Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


A taxonomy developed of specific selling activities of industrial salespeople was developed to differentiate "types" of salespeople. The taxonomy was developed based on the responses of 1393 salespeople from 51 companies to a survey of the frequency with which they performed activities, and the time spent to perform each activity. The first stage of the research was the compilation of an exhaustive list of sales activities. These activities were collected from a series of focus groups and personal interviews. The questionnaire was formulated based on the 121 sales activities collected from the focus groups. Two scales were designed and implemented to determine the frequency of each activity and the average amount of time the activity took to perform. The sample was designed following the categories of industries found in the Standard Industrial Classification, which is a government publication that classifies all companies according to type of product. Eight hundred letters of cooperation were mailed in a systematic stratified sample. Initial response was received from 85 companies of which 51 agreed to all the requirements of the study. The analysis consisted primarily of a factor analaysis of sales activities, followed by a clustering of salespeople based on their answers to the 121 activities. Analysis of variance merged the clustered groups with the factored activities, such that each cluster could be identified in terms of the activities that they performed. Lastly, each cluster group was identified in terms of their demographic profile, company and SIC representation. The results of the frequency scale produced 10 categories of salespeople based on their job activites. Of the ten categories, three were technical in nature. The description of the ten categories indicated some similarity to previous theories, while uncovering new, previously undiscussed categories. The time scale produced nine clusters of salespeople based on the amount of time salespeople spend in performing activites. These clusters or categories were similar in part to the frequency scale, though some differences were noted.