Is it better to be both nice and nasty? Investigating the co-occurrence of sales manager aggressiveness and caring

Empirical research has largely neglected to investigate the issue of sales manager's problem resolution styles in handling conflicts. Building on the qualitative work of Lee and Cadogan (2009), we investigate how sales manager's problem resolution styles, as reflected in both caring and aggressive interpersonal interactions with their salespeople, impact important sales force outcomes. The results show that depending on the level of caring that manager exhibits during the problem resolution process, the curvilinear effects of aggressiveness on salespeople emotional exhaustion and sportsmanship are dramatically altered. Our findings are interesting, and suggest that the almost wholly negative picture painted in current academic literature regarding aggressive managerial style is at least somewhat simplistic, and perhaps rather overstated. Therefore aggressiveness and caring further should be considered together, rather than separately.