Dec 13, 2017 in Management

Music, Motivation and Performance in Selfridges UK


Selfridges is a UK based store that deals with fashionable accessories for men, women and kids. Recently, the telegraph reported that their sales had hit more than one billion pounds. To maintain the leading position, this store will have to work on its selling edge. The sales staff‘s motivation is key. This research aims at identifying the role that music plays in sales motivation. The most powerful tool for any sales person’s toolkit is the attitude towards Sales Motivation (Jobber & Lancaster, 2006). Music has been a motivator in many other areas especially in sports and when working out at the gym. Music has the ability to enhance moods of individuals and consequently motivate them.


To explain how music influences the brain activity to motivate individuals

To find out how different genres of music help in motivation of sales people

Questions clearly stated

Can music motivate sales people?

Can music make a sales person change their perception of their job or make them love their job?

Are there tests showing that music enhance positive psychological changes?

The importance of the study

Motivation can be described as a need or desire that causes a person to act in a particular way since they are controlled by urges, drives, and aspirations to achieve. The Maslow’s need hierarchy theory of motivation is based on the premise that human beings are in a continuous state of “want” and rarely reach a state of complete satisfaction, because once a need has been satisfied, another overlapping need takes prominence

Motivation of sales people in an organization that is sales oriented is invariable. When the staff is motivated, they close more sales and vice versa when demotivated. In other words, the level of sales is proportionate to the motivational level of employees and could be the difference between making profits and making losses. Motivation has been defined as the process that ignites and guides people to act and maintain goal oriented behaviors (Vance, 2011). The process of motivation involves social, cognitive and emotional forces that activate behavior. In the life of a human being, the process of motivation presents itself in many aspects, from simple acts like drinking water to quench thirst, to complex tasks pursuing an education to gain knowledge.

Limitations of the study

During this study, some difficulties were encountered.  Motivation is an abstract concept and impossible to substantially determine and measure. Therefore, what is used as a measure of motivation is to a large extent arbitrary. Variations that occur among individuals (ranging from being highly motivated by music to remotely being motivated by music) make compiling of data tedious. The taste of music differs from an individual to another. This makes it tedious to administer music to determine the level of motivation.

Literature review

Employee motivation plays a crucial role in productivity in today s business world (Thomas, 2009). It is for this reason that there are so many professionals who have taken it upon themselves to research on various ways of motivating employees. Motivation factors can be extrinsic or intrinsic to a sales person.

The company decides mostly on extrinsic motivators which are external to the employee .Extrinsic factors include reward, working environment, and praise among others. Music falls in this category.  Motivational intrinsic factors that are internal to the employee are to a large extent decided by the employee, but can be influenced by the employer (Thomas, 2009). This encompasses the sale’s staff love for their job and the inner good feeling among others. Music can achieve both. Individual workers have divergent values in regard to their work delivery. (Thomas, 2009). It is therefore up to an employer to identify the factors.

As simple as it sounds, scientists have found that listening to particularly happy or sad music changes the way we perceive the world (Peretz & Zatorre, 2003). Jolij and Meurs administered sad, smiling, and neutral faces to individuals listening to different types of music. While listening to happy music and a neutral face administered, most individuals claimed to have seen a smiley face. Studies prove that, the music we listen to engages a wide range of neurobiological systems that affect one’s psychology (Kurlan, 2001), and this is proven by Jolij’s and Meurs’ experiment. "Seeing anything, not there results to   top-down processes in the brain.

However, not all music applies to all situations. One can dial up a mood, mindset or perception on demand by choosing music that elicits a specific emotional response (Bergland, 2012). A sales person might be feeling overwhelmed by dealing with a given customer(s). The song that is best placed is a song that inspires conquering. The words of the song and its tempo elicit confidence in the sales person. For instance, the Jayz’s and Linkin Park ‘s collaborated song, Encore has this message;” I came I saw I conquered”. This is highly motivational. On the other hand, when relaxing, a sales person could listen to slow soothing songs such as kiss from a rose by Seal.

Music among other things helps sales persons calm their nerves, boost their morale, inspire their actions, and increase their energy. The mind drives the body and music provides the inspiration and the needed enthusiasm. A recent study by Jacob Jolij, a student of the Psychology Department of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands shows that music has a dramatic effect on explanatory style and perception (Bergland, 2012). Meaning that music can help a sales person have a positive perception of his job which will boost their morale and ultimately their performance.

The human heart wants to synchronize to music; the legs want to swing, metronomically, to a beat (Peretz, & Zatorre, 2003). Studies have shown that only songbirds and humans instinctively respond to music. When an individual coordinates activities they are doing with music the result is added energy. This could be required at a company (Selfridges & co.) during activities as moving stock by sales people. Music is so energizing and amazing. In some regions, music is sometimes banned to prevent athletes from gaining unfair benefits during competitions (Campbell, 1997).One of music’s energizing effects comes from its ability to engage the body’s sympathetic nervous system (Alcantara, 2011).

Music helps the brain connect its activities. Studies examining the operations of the brain suggest that synchronization of brain signals is crucial for linking cognitive, perceptual, and motor processes (The Globe and Mail, 2013). Music helps people focus on activities better consequently makes workers enjoy in their jobs.  Mental and physical endurance can also be enhanced by music’s ability to draw attention away from negative aspects of a given task (Campbell, 1997).The brain’s attention system includes top and outermost regions of frontal and parietal lobes. They act to sustain neural activity in areas that contribute to issues focused. This   reduces the activities from other areas of the brain (Campbell, 1997).

Clearly music is an essential ingredient in the motivation of sales people. For instance if a sales person is to make a call and get hold of a tune playing before the client picks up their call, it will help them relax and calm down by avoiding too much thought. This can be done before they can engage the customer in closing sales. It is recommended that Selfridges & Co. plays music for its sales people at work. Other companies can also incorporate this brilliant idea.

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