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Harnessing the Power Within: The Consequences of Salesperson Moral Identity and the Moderating Role of Internal Competitive Climate

Abstract

The purpose of this research is to examine the notion of salesperson moral identity as a prosocial individual trait and its associated effects on customer and coworker relationships. In addition, this study examines the underlying processes in which these effects occur as well as the moderating role of internal competitive climate. Our empirical investigation of business-to-business (B2B) sales professionals reveals that moral identity has both direct and indirect effects on a salesperson’s customer- and team-directed outcomes. Specifically, our results demonstrate that salesperson moral identity positively affects both salesperson-customer identification and organizational identification, which, in turn, impact customer service provision and teamwork. Our findings also indicate that internal competitive climate exacerbates the positive effects of salesperson moral identity on customer service provision and teamwork.

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Notes

  1. In business-to-business (B2B) sales settings, customers are buying organizations represented by individual buyers that salespeople work with and sell their product or service offerings to.

  2. This response rate is in line with what is reported in other similar studies in the context of B2B sales (e.g., Chakrabarty et al. 2008; Zhang et al. 2013) and business ethics (e.g., Bacha and Walker 2013; Brik et al. 2011; Schwepker and Good 2011).

  3. Findings show that social desirability has a nonsignificant effect on the results found. Moreover, a nonsignificant correlation was found between salesperson moral identity and the social desirability construct (r = 0.08, p > 0.1).

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Table 4 Sample characteristics

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Itani, O.S., Chaker, N.N. Harnessing the Power Within: The Consequences of Salesperson Moral Identity and the Moderating Role of Internal Competitive Climate. J Bus Ethics (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-021-04794-4

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Keywords

  • Salesperson moral identity
  • Customer identification
  • Organizational identification
  • Internal competitive climate
  • Teamwork
  • Service provision
  • Social identity theory