Dick Spencer Case Study

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Fall 2012 MGT 585

Dick Spencer Case Analysis

Strengths as a Salesman Dick Spencer has had an interesting career. He began as a salesman at Tri-American Corporation and quickly worked his way up the corporate ladder to management level. He experienced many achievements and also many roadblocks during that time. This case analysis will examine some of the contributing factors to his successes and failures as well as provide recommendations on how he could have been more successful as a manager. Dick Spencer experienced great success very early in his sales career. His outgoing, likable personality could have factored into that success. High levels of openness to experience are associated with curiosity and a willingness to entertain new ideas and experiences (Barrick & Mount, 1991). Those with high levels of openness to experience and motivation will be more likely to utilize their abilities to obtain initial career success than those with low levels of motivation (Rode, Arthaud-Day, Mooney, Near, & Baldwin, 2008). These characteristics helped Dick achieve great things in the beginning of his career. Dick was a force to be reckoned with in the sales department yet his peers still regarded him as a regular guy. Highly outgoing people tend to be warm, positive, and sociable, with a high energy level and therefore tend to be comfortable interacting with others (Costa & McRae, 1992). Studies have shown that conscientiousness, openness to experience, extroversion, and emotional stability are positively associated with career success and satisfaction (Rode et al., 2008). The same can be said of characteristics necessary in a career in sales. Dick’s peers attributed his rise in sales volume to his good looks, charm, sales ability, business knowledge, and schmoozing skills on the golf course.

Fall 2012 MGT 585 Dick began his career with Tri-American Corporation at the age of twenty two, just after finishing his Master’s degree. Research has shown that salesmen under the age of twenty five are in the honeymoon stage of their careers. During this stage they exhibit a high level of enthusiasm for their jobs as well as positive attitudes and a desire to succeed (Apostolidis, 1980). This is in direct contrast to salesman ages forty six and older. This group shows less aptitude towards development and career advancement. They are less creative in their jobs and less likely to learn new skills (Apostolidis, 1980). Dick was definitely in the honeymoon stage of his career, because succeed is what he did. In his first year as a salesman, he landed a large account that made him infamous among the other salesmen. He continued to set a fast sales pace even into his second year and gained himself a reputation with upper management. When asked for a transfer out of sales, the president of the company was hesitant to move him, recognizing his superior sales ability. Not only was age a factor of Dick’s success in business, but mental ability is one of the strongest predictors of job performance (Hunter & Hunter, 1984). Dick was a well-educated man, receiving his MBA from a reputable university, which shows an aptitude for high mental ability. Research has shown that mental ability can predict career success through its effects on job performance (Judge, Higgins, Thoresen, & Barrick, 1999). This is especially true during the beginning of one’s career. During the initial employment phase the learning curve is steep with learning new job specific processes and procedures. People with a higher capacity for learning are at an advantage (Kraut, Pedigo, McKenna, & Dunnette, 1989). Dick took that advantage and continued full force to his second year as a salesman with Tri-American. His abilities surpassed those of his peers and set difficult goals for them.

Fall 2012 MGT 585 Dick Spencer was also good at networking. Networking can be described as discussing work challenges, exchanging information, joining professional associations, volunteering...
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