Brian and Maria are both floor sales associates in the home appliance department of a large retail store in Bloomington, Indiana.

Brian and Maria are both floor sales associates in the home appliance department of a large retail store in Bloomington, Indiana. Four years ago, a new training program was implemented for all new sales associates, which included detailed product information, appliance industry background information, upselling strategies, and role-playing games with tailored feedback. Brian and Maria have been working there for 3 and 5 years, respectively, and although Brian received this training and Maria did not, their sales figures have always been very similar and very average.

Maria has a clear conceptual understanding of the company’s vision and is excellent with the customers; she always demonstrates a positive attitude, is eager to attend to them, and has an intuitive sense of what they are looking for. Most of her customer reviews have been positive and commented on her pleasant disposition and contagious laughter. However, a few mentioned that she was frequently running off to print descriptions of the products or to talk to other sales associates and that this caused interruptions in the customers’ shopping experience. Although she gets along with nearly all the employees, there have been a few employee complaints that her excessive socializing makes her late for shifts, meetings, and returning from breaks.

Brian is more reserved than Maria; he is less engaging with the customers and allows them to shop without bombarding them with too much attention or information. When he notices that they are showing particular interest in a product he walks over and offers to answer any questions they may have.  Brian seems to know every detail of every product. All of the salespeople depend on him to answer the toughest questions. His communication style is very concise and matter of fact—no more and no less. Most people find it hard to tell if he is annoyed by all the questions people ask, mostly because he doesn’t express emotions and never comments or complains. Brian is punctual with everything, including leaving at precisely the time his shift ends. This often leads him to handing over valuable sales to his colleagues which they appreciate.

1.    How do Maria and Brian demonstrate each of the three determinants of performance—declarative knowledge, procedural knowledge, and motivation?  How could their manager help each employee improve?

2.    Identify the critical components of each employee’s performance in terms of behaviors, results and traits (as appropriate for the situation).  Be sure to consider both positive and negative performance.  

3.   a statement for each identified component for each employee that could be included in the employee’s written performance review.

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