Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 109, Issue 2, pp 243–257

An Emotion-Based Model of Salesperson Ethical Behaviors

  • Raj Agnihotri
  • Adam Rapp
  • Prabakar Kothandaraman
  • Rakesh K. Singh

DOI: 10.1007/s10551-011-1123-3

Cite this article as:
Agnihotri, R., Rapp, A., Kothandaraman, P. et al. J Bus Ethics (2012) 109: 243. doi:10.1007/s10551-011-1123-3


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.


SalespeopleEmotional traitsEthical behaviorsEthical attitudesRole clarityEthical decision-making

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Raj Agnihotri
    • 1
  • Adam Rapp
    • 2
  • Prabakar Kothandaraman
    • 3
  • Rakesh K. Singh
    • 4
  1. 1.Russ Berrie Institute for Professional SalesWilliam Paterson UniversityWayneUSA
  2. 2.Department of Management and Marketing, Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business AdministrationThe University of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Professional Sales and Executive Director, Russ Berrie Institute for Professional SalesWilliam Paterson UniversityWayneUSA
  4. 4.Department of MarketingXLRIJamshedpurIndia