Emotional and Cognitive Determinants of Retail Salespersons’ Emotional Labor and Adaptive Selling Behavior

Joonhwan Kim, Wujin Chu, Sungho Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The role of salespersons' emotions in effective selling behavior garners attention among scholars and practitioners. Previous studies have investigated the effects of emotional intelligence and emotional labor on sales success separately. However, to understand the whole process, the relationships among salespersons’ cognition, emotions, and behaviors should be considered simultaneously. Accordingly, we uniquely examined how salespersons’ emotional intelligence (emotional antecedent) and customer orientation (cognitive antecedent) influence their emotional labor (deep acting vs. surface acting), adaptive selling behavior, and the selling results in the retail environment. Research design, data, and methodology: To improve methodological rigor, we used the dyadic approach. We measured 182 salespersons’ emotional intelligence, customer orientation, and emotional labor, and 364 customers assessed the salespersons' adaptive selling behavior and selling results in the insurance and duty-free department retailing sectors. Result: The findings suggest that salespersons' customer orientation and emotional intelligence relate to deep-acting of emotional labor, affecting their adaptive selling behavior and relationship quality with customers. Conclusions: As for managerial implications, sales managers may well consider emotional intelligence levels when selecting salespersons in the retail industry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-126
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Distribution Science
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2022


  • Adaptive selling behavior
  • Customer orientation
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Emotional labor
  • Relationship quality
  • Retail environment


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