Billups and Amit Poddar

The purpose of this paper is to present an innovative recruitment and resume screening simulation that has been used and tested for many years in sales management courses.

The Entry-level Salesperson Selection Exercise engages sales management students in a realistic activity where they review resumes submitted by their peers (anonymized) and select the most ideal candidate for the position. The “applicants” are then ranked and the top three choices from each student are shared with the class along with the reasoning behind the choice. The sample consists of undergraduate sales management students who have completed a Professional Selling course.

The project consistently engages and challenges sales management students. Reviews from students indicate their appreciation of the realism involved in the exercise and the resume evaluation techniques they discover. It is simple enough for faculty to implement immediately with very little preparation time.

AMTP 2017 – The MARS Sales Management Simulation 10+ Years Later

Joseph Chapman, Ball State University
Russ Wahlers, Ball State University

The authors discuss the MARS Sales Management Simulation (MARS) based on over 10 years of experience using the simulation in a sales management course. Over the years, the authors have tried a variety of ways of incorporating the MARS game into the sales management course and have written this paper to share their insights. This paper presents an overview of the MARS Sales Management Simulation, how to incorporate MARS into a sales management course, additional sales management assignments that relate to information from the MARS Simulation, advantages of using the simulation, disadvantages of using the simulation, some possible guidelines for running the simulation, and suggested guidelines for the additional assignments.

JMEd 2016 – Sales Simulation Games – Student and Instructor Perceptions

Frederik Beuk, University of Akron

This study combines the perspective of students (n = 137) and sales instructors (n = 248). It compares how well selling and sales management simulation games, case discussions, and traditional lectures are perceived to conform to the seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education. The study further compares each method’s performance on perceived learning outcomes. Differences between instructors who adopted a simulation game and non-adopters are investigated. Finally, we investigate the reasons why some instructors adopt and others choose not to adopt simulation games for their selling and sales management classes.


We find that students consider simulation games more fun, but less useful than lectures, and about equally useful as case discussion. Computerized simulation games are less frequently used in sales education than in other business disciplines. The perceived lack of suitable games is the main reason why instructors do not adopt simulation games for sales education. Contrary to earlier speculation, prior professional work experience of the instructor is unrelated to simulation game adoption, and years of teaching experience is positively related to the use of simulation games.

JNP&E 2015 – Postgame testosterone levels of individuals in team-based status games are effected by generic makeup, gender, and winning versus losing

Willem J. M. I. Verbeke, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Frank D. Belschak, University of Amsterdam
Richard P. Bagozzi, University of Michigan
Yolanda B. De Rijke, University Medical Center Rotterdam, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Testosterone, a steroid hormone, affects the ability of the prefrontal cortex to regulate the limbic system and therefore has been implicated in a wide range of social behaviors such as facing status challenges, aggression and dominance. Here we use a team-based status game to examine factors that determine the postgame testosterone (T) levels of participants who were on the winning or losing team in a status game. We focused on functional polymorphisms in 2 candidate genes, namely DRD4 and COMT because
these genes are densely expressed in the prefrontal cortex and thus affect peoples’ self-regulation ability. Being on the winning team does not automatically lead to higher postgame T levels. Postgame T levels were affected by pregame T level and genetic makeup of the DRD4 gene variants for male and COMT gene variants for female participants, respectively. These findings remain robust when we controlled for contextual variables related to game play. Such insights, based on genetic markers, might motivate researchers in neuro-economics to look closer at neuro-biological mechanisms, specifically the prefrontal-limbic connectivity that modifies when people engage in status games.

MER 2010 – Teaching Sales and Negotiation with Computer-Based Simulation

Lionel Bobot

Marketing educators have recognized the need for better preparation of marketing students for sales careers. This study compared the effectiveness of two different sales management course designs: one centered on case discussions and the other combining a computer-based simulation with some cases. In addition to evaluation of the research literature, the study involved experiments with six course sections composed of 150 students. Both course designs produced statistically equivalent learning outcomes; there were no significant differences between the two course designs in any of the nine outcome measures, including objective measures and student perceptions.

AFM 2009 – Teaching Sales and Negotiation with Computer-Based Simulation

Lionel Bobot, NEGOCIA

Marketing educators have recognized the need for better preparation of marketing students for sales careers. In this study, the author compared the effectiveness of two different sales management course designs: one centered on case discussions and the other combining a computer-based simulation with some cases. In addition to evaluation of the research literature, the study involved experiments with six course sections composed of 150 students. Both course designs produced statistically equivalent learning outcomes; there were no significant differences between the two course designs in any of the nine outcome measures, including objective measures and student perceptions.

OOI 2005 – The Pedagogy and Efficacy of Using Internet-based Marketing Simulations – The Mars Simulations (MARS) Experience

Kathryn J. Cook, West Virginia University, USA
Robert W. Cook, West Virginia University, USA

The present study considers the pedagogy and efficacy of using Internet-based simulations in relevant marketing classes. Two Internet-based simulations, The MARS Sales Management Simulation (MARS SMS) and the MARS Marketing Management Simulation (MARS MMS) were integrated into appropriate classes. Student reactions to the simulations and textbooks used in the courses are presented. The study concludes that the use of simulations not only achieves basic and higher-level learning objectives, but from the student perspective accomplishes these objectives better than a textbook

NCSM 2004 – The Pedagody and Efficacy of Using a Sales Management Simulation – The MARS Sales Management Simulation Experience

Dr. Robert W. Cook, West Virginia University

The use of gaming as a pedagogical device in the business professor’s educational repertoire is not new. According to Burns and Gentry (1992) marketing simulations have been used since the 1960’s. Furthermore, a study by Faria (1989) indicated that over 200 business simulation games were being used by approximately 8,600 professors at 1,733 business schools across the United States. The author’s own professorial experience with a business simulation game dates back to the late 1970’s with the classroom use of MARKSTRAT – then a mainframe program distributed on a large reel of magnetic tape.

SMA 2004 – Sales Management Simulation – Bringing Reality to the Classroom

Cathy Owens Swift, Georgia Southern University
Robert W. Cook, West Virginia University

This paper presents a Sales Management Simulation that was used in a class during Fall, 2003. The simulation is an online version that can easily be submitted by students and easily administered by faculty. As indicated by student responses to a survey, they found the simulation experience an excellent learning tool that helped them to understand sales force issues and made the course more interesting.

JEB 1999 – Can a Simulation Help Achieve Course Objectives – An Exploratory Study Investigating Differences Among Instructional Tools

Kenneth J. Chapman & Christine L. Sorge

A simulation, like any pedagogical tool, must be evaluated in terms of its effectiveness in achieving course objectives. This study investigated how well a particular simulation did in achieving course objectives and compares its performance to the textbook and papers used in the course. Compared to the textbook and the papers, students consistently gave the simulation the highest ratings on several learning-related measures. In addition, it was found that the simulation had the strongest associations with a set of measures designed to assess general course learning objectives. Further, the results suggest that the degree of involvement in the simulation had an effect on simulation-specific learning objectives as well as more broadly defined course learning objectives. We recommend the prudent use of simulations and suggest that professors regularly undertake a comparative outcome assessment of the instructional tools they are using in their courses.

JMD 1994 – Simulation Gaming for Sales Management Training

A. J. Faria and John R. Dickinson, University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada

Business simulations have achieved a prominent and meaningful role in the development of managerial skills, in both academia and management training. Simulation games are widely used in both universities and business firms. The validity of simulation games, and their effectiveness relative to other instructional and training methods, are well established.

Over more than three decades, several simulations dedicated to the sales management function have been developed, though many of these are no longer in print. Of the currently available sales management simulations, most feature a limited mix of sales management decisions. The recently developed Sales Management Simulation is an advance over these simulations. It encompasses a more comprehensive set of sales management functions, a segmented marketplace, a realistic industrial environment and is supported by a user friendly computer base for both administrators and participants.

MER 1994 – Review of The Sales Management Simulation

Alvin C. Burns

Users of marketing simulations will readily agree that although a fair number exists for the principles of marketing, marketing management, and marketing strategy courses, there is a paucity of alternatives for practically every other functional area course with the possible exception advertising management. At the same time, it is a given that a large majority of undergraduate marketing majors will have sales positions. That is, it is more likely that they will move up in the sales management branches of their respective organizations than advance through the product development, general marketing management, or advertising avenues. Obviously, if instructors wish to use simulations in the “core” subject matter of marketing as defined by how our students are employed, there is a mismatch. This review describes a recently released sales management simulation that fills this void.

ABSEL 1993 – Sales Manager – A Simulation

John A. Dickinson, University of Windsor
A. J. Faria, University of Windsor

Sales Manager is a personal computer based simulation game designed for use in introductory sales management and salesmanship courses, as well as in business sales training programs. Participants assume the role of the top sales manager for a large business firm. The simulation is placed in the industrial marketplace, actual secondary data defines the industry, and the simulation content generally reflects the direct industry experience of the authors. Numerous substantive features have been incorporated reflecting accepted principles of sales management. The hardware and software platforms supporting the games administration take advantage of the most modern and widely available technology.

S&G 1990 – Profits – The False Prophet in Business Gaming

Richard D. Teach Georgia Institute of Technology

Historically, the profits generated during the course of play by companies in a business simulation have been used as a surrogate measure of the managerial ability of team members. Better measures of managerial ability would be gained by measuring and analyzing errors in forecasting over a wide variety of events. The ability to operate within budget constraints and to allocate limited resources among almost limitless needs is also an indicator of managerial ability. Assigning specific responsibilities to each individual on a team, and then evaluating that individual’s effort, allow a grade or performance rating to be assigned to each member of the team. Measuring profit performance requires the limitation that all firms must start as equals. Without this imposing limitation, a much richer simulation environment could be established.

DBS&EE 1989 – PAN – Simulation of a District Sales Territory

Leo L. Ward, Ward Associates, Inc.
Frank A. Scalia, Barnes Group Inc.

A large distributor of automotive and industrial repair parts determined the need to train its current and prospective district sales managers in the short and long term business consequences of their decision making. A microcomputer-based simulation, pan, was developed to facilitate this. Because of the specific developmental objective of the simulation, face validity was considered critical to its success and was a guiding factor in its development. this paper provides an overview of the development and testing of pam and the simulation itself is described in some detail. The resulting simulation is of generic value in developing sales managers and of specific value within the host company because of its face validity.

ABSEL 1986 – A Sales Management Simulation for the PC – An Integrative Tool for Sales Management Courses

Ralph L. Day, Western Michigan University

A simulation game serves as a means for integrating the context of sales management courses. It was designed for use after students have largely completed their study of textbooks, analyses of cases, and involvement in experiential exercises relating to personal selling and sales management. Decision tasks focus on the selection and deployment of sales representatives but the more routine tasks of sales forecasting, monitoring performance, and record keeping also have impact on the bottom line. Successful performance requires an overall grasp of company operations and “bottom line awareness.” The interactive program runs on IBM PC’s and compatibles. Decision entry can be done in class by students (with supervision) or elsewhere.

ABSEL 1986 – Teaching Reevaluation of Salespersons through the Use of a Simulation Game

Gordon Gray, Arthur Andersen, Oklahoma City
James W. Gentry, Oklahoma State University
L. Lee Manzer, Oklahoma State University

Gaming approaches to the teaching of salesperson evaluation are reviewed briefly, and a need for a more specific tool is discussed. SPREE (Sales Person Review and Evaluation Exercise), a new game developed to meet this need, is discussed. The game allows the player to access up to 28 items for each salesperson in the areas of personal data, territory conditions, expense records, margins, effort, and sales history. The students rate the salesperson on the expenses, behavior, and performance dimensions, and then make recommendations for further steps such as termination or additional training. Feedback is provided to the students in the form of comparisons of their ratings with those of a board of “experts.”

EEL 1978 – Sales and Sales Management – A case vs simulation approach

Bruce McAfee, Lawrence Institute of Technology
Ernest L. Maier, Lawrence Institute of Technology

We, as well as the vast majority of other business educators, have used the case approach as a method of instruction, and our experience with it has left us somewhat puzzled. We have observed that when our students are required to analyze short cases they sometimes become frustrated with the lack of information given in the incident. They frequently state, “I don’t think we have enough information to solve this case.” On the other hand, when they are asked to solve relatively long cases, they sometimes feel rather overwhelmed with the assignment and argue that it takes an excessive amount of time just to read the case and keep track of all the facts.

Some obvious solutions to this dilemma would be to use cases of medium length, or to be more careful in selecting the cases we use, or to capitalize on the lack of information in short cases by challenging the students to identify the assumptions they need to make in order to solve the case. Instead of using any of these alternatives, however, we decided to try a different approach.

We developed, for several marketing courses, an incident book which centers all of its incidents around the employees of a fictitious sales organization. By presenting the company and the people once, and each incident separately, we utilize more efficiently both the student’s and instructor’s time.

We briefly describe the company’s financial condition, buildings, and location. In addition, we provide an organization chart to show the interrelationships among the personnel and an office layout to show where people work in relationship to one another. Since the book consists of a number of incidents or cases, it could be considered a case book. However, since all of the incidents are built around a single organization, we like to think of it too as a simulation.

Academic Research:  Simusell Sales Management Simulation

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