Role of Appearance on Sales Performance via State of Mind Lind

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Role of Appearance on Sales Performance via State of Mind Lind Powered By Docstoc
					                                                                 Role of Appearance on Sales Performance via State of Mind
                                                                        Lindsey LaShell        Mentor: Dr. Sri Seshadri
                                                                                University of Nebraska at Kearney
                                                                                                                                                         Correlation Analysis
   Appearance affects us in many ways. Not only does appearance have an effect on others, it also has an effect on oneself. An improved                                                                           Treatment       Self-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Self-confidence      Appearance            Mood               Anxiety            Performanc
appearance can make a person feel more confident, less anxious and in a better mood. With these positive changes in one’s state of mind, we are                                                                  (Appearance)        construct          construct           construct          construct            construct
able to complete our daily tasks more effectively. The purpose of this study is to show how an improved appearance (through dress and grooming)
leads to better performance through changes in self-confidence, mood and anxiety. Establishing the relationship between appearance and                          Treatment             Pearson Correlation
performance will aid in discovering how salespeople can proactively affect their performance through their appearance.                                         (Appearance)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1          .419*              .733**               .326               -.084                .125

                                                                                                                                                              Self-confidence         Pearson Correlation
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    .419*               1               .671**             .897**             -.635**               .351*
                                                                Research                                                                                         construct
    Although there has been a lot of research on how appearance affects others, little was found about how appearance affects oneself, and no
                                                                                                                                                                Appearance            Pearson Correlation
research has been done how appearance influences task performance. A study by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis indicates that "Certain
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   .733**           .671**                  1              .584**               -.194                .304
characteristics, such as appearance, might affect productivity in ways that are not as easily measured (or as obvious) as are other characteristics,
like education or experience" (“More Attractive…”[17]). The Bank’s report also added that the effects of looks on self-confidence, communication
                                                                                                                                                                  Mood                Pearson Correlation
and social skills were unknown.                                                                                                                                                                                      .326           .897**              .584**                 1              -.633**               .278*
    There also has not been any quantitative research done to test the relationship between appearance and performance. Many books and articles                  construct
have been written telling us how to “dress for success” and claiming that physical appearance has a significant effect on our success in the world.
Anyone can say that dressing appropriately for the occasion helps them “feel better”, “more confident” and helps them to “succeed at doing their             Anxiety construct        Pearson Correlation
job”. However, no research has been done to see if any relationship exists between the variables of appearance and performance through self-                                                                        -.084          -.635**               -.194             -.633**                1                  .061
confidence, mood and anxiety.
    For the purpose of this research, all of the variables are considered “state” variables that can change depending on changes in the environment.           Performance            Pearson Correlation
For example, when looking at appearance, physical characteristics such as height and weight are not considered. The research focuses on the                     construct
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     .125            .351*                .304               .278               .061                   1
appearance as reflected by the participants’ dress and grooming, as well as how they feel at a particular moment in time.

                                                                                                                                                            * Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).
                                                                                                                                                            ** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).
•  A pre and post test methodology was used to assess the influence of appearance on task performance.
                                                                                                                                                       •The correlation between appearance and performance is established through mood, and self-confidence (Figure 1).
• Participants were college students in an upper level sales management class (8 males and 9 females).
• On Tuesdays students were allowed to wear whatever they liked; Thursdays students dressed in “business attire” to receive extra participation        •By improving their appearance (dressing up and grooming), participants experienced increased levels of self-confidence, and reported being in a better mood.
                                                                                                                                                       •Because of the changes in self-confidence, and mood, performance of the participants improved and they received higher scores on the evaluations of their
• A Tuesday and a Thursday were selected for the students to give their sales presentations.
                                                                                                                                                       sales presentations.
• Students self-reported their appearance, mood, self-confidence and anxiety levels each day before they gave their presentations.
                                                                                                                                                       •Surprisingly, in this study appearance did not have a significant impact on anxiety, nor did anxiety have a significant direct impact on performance. However,
• Two external judges assessed subject’s performance of the sales presentation (performance task).
• To maintain anonymity each student wrote down their self-chosen 5-digit numbers on their self-reported surveys and on the back of the judge’s        as the above table indicates, anxiety has thus an indirect negative influence on performance in the study.
evaluation forms.
• The average scores were found for each construct by summating the items scores for each individual and then dividing by the number of items in
that particular scale. For example, the scores for “Good”, “Happy”, “Positive” and the reversed score for “Distressed” were all added together and
divided by four to find the average score for mood.
• To find the final score for performance, the average performance scores from each item (from two judges) for a given participant were first
averaged and then using the summated score for each student, the average performance score was computed.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Figure 1
• The average mood, self-confidence, anxiety, appearance and performance were calculated for both Tuesday’s and Thursday’s sales
presentations. The data collected on Tuesday was labeled “pre” and the data collected on Thursday was labeled “post”.
• Tuesday was labeled as “pre” because data was collected when the students were dressed casually (before the “appearance” treatment).
Accordingly, Thursday’s scores were labeled “post” because data was collected after the “appearance” treatment was given.                                                                   0.584**                                                         0.278*
• The pre scores were subtracted from the post scores (post – pre) to arrive at changes in the self-confidence, mood, anxiety and sales
performance. These were the scores that were analyzed using SPSS to assess the correlation between the five constructs.

                                                                Results                                                                                 Appearance                          0.671**                   Self-Confidence                    0.351*                     Performance
     Reliability Analysis

                                              Pre-                         Post-
                                                                           Post-test                                                                                                        -0.194                                                          0.061
    Self-confidence                              0.930                         0.936
      Appearance                                 0.879                         0.834                                                                                                                                          Conclusion
                                                                                                                                                          This study suggests that appearance does have a positive and significant impact on performance. By dressing for the occasion, people feel more
                                                                                                                                                       confident, upbeat and relaxed, which helps them to perform better. Changing or improving your appearance helps you to fill or play the role that is
             Mood                                0.845                         0.888                                                                   expected of you. Dressing up sets the stage for positive interactions and successful presentations. Knowing that appearance affects others perceptions
                                                                                                                                                       of us, it is only natural to change our appearance to help make the most favorable impression. Dressing for the occasion helps us feel better, more self-
                                                                                                                                                       confident and less anxious. In turn, performance improves because of these changes. Therefore, appearance truly does affect performance.
           Anxiety                               0.912                         0.924
                                                                                                                                                       Directions for future research
     Performance                                 0.936                         0.885                                                                       Though appearance was found to have a significant impact on performance further research should be done to confirm these results. Implications of
                                                                                                                                                       this research range from the effectiveness of dress-codes in business and educational settings, as well as possible improvement in quality of life among
                                                                                                                                                       those with low self-esteem, mood or anxiety disorders. Randomly selecting a large number of participants would be the next step for this research to
                                                                                                                                                       increase reliability and generalizability of the results. Participants would be given an equal amount of time to prepare for each presentation or
                                                                                                                                                       performance task, and would be instructed not to dress up for one of the presentations. To ensure that their performance of a task improved because of
  Since the reliability of the scales was at acceptable values                                                                                         their change in appearance and not because of practice or preparedness, participants would be instructed to dress up for their first presentation and not
summated scores were appropriate to use for data analysis.                                                                                             for the second presentation. By assessing performance of many different tasks, results could be generalized over a diverse group of participants.

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