Exploring the Notion of Performance in Branch Sales Managers: A Narrative Approach

*Corresponding author: Radhika Bhalla*

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original research



The purpose of this study was to identify factors that affect the performance of branch sales managers (BSM) of a private bank in India. It also aimed to identify factors that differentiate high performing BSMs from the rest.


A phenomenological methodology known as narrative analysis was used to uncover the lived experiences of Branch sales managers. Open-ended semi-structured interviews were conducted with 50 Branch sales managers situated across the Northern, Western and Southern Regions of India who were pre-classified in two pools of talent–high performers and average performers based on their performance ratings.


Results yielded two distinguishing profiles of high and average performing BSMs known as ‘Bulls’, and ‘Bears’ respectively. Ramifications of individual’s personality, family structure and education profile, birth order, educational and vocational choices, influence of their past work experience, etc., were found to contribute to distinct patters of wok behavior and thereby performance.


Sales organizations will need to hire both “Bull I/Bull II” and “Bears” as each brings a different work ethos that is critical for high and consistent performance within the sales function. Organizations will need to create specific performance levers to engage the “Bull I/Bull II” and “Bears”.


Bears; Bull I; Bull II; Sales performance; Sloths.