Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Business Administration

First Advisor's Name

Peter Dickson

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee chair

Second Advisor's Name

John Tsalikis

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Paulo Gomes

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Sebastian Garcia-Dastugue

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member


Solution Selling, Salespeople, Design Thinking

Date of Defense



Salespeople play important role in selling products and services of their companies. One of the important parts of the Business to Business (B2B) salespeople’s role is to offer innovative solutions (i.e., a complex mix of products and services) to meet their business customers’ needs. Innovation is an important individual factor to prepare B2B salespeople to sell solutions. Additionally, collaboration between different functions of the organization is important for the success of the solution selling.

The primary purpose of this dissertation to explore how a well-accepted innovation method, which is Design Thinking (DT) can predict the readiness of B2B salespeople to offer solutions. Specifically, this dissertation tests the relationship between individual level DT factors (i.e., abductive reasoning, gestalt view and tolerance of ambiguity and failure) and their interaction with an organizational level DT factor (i.e., interdisciplinary collaboration) in predicting the readiness of solution selling.

288 B2B salespeople have participated in an online survey to test six hypotheses. Results show that abductive reasoning, gestalt view and interdisciplinary collaboration have a significant positive relationship with solution provision readiness of salespeople whereas tolerance of ambiguity and failure does not have a significant relationship with solution selling readiness. Furthermore, interdisciplinary collaboration level lowers the positive relationship between abductive reasoning and solution selling readiness whereas interdisciplinary collaboration exacerbates the positive relationship between gestalt view and solution selling readiness. Theoretical contributions and managerial implications of the above-mentioned results are discussed in the dissertation.



Included in

Marketing Commons


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