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Turnover and leadership: The lived experiences of African American female pharmaceutical sales representatives

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2009
Dissertation
Author: Valery Yvonne Shumate
Abstract:
A qualitative, phenomenological, study was performed to examine the lived experiences of a snowball sampling of eight U.S. currently employed and previously employed African American female pharmaceutical sales representatives. Their lived experiences were compiled and themes identified to determine the relationship between job satisfaction and voluntary employee turnover based on the theory of work adjustment (TWA). Study results indicate key influencers of voluntary employee turnover. Many manager-study group experiences resulted in discrimination, cultural insensitivity, unethical managerial behavior, micro management, unsupportive managerial behavior, and integrity questions. Many peer-study group interactions reveal additional explanations for voluntary turnover such as sarcastic, insensitive, racist comments, indifference, hostility, and exclusionary tactics. These factors result in less social integration, less motivation, and a lack of job commitment for the study population. It is recommended that organizations create formalized sensitivity training programs, career development programs, and mentoring opportunities, for all organizational levels to retain productive African American female pharmaceutical sales representatives.

vii TABLE OF CONTENTS LIST OF TABLES....................................................................................................xi   LIST OF FIGURES.................................................................................................xii   CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION..............................................................................1   Background of the Problem.......................................................................................2   Statement of the Problem...........................................................................................5   Purpose of the Study..................................................................................................7   Significance of the Study...........................................................................................8   Nature of the Study....................................................................................................9   Research Questions..................................................................................................10   Theoretical Framework............................................................................................11   Definition of Terms..................................................................................................13   Assumptions.............................................................................................................16   Scope, Limitations, and Delimitations.....................................................................16   Summary..................................................................................................................17   CHAPTER 2: REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE..................................................19   Documentation.........................................................................................................19   Literature Review.....................................................................................................20   Social Networking and Workforce Turnover...................................................21   Job Satisfaction and Workforce Turnover........................................................23   Managerial Leadership and Workforce Turnover............................................24   Human Resource Specialists and Workforce Turnover....................................28   Discrimination and Workforce Turnover.........................................................28  

viii Literature Gap..........................................................................................................29   Conclusion...............................................................................................................30   Summary..................................................................................................................30   CHAPTER 3: METHOD.........................................................................................32   Research Method.....................................................................................................34   Appropriateness of Design.......................................................................................35   Research Question...................................................................................................36   Sample Population, Research Site and Geographic Location..................................37   Confidentiality and Informed Consent.....................................................................38   Data Collection Instrumentation and Appropriateness............................................39   Moustakas (1994) modified van Kaam Method...............................................40   Data Analysis...........................................................................................................41   Validity and Reliability............................................................................................41   Internal Validity................................................................................................42   External Validity...............................................................................................42   Summary..................................................................................................................43   CHAPTER 4: RESULTS.........................................................................................44   Problem Statement Review......................................................................................45   Data Collection........................................................................................................47   Findings....................................................................................................................53   Summary of Major Themes..............................................................................53   Summary of Major Themes 1, 3, 4, 5 and Sub-theme 1a.................................54   Summary of Major Theme 2 and Sub-themes 2a and 2b.................................58  

ix Summary of Major Themes 6 and Sub-theme 6a.............................................62   Summary of Major Theme 7.............................................................................63   Summary of Major Theme 8 and Sub-theme 8a...............................................65   Theory Based on Major Themes and Sub-Themes..................................................67   Summary..................................................................................................................67   CHAPTER 5: CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS...........................70   Overview of Chapters..............................................................................................71   Conclusions: Core Themes......................................................................................73   Major Themes: 1, 3, 4, 5 and Sub-theme 1a.....................................................74   Major Themes 2: Negative Corporate Culture, Sub-themes 2a and 2b............75   Major Theme 6: Unethical Managerial Behavior and Sub-theme 6a...............75   Major Theme 7: Stress......................................................................................76   Major Theme 8: Negative Managerial Interaction and Sub-theme 8a.............77   Major Themes and Leadership.................................................................................77   Recommendations....................................................................................................78   Researcher Reflections.............................................................................................78   Recommendations for Future Study........................................................................78   Summary and Conclusions......................................................................................80   REFERENCES........................................................................................................83   APPENDIX A: RESEARCH INTERVIEW QUESTIONS..................................100   APPENDIX B: TRANSCRIPTS OF INTERVIEWS............................................102   APPENDIX C: CONSENT TO ACT AS A RESEARCH PARTICIPANT.........116   APPENDIX D: LETTER REQUESTING PARTICIPATION..............................118  

x APPENDIX E: MODEL OF VOLUNTARY EMPLOYEE TURNOVER...........120  

xi LIST OF TABLES Table 1 Participants’ Profile...................................................................................52   Table 2 Major Themes and Sub-themes...................................................................54  

xii LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1. Race characteristics..................................................................................48   Figure 2. Skin tone and weight characteristics........................................................48   Figure 3. Race and weight characteristics...............................................................49   Figure 4. Skin tone and number of pharmaceutical companies employed.............49   Figure 5. Number of pharmaceutical companies and years employed....................50   Figure 6. Geographic location and years in pharmaceutical sales...........................50   Figure 7. Relationship between race, light fair skin tone, and motivation..............57   Figure 8. Relationship between race, medium caramel skin tone and confidence level..........................................................................................................................58   Figure 9. Relationship between race, managerial interaction, and trust level.........58   Figure 10. Relationship between managerial behavior, support, and skin tone......61   Figure 11. Relationship between weight, managerial support, and micromanagement....................................................................................................62   Figure 12. Relationship between race, stress, and managerial support...................64   Figure 13. Relationship between race, stress, and medium caramel skin tone.......64   Figure 14. Relationship between race, managerial support, and trust level............65   Figure 15. Relationship between skin tone, managerial support, and micromanagement....................................................................................................65   Figure 16. Relationship between number of pharmaceutical companies, ethics, and integrity.............................................................................................................66  

1 CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION As employees, sales people represent intellectual capital; companies invest in sales representatives through training programs that prepare for field success (Busch, 1980; Hurley & Estelami, 2008). Possible effects of sales representative turnover can include consumer turnover, a lack of consumer loyalty, or decreased profitability for organizations (Ettorre, 1997, p. 51; Hurley & Estelami, 2008, p. 186). Martin (2005) discussed the shortage of African Americans in professional sales positions (p. 285); African American female pharmaceutical sales representatives comprised 7.0 % of the total sales force throughout the industry, according to IMDiversity’s 2005 Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) report (2005, p. 2). African American females seeking employment in this industry might find the data useful as they struggle to maintain their positions in this field; it is possible this population segment may experience different issues that lead to their voluntary turnover decisions. Armed with the knowledge that this segment representation is low, African American females may find the courage to stay with their organizations and work within the system to improve retention levels. Herzberg, Maslow, McClelland, and Vroom demonstrated a positive correlation between managerial motivation, sales performance/satisfaction level, and employee turnover, as cited in Bass (1990) and Wren (1994). Graen’s (1982) findings revealed a direct link between managerial leadership style and subordinate turnover. In terms of current studies, several authors addressed factors related to sales professional turnover (Adidam, 2006; Aggarwal, Tanner, & Castleberry, 2004; Kundu & Vora, 2004; Wotruba, Brodie, & Stanworth, 2005). Lyons and O’Brien (2006) studied the fit–satisfaction and fit-voluntary turnover relationship (TWA) (Davis & Lofquist, 1984) using African

2 Americans and European Americans (p. 387). However, no literature related to the relationship between these variables and turnover in the pharmaceutical sales industry, with respect to the African American female pharmaceutical sales representative, was located. Anderson and Meyer (1994) discussed several theories related to employee turnover. Exit-voice tradeoff (unhappy employees leave organizations or voice displeasure in an attempt to improve current work environments) and compensation methods (higher wages or higher future benefits) influenced staff turnover (Anderson & Meyer, 1994, pp. 180-182). A qualitative, phenomenological study was scheduled to be performed to examine the lived experiences of a snowball sampling of 20 currently employed and previously employed African American female pharmaceutical sales representatives in the U.S., related to employee turnover. Although several components of turnover exist such as company layoffs, employee deaths, and organizational terminations, this study focused on voluntary workforce mobility and determined if TWA impacted this population segment in terms of job satisfaction and voluntary turnover. The research question that guided the study was: what factors cause African American female pharmaceutical sales representatives to leave pharmaceutical organizations? Background of the Problem A career in pharmaceutical sales can be lucrative for hard working sales representatives (Saul, 2005). Experienced pharmaceutical sales representatives have the potential to earn good annual salaries with additional commissions and benefits such as a company car, a flexible work schedule and a high degree of autonomy (Malugani, 2007). Sales managers face challenges maintaining good sales professionals; the leadership sales

3 managers provide to employees can make the difference between content, successful employees and unhappy ones who leave organizations, taking a wealth of knowledge and experience to competitors (Adidam, 2006, p. 137; Futrell & Parasuraman, 1984). Schering-Plough and Bristol-Myers Squibb spent $119M and $104M, respectively, in 2004, to manage pharmaceutical employee turnover expenses (Angell, 2004; Bristol-Myers Squibb Annual Report, 2006; Griffiths, 2007; Lipton, 2006; Orelli, 2007; Richardson, 1999; Saul, 2007; Schering-Plough Annual Report, 2005). Examples of turnover expenses include lost sales revenue, termination expenses, and hiring/training new employees. Employee turnover can occur due to factors such as work exhaustion, familial responsibilities, stress and leadership direction (Carayon, Schoepke, Hoonakker, Haims & Brunette, 2006, p. 382). Liu (2007) posited sales managers who are responsive to the needs of employees represent an important link between the company and the consumer (p. 5). High sales turnover affects company performance and employee morale as people worry about their financial existence resulting in decreased productivity (Futrell & Parasuraman, 1984; Martin, 2005). Research exists on the negative preconceptions managers have about candidates of diverse backgrounds (Comer, Nicholls & Vermilion, 1998; DelVecchio & Honeycutt, 2000; Marshall, Stamps, & Moore, 1998). However, no research exists on the lived experiences of employed and previously employed African American female pharmaceutical sales representatives related to TWA. History has shown that pharmaceutical sales representatives responded to trusting managerial relationships and performed at a higher level based on these relationships (Busch, 1980, Mulki, Jaramillo, & Locander, 2006). Challenges existed in the

4 management of a diverse workforce; many organizations lost quality sales representatives to competing organizations due to job dissatisfaction (Makower, 2001). Trust was found to be an important factor in the success or failure of manager-subordinate relationships (McAllister, 1995; Mulki et al., 2006). Organizations must employ a certain percentage of minority candidates based on Affirmative Action mandates (Gold, 1993); the term, “minority,” is not relegated solely to African American females. The African American female pharmaceutical sales representative perspective on sales turnover merited discussion because this segment may experience different issues from other minority groups that precipitated their turnover. If it was assumed that pharmaceutical companies recruited a large number of African American females, the fact remains this study segment represents 7.0 % of the total market, according to IMDiversity’s 2005 Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) report (2005, p. 2). This study focused on voluntary turnover instead of recruitment because no data were available that discussed pharmaceutical companies’ recruitment strategies related to this population segment. Diversity in the workplace has gained even more importance over the past decade and is viewed by companies as a sound business strategy (Makower, 1995). This population segment’s lived experiences may also help pharmaceutical companies and African American female pharmaceutical sales representatives identify solutions to improve turnover expenses and sustain sales revenue; employee turnover expenses and sales revenue are major organizational concerns. In addition, consumer satisfaction may be related to sales professional diversity; a factor that may impact company revenue. A lack of literature on the lived experiences of this population segment related to employee

5 turnover and possible link to TWA substantiated the need for this qualitative, phenomenological study. Statement of the Problem High sales turnover expense is a major concern of pharmaceutical companies (Ruzicic & Danner, 2007). Sales representative turnover encompasses several costs, including decreased sales, employee separation and replacement expenses, and training and development fees (Richardson, 1999, p. 53). Adidam (2006) advised companies to create retention strategies based on the needs of sales representatives (p. 137). Martin (2005) referenced difficulties minority sales representatives encountered related to convincing managers to hire them for key sales positions and advancement opportunities once hired (p. 286). African American workers continued to experience workplace discrimination despite laws designed to prohibit them (Chima & Wharton, 1999, para. 1). A qualitative, phenomenological study was conducted to determine the lived experiences of employed and previously employed African American female pharmaceutical sales representatives related to turnover and possible correlation with TWA. The objective was to identify factors this population considered when terminating pharmaceutical employment and determine the correlation between job satisfaction and voluntary turnover. This segment can affect company bottom and top lines (profitability and growth) assuming they are productive employees (Beadles, II, Lowery, Petty, & Ezell, 2000, p. 332). Hence, their lived experiences should be considered. A snowball sampling of 20 currently employed and previously employed African American female pharmaceutical sales representatives in the U.S. was scheduled. The intent was to identify themes that may link TWA to employee turnover in pharmaceutical

6 organizations from the perspective of this population. Creswell (2003) defined phenomenological research as the “essence of human experiences concerning a phenomenon” and rationalized that “lived experiences mark the phenomenology as a philosophy as well as a method” (p. 15). A small sample of subjects was studied to assess patterns and relationships that constitute themes (Creswell, 2003, p. 15). Strauss (1987) advocated thematic data coding to “reaffirm, revise, or expand the theoretical research” (p. 8). Job satisfaction, within the manager-employee relationship, appeared to be a significant factor in employee turnover (Jones & Harter, 2004, p. 79). Crosby et al. (1990) argued that high sales force turnover rates were the result of companies selecting the wrong salespeople, as cited in Bowers et al. (1994, p. 44). Manager-employee interaction was another important factor, according to Mulki et al., (2006). Boles, Madupalli, Rutherford and Wood (2007) countered female sales representatives related job satisfaction and organizational commitment to co-worker interaction (p. 311). Kmec (2007) included the importance of “race-based social networks” as another factor (p. 483). This segment may have lived experiences that explain African American female sales force turnover in the pharmaceutical industry from a different perspective than the minority classification. Minority literature exists on employee turnover and women as a minority segment (Allen, Drevs, & Ruhe, 1999; Chima & Wharton, 1999; Cunningham & Sagas, 2004; Zatzick, Elvira, & Cohen, 2003). However, the studies do not classify the women by racial category.

7 Purpose of the Study The purpose of this qualitative, phenomenological study was to identify the factors African American female pharmaceutical sales representatives considered in their decisions to terminate employment with pharmaceutical organizations. A 2005 Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) report found African American female pharmaceutical sales representatives comprised 7.0 % of the total sales force throughout the industry (IMDiversity, 2005, p. 2). A compilation of their lived experiences and possible correlation with TWA, in terms of job satisfaction and voluntary turnover, may generate themes to assist pharmaceutical company retention, profitability, and growth rates. Snowball sampling was used to identify research participants, and the modified van Kaam method by Moustakas (1994) was used to analyze the research results. It is “the method of reflection that occurs throughout the phenomenological approach to provide a logical, systematic, and coherent resource for carrying out the analysis and synthesis needed to arrive at essential descriptions of experience” (Moustakas, 1994, p. 47). According to Marshall and Rossman (2006), snowball sampling was an effective way to create a non-random sample of employed and previously employed African American female pharmaceutical sales representatives from different companies. The sample was created by asking four currently employed and previously employed African American female pharmaceutical sales representatives in the U.S. to participate in the qualitative, phenomenological study. Each first line candidate identified a currently employed or previously employed African American female pharmaceutical sales representative who was also asked to join the study. Although this process created the snowball sample, validity concerns abound related to the creation of a non-random

8 sample; questions related to its ability to be representative of the entire African American pharmaceutical sales representative population are unrealistic. This created an unintentional bias based on the referral process that created the snowball sampling effect that resulted in a non-random selection process. Interviews took place by telephone and were transcribed based on geographical constraints. All study participants were assured participation was voluntary. A total of 20 currently employed and previously employed African American female pharmaceutical sales representatives in the U.S. were solicited. Strauss (1987) rationalized respondent data aids in the “interpretation of human behaviors or physical phenomena under study” (p. 5). NVivo 8 (March, 2008) qualitative analysis software was used in conjunction with the modified van Kaam method to identify thematic patterns. Significance of the Study The significance of the study to future research relates to the impact multi-cultural work forces may have on society. The global work environment will involve the use of skilled individuals from all ethnicities; a critical management skill (Doka, 1996, p. 69). Marketing campaigns must be created for a diverse customer base; organizations may be able to achieve a competitive advantage by employing and cultivating the skills of a diverse employee base (Doka, 1996; Kundu & Vora, 2004). The pharmaceutical industry employs less than 10% of African American females, according to IMDiversity (2005, p. 2). ”Corporations that encourage and nurture diversity among their employees are far better positioned in both differentiated domestic and global markets” (Doka, 1996, p. 69).

9 Nature of the Study The research method consisted of a qualitative, phenomenological study. Currently employed and previously employed African American female pharmaceutical sales representatives in the U.S. were asked to share lived experience information related to employee turnover to determine if a link existed with TWA (job satisfaction and voluntary turnover). Dissecting lived experience data may help pharmaceutical companies stem the high turnover rate and improve company performance (Darmon, 1990). African American female pharmaceutical sales representatives may be able to provide a different perspective for organizations to consider as multi-cultural global environments are created. An ethnographical design, based on the identified target group, was considered. However, Creswell (2005) defined it as a “group of people that could be studied in their work environment” (p. 435). It was not possible to live among this group of individuals on a long-term basis based on each study participant having a different work environment (in or outside of the pharmaceutical industry) within the U.S. A quantitative study was not appropriate because a survey instrument, with hypotheses and variables to prove or disprove, would have been required (Shepard, Jensen, Schmoll, Hack, & Gwyer, 1993). A quantitative study would have prevented the free flow of ideas and theme development. Themes and patterns may be used to identify possible variables related to TWA with the use of a qualitative study design. Snowball sampling was used to identify research participants, and the modified van Kaam method by Moustakas (1994) was used to analyze the research results. A total of 20 currently employed and previously employed African American female

10 pharmaceutical sales representatives in the U.S. were asked to participate in the study. All responses were transcribed for accurate data processing. Themes were developed, with the use of NVivo 8 (March, 2008) qualitative analysis software, in conjunction with the modified van Kaam method, to code data, that may assist pharmaceutical organizations as they identify new ways to stem employee turnover. The research was performed to provide an “in-depth focus on an event, or activity involving individuals,” the phenomenon of employee turnover (Creswell, 2006, p. 439). This study is unique in that African American females are separated from African American men; studies performed in the past combined African American men and women into the minority category. Martin (2005) studied behavioral attitudes and performance levels of African American and Caucasian sales representatives in the work environment to determine the reason for few African Americans remain in sales positions. Martin (2005) identified a disconnect between the manager (not African American) and the African American sales representative and recommended managers develop training for African American sales professionals to increase performance levels and create career opportunities. Friedman and Holtom (2002) examined the effect of network groups on minority turnover and found a positive correlation between minorities who joined network groups and remained with organizations. Research Questions The research question that guided the research study was: what factors do African American female pharmaceutical sales representatives consider in their decisions to leave pharmaceutical organizations? A lead interview question allowed the study participants to share their lived experiences related to the turnover phenomenon. Their lived experiences

11 can help identify themes that capture the essence of the phenomenon and perhaps be applied to the TWA in terms of a relationship between job satisfaction and voluntary turnover. The lead interview question was designed to allow interactive, open dialog to occur between the researcher and the participants. The lead question was the following: Based on your lived experiences as an African American female pharmaceutical sales representative, share the incidents and people that affect employee turnover within your organization. The following scripted questions were asked of the study participants if they were not disclosed during the interview as referenced by Moustakas (1994): 1. What dimensions, incidents and people intimately connected with the experiences stand out for you? 2. How did the experiences affect you? What changes do you associate with the experiences? 3. How did the experiences affect significant others in your life? 4. What feelings were generated by the experiences? 5. What thoughts stood out for you? 6. Have you shared all that is significant with reference to the experience? (Moustakas, 1994, p. 116). Theoretical Framework The demographic racial composition (Davis-Blake, 1992; Schneider, 1987) of organizations may have a direct impact on the satisfaction level of minority employees and their likelihood of voluntary termination (Zatzick et al., 2003, p. 483). Zatzick et al.

12 (2003) found the more minorities are placed in several levels of the organization, the increase in value other lower level minority sales employees experience; this leads to a decrease in voluntary turnover levels (p. 483). TWA expanded this model by addressing the strength of the fit-satisfaction and voluntary turnover parameters (Lyons & O’Brien, 2006). Dubas and Nijhawan (2007) discussed the theory of reasoned action (TRA) (Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975) to determine voluntary turnover. However, the model did not study the link between training, productivity, voluntary and involuntary terminations, and wages (Dubas & Nijhawan, 2007, p. 21). Becker’s (1962) human capital theory (HCT) incorporated these additional variables, studied them with the sales management component, and found a direct correlation between the variables. Cunningham and Sagas (2004) studied the effects of “surface-and deep-level diversity” (race, sex, ethnicity, age, attitudes, beliefs, values) on job satisfaction and voluntary turnover and found a direct correlation between value differences, job satisfaction, and voluntary turnover (p. 319). Queralt’s (1996) discussion of oppressive tactics directed at African Americans included biases related to employment, promotions, mentoring networks, and psychological disillusionment; each area is of great importance to women (Allen, Drevs, & Ruhe, 1999; Chima & Wharton, 1999, para. 2). The effect of voluntary turnover on the remaining company employees was also discussed (Krackhardt & Porter, 1985, 1986; Krausz, Yaakobovitz, Bizman, & Caspi, 1999; Steers & Mowday, 1981). Several current theoretical opinions favored organizational diversity (sensitivity training) with senior management support (Chima & Wharton, 1999; Cunningham & Sagas, 2004).

13 Grounded research theory reflected the nuances of this study. The lived experiences of a group (African American female pharmaceutical sales representatives) were documented and thematically aligned to identify key leadership themes that may be able to help pharmaceutical organizations manage African American female employee turnover and improve sales performance. NVivo 8 (March, 2008) qualitative software was used as a tool to code data and make category comparisons and themes (Moustakas, 1994, p. 4). “A theory developed from a study of these elements and their interrelationships,” (Glaser & Strauss, 1967, as cited by Moustakas, 1994, p. 4). This allows the researcher “to understand the nature and meaning of an experience for a particular group of people in a particular setting,” (Glaser & Strauss, 1967, as cited by Moustakas, 1994, p. 4). African American female pharmaceutical sales representatives represent a group of individuals who provide a “lived experience” perspective. “The phenomenological approach involved a return to experience in order to obtain comprehensive descriptions that provide the basis for a reflective structural analysis that portrays the essences of the experience,” (Moustakas, 1994, p. 13). This theory provided a way to “focus on the wholeness of experience, search for meanings and essences of experiences and obtain descriptions of experience through first-person accounts in informal and formal conversations and interviews,” (Moustakas, 1994, p. 21). Definition of Terms Bracketing: Placing boundaries around a phenomenological event to see it through a fresh, unbiased perspective (Moustakas, 1994, p. 85).

14 Commitment: Yukl (2002) defined commitment as a situation where “the target person internally agrees with a decision or request from the agent and makes a great effort to carry out the request or implement the decision effectively” (p. 143). Employee commitment will constitute employee agreement. Empowerment: Empowerment occurs when managers delegate key decision making responsibility to employees (Ahearne, Mathieu, & Rapp, 2005; Marshall, Talbott, & Bukovinsky, 2006). Empowerment refers to employee empowerment. Extrinsic Rewards: Extrinsic rewards pertain to “salary, bonuses, and other fringe benefits” designed to motivate the salesperson to improve performance (Markin & Lillis, 1975, p. 51). Intrinsic Rewards: Intrinsic rewards refer to internal recognition, social support, self- esteem and self-fulfillment carrots designed to increase salesperson performance (Markin & Lillis, 1975, p. 51). Leadership: “The ability of an individual to influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute toward the effectiveness and success of the organization” (House et al., 1999, p. 184; Yukl, 2002, p. 3). Lived Experience: Events lived or experienced by the study participants (Moustakas, 1994, p. 38). Motivation: Mitchell (1982, p. 81) as cited by Ramlall (2004) defined motivation as a “psychological process” that incites “the arousal, direction, and persistence of voluntary actions that are goal oriented” based on some satisfying outcome (p. 53). Ramlall (2004) cited Robbins (1993) who posited that motivation is “the willingness to exert high levels of effort toward organizational goals, conditioned by the effort’s ability to satisfy some

15 individual need” (p. 53). Motivation is defined in terms of employee motivation for the purposes of this research. Phenomenological Research: A report on described lived experiences from the perspective of the first-person. “Phenomenology attempts to eliminate everything that represents a prejudgment” and replaces it with “freshness and openness to arrive at new ideas, concepts, judgments and understandings” (Marshall & Rossman, 2006, p. 104; Moustakas, 1994, pp. 41, 58, 84). Prejudice: “A system of advantage based on race” (Wellman, 1977, cited by Tatum, 1997, p. 9). Qualitative Research: Information gleaned from participant interviews through the use of open-ended, broad questions with identified themes for data analysis (Creswell, 2005, p. 39). Retention: The creation of ways to reduce employee turnover (Ramlall, 2004, p. 58). Employee retention will refer to retention for the purposes of this study. Skin Tone: African Americans are born with many different shades of skin, also referred to as “colorism” (Tatum, 1997, p. 43). Snowball Sampling: A method to gain additional study participants by requesting referrals from the participants who are linked directly or indirectly to the original interviewees (Creswell, 2005, p. 149; Neuman, 2006, p. 223). “It begins with a few people or cases and spreads out on the basis of links to the initial cases” creating a snowball effect that is complete when no new contacts are supplied or the network becomes too large to study (closed network) (Neuman, 2006, p. 223).

16 Themes: Creswell (2005) uses themes in qualitative research to identify codes of a like nature to discover major ideas from data generation (p. 599). Turnover: Abbasi and Hollman (2000) defined turnover as the rotation of workers around the labor market between firms, jobs, occupations, states of employment and unemployment (p. 333). For the purposes of this study, employee or sales force turnover is synonymous with voluntary turnover. Assumptions The following assumptions pertained to this qualitative, phenomenological study related to the study participants. First, the study participants were assured of complete anonymity and confidentiality (Creswell, 2005, p. 369). This allowed them to feel comfortable providing honest responses without fear of company retribution or public humiliation. Neuman (2006) stressed the importance of protecting the privacy of all participants (p. 138). It was also assumed that the participants met the study requirements of being currently or previously employed African American female pharmaceutical sales representatives. The participants did not receive a monetary incentive for their responses. Scope, Limitations, and Delimitations Creswell (2005; 2003) defined limitations as possible study weaknesses from the perspective of the researcher (p. 198), and delimitations as ways to narrow the study focus (p. 148). Study limitations included a very small sample size of employed or previously employed African American female pharmaceutical sales representatives and the exclusion of employed or previously employed African American female pharmaceutical sales representatives who were recently promoted to managerial positions. Other limitations included the study of only U.S. African American female

17 pharmaceutical sales representatives and the time constraints related to telephone and in- person participant interviews. Also, the results may not reflect the beliefs of all African American female pharmaceutical sales representatives across the U.S. based on the small sample size. In terms of delimitations, this study focused on the lived experiences of a small sample size of currently and previously employed African American female pharmaceutical sales representatives. The study population consisted of U.S. females. No one was pressured to participate in the study. Their lived experiences can highlight ways pharmaceutical companies can reduce employee turnover. Summary Many pharmaceutical companies are managing large sales representative turnover expenses and losing talented sales people to key competitors. Martin (2005) highlighted the shortage of African-American females in the professional sales industry and possible explanations for this observation, including the ability to advance into more challenging positions (p. 285). The relationship between sales managers and their respective African American female pharmaceutical sales representatives can affect the organization’s sales success and impact employee turnover expenses. Many theorists have demonstrated a correlation between motivation/job satisfaction, and an increase in employee retention and sales performance (Dubas & Nijhawan, 2007; Lyons, 2006). Others discussed the racial composition of the employee base on voluntary turnover and job satisfaction (Cunningham & Sagas, 2004; Zatzick et al., 2003). However, little evidence related to the lived experiences of African American female pharmaceutical sales representatives and employee retention has been identified related to TWA.

Full document contains 134 pages
Abstract: A qualitative, phenomenological, study was performed to examine the lived experiences of a snowball sampling of eight U.S. currently employed and previously employed African American female pharmaceutical sales representatives. Their lived experiences were compiled and themes identified to determine the relationship between job satisfaction and voluntary employee turnover based on the theory of work adjustment (TWA). Study results indicate key influencers of voluntary employee turnover. Many manager-study group experiences resulted in discrimination, cultural insensitivity, unethical managerial behavior, micro management, unsupportive managerial behavior, and integrity questions. Many peer-study group interactions reveal additional explanations for voluntary turnover such as sarcastic, insensitive, racist comments, indifference, hostility, and exclusionary tactics. These factors result in less social integration, less motivation, and a lack of job commitment for the study population. It is recommended that organizations create formalized sensitivity training programs, career development programs, and mentoring opportunities, for all organizational levels to retain productive African American female pharmaceutical sales representatives.