Control systems' effect on attributional processes and sales outcomes: A cybernetic information-processing perspective

Eric Fang, Kenneth R. Evans, Timothy D. Landry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Built upon a cybernetic information-processing framework, this article advances and empirically tests a conceptual model proposing the relationships between sales controls (outcome, activity, capability), salespeople's attributional ascriptions (effort, strategy, ability), attributional dimensions (internal/external, stable/unstable), and psychological consequences (job satisfaction, performance expectation). The study challenges the assumption in the sales literature that attributional dimensions cleanly map onto attributional ascriptions. Findings support that sales control systems affect salespeople 's attribution processes in ways suggesting that the processes are more malleable than heretofore theorized in the marketing literature. Furthermore, the study demonstrates that control systems differentially affect attribution processes across two cultures: the United States and China. The article concludes with a discussion of research and managerial implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)553-574
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of the Academy of Marketing Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 1 2005



  • Attribution theory
  • Attributions
  • Control system
  • Feedback
  • Sales management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing

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