The term motivation is derived from the Latin word ‘movere’ which means to move (Baron, Henley, McGibbon and McCarthy, 2012). Certo (2016) describes motivation as giving people incentives that cause them to act in desired ways.

Motivation has also been described as the process of arousing and sustaining goal-directed behavior (Nelson, 2013). It is commonly agreed that there are two types of motivation, namely extrinsic and intrinsic. Intrinsic motivation is that behavior which an individual produces because of the pleasant experiences associated with the behavior itself (Mosley, Pietri and Mosley Jnr, 2012).

They stem from motivation that is characteristic of the job itself. Examples are receiving positive recognition, appreciation, a sense of achievement and meeting the challenge. According to Beer and Walton (2014), intrinsic rewards accrue from performing the task itself, and may include the satisfaction of accomplishment or a sense of influence. Mosley, Pietri and Mosley Jnr. (2012) describe extrinsic motivation as the behavior performed, not for its own sake, but for the consequences associated with it. Examples include salary, benefits and working conditions. Extrinsic rewards come from the organization as money, perquisites or promotions from supervisors and co-workers as recognition (Beer and Walton, 2014).

Customers today are increasingly demanding and increasingly informed and face a wide range of alternatives that can meet their needs and requirements. In this context, the success of organizations is increasingly dependent on management and leadership of salespeople, including their motivated retention. Sales people are the most visible representatives of companies and often the only ones who are in direct contact with customers. Therefore, the sales force of companies play a key role in diagnosing customer needs, developing customer confidence, and strengthening trade relations. Motivation is a procedure that initiates through a physiological or psychological want that stimulates a performance that is intended at an objective. Managers need to remember that salespeople are motivated by a mix of factors and not just from external or internal motivators (Manion, 2005, p. 283). This gives managers the opportunity for a worker reorganization of staff (Manion, 2005, p. 283) Rodrigues, Guerra and Câmara (1997) point out that managers must recognize that success comes not only from advanced technology, financial bases, and competitive positions in the market, but also from motivated employees with the right professional skills that contribute to performance their productivity and high productivity. Performance is a decisive measure in the function of the sales department in an organization. The sales force is seen and studied in two aspects: first, assessing the behavior of the sales force in the context of achieving the goals of the organization (behavioral performance) (Churchill (Baldauf et al., 2001), including sales calls, bids made and customer meetings as well as the current level of sales achieved (production performance) (Baldauf et al., 2001) and the performance of the results that consists of the results attributable to sellers, such as traditional sales metrics, market share, new accounts, and other achievements (Business Week, 1994).

To compete in today’s global markets, organizations strive to deliver their products (physical) and services (intangible) in both an efficient and effective manner. In service supply chain, human labour forms a significant component of the value delivery process and physical handling of a product leads to standardized and centralized procedures and controls in manufacturing supply chains, (Sengupta et al 2008:1). The focus of efficiencies in service supply chains is on management of capacity, flexibility of resources, information flows, service performance and cash flow management. Critical factors are demand management, customer relationship management and supplier relationship management in manufacturing supply chains and service supply chains.

Sales force in any company– big or small, manufacturing or service, are charged with generating product sales from assigned customer accounts in independent territories. However, the evolving selling environment today is much more complex, demanding significant changes in performance metrics, goals, control and compensation.

Employees are motivated by a combination of both factors at any given point in time (Riggio, 2013).

Performance appraisal is one of the most important human resource (HR) practice, administered in organizations by which supervisors evaluate the performance of subordinates (Neeraj, 2014). Aguinis (2013) implies that the focus of the performance appraisal is measuring and improving the actual performance of the employee and also the future potential of the employee; it aims to measure what an employee does. Performance appraisal is generally regarded as one of the most crucial human resource management functions

(Judge and Ferris 2013), furthermore; a competent performance appraisal and management system is an indispensable part of an organizations human resource management adequacies

(Guest, 1997). Employee reactions to appraisal in terms of perceived employee fairness, accuracy, and satisfaction are important components of appraisal effectiveness because these perceived employee reactions can motivate employees to improve their performance (Taylor, Tracy, Renard, Harrison and Carroll 2015). That is, performance appraisal serves as a means for providing feedback that can result in improved performance (Tornow, 2013). Therefore, this study is focused on the role of motivation and its effect on sales force performance.


In a highly competitive, global environment, organizations are constantly under pressure to retain their workforce (Deci, 2013). Highly skilled, reliable and experienced employees are a valuable asset for any organization. It is evident that highly motivated employees are more likely to have high productivity. However, according to Certo (2006), good performance is not as a result of motivation only, but also includes ability i.e. skills, equipment, supplies and time.

Some organizations have been known to experience a high staff turnover despite offering above average salaries (Aguinis, 2012).

This tells us that money is not the only way to motivate employees. Additionally, different people are motivated by different factors. It is important for managers and supervisors to understand what motivates individual employees, and not assume a one-size-fits-all approach

(George and Jones, 2013). An organization is only as strong as its workforce.

Human resources need to be treated with great care, since they are a special resource that needs to be given special managerial attention and time (Storey, 2013). Therefore, studies like this are an invaluable resource in helping organizations identify and maximize on ways to motivate employees whilst mitigating employee turnover and under-performance (Steers and Porter, 2011). It is the human resource amongst other factors of production in the organization which really makes a distinction (Kreitner and Kinicki, 2013). Production is considered as satisfactory when gross commission brought in by an agent is high. It is human capability and commitment which ultimately differentiate successful organizations from those that fail (Deci, 2013).

These problems necessitates the need to carry out a study on the role of motivation and its effect on sales force performance.


The general objective of the study is to examine the role of motivation and its effect on sales force performance. The specific objectives of this study include the following:

1. To determine the prevalence of sales force motivation in Nestle PLC.

2. To investigate the intrinsic and extrinsic factors that best explain the level of motivation of sales teams.

3. To examine if motivation influence behavioral performance of the sales forces in Nestle PLC.

4. To ascertain the influence of motivation on the job satisfaction of the sales forces in Nestle PLC.

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