Assessing the Drivers and Outcomes of Behavioral Self-Leadership

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Source

European Journal of Marketing



Although the role of self-leadership is important, it remains understudied in business-to-business (B2B) selling context. This study aims to provide insights into the drivers and outcomes of behavioral self-leadership tested through a sample working in pharmaceutical sales in an emerging economy. In accord, the authors investigate the relationships between self-efficacy, behavioral self-leadership, adaptive selling and ultimately sales performance. This study also investigates the moderating role of technical knowledge.

Design/methodology/approach: Data were gathered from 208 salespeople working in pharmaceutical industry. AMOS 21.0 and SmartPLS3.0 were utilized to test the conceptual framework.

Findings: The study finds that self-efficacy is positively related to behavioral self-leadership that in turn is positively related to adaptive selling and sales performance. In addition, counter intuitive findings were uncovered related to salesperson’s technical knowledge. Those with high technical knowledge exhibited weaker relationship between self-efficacy and behavioral self-leadership, behavioral self-leadership and adaptive selling and that between behavioral self-leadership and sales performance than their counterparts with low technical knowledge.

Research limitations/implications: This study extends work on self-leadership by exploring the effect of self-efficacy and behavioral self-leadership on sales performance. This study also extends the theory on salesperson’s knowledge by proposing the counter-intuitive effect of knowledge and self-efficacy and knowledge and behavioral self-leadership on adaptive selling and sales performance.

Practical implications: Sales managers should consider that not all employees indulging in behavioral self-leadership would reap benefits from the same. As such, sales managers should assess the level of technical knowledge of the salesforce and when determining their training programs that develop such self-leadership skills.

Originality/value: The study is one of the first to consider the drivers and outcomes of behavioral self-leadership and technical knowledge in a B2B sales context. By focusing on the interplay between knowledge and self-efficacy and knowledge and behavioral self-leadership, this study provides greater understanding of the effects of behavioral self-leadership than previously expected by sales researchers.

Inclusive pages



ISSN: 0309-0566







Peer Reviewed



Self-efficacy, Sales performance, Self-leadership, Adaptive selling, Technical knowledge, Behavioral self-leadership