Michael Ahearne

Professor - C.T. Bauer Professor of Marketing & Research Director, Stagner Sales Excellence Institute

Michael Ahearne


Michael Ahearne is Professor of Marketing and C.T. Bauer Chair in Marketing at the University of Houston. He is also Research Director of the Sales Excellence Institute.

Mike's research has primarily focused on improving the performance of salespeople and sales organizations. He has published over 50 articles in leading journals such as Journal of Marketing, Journal of Marketing Research, Management Science, Strategic Management Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology, and Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. Mike was recently recognized by the American Marketing Association as one of the 10 most research productive scholars in the field of marketing. His research has been profiled in the Wall Street Journal, Business 2.0, Business Investors Daily, Forbes, Fortune, INC Magazine and many other news outlets.

Mike's book Selling Today: Partnering to Create Customer Value is the highest grossing professional selling textbook in the world, with copies being distributed in over forty countries. Paired with the many teaching awards he has won at the MBA and undergraduate levels in Sales, Sales Management, and Key Account Management, Mike has a proven track record of excellence when it comes to disseminating knowledge in his field. He has consulted with over 200 companies in industries such as insurance, health care, consumer packaged goods, technology and transportation. Mike was recently honored as the inaugural winner of the Sales Education Foundation Research Dissemination Award for the impact of his research on business practice.

Before entering academia, Mike played professional baseball for the Montreal Expos and worked in marketing research and sales operations for Eli Lilly and PCS Healthcare. He actively consults in many industries including insurance, health care, consumer packaged goods, energy, technology and transportation.

Research Interests

  • Sales Force Effectiveness
  • Sales Management Internal Marketing
  • Relationship Marketing
  • Innovation

Selected Publications

  • Vaid, Shashank, Michael Ahearne, and Ryan Krause, (2021) "Operations-Related Structural Flux: Firm Performance Effects of Executives' Appointments and Exits" Production and Operations Management, forthcoming.
  • Atefi, Yashar, Michael Ahearne, Zach Hall, Sebastian Hohenberg, and Florian Zettelmeyer, (2020), "Open Negotiation: The Backend Benefits of Salespeople's Transparency in The Frontend," Journal of Marketing Research, 57(6), 1076-1094.
  • Boichuk, Jeffrey, Raghu Bommaraju, Michael Ahearne, Florian Kraus, and Thomas Steenburgh, (2019), "Motivating Laggards: The Importance of a Deep Sales Bench" Journal of Marketing Research, 56(4), 652-655.
  • Bommaraju Raghu, Michael Ahearne, Ryan Kraus, and Seshadri Tirunillai (2019), "Does a Customer on the Board of Directors Affect Business-to-Business Firm Performance?" Journal of Marketing, 83(1) 8-23.
  • Thomas Steenburgh and Michael Ahearne (2018), "How to Sell New Products," Harvard Business Review, November/December, 92-101.
  • Atefi, Yashar, Michael Ahearne, James Maxham, Todd Donavan and Brad Carlson (2018), "Does Selective Sales Force Training Work?," Journal of Marketing Research, 55(5), 722-737.
  • Bommaraju, Raghuram, Michael Ahearne, Zachary Hall, and Seshadri Tirunillai (2018), "The Impact of Mergers and Acquisitions on the Sales Force," Journal of Marketing Research, 55 (2), 254-264.
  • Hayati, Babak, Yashar Atefi and Michael Ahearne (2018), "Sales Force Leadership During Strategy Implementation: A Social Network Perspective," Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 46 (6), 612-631.
  • Ahearne, Michael (2017), "Research centers, business schools, and the world of sales," Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 45 (2), 461-464.
  • Ahearne, Michael, Jeff Boichuk, Craig Chapman, and Tom Steenburgh (2016), "Real Earnings Management in Sales," Journal of Accounting Research, 54(5), 1233-1266.
  • Ahearne, Michael, Kraus, Florian, Til Haumann, and Jan Weiseke (2015), "When Sales Managers and Salespeople Disagree in the Appreciation for their Firm: The Phenomenon of Organizational Identification Tension," Journal of Retailing, 91 (3), 486-515.
  • Hall, Zachary R., Michael Ahearne, and Harish Sujan (2015), "The Importance of Starting Right: The Influence of Accurate Intuition on Performance in Salesperson-Customer Interactions," Journal of Marketing, 79 (3), 91-109.
  • Mullins, Ryan, Michael Ahearne, Son Lam, Zach Hall and Jeff Boichuk (2014), "Know Your Customer: How Salesperson Perceptions of Customer Relationship Quality Form and Influence Account Profitability," Journal of Marketing, 78 (6), 38-58.
  • Ahearne, Michael, Florian Kraus and Son Lam (2014), "Performance Impact of Middle Managers' Adaptive Strategy Implementation: the Role of Social Capital," Strategic Management Journal, 35 (1), 68-87.
  • Boichuk, Jeff, Willy Bolander, Zachary R. Hall, Michael Ahearne, William Zahn, and Melissa Nieves (2014), "Learned Helplessness among Newly Hired Salespeople and the Influence of Leadership," Journal of Marketing, 78(1), 95-111.
  • Ahearne, Michael, Til Haumann, Florian Kraus, and Jan Wieseke (2013), "It's a Matter of Congruence: How Interpersonal Identification between Sales Managers and Salespersons Shapes Sales Success," Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 41 (6), 625-648.
  • Ahearne, Michael, Son Lam, Babak Hayati, and Florian Kraus (2013), "Intrafunctional Competitive Intelligence and Sales Performance: A Social Network Perspective," Journal of Marketing, 77(6), 37-56.
  • Lam, Son K., Michael Ahearne, Ryan Mullins, Babak Hayati, and Niels Schillewaert (2013), "Exploring the Dynamics of Antecedents to Customer-Brand Identification with a New Brand,"Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science., 41(2), 234-252.
  • Wieseke, Jan, Florian Kraus, Michael Ahearne, and Sven Mikolon (2012), "Multiple Identification Foci and Their Countervailing Effects on Salespeople's Negative Headquarters Stereotypes," Journal of Marketing, 76(3), 1-20.
  • Steenburgh, Thomas and Michael Ahearne (2012), "Motivating Salespeople: What Really Works," Harvard Business Review,July/August 2012.
  • Ahearne, Michael, Florian Kraus, Son Lam, and Jan Wieseke (2012) "Toward a Contingency Framework of Interpersonal Influence in Organizational Identification Diffusion," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 118(2), 162-178.
  • Lam, Son, Michael Ahearne, and Schillewaert (2012), "A multinational examination of the symbolic–instrumental framework of consumer-brand identification," Journal of International Business Studies, 43(2), 306-331.
  • Ahearne, Michael, Florian Kraus, and Son Lam (2010), "The Diffusion of Market Orientation throughout the Organization: A Social Learning Theory Perspective," Journal of Marketing, 74(5), 63-80
  • Lam, Son, Michael Ahearne, Ye Hu and Schillewaert (2010), "Resistance to Brand Switching when a Radically New Brand is Introduced: A Social Identity Theory Perspective," Journal of Marketing, 74(3), 65-69.
  • Ahearne, Michael, Adam Rapp, Douglas Hughes and Rupinder Jindal (2010), "Managing Salesforce Product Perceptions and Control Systems in the Success of New Product Introductions," Journal of Marketing Research, 47(4), 745-757.
  • Hughes, Douglas and Michael Ahearne (2010), "Energizing the Reseller's Sales Force: The Power of Brand Identification," Journal of Marketing, 74(4), 81-96.
  • Ahearne, Michael, Son Lam, John Mathieu and Willy Bolander (2010), "Why are Some Salespeople Better at Adapting to Organizational Change," Journal of Marketing, 74(3), 65-69.
  • Ahearne, Michael, Scott MacKenzie, Philip Podsakoff, John Mathieu and Son Lam (2010), "The Role of Consensus in Sales Team Performance," Journal of Marketing Research, 47(3), 458-469.
  • Rapp, Adam, Michael Ahearne, John Mathieu and Tammy Rapp (2010), "Managing Sales Teams in a Virtual Environment," International Journal of Research in Marketing, 27(2), 108-118.


  • Selling Today: Partnering to Create Customer Value, with Jerry Manning and Barry Reece, 14th Edition, Pearson, Publication Date: 2018
  • Selling Today in Canada, with Jerry Manning, Barry Reece and H.F. Mackenzie, 7th Edition, Prentice Hall, Publication Date: March 2015
  • Sales Force Performance, with Son Lam, Elgar/ISBM Business-to-Business Marketing Handbook,Gary L. Lilien and Rajdeep Grewal (eds.), Publication Date: 2011

Academic Associations & Editorial Boards

  • International Journal of Research in Marketing (Senior Editor)
  • Journal of Marketing (Associate Editor)
  • Journal of Service Research (Associate Editor)
  • Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science (Associate Editor)
  • Journal of Marketing Research (Editorial Board Member)
  • Journal of Retailing (Editorial Board Member)
  • Academy of Marketing Science Review (Editorial Board Member)
  • Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management (Senior Advisory Board)

Contact Info

MH 375D
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  • Professional Selling
  • Sales Management
  • Key Account Selling
  • Negotiation
  • Research Methods
  • Market Research


PhD - Marketing/Decision Sciences
MS - Marketing/Decision Sciences
MBA - Operations Management
BS - Mathematics with Distinction