, Volume 109, Issue 2, pp 243-257
Date: 27 Nov 2011

An Emotion-Based Model of Salesperson Ethical Behaviors

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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.