Date of Award

Fall 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

First Advisor

Dr. Rosemary Maellaro

Second Advisor

Dr. Scott Wysong


Many organizations face the challenge of selecting competent individuals to fill leadership positions. The consequences of placing individuals who are not appropriately qualified into leadership positions can negatively impact organizational and employee outcomes, yielding lower sales, decreased quality of customer service, higher employee turnover, diminished performance levels, or low employee engagement. Thus, it is imperative that organizations carefully consider the selection criteria used to make leader hiring and promotion decisions.

The target of this study was a large equipment-rental company that strongly prefers to fill branch-leader positions with individuals who possess prior sales experience. The study examined the impact of leaders’ prior career experience, specifically, sales experience, on employees’ perceptions of leader effectiveness, sustainable engagement, and, ultimately, the overall effectiveness of location leaders based on financial performance. Results showed that marginally better employee outcomes emerged in locations led by individuals with prior sales experience, and slightly better financial performance emerged in locations led by individuals without prior sales experience. However, an analysis of variance revealed these differences were not statistically significant. Hence, these mixed results suggest that prior sales experience is not the singular determinant of branch-leader success in this organization.