Formulating Undergraduate Student Expectations for Better Career Development in Sales: A Socialization Perspective


Undergraduate sales education is somewhat unique in that it prepares students for a career which functions mostly outside of traditional corporate management structures. Concurrently, the demand for well-qualified salespeople has intensified partly due to high turnover. This article contends that there may be a disconnection between student expectations of a sales job when they leave school and what they actually experience on the job. Using salesforce socialization as a theoretical foundation, this study compares students’ versus salespeople’s perceptions of sales jobs in terms of realism and congruence with outcome and behavior-based job performance indicators as well as perceived ethical control. When considering job performance and ethics, the results show that students have a highly idealistic perception of sales when compared to those in the actual field of sales. For marketing educators it is imperative that efforts are focused on helping students form more realistic expectations for a sales career. Such efforts and suggestions are provided in the implications.

Publication Title

Journal of Marketing Education