Salespeople have a moral obligation to prospect/customer, company and self. As such, they continually encounter truth-telling dilemmas. "lgnorance" and "conflict" often block the path to morally correct sales behaviors. Academics and practitioners agree that adoption of ethical codes is the most effective measure for encouraging ethical sales behaviors. Yet no ethical code has been offered which can be conveniently used to overcome the unique circumstances that contribute to the moral dilemmas often encountered in personal selling. An ethical code is developed (...) that charts ethical paths across a variety of sales settings (addressing "ignorance") while illustrating why the cost associated with acting morally is generally reasonable (addressing "conflict"). The code applies the universal transactional notions of customer expectations and salesperson reputation to illustrate why and when salespeople are morally required to tell the truth. In doing so, the code tackles head-on the vexing question of how best to juggle mixed motives - involving self-interests, corporate-concerns, cus-tomer-needs and other influences such as the nature of the transaction. The issue of how mixed motives can be dealt with through moral means is one that ethicists have previously sidestepped (Stark, 1993). (shrink)
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