Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science

, Volume 19, Issue 1, pp 11-16

First online:

Personal characteristics and salesperson’s justifications as moderators of supervisory discipline in cases involving unethical salesforce behavior

  • Joseph A. BellizziAffiliated withArizona State University-West Campus
  • , D. Wayne NorvellAffiliated withKansas State University

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Role-playing sales managers were asked to evaluate the personnel records of a salesperson who has been found to be using an unethical selling practice. Overall, saleswomen and salespeople who were described as extremely overweight were evaluated more harshly. Using excuses as justification did not neutralize the sales managers’ supervisory responses and, in the case of blaming one’s unethical behavior on the unethical behavior of customers, harsher disciplinary treatment resulted. Attribution theory is used to explain the findings.