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An Emotion-Based Model of Salesperson Ethical Behaviors


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  • Raj Agnihotri


  • Adam Rapp


  • Prabakar Kothandaraman


  • Rakesh Singh


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    Academic research studies examining the ethical attitudes and behaviors of salespeople have produced several frameworks that explore the ethical decision-making processes to which salespeople adhere when faced with ethical dilemmas. Past literature enriches our understanding; however, a critical review of the relevant literature suggests that an emotional route to salesperson ethical decision-making has yet to be explored. Given the fact that individuals’ emotional capacities play an important role in decision-making when faced with an ethical dilemma, there is a need for empirical research in this area. We address this issue by outlining and testing an emotion-based model to study the ethical attitudes and behaviors of salespeople in a relational selling context. Building on the cognitive-affective model proposed by Gaudine and Thorne (J Bus Ethics 31:175–187, 2001 ), we outline a framework that incorporates higher order prosocial emotions: capacity for concern and capacity for guilt. We include salesperson’s role clarity within the organization as a moderator to examine person–situation interaction. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Business Ethics.

    Volume (Year): 109 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 2 (August)
    Pages: 243-257

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:109:y:2012:i:2:p:243-257

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    Keywords: Salespeople; Emotional traits; Ethical behaviors; Ethical attitudes; Role clarity; Ethical decision-making;


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    1. Scott Vitell & Megan Keith & Manisha Mathur, 2011. "Antecedents to the Justification of Norm Violating Behavior Among Business Practitioners," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 101(1), pages 163-173, June.
    2. Sean Valentine & Lynn Godkin & Philip Varca, 2010. "Role Conflict, Mindfulness, and Organizational Ethics in an Education-Based Healthcare Institution," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 94(3), pages 455-469, July.
    3. Jennifer Mencl & Douglas May, 2009. "The Effects of Proximity and Empathy on Ethical Decision-Making: An Exploratory Investigation," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 85(2), pages 201-226, March.
    4. S. Steenhaut & P. Van Kenhove, 2006. "The Mediating Role of Anticipated Guilt in Consumers’ Ethical Decision-Making," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 06/370, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    5. Verbeke, W.J.M.I. & Belschak, F.D. & Bagozzi, R.P., 2004. "The Adaptive Consequences of Pride in Personal Selling," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2004-012-MKT, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
    6. Jones, Eli & Busch, Paul & Dacin, Peter, 2003. "Firm market orientation and salesperson customer orientation: interpersonal and intrapersonal influences on customer service and retention in business-to-business buyer-seller relationships," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 323-340, April.
    7. Baker, Thomas L. & Hunt, Tammy G. & Andrews, Martha C., 2006. "Promoting ethical behavior and organizational citizenship behaviors: The influence of corporate ethical values," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 59(7), pages 849-857, July.
    8. Sarah Steenhaut & Patrick Kenhove, 2006. "The Mediating Role of Anticipated Guilt in Consumers’ Ethical Decision-Making," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 69(3), pages 269-288, December.
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    Cited by:
    1. Popa Mirela & Salanta Irina Iulia, 2013. "Emotions In The Organizational Environment," Annals of Faculty of Economics, University of Oradea, Faculty of Economics, vol. 1(1), pages 1595-1605, July.
    2. Joerg Dietz & Emmanuelle Kleinlogel, 2014. "Wage Cuts and Managers’ Empathy: How a Positive Emotion Can Contribute to Positive Organizational Ethics in Difficult Times," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 119(4), pages 461-472, February.


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