Nisha currently serves as vice rector/academic director at Webster University’s Thailand campus. Since completing her DBA at Grenoble Ecole de Management, Nisha has gone on to become a mother and been promoted to be vice rector. Nisha continues to observe and be passionate about the world of education marketing, while also become more deeply involved in the processes of assessment, institutional learning, and development and accreditation.
Any sales person will gladly share stories of how they had to sell products/services in which they did not believe. They will say they continued selling despite knowing that the product was of no or little value to their customers. Did those people experience any negative thoughts/feelings? Did they feel any discomfort in having to sell something in which they did not believe? Did it affect their job performance, their job satisfaction and/or their organizational commitment? Did it lead to thoughts of turnover?
Cognitive dissonance (Festinger, 1957) is defined as both a psychological and a physiological discomfort that results from inconsistencies between two beliefs or a belief and an exhibited behavior.
The central research question of this dissertation centers on the following issue: - what if the salespeople do not believe that the service they sell offers value to the customer? Will their dissonance with the service they sell affect their level of job performance, job satisfaction, organizational commitment and perhaps even their intention to quit?
A qualitative pilot was conducted with sales people from the industry of higher education marketing. While the word dissonance was not referred to in the interviews, what came through was clear manifestations of ‘dissonance’ itself.
A survey was then created and distributed among salespeople in higher education marketing. Existing scales were used to measure the constructs of self-efficacy of performance, job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and turnover intentions. A new set of items was created to measure dissonance. A total of 103 completed surveys were received. Significant correlations were seen between Cognitive dissonance and Self-efficacy, between Cognitive dissonance and Job satisfaction, as well as between Cognitive dissonance and Organizational commitment. Cognitive dissonance was also seen to create turn over intentions. The correlations have important managerial implications, knowing the high costs that are associated with turnover among the sales team.