An Emotion-Based Model of Salesperson Ethical Behaviors

Journal of Business Ethics 109 (2):243-257 (2012)
Abstract
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.
Keywords Salespeople  Emotional traits  Ethical behaviors  Ethical attitudes  Role clarity  Ethical decision-making
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