Ethical Issues in Sales and Sales Management

  • Bill Donaldson
Part of the Studies in Marketing Management book series


Ethical issues affect everyone. The difficulty for most of us is that while there may be an official company code, ethical issues are dilemmas, the answers to which, in a business context, may depend on conditions and circumstances as well as moral positions. Furthermore, what may be seen as unethical to one person may be considered normal practice to another. For example, if your firm has a sales contest, do you try to get the customer to order more than they require or reschedule orders to improve your chances of winning? Do you go further and suggest an imminent price increase to achieve your objective? The answer, for some, will be that any such action is unethical but others may see this as part of the ‘game’ and within their normal remit as salespeople and ‘winners’. Individual and business ethics are a complex area and, in this chapter, the focus is on ethical issues affecting sales operations. This concerns the moral problems and rights and wrongs of sales practices. In this chapter the aim is:
  • to define ethics and the scope of ethical issues

  • to consider how ethics might affect sales operations

  • to evaluate ethical relationships between salespeople and the company, co-workers, customers and competitors

  • to suggest managerial guidelines for ethical behaviour in sales.


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© Bill Donaldson 1998

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  • Bill Donaldson

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