Investigation of factors influencing employee performance: A case of sales forecasting
Published on May 9, 2016in International Journal of Organizational Analysis
· DOI :10.1108/IJOA-07-2013-0687
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effect of selected organizational factors on the performance of employees charged with sales forecasting, and to compare this across the different organizational environments of Central-Eastern European (CEE) retail chains. Design/methodology/approach The research involves seven major pan-European retail chain companies, with a total number of 201 respondents. Data were collected via a questionnaire [computer-aided personal interview (CAPI) and human-aided personal interview (HAPI) method] with a five-point scale evaluation of both dependent (organizational factors) and independent (performance indicator) variables. Cluster analysis was then used to derive the characteristics of average organizational environments, and correlation analysis was used to investigate the direction and size of the performance effect. Findings The results confirmed that different organizational environments have differing effects on the performance of forecasters. It also showed that the “hard core” factors (performance evaluation and information systems) do not have a dominant effect on employee performance in any of the environments regardless of their quality, and are aggregately outclassed by “soft” factors (communication lines and management support). Finally, the research indicated that among the personal attributes related to individual forecasters, domain and forecasting work experience have significant, beneficial effects on forecasting performance, whereas formal education level was detected to have a negative effect and can be, at best, considered as non-contributor. Practical implications The research results along with available literature enable us to define four management theses (focus on system, less on people; soft factors are equal to hard ones; higher formal education does not contribute to forecasting performance; and do not overestimate the social and morale situation on the working place) as well as four stages of organizational development, creating a practitioner’s guide to necessary steps to improve an environment’s key factors, i.e. performance evaluation, information systems and forecasting work experience. Originality/value Although there are regular studies examining the effect of organizational factors on employee performance, very few have explored this relationship in a forecasting context, i.e. in the case of employees charged with sales forecasting. Furthermore, the paper brings evidence on this topic from the CEE area, which is not covered in most prominent forecasting management studies.