Remotely-Based Sales Managers More Motivated and Effective Than Branch-Based Sales Managers?
In the debate over telecommuting, it would be useful to know whether remotely-based or branch-based sales managers were more motivated and effective in their jobs. The information would be useful for corporations considering implementing telecommuting programs, and for workers contemplating undertaking a telecommuting position.
Responses were collected from a group of GE Capital sales managers to determine their basic attitudes about their jobs and their interactions within the company and their perceptions of what was useful to their performance and what was not. Some respondents were branch-based; others were telecommuters. That their responses appeared to be similar lends credence to the idea that telecommuter are at least as motivated and effective as their branch-based counterparts,
However, these responses were evaluated within the framework provided by abundant previous studies in order to develop a basis for understanding the motivational factors in telecommuting and, as well, to develop predictors for success and techniques for assuring success in any telecommuting undertaking.
As a result of the survey and literature review, it became clear that a great number of employees prefer to at least have the option of telecommuting; they believe it makes them more effective employees, and there is research that supports that belief. Companies, by and large, have reported productivity gains as well as cost savings. But companies, more than individuals, are wary of telecommuting.
What is also clear, however, is that there are techniques for ensuring the best possible outcome from a telecommuting program, for both employee and organization, and these are available as the result of exactly these sorts of studies conducted over time.
Appendix A: Tips for Smoothly Implementing a Telecommuting Program 54
Appendix B: Ground Rules for Successful Telecommuting 56
Appendix C: Tips for Making Telecommuting Productive 58
List of Figures
Table 1 Are you remotely based? 11
How many dealer accounts do you manage? 11
Table 3 Is teleconferencing an appropriate tool in communications? 22
Table 4 Is social interaction with other team members important to you?
Table 5 Do you meet other team members outside of work?
Table 6 Activities ratings 32
Table 7 What elements of your role do you most enjoy? 34
Table 8 Which of the following interferes most with your call plan?
Table 9 When do team meetings take place? 37
Table 10 How long do team meetings last? 37
Table 11 How frequent should team meetings be?
Table 12 Do you consider your objectives achievable and challenging?
Table 13 Where do you gain information in relation to your organization? 44
Table 14 Job satisfaction 46
Table 15 Do you feel that your contribution assists the organization in meeting its objectives? 47
Table 16 Do you understand how your objectives are set?
Table 17 Do you feel that you receive adequate feedback on your performance on a timely basis? 48
Table 18 Job satisfaction (2) 50
Table 19 If you had to sacrifice any of your benefits in order to increase your salary, which of the following would you forego? 50
Technology, and especially Internet technology, has had a significant impact on the business world, with one of the current changes involving an increase in working remotely, also commonly known as telecommuting. With Internet technology allowing for easy communication between remote locations, telecommuting becomes a feasible option for many organizations. Telecommuting is also becoming a popular option for employees, with this method of working allowing for better management of work and family demands, greater flexibility in time management, and less of the stresses that are associated with the work environment. In theory, it appears that telecommuting is an option that is beneficial to all concerned. However, despite this initial appearance, telecommuting does not always provide the many benefits expected. The problems of telecommuting, though, should not be regarded as reasons that employees should remain as non-telecommuters. Instead, it must be recognized that there are problems associated with both telecommuting and non-telecommuting. Part of the problem might be that the problems associated with non-telecommuting have been occurring for long enough that they are expected. This results in new problems being seen as more concerning, simply because they are new. To circumvent this problem of an unfair comparison, the two options need to be considered point by point and the overall benefits of each compared.
This research report will allow for such a comparison by determining the motivation and effectiveness of telecommuting workers and non-telecommuting workers. This study will look specifically at sales account managers employed by GE Capital, with the information obtained used to determine whether account managers-based remotely are more motivate and effective than those who are branch-based. It is predicted that when overall motivation levels of the two working options are compared, remotely-based sales account managers will be found to be more motivated and effective than branch-based sales account managers.
Motivation is defined as:
desire to start work every day.
A desire to achieve all goals and objectives set previously.
A desire to complete a full days' activities.
A desire to satisfy his/her line manager's expectations and contribute to team performance.
Ability to feel part of a team while working remotely.
Effectiveness is defined as:
Completion of numbers of calls on a daily/monthly basis
Perception of empowerment of sales account manager in the eyes of customers.
Degree of self-reliance in completing small tasks.
Strength of contributions to team dynamics. (Telecommuting is often considered an integral part of companies' strategic planning, if only because it must be considered in light of employee demand for it, perceived monetary savings and so on. Farrah & Dagen, 1993) By some accounts, managers are moving quickly to institute telecommuting programs. (LaPlante, 1995; McNemey, 1995) On the other hand, some researchers caution against the implications of isolating workers from the traditional office setting, despite the early twentieth century work of Thorstein Veblen that would suggest that humanity is more or less dying to get back home to work, as it did through most of its history. (Hamilton, 1987; Connelly, 1995)
It was, after all, cavemen who ruled the world, not 'factorymen' for millennia.
The objective of the research will be to determine if remotely-based sales managers are more motivated and effective than branch-based sales managers. The output of the research project is to identify which how and why sales account managers are more motivated and effective and will be of use to organizations considering a change in their business model or for the purpose of developing a business model from scratch. This makes the study an applied project designed to generate specific information for a decision-making purpose.
Scope and Limitations
This research project will be an applied study, rather than one focused on gaining broad theoretical information. The survey research will be limited specifically to sales account managers employed by GE Capital. This limited survey makes the study appropriate for generating specific information which can be used to determine whether sales account mangers should be remotely-based or branch-based. However, the survey's scope is limited to this specific situation and does not extend to generating more general information or noting trends. This is especially true because the sample size will be small and will not take into account personal factors.
However, viewing the results of this survey in relation to the results of numerous earlier studies of telecommuting, in recent years, and worklife in general since the dawn of the industrial age and into the current information age, will give greater scope to the project so that it may be useful to companies considering instituting a telecommuting program. While there was abundant material in the 1990s indicating that telecommuting was going to sweep the globe, there has also been a backlash, and the reasons for that will be postulated so that companies considering initiating telecommuting can deal with the negative realities, or lack thereof, as they judge them to be.
Following are the responses of the survey population regarding the basics of their working arrangements:
Respondents were asked:
ARE YOU REMOTELY BASED?
Respondents were asked:
HOW MANY DEALER ACCOUNTS DO YOU MANAGE? (CHOOSE ONE OF THE FOLLOWING)
Research and Methodology
The sample for the research project was a group of 20-25 individuals, all identified as working as sales account managers for GE Capital. A survey was circulated to each individual; the rate of return was expected to be high, with a final sampling of between 15 and 20 respondents. In fact, the final…