Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology



First Advisor

Jerry Cohen


This study empirically tests whether or not different communication styles affect sales effectiveness using the Open and Dominant styles from Norton's (1978) dimensions.

It was hypothesized that the more Open a salesperson is, the more effective the individual will be in selling the product. It was also hypothesized that the more Dominant the salesperson is the more effectives/he will be.

Four groups of students saw videotapes of a sales interaction. Each tape depicted one of the four communicator style types (combinations of high and low levels of Dominance and Openness). The tapes were first pretested on small groups of subjects to ensure the adequacy of the manipulation. The experiment involved 80 subjects viewing the tape after which they completed a 42-item questionnaire. Six composite scores were identified from groups of questions that were a priori related. Separate two-way ANOVAs for each measure were run with Openness and Dominance as independent variables for the measures of openness and dominance and the six composite measures. Four of these composites showed significance; perceptions of the product being sold, the interaction between the salesperson and customer in the tape, probability of purchase of the product in the tape and perceptions of the salesperson being depicted in the tape.

For the open construct, subjects in the high Dominant group saw the salesperson as more open than those in the low Dominant group. For the dominant measure, subjects in the high Open condition viewed the salesperson as significantly more dominant than those in the low Open condition. Likewise, subjects in the high Dominant condition viewed the salesperson as more dominant than those in the low Dominant condition. Respondents, in general, rated the high Dominant/low Open and low Dominant/high Open conditions more favorable than the high Dominant/high Open or low Dominant/low Open.

Since communication style in a marketing context remains a new field of investigation, there are several directions in which future research can move.



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