Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 11, Issue 10, pp 789–798 | Cite as

How sales managers control unethical sales force behavior

  • James B. De Coninck


Researchers have studied marketing ethics from several perspectives. Few studies, however, have analyzed supervisory reactions to unethical behavior by salespeople. The results of this study using a 2 × 3 factorial design showed that the performance level of the salesperson and the consequences of the salesperson's actions influenced some types of discipline used by a sample of 246 sales managers. The findings both support and contradict prior research on how sales managers respond to unethical sales force behavior.


Economic Growth Marketing Factorial Design Performance Level Unethical Behavior 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Baumhart, R. S. J.: 1961, ‘How Ethical Are Businessmen?’,Harvard Business Review 39 (July–August), pp. 6–31.Google Scholar
  2. Barrow, J. C.: 1976, ‘Worker Performance and Task Complexity as Causal Determinants of Leader Behavior Style and Flexibility’,Journal of Applied Psychology 61 (August), pp. 433–440.Google Scholar
  3. Bellizzi, J. A. and D. W. Norvell: 1991, ‘Personal Characteristics and Salesperson's Justifications as Moderators of Supervisory Discipline in Cases Involving Unethical Salesforce Behavior’,Journal of Academy of Marketing Science 19(1), pp. 11–16.Google Scholar
  4. Bellizzi, J. A. and R. E. Hite: 1989, ‘Supervising Unethical Salesforce Behavior’,Journal of Marketing 53 (April), pp. 36–47.Google Scholar
  5. Beyer, J. M. and H. M. Trice: 1984, “A Field Study of the Use and Perceived Effects of Discipline in Controlling Work Performance,”Academy of Management Journal 27 (December), 743–760.Google Scholar
  6. Chonko, L. B. and J. J. Burnett: 1983, ‘Measuring the Importance of Ethical Situations as a Source of Role Conflict: A Survey of Salespeople, Sales Managers, and Sales Support Personnel’,Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management 3 (May), pp. 41–47.Google Scholar
  7. Chonko, L. B. and S. D. Hunt: 1985, ‘Ethics and Marketing Management: An Empirical Examination’,Journal of Business Research 13, pp. 339–359.Google Scholar
  8. DeConinck, J. B. and D. J. Good: ‘Perceptual Differences of Sales Practitioners and Students Concerning Ethical Behavior’,Journal of Business Ethics 8, pp. 667–676.Google Scholar
  9. Dubinsky, A. J., E. N. Berkowitz, and W. Rudelius: 1980, ‘Ethical Problems of Field Sales Personnel’,MSU Business Topics 28 (Summer), 11–16.Google Scholar
  10. Dubinsky, A. J., T. N. Ingram, and W. Rudelius: 1985, ‘Ethics in Industrial Selling: How Product and Service Salespeople Compare’,Journal of Academy of Marketing Science 13 (Winter–Spring), pp. 160–170.Google Scholar
  11. Dubinsky, A. J. and T. N. Ingram: 1984, ‘Correlates of Salespeople's Ethical Conflict: An Exploratory Investigation’,Journal of Business Ethics 3 (April), pp. 343–353.Google Scholar
  12. Ferrell, O. C. and K. M. Weaver: 1978, ‘Ethical Beliefs of Marketing Managers’,Journal of Marketing 42 (July), pp. 69–73.Google Scholar
  13. Ferrell, O. C. and L. G. Gresham: 1985, ‘A Contingency Framework For Understanding Ethical Decision Making in Marketing’,Journal of Marketing 49 (Summer), pp. 87–96.Google Scholar
  14. Fredericksen, L. W.: 1982,Handbook of Organizational Behavior Management (New York: John Wiley and Sons).Google Scholar
  15. Fritzsche, D. J. and H. Becker: 1983, ‘Ethical Behavior of Marketing Managers’,Journal of Business Ethics 2, pp. 291–299.Google Scholar
  16. Hawkins, D. I. and A. B. Cocanougher: 1972, ‘Student Evaluations of the Ethics of Marketing Practices: The Role of Marketing Education’,Journal of Marketing 36 (April), pp. 61–64.Google Scholar
  17. Hunt, S. D., P. L. Kiecker, and L. B. Chonko: 1990, ‘Social Responsibility and Personal Success: A Research Note’,Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 3 (18), pp. 239–244.Google Scholar
  18. Hunt, S. and S. Vitell: 1986, ‘A General Theory of Ethics’,Journal of Macromarketing 6 (Spring), pp. 5–16.Google Scholar
  19. Ilgen, D. R., T. R. Mitchell, and J. W. Frederickson: 1981, ‘Poor Performers: Supervisors' and Subordinates' Responses’,Organizational Behavior and Human Performance 27 (June), pp. 386–410.Google Scholar
  20. Levy, M. and A. J. Dubinsky: 1983, ‘Identifying and Addressing Retail Salespeople's Ethical Problems: A Method and Application’,Journal of Business Research (Spring), pp. 46–66.Google Scholar
  21. Mayo, M. and L. J. Marks: 1990, ‘An Empirical Investigation of a General Theory of Marketing Ethics’,Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 18 (2), pp. 163–171.Google Scholar
  22. Mitchell, T. R. and R. E. Wood: 1979, ‘An Empirical Test of an Attribution Model of Leader's Responses to Poor Performance’,Academy of Management Proceedings, pp. 94–98.Google Scholar
  23. Newstrom, J. W. and W. A. Ruch: 1975, ‘The Ethics of Management and the Management of Ethics’,MSU Business Topics 23 (Winter), pp. 29–37.Google Scholar
  24. O'Reilly, C. A. and B. Weitz: 1980, ‘Managing Marginal Employees: The Use of Warnings and Dismissals’,Administrative Science Quarterly 25, 467–484.Google Scholar
  25. Podsakoff, P. M.: 1982, ‘Determinant's of a Supervisor's Use of Rewards and Punishments: A Literature Review and Suggestions for Further Research’,Organizational Behavior and Human Performance 29 (February), pp. 58–63.Google Scholar
  26. Rosen, B. and T. H. Jerdee: 1974, ‘Factors Influencing Disciplinary Judgments’,Journal of Applied Psychology 59 (3), pp. 327–331.Google Scholar
  27. Whetton, D. A. and K. S. Cameron: 1991,Developing Management Skills, 2nd ed. (Harper Collins Publishers, Inc.: New York).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • James B. De Coninck
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MarketingUniversity of DaytonDaytonUSA

Personalised recommendations